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Brocade launches its WorkFlow automation suite

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December 7, 2016

American networking equipment maker Brocade is hoping its users will find its new automation software interesting. Alongside three additions to its SLX switch line (the 9140, 9240, and 9540), the company announced an automation suite called the WorkFlow automation suite.

The new software features three templates to get things moving. Given Brocade's home business, it's probably no surprise to most observers that the automation suite is designed for the Internet industry.

It targets Internet Exchange Point (IXP) automation; data centre fabrics; and a basic network essentials suite that's incorporated in the same package.

To some, it could seem a bit out of place for a network switching company to offer pre-fabricated scripts to automate IXP operations, but as Brocade's system engineer Phil Coates says, a lot of new customer activation is in the network: provisioning a new VLAN for the customer, setting up their IP addressing and NAT; adding MAC addresses to access control lists, etc.

But there's also other activities that are needed as well-- “You simply assign a customer number, get them into the billing system, send a welcome e-mail, etc,” he commented.

The Workflow Automation Suite can wrap all of that up into a repeatable process, Coates asserted. Customers can either run the various processes out of the box, of call in their DevOps for some customization if they need it.

Having known some internet firms to run OSS/BSS and billing on everything from IBM down to homegrown databases and Excel, it won't surprise some if the first-use needs a lot of customization, but Coates pointed out the integration only has to happen once-– after that, you've got a script that can be triggered by the system.

He also commented that the environment supports cross-domain integration outside the Brocade environment as well, a new feature that can appeal to some system admins.

With the SLX 9140, 9240 and 9540, it looks like Brocade has joined the ranks of switch vendors running programmable ASICs to expand the list of high-performance capabilities it can upgrade in the future.

The SLX 9140 carries no fewer than forty-eight 25 Gbps Ethernet ports, which are becoming a default requirement for server connectivity, while customers wait for 40 Gbps prices to fall.

There are six upstream 100 Gbps ports for backbone and spine-leaf connectivity. The SLX 9540 has 48 ten Gbps Ethernet and six 100 Gbps Ethernet ports, while the the SLX 9240 is a 32-port 100 Gbps Ethernet switch supporting MPLS, VXLAN, Openflow and IP routing.

The new Brocade switches also include payload time-stamping for traffic troubleshooting, a new feature that may appeal to some busy network managers that are in a rush to locate and isolate potential network bottlenecks.

Source: Brocade.


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