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Brocade X6-4 Director
Four Horizontal Blade Slots Gen6 Fibre Channel to Provide up to 192 32 Gbps ports or a 256-port equivalent with 16 UltraScale ICL ports


Brocade X6-4 Director

Brocade Products
X6 Directors
Brocade X6-4 Director Backbone
Four Vertical Blade Slots to Provide up to 256-port equivalent with 16 UltraScale ICL ports, 8U Rackmount
#BR-X64-0001
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Overview:

The Brocade X6 Director with Brocade Fabric Vision technology combines innovative hardware, software, and integrated network sensors to ensure the industry’s highest level of operational stability and redefine application performance. It provides a modular building block for increased scalability to accommodate growth for large-scale enterprise infrastructures.

Fabric Vision technology enhances visibility into the health of storage environments, delivering greater control and insight to quickly identify problems and achieve critical Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Breakthrough 32 Gbps performance accelerates application response time by up to 71 percent, eliminating IO bottlenecks, and unleashes the full performance of flash and next-generation Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe)-based storage. And with diverse deployment options, organizations can seamlessly adapt and optimize their businesses to meet nextgeneration storage requirements.

Network Innovation for the Virtualized, All-Flash Data Center

Digital transformation is pushing mission-critical storage environments to the limit, with users expecting data to be accessible from anywhere, at any time, on any device. Faced with exponential data growth, the network must evolve to enable businesses to thrive in this new era. To meet these dynamic and growing business demands, organizations need to deploy infrastructure that can deliver greater consistency, predictability, and performance. Legacy infrastructure, however, was not designed to support the performance requirements of evolving workloads and flash-based storage technology. In fact, an aging network will impede the performance of an all-flash data center. A new approach to storage networking is needed to enable databases, virtual servers, desktops, and critical applications, and to unlock the full capabilities of flash. By treating the network as a strategic part of a storage environment, organizations can maximize their productivity and efficiency even as they rapidly scale their environments.

Highlights

  • Enhances operational stability, maximizes application performance, and increases business agility with enterprise-class Gen 6 directors
  • Accelerates application response time by up to 71 percent across 32 Gbps links
  • Consolidates infrastructure with 128 Gbps Brocade UltraScale ICL connectivity for simpler, flatter, lowlatency fabrics
  • Simplifies end-to-end management of large-scale environments by automating monitoring and diagnostics
  • Automatically detects degraded application or device performance through integrated network sensors • Extends replication over distance with a highly scalable extension solution for Fibre Channel, IP, and FICON
  • Simplifies configuration automation and enables integrated advanced services across the Fabric with standard REST APIs
  • Seamlessly integrates next-generation NVMe over Fabrics with Gen 6 Fibre Channel networks without a disruptive rip and replace
  • Mitigates risk with backwardcompatibility while further protecting future investments with Gen 7-ready support

Extraordinary Operational Stability

  • The industry's first integrated network sensors built-in device latency and IOPS metrics automatically detect degraded application or device performance
  • IO Insight intelligence optimizes performance and availability
  • Automating monitoring and diagnostics simplify end-to-end management of large-scale environments

Accelerated Data Access

  • 32 Gbps links increase performance for demanding workloads
  • 128 Gbps UltraScale ICL connectivity supports infrastructure consolidation
  • Line-rate performance on every port improves application response

Unleash Performance and Deliver Operational Stability for the Virtualized All-Flash Data Center

Digital transformation driven by storage innovation requires a modern storage network. Brocade X6 Director family and SX6 Extension Blade, combined with Brocade Fabric Vision technology enables customers to drive always-on business operations, eliminate performance bottlenecks, and adapt to the requirements of the digital enterprise.

Always-On Business

Always-On Business

Hitting your service level agreement (SLA) targets requires network-wide operational stability, maintained through greater control and insight. Brocade X6 Directors provide both, with extensive automation that includes performance monitoring, diagnostics, and error recovery.

Breakthrough Appication Performance

Breakthrough Appication Performance

Breakthrough 32 Gbps performance accelerates application response time by up to 71 percent, eliminating IO bottlenecks, and unleashes the full performance of flash and next-generation Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe)-based storage.

Future-Ready Today

Future-Ready Today

Adapt to evolving requirements requires business agility. Brocade X6 Directors adapt and optimize businesses with seamless integration into next-generation NVMe over fabrics and future-ready support for Gen 7 Fibre Channel without a disruptive rip and replace.

Features:

Purpose-Built for Enterprise Deployments

Designed to meet relentless growth and mission-critical application demands, Brocade X6 Directors are the right platform for large enterprise environments that require increased capacity, greater throughput, and higher levels of resiliency.

The Brocade X6 Director is available in two modular form factors. This modular chassis design increases business agility with seamless storage connectivity and flexible deployment offerings. Built for large enterprise networks, the 14U Brocade X6-8 has eight vertical blade slots to provide up to 384 32 Gbps Fibre Channel device ports and 32 additional 128 Gbps Brocade UltraScale InterChassis Link (ICL) ports. Built for midsize networks, the 8U Brocade X6-4 has four horizontal blade slots to provide up to 192 32 Gbps Fibre Channel device ports and 16 additional 128 Gbps UltraScale ICL ports. Each blade slot can be populated with two optional blades. For device connectivity, the Brocade FC32-48 Fibre Channel device port blade provides 48 32 Gbps Fibre Channel ports. To support disaster recovery and data protection storage solutions over long distances, the Brocade SX6 Extension Blade provides 16 32 Gbps Fibre Channel ports, 16 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, and 2 40 GbE ports for Fibre Channel and IP replication traffic.

Brocade directors build upon years of innovation and leverage the core technology of Brocade systems to consistently deliver five-nines availability in the world’s most demanding data centers. And with non-disruptive, hot-pluggable components and a no-single-point-offailure design, the Brocade X6 is truly the enterprise-class director for today’s storage infrastructure.

Enhanced Operational Stability for Always-on Business Operations

The Brocade X6 Director with Fabric Vision technology provides a breakthrough hardware and software solution that helps simplify monitoring, increase operational stability, and dramatically reduce costs. Fabric Vision technology now includes IO Insight, which provides organizations with deeper visibility into the performance of their environments. This enhanced visibility enables quick identification of degraded application performance at host and storage tiers, reducing time to resolution.

IO Insight proactively monitors IO performance and behavior through integrated network sensors, providing deep insight into problems and helping to ensure service levels. This capability nondisruptively and non-intrusively gathers IO statistics from any device port, which feeds a monitoring policy that measures thresholds and generates alerts. Integrated application- and device-level IO latency and IOPS monitoring provides the ability to baseline application performance and detect degraded performance.

Integrated network sensors provide IO performance management that is designed to avoid dependence on invasive and disruptive physical taps. Innovative Fabric Vision monitoring, management, and diagnostic capabilities enable administrators to avoid problems before they impact operations. Additional Fabric Vision capabilities include:

  • Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS): Simplifies fabric-wide threshold configuration, monitoring, and alerting with prebuilt, rule-/policybased templates. Administrators can configure the entire fabric (or multiple fabrics) at one time using common rules and policies, or customize policies for specific ports or switch elements. In addition, administrators can include IO Insight metrics in MAPS policies to understand the IO profile as well as to be notified of storage IO performance degradation.
  • Fabric Performance Impact (FPI) Monitoring: Leverages predefined MAPS policies to automatically detect and alert administrators to different latency severity levels, and to identify slow drain devices that could impact network performance. This feature identifies various latency severity levels, pinpointing exactly which devices are causing or are impacted by a bottlenecked port, and quarantines slow drain devices automatically to prevent buffer credit starvation.
  • Dashboards: Provides integrated ata-glance views that display an overall SAN health view, along with details on out-of-range conditions, to help administrators easily identify trends and quickly pinpoint issues occurring on a switch or in a fabric.
  • Configuration and Operational Monitoring Policy Automation Services Suite (COMPASS): Simplifies deployment, safeguards consistency, and increases operational efficiencies of larger environments with automated switch and fabric configuration services. Administrators can configure a template or adopt an existing configuration to seamlessly deploy a configuration across the fabric. In addition, they can ensure settings do not drift over time with COMPASS configuration and policy violation monitoring within Brocade Network Advisor dashboards.
  • Brocade ClearLink Diagnostics: Ensures optical and signal integrity for Fibre Channel optics and cables, simplifying deployment and support of high-performance fabrics. ClearLink Diagnostic Port (D_Port) is an advanced capability of Fibre Channel platforms.
  • Flow Vision: Enables administrators to identify, monitor, and analyze specific application flows in order to simplify troubleshooting, maximize performance, avoid congestion, and optimize resources. Flow Vision includes:
    • Flow Monitor: Provides comprehensive visibility into flows within the fabric, including the ability to automatically learn flows and nondisruptively monitor flow performance. Administrators can monitor all flows from a specific host to multiple targets/LUNs, from multiple hosts to a specific target/LUN, or across a specific ISL or IFL. Additionally, they can perform LUN-level monitoring of specific frame types to identify resource contention or congestion that is impacting application performance.
    • Flow Learning: Enables administrators to non-disruptively discover all flows that go to or come from a specific host port or a storage port, or traverse ISLs/IFLs or FCIP tunnels to monitor fabric-wide application performance. In addition, administrators can discover top and bottom bandwidth-consuming devices and manage capacity planning.
    • Flow Generator: Provides a built-in traffic generator for pretesting and validating the data center infrastructure for robustness—including route verification and integrity of optics, cables, ports, back-end connections, and ISLs—before deploying applications.
    • Flow Mirroring: Enables administrators to non-disruptively create copies of specific application and data flows or frame types that can be captured for in-depth analysis.
  • Forward Error Correction (FEC): Enables recovery from bit errors in device connections and ISLs, enhancing transmission reliability and performance. Although mandated by the Gen 6 standard, Brocade FEC will also work with Gen 5 devices that support FEC.
  • Credit Loss Recovery: Automatically detects and recovers buffer credit loss at the Virtual Channel (VC) level, providing protection against performance degradation and enhancing application availability

Brocade Network Advisor

Brocade Network Advisor simplifies Gen 6 Fibre Channel management and helps organizations dramatically reduce deployment and configuration times by allowing fabrics, switches, and ports to be managed as groups. Customizable dashboards graphically display performance and health indicators out of the box, including all data captured using Brocade Fabric Vision technology. To accelerate troubleshooting, administrators can use dashboard playback to quickly review past events and identify problems in the fabric. Dashboards and reports also can be configured to show only the most relevant data, enabling administrators to more efficiently prioritize their actions and maintain network performance.

Brocade Network Advisor provides organizations with a programmable Web-based interface through a standard REST API to reduce operational tasks by automating zoning, scripting, and reporting. To further simplify management tasks, administrators can quickly search through events, historical data, and base inventory, and apply filters. In addition, the standard REST API leverages Brocade Fabric Vision technology to gain fabricwide health and performance visibility via easy-to-read dashboards.

Maximum Performance for Mission-Critical and Highly Virtualized Workloads

Evolving critical workloads and higher density virtualization are continuing to demand greater, more predictable performance. The Brocade X6 Director features industry-leading Gen 6 Fibre Channel that increases performance for demanding workloads across 32 Gbps line-speed links and up to 16.2 Tbps of chassis bandwidth to address next-generation I/O- and bandwidth-intensive applications. Gen 6 Fibre Channel technology provides up to 566 million frames switched per second per ASIC, unlocking the full capability of flash storage. This breakthrough performance speeds up data-intensive application response times, allows more transactions in less time, and enables improved SLAs. In addition, the Brocade X6 Director increases scalability with double the throughput for high-density VM deployments and larger fabrics. This allows organizations to support more storage devices and meet bandwidth requirements using the same number of Fibre Channel links.

Brocade X6 Directors provide unmatched chassis, slot-to-slot, and port performance and bandwidth. In addition, local switching capabilities ensure that data traffic within the same port group does not consume slot bandwidth, maximizing the number of line-rate ports while reducing latency. Performance capabilities include:

  • Brocade X6-8: Non-blocking architecture
    • Up to 384 ports (equivalent to 512 with UltraScale ICLs) at 32 Gbps
      • 16 Tbps aggregate chassis bandwidth
      • 12 Tbps Fibre Channel port bandwidth
      • 4 Tbps UltraScale ICL bandwidth
    • 1.5 Tbps bandwidth per slot, providing line-rate performance for the Brocade FC32-48 blade
  • Brocade X6-4: Non-blocking architecture
    • Up to 192 ports (equivalent to 256 with UltraScale ICLs) at 32 Gbps
      • 8 Tbps aggregate chassis bandwidth
      • 6 Tbps Fibre Channel port bandwidth
      • 2 Tbps UltraScale ICL bandwidth
    • 1.5 Tbps bandwidth per slot, providing line-rate performance for the Brocade FC32-48 blade

Simplified, Scale-out Network Design

Organizations need to adapt to continuous data growth and seamlessly scale-out their storage environments. Brocade UltraScale chassis connectivity leverages optical Inter-Chassis Links (ICLs), which provide 128 Gbps bandwidth through a QSFP link. These links can support up to 2 kilometers and connect up to 12 Brocade X6 Directors, enabling flatter, faster, and simpler fabrics that increase consolidation while reducing network complexity and costs.

UltraScale ICLs enable scalable coreedge and active-active mesh chassis topologies. These high-density chassis topologies reduce inter-switch cabling by 75 percent and free up to 25 percent of ports for servers and storage. This maximizes overall port density within the smallest amount of rack space while freeing up front-facing device ports for server and storage connectivity.

The Brocade X6-8 supports 32 UltraScale ICL ports, providing the equivalent of 128 32 Gbps ports (4.096 Tbps), and the Brocade X6-4 supports 16 UltraScale ICL ports, providing the equivalent of 64 32 Gbps ports (2.048 Tbps). Gen 6 UltraScale ICLs are backward-compatible and can connect to Gen 5 ICL ports, including connectivity with 2 km QSFPs at Gen 5 speeds of 16 Gbps (4×16).

Extended Distance and Replication with a Scalable, Multiprotocol Extension Solution

Connecting distributed data centers enables data mobility for advanced data protection. Enterprise data centers need their disaster recovery infrastructure to ensure fast, continuous, and easy replication of mission-critical data to anywhere in the world. Storage administrators need to replicate large amounts of data quickly, securely, reliably, and simply while minimizing operational and capital expenses.

With the Brocade SX6 Extension Blade, the Brocade X6 Director provides integrated metro and global connectivity with a purpose-built data center extension solution for Fibre Channel and IP storage environments. This solution delivers unprecedented performance, strong security, continuous availability, and simplified management to handle the unrelenting transfer of data between data centers and to maintain SLAs. Additionally, native 10 Gbps Fibre Channel connections are also available on the Brocade 48P-32G port blade and include in-flight compression as well as optional support for 10 Gbps Fibre Channel over DWDM and dark fiber.

The Brocade X6 Director can scale up to four Brocade SX6 blades per chassis. Each Brocade SX6 Extension Blade provides 16 32 Gbps Fibre Channel/ FICON ports, 16 1/10 GbE ports, and 2 40 GbE ports to deliver the high bandwidth, port density, and throughput required for maximum application performance over WAN connections, and to address the most demanding disaster recovery requirements.

Extending Brocade Fabric Vision technology between data centers provides unprecedented insight and visibility across the storage network. With its powerful, integrated monitoring, management, and diagnostic tools, Fabric Vision technology enables organizations to minimize the impact of disruptions and outages for non-stop business operations. Consolidating Fibre Channel/FICON flows and IP storage flows into a single tunnel contributes significantly to operational excellence. And by using custom, browser-accessible dashboards for combined Fibre Channel and IP storage, storage administrators have a centralized management tool to monitor the health and performance of their networks.

Adapting to Next-Gen Storage Requirements with Flexible Deployment Options

To realize the full benefits of flash, organizations will need to transition their high-performance, latency-sensitive workloads to flash-based storage with NVMe. The simplicity and efficiency of NVMe over Fibre Channel enable significant performance gains for flash storage. Moreover, NVMe over Fabrics enables users to achieve faster application response times and harness the performance of hundreds of solid state drives for better scalability across virtual data centers with flash.

Organizations can seamlessly integrate Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel networks with next-generation NVMe over Fabrics without a disruptive rip and replace. Leveraging the efficiency of NVMe over Fibre Channel, combined with the high performance and low latency of Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel, organizations can accelerate IOPS to deliver the performance, application response time, and scalability needed for next-generation data centers.

For investment protection, Brocade X6 Directors offer three generations of backward-compatibility support for connectivity to 4, 8, and 16 Gbps Fibre Channel products. Furthermore, the Brocade X6 supports future Fibre Channel generations as a Gen 7-ready storage networking platform. The Brocade X6 Director allows for current Gen 6 and future generation switch blade modules to be added within the chassis.

Brocade Global Services

Brocade Global Services has the expertise to help organizations build scalable, efficient cloud infrastructures. Leveraging 20 years of expertise in storage, networking, and virtualization, Brocade Global Services delivers worldclass professional services, technical support, and education services, enabling organizations to maximize their Brocade investments, accelerate new technology deployments, and optimize the performance of networking infrastructures.

Maximizing Investments

To help optimize technology investments, Brocade and its partners offer complete solutions that include professional services, technical support, and education.

Specifications:


Brocade X6 Director Specifications
Systems Architecture
Chassis Single chassis: The Brocade X6-8 provides up to 384 32 Gbps ports or a 512-port equivalent with 128 Gbps (4×32 Gbps) UltraScale ICL ports (32 Gbps×4 QSFP ports). The Brocade X6-4 provides up to 192 32 Gbps ports or a 256-port equivalent with 16 UltraScale ICL ports.

Each provides support for (E, F, D, M, SIM, AE, and EX) Fibre Channel ports using 48-port 32 Gbps Fibre Channel blades.
Control processor Redundant (active/standby) control processor modules
Scalability Full fabric architecture of 239 switches
Certified maximum 6,000 active devices per switch; 56 switches, 19 hops in Brocade Fabric OS® (FOS) fabrics; larger fabrics certified as required
Fibre Channel blades Brocade FC32-48 port blade provides 48 ports of 32 Gbps Gen 6 Fibre Channel
Extension blades Brocade SX6 Extension Blade provides Fibre Channel extension (16×32 Gbps Fibre Channel ports) and IP extension over IP networks (16×1/10 GbE and 2×40 GbE ports)
Performance Fibre Channel:
  • 4 Gbps line speed, full duplex
  • 8 Gbps line speed, full duplex
  • 10 Gbps line speed, full duplex
  • 16 Gbps line speed, full duplex
  • 32 Gbps line speed, full duplex

Autosensing of 4, 8, 16, and 32 Gbps port speeds depending on SFPs used. Speed matching between 4, 8, 16, and 32 Gbps port speeds. 10 Gbps port speeds with dedicated SFPs.

ISL trunking Frame-based trunking with up to eight 32 Gbps ports per ISL trunk; up to 256 Gbps per ISL trunk.
Exchange-based load balancing across ISLs with DPS included in Brocade FOS
UltraScale ICL trunking Chassis-to-chassis linkage through connectors on the Core Routing (CR) blade
Can configure the following maximum QSFPs per trunk depending on blade type, connecting:
  • Up to four 4×32 Gbps QSFP ports in a trunk group to form a 512 Gbps trunk between two Brocade CR32-4 blades. For trunks containing four or fewer QSFP ports, ports in a trunk must be located in the same port group on each blade.
  • Up to four 4×32 Gbps QSFP ports in a trunk group to form a 512 Gbps trunk between a Brocade CR32-4 and CR32-8 blade. For trunks containing four or fewer QSFP ports, ports in a trunk must be located in the same port group on each blade.

A minimum of two QSFP connections are required for a trunk, and up to four 4×16 Gbps QSFP trunks between pairs of Brocade CR32-8 (CR32-4) and CR16-8 (CR16-4).

Multichassis with UltraScale ICL ports Up to 4,608 non-blocking 32 Gbps Fibre Channel ports; UtraScale ICL ports (32 for 8-slot or 16 per 4-slot chassis, optical QSFP) connect up to nine chassis in a full mesh topology or up to 12 chassis in a core-edge topology.
UltraScale ICL bandwidth Brocade X6-8: 4.096 Tbps; 32 UltraScale ICL ports provide the equivalent of 128 32 Gbps ports.
Each UltraScale ICL port provides 128 Gbps bandwidth over a QSFP (32 Gbps×4) link.
Brocade X6-4: 2.048 Tbps; 16 UltraScale ICL ports provide the equivalent of 64 32 Gbps ports.
Each UltraScale ICL port provides 128 Gbps bandwidth over a QSFP (32 Gbps×4) link.
Both models: Frame-based trunking is enabled between four UltraScale ICLs. DPS distributes exchanges across all frame trunks.
Chassis bandwidth Brocade X6-8: 12.2 Tbps per chassis (384 ports×32 Gbps) data rate + 4.096 Tbps UltraScale ICL bandwidth (32×128 Gbps)
Brocade X6-4: 6.1 Tbps per chassis (192 ports×32 Gbps) data rate + 2.048 Tbps UltraScale ICL bandwidth (16×128 Gbps)
Slot bandwidth 1,536 Gbps (line rate)
Switch latency Brocade FC32-48 blade at Gen 6 32 Gbps speeds: <900 ns (including FEC); any-port-to-any-port local switching and 2.7 μs blade to blade at 32 Gbps, cut-through routing
Brocade SX6 blade, Fibre Channel to Fibre Channel: <900ns (including FEC) and 2.7 μs any-port-toany-port at 32 Gbps, cut-through routing
Maximum frame size 2112-byte payload
Frame buffers 15,000 per switching ASIC
Classes of service Class 2, Class 3, Class F (inter-switch frames)
Fibre Channel port types Brocade FC32-48 port blade: F_Port, E_Port, EX_Port, M_Port, SIM, and D_Port
Brocade SX6 Extension Blade: F_Port, E_Port, and EX_Port on FC, and VE_Port on GbE
NOTE: Self-discovery is based on switch type (U_Port) with an optional port-type control.
Data traffic types Fabric switches supporting unicast, multicast (255 groups), and broadcast
Media types Brocade FC32-48 port blade: Supports hot-pluggable Brocade Fibre Channel SFP+ at 32 Gbps SWL/LWL and SFP+ at 16 Gbps SWL/LWL/ELWL, 10 Gbps SWL/LWL SFP Brocade SX6 Extension Blade: Supports hot-pluggable
Brocade Fibre Channel SFP28 at 32 Gbps SWL/LWL; SFP+ at 16 Gbps SWL/LWL/ELWL; SFP at 10 Gbps FC SWL/LWL and Ethernet SFP+ at 1 GbE copper, 1 GbE 1000BASE-SX/LX/CWDM, SFP+ at 10 GbE SR/LR; SFP+ at 10 GbE tunable DWDM 80 km, and QSFP at 40 GbE SR4/LR4/ER4.
Core Routing (CR) blades, Brocade CR32-4 and CR32-8: Support hot-pluggable Brocade Fibre Channel QSFP at 4×32 Gbps SWL, 4×16 Gbps SWL and 4×16 Gbps 2 km QSFP for ICL connections
USB One USB port per control processor for firmware download, support save, and configuration upload or download
Fabric services Adaptive Networking (Traffic Isolation, QoS); BB credit recovery; Brocade Advanced Zoning (default zoning, port/WWN zoning, peer zoning, target-driven zoning, broadcast zoning); Dynamic Path Selection (DPS); Extended Fabrics; FDMI; FICON CUP; Flow Vision; Frame Redirection; FSPF; IPFC; ISL Trunking; Management Server; Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS); N_Port Trunking; NPIV; NTP v3; Port Fencing; Registered State Change Notification (RSCN); Reliable Commit Service (RCS); Simple Name Server
Extension Supports DWDM, CWDM, and FC-SONET devices; Fibre Channel, in-flight compression (Brocade LZO) and encryption (AES-GCM-256); BB credit recovery; FCIP, IP Extension, Adaptive Rate Limiting (ARL), data compression, Fast Write, read/write Tape Pipelining, QoS
FICON FICON cascading; support for lossless DLS; FICON CUP; Advanced Accelerator for FICON (IBM z/OS Global Mirror and read/write Tape Pipelining)
System Components
Fibre Channel ports Brocade X6-8: Up to 384 32-Gbps ports, universal (E_Port, F_Port, EX_Port, M_Port, D_Port, SIM Port, FICON)
Brocade X6-4: Up to 192 32-Gbps ports, universal (F_Port, E_Port, EX_Port, M_Port, D_Port, SIM Port, FICON)
Classes of service Class 2, Class 3, Class F (inter-switch frames)
ANSI Fibre Channel protocol FC-PH (Fibre Channel Physical and Signaling Interface standard)
Fabric initialization Complies with FC-SW 5.0
Port to port latency Local switching: 900 ns
Blade to blade: 2.7 μs
Switching capacity An aggregate switching capacity of 13.5 billion frames per second (for Class 2, Class 3, and Class F frames for a 384-port chassis)
High Availability
Architecture Non-blocking shared memory; passive backplane; redundant active/passive control processor; redundant active/active core switching blades; redundant WWN cards
Chassis power Brocade X6-8:
  • Four power supplies required for AC Low Line (100 VAC to 120 VAC).
  • Two power supplies required for AC High Line (200 VAC to 240 VAC).
  • Device ships with three PSUs or empty (3 for 2+1 redundancy). Two provide system power, but four must be installed to provide power efficiency and 2+2 redundancy.

Brocade X6-4:

  • Two power supplies required for AC Low Line (100 VAC to 120 VAC).
  • One power supply required for AC High Line (200 VAC to 240 VAC).
  • The device ships with two power supplies. One provides system power, but both must be installed to provide power efficiency and 1+1 redundancy.
Cooling Brocade X6-8:

Requires three fan tray assemblies. A failure condition is one failed fan from any fan tray. Each assembly contains two fans for a total of six. The system requires five of six functioning fans for operation in the Brocade X6-8. One fan tray assembly can be hot-swapped and should be replaced immediately in the event of a failure.

Brocade X6-4:

Requires two fan tray assemblies. A failure condition is one failed fan from any fan tray.
Each assembly contains two fans for a total of four. The system requires three of four functioning fans for operation in the Brocade X6-4. One fan assembly can be hot-swapped and should be replaced immediately in the event of a failure.

Airflow Non-port-side intake to port-side exhaust or port-side intake to non-port-side exhaust options are available.
Solution availability Designed to provide 99.999 percent uptime capabilities; hot-pluggable redundant power supplies, fans, WWN cards, processors, core switching, port blades, and optics; online diagnostics; non-disruptive firmware download and activation
Management
Management HTTP, SNMP v1/v3 (FE MIB, FC Management MIB), SSH; Auditing, Syslog; Brocade Advanced Web Tools, Brocade Network Advisor SAN Enterprise or Brocade Network Advisor SAN Professional Plus; Command Line Interface (CLI); SMI-S compliant; RESTful API; trial licenses for add-on capabilities
Security DH-CHAP (between switches and end devices), FCAP switch authentication, FIPS 140-2 L2- compliant, HTTPS, IPsec, IP filtering, LDAP with IPv6, OpenLDAP, Port Binding, RADIUS, userdefined Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Secure Copy (SCP), Secure RPC, SFTP, SSH v2, SSL, Switch Binding, TACACS+, Trusted Switch
Management access 10/100/1000 Ethernet (RJ-45) per control processor, in-band over Fibre Channel; serial port (RJ-45) and one USB per control processor module; DHCP/DHCPv6; call-home integration enabled through Brocade Network Advisor
Diagnostics IO Insight for IO monitoring; ClearLink optics and cable diagnostics, including electrical/optical loopback, link traffic/latency/distance; built-in flow generator; POST and embedded online/offline diagnostics, including environmental monitoring, FCping and Pathinfo (FC traceroute), flow mirroring, frame viewer, non-disruptive daemon restart, optics health monitoring, power monitoring, RAStrace logging, and Rolling Reboot Detection (RRD)
Mechanical
Enclosure Brocade X6-8 12-blade slots: 14U rack-mountable chassis; 27 in. to 31 in. and 22 in. rail kits for the four-post rack; mid-mount kit for the two-post rack
Brocade X6-4 8-blade slots: 8U rack-mountable chassis; 27 in. to 31 in. rail, 18 in. to 24 in. rail, and airflow diversion rack mount kits for the four-post rack; mid-mount kit for the two-post rack
Mounting Rack-mountable in a standard 19-inch EIA cabinet
Size Brocade X6-8
Height: 61.23 cm (24.11 in., 14U)
Width: 43.74 cm (17.23 in.)
Depth: 61.04 cm (24.04 in.)
Brocade X6-4
Height: 34.45 cm (13.56 in., 8U)
Width: 43.74 cm (17.23 in.)
Depth: 61.04 cm (24.04 in.)
Brocade X6-4 with airflow diversion rack-mount kit
Height: 40.00 cm (15.75 in., 9U)
Width: 43.74 cm (17.23 in.)
Depth: 61.29 cm (24.09 in.)
System weight Brocade X6-8
35.61 kg (78.5 lb) for chassis
145.8 kg (321.5 lb) for 384-port configuration, fully populated
Brocade X6-4
24.5 kg (54 lb) for chassis
68.95 kg (152.0 lb) for 192-port configuration, fully populated
Environment
Temperature Operating: 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)
Non-operating: –25°C to 70°C (–13°F to 158°F)
Humidity Operating humidity: 5% to 93% RH non-condensing at 40°C (104°F) with a maximum gradient of 10% per hour
Non-operating humidity: 10% to 93% RH non-condensing at 70°C (158°F)
Altitude Up to 3,000 meters (9,842 feet)
Shock Operating: 10 g, 11 ms, half sine wave
Non-operating: 20 g, 11 ms, half sine wave
Vibration Operating: 5 Hz to 10 Hz @ +5 db/Oct; 10 Hz to 200 Hz @ 0.0005 Grms; 200 Hz to 500 Hz @ –5 db/Oct; scale 0.05 Grms
Non-operating: 3 Hz to 10 Hz @ +5 db/Oct; 10 Hz to 200 Hz @ 0.0065 Grms; 200 Hz to 500 Hz @ –5db/Oct; scale 1.12 Grms
Heat dissipation Brocade X6-8
384-port configuration: Typical: 8,836 BTU/hr; Max: 14,485 BTU/hr Power consumed: Typical: 2,589 W; Max: 4,244 W
Note: Input power is at 200 VAC with full PSU redundancy
Brocade X6-4
192-port configuration: Typical: 4,696 BTU/hr; Max: 8,139 BTU/hr Power consumed: Typical: 1,376 W; Max: 2,385 W
Note: Input power is at 200 VAC with full PSU redundancy.
Power
Supported power range Input Voltage
Standard AC input:
Range: 85 VAC to 264 VAC Auto-volt
Nominal: 100 VAC to 240 VAC
Power
85 to 132 VAC: 1,450 W
180 to 264 VAC: 2,870 W
In-rush current 35 Amps maximum, peak
Frequency 50 Hz to 60 Hz (Nominal: 50 Hz to 60 Hz)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Brocade provides the industry’s leading family of Storage Area Network (SAN) switches and directors, including the Gen 6 Fibre Channel Brocade X6 Director. This high-performance, highly reliable Fibre Channel director addresses a wide range of business requirements for the most demanding midsize to large enterprise data centers.

This document answers frequently asked questions about the Brocade X6 Director family

What are Brocade X6 Directors?

Brocade X6 Directors are the industry’s most reliable, scalable, and high-performance storage networking infrastructure designed to meet relentless growth, mission-critical application demands, and flash-based storage technology. The Brocade X6 Director with Brocade Fabric Vision technology combines innovative hardware, software, and integrated network sensors to ensure the industry’s highest level of operational stability while redefining application performance. It provides a modular building block for increased scalability to accommodate growth for large-scale enterprise infrastructures.

Integrated Fabric Vision technology enhances visibility into the health of the storage environment, providing administrators with greater control and insight to quickly identify problems and achieve critical Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Breakthrough 32 Gbps performance accelerates application response time by up to 71 percent, eliminating IO bottlenecks, and unleashes the full performance of flash and next-generation Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe)-based storage. And with diverse deployment options, organizations can seamlessly adapt and optimize their businesses to meet next-generation storage requirements.

The Brocade X6 Director family, which includes the eight-slot Brocade X6-8 and four-slot Brocade X6-4, enables organizations to:

  • Enhance operational stability, maximize application performance, and increase business agility with enterprise-class Gen 6 directors
  • Accelerate application response time by up to 71 percent across 32 Gbps links
  • Consolidate infrastructure with high-density solutions built with 128 Gbps Brocade UltraScale ICL connectivity for simpler, flatter, low-latency fabrics
  • Simplify end-to-end management of large-scale environments by automating monitoring and diagnostics
  • Automatically detect degraded application or device performance with IO Insight, the industry’s first integrated network sensors
  • Extend replication over distance with a highly scalable extension solution for Fibre Channel, IP, and FICON
  • Seamlessly integrate next-generation NVMe over Fabrics with Gen 6 Fibre Channel networks without a disruptive rip and replace
  • Mitigate risk with backward compatibility to existing infrastructure while further protecting future investments with Gen 7-ready support

What is Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel?

Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel delivers integrated network sensors, industry-leading 32/128 Gbps performance, and increased business agility to accelerate data access, adapt to evolving requirements, and drive always-on business operations. The Brocade X6 Director with Brocade Fabric Vision technology and IO Insight delivers data center-proven availability, breakthrough performance, and seamless scalability to ensure greater consistency, predictability, and performance.

What distinguishes Brocade X6 Directors from Brocade DCX 8510 Backbones?

The Brocade X6 Director is the most advanced 32 Gbps networking platform in the industry to enable data-intensive, ultra-fast applications and unlock the full capabilities of flash. With its modular chassis design, the Brocade X6 increases business agility with seamless storage connectivity and flexible deployment offerings.

The Brocade X6 Director is available in two modular form factors, 14U and 8U. Built for large enterprise networks, the 14U Brocade X6-8 has eight vertical blade slots to provide up to 384 32 Gbps Fibre Channel device ports and 32 additional 128 Gbps Brocade UltraScale ICL ports. The 8U Brocade X6-4, built for midsize networks, has four horizontal blade slots to provide up to 192 32 Gbps Fibre Channel device ports and 16 additional 128 Gbps UltraScale ICL ports. Each blade slot can be populated with two optional blades.

For device connectivity, the Brocade FC32-48 Fibre Channel device port blade provides 48 32 Gbps Fibre Channel ports. To support disaster recovery and data protection storage solutions over long distances, the Brocade SX6 Extension Blade provides 16 32 Gbps Fibre Channel ports, 16 1/10 GbE ports, and 2 40 GbE ports for Fibre Channel and IP replication traffic. The Brocade X6 family supports 4, 8, 10, 16, and 32 Gbps Fibre Channel; FICON; and 1, 10, and 40 Gbps IP.

The Brocade X6 Director family provides investment protection through three generations of backward-compatibility support for connectivity to 4, 8, and 16 Gbps Fibre Channel products. To further protect future investments, the Brocade X6 supports future Fibre Channel generations as a Gen 7-ready storage networking platform. In addition, the Brocade X6 Director allows for current Gen 6 and future generation switch blade modules to be added within the chassis.

See the table below for a detailed comparison of Brocade X6 Directors and Brocade DCX 8510 Backbones

  Brocade X6-8 Directors with Gen 6 Fibre Channel Brocade DCX 8510-8 with Gen 5 Fibre Channel Brocade X6-4 Directors with Gen 6 Fibre Channel Brocade DCX 8510-4 with Gen 5 Fibre Channel
Total Bandwidth with Brocade UltraScale vs. Standard ICLs 16.2 Tbps 8.2 Tbps 8.1 Tbps 4.1 Tbps
Maximum Total Ports 384 at 32 Gbps 512 at 16 Gbps 192 at 32 Gbps 256 at 16 Gbps
Slot Bandwidth 1.5 Tbps 512 Gbps 1.5 Tbps 512 Gbps
Maximum Chassis Connected via UltraScale ICLs 10 core-edge
9 active-active mesh
10 core-edge
9 active-active mesh
6 core-edge
5 active-active mesh
6 core-edge
5 active-active mesh
UltraScale ICL Ports 32 at 128 Gbps 32 at 64 Gbps 32 at 128 Gbps 16 at 64 Gbps
UltraScale ICL Bandwidth 4.096 Tbps 2 Tbps 2.048 Tbps 1 Tbps
UltraScale ICL Cables Up to 100 m optical at 4×32 Gbps speeds
Up to 2 km at 16 Gbps speeds
Up to 2 km optical Up to 100 m optical at 32 Gbps speeds
Up to 2 km at 16 Gbps speeds
Up to 2 km optical
Energy Efficiency 0.26 watts/Gbps 0.3 watts/Gbps 0.26 watts/Gbps 0.3 watts/Gbps
IO Insight Yes N/A Yes N/A
ClearLink Diagnostic Ports (D_Ports) Yes Yes Yes Yes
In-flight Compression Yes Yes Yes Yes
10 Gbps Native Fibre Channe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forward Error Correction (FEC) Yes Yes Yes Yes
ASIC-Enabled Buffer Credit Loss Detection and Automatic Recovery at Virtual Channel Level Yes Yes Yes Yes

The Future of Fibre Channel Technology

Is Fibre Channel still the best infrastructure for data center storage?

Yes. Fibre Channel remains the de facto standard in networking infrastructure for mission-critical storage in the data center.

Digital transformation is pushing mission-critical storage environments to the limit, with users expecting data to be accessible from anywhere, at any time, on any device. Faced with exponential data growth, the network must evolve to enable businesses to thrive in this new era. To meet these dynamic and growing business demands, organizations need to deploy infrastructure that can deliver greater consistency, predictability, and performance. Legacy infrastructure, however, was not designed to support the performance requirements of evolving workloads and flash-based storage technology.

Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel delivers integrated network sensors, industry-leading performance and increased business agility to accelerate data access, adapt to evolving requirements, and drive always-on business operations. The Brocade X6 Director with Brocade Fabric Vision and IO Insight technology delivers data center-proven availability, breakthrough performance, and seamless scalability to ensure greater consistency, predictability, and performance.

Will the Brocade X6 Director seamlessly support Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe)?

To realize the full benefits of flash, organizations will need to transition their high-performance, latency-sensitive workloads to flashbased storage with NVMe. The simplicity and efficiency of NVMe over Fibre Channel enable significant performance gains for flash storage. Moreover, NVMe over Fabrics enables users to achieve faster application response times and harness the performance of hundreds of solid state drives for better scalability across virtual data centers with flash.

Organizations can seamlessly integrate Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel networks with next-generation NVMe over Fabrics without a disruptive rip and replace. Leveraging the efficiency of NVMe over Fibre Channel, combined with the high performance and low latency of Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel, organizations can accelerate IOPS to deliver the performance, application response time, and scalability needed for next-generation data centers.

What value does 32 Gbps port speed provide when I currently have sufficient bandwidth at 8/16 Gbps?

Legacy infrastructure was not designed to support today’s dynamic and growing business demands and requirements for evolving workloads and flash-based storage technology. An aging network will impede the performance of an all-flash data center.

Gen 6 Fibre Channel solutions with unmatched 32/128 Gbps performance are ideally designed to enable these applications and unlock the full capabilities of flash. However, the true value of Gen 6 Fibre Channel extends beyond performance and higher throughput. Higher reliability and innovative integrated technologies—such as IO Insight, Virtual Machine ID (VMID), Brocade InterChassis Links (ICL connectivity), and Fabric Vision technology—dramatically simplify end-to-end management of large-scale environments and drive down operational costs.

Gen 6 Fibre Channel with Fabric Vision technology delivers powerful monitoring, management, and diagnostic tools to improve operational stability and dramatically reduce costs. Fabric Vision technology now includes IO Insight, which provides organizations with deeper visibility into the performance of their environments. This enhanced visibility enables organizations to easily identify degraded application performance at the host and storage tiers. As a result, administrators can quickly identify issues, avoid problems, and meet SLA objectives.

Feature Gen 5 Fibre Channel Gen 6 Fibre Channel
Flow-level monitoring for storage SLAs Frame level Device and application level
Automatically detect degraded application performance with IO Insight through integrated network sensors Not available Available
Visibility and metrics to tune device performance Not available Available
Gen 7-ready storage networking infrastructure Not available Available
Non-oversubscribed backplane for 48 line-rate ports Not available Available
VM or device connectivity scale Accommodates high-density VM deployments 2x scale capability of Gen 5 VM deployments
Deployment flexibility: Dual direction airflow Not available Available
Higher supportability, RAS features Available Enhanced
IP and Fibre Channel extension for flexible storage DR/BC requirements Appliance-based Modular platform-integrated
In-flight compression Supported 3x the Gen 5 bandwidth
Forward Error Correction (FEC) Available More robust and flexible
Maximum port speed Up to 16 Gbps Up to 128 Gbps
More buffers per switching ASIC 8K 15K

What is IO Insight?

IO Insight proactively monitors IO performance and behavior through integrated network sensors to gain deep insight into problems and ensure service levels. This capability non-disruptively and non-intrusively gathers IO statistics from any device port, which feeds a monitoring policy that measures thresholds and generates alerts. Integrated application- and device-level IO latency and IOPS monitoring provides the ability to baseline application performance and detect degraded performance. Integrated network sensors provide IO performance management that is designed to avoid dependence on invasive and disruptive physical taps.

What Brocade Global Services offerings are available for Brocade X6 Directors?

Brocade offers assessment, design, implementation, and Brocade Resident Consultant services as well as Brocade Technical Support for the Brocade X6 Director.

What is Brocade Fabric Vision technology?

Brocade Fabric Vision technology is an advanced hardware and software solution that combines capabilities from Brocade Fibre Channel ASIC, Brocade Fabric OS (FOS), and Brocade Network Advisor to help administrators address problems before they impact operations, accelerate new application deployments, and dramatically reduce operational costs.

Fabric Vision technology provides unprecedented visibility and insight across the storage network through innovative diagnostic, monitoring, and management technology.

What Fabric Vision technology capabilities are supported in Brocade 8 Gbps, Gen 5, and Gen 6 platforms?

Some Fabric Vision technology features are supported on Brocade 8 Gbps platforms; others are available only on Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel platforms. The chart below shows the various Fabric Vision technology features supported on each generation of products.

Feature 8 Gbps Platforms Gen 5 Platforms Gen 6 Platforms
Forward Error Correction (FEC) No Yes Yes
VC-level BB_Credit Recovery No Yes Yes
Brocade ClearLink Diagnostics (D_Port) No Yes Yes
MAPS Yes Yes Yes
Fabric Performance Impact (FPI) Monitoring Yes Yes Yes
Flow Learning No Yes Yes
Flow Monitor Yes, with some limitations Yes Yes
Flow Mirroring No Yes Yes
Flow Generator No Yes Yes
COMPASS Yes Yes Yes
IO Insight No No Yes

What are the advantages of Brocade Fabric Vision technology?

Brocade Fabric Vision technology provides a breakthrough hardware and software solution that helps simplify monitoring, maximize network availability, and dramatically reduce costs. Featuring innovative monitoring, management, and diagnostic capabilities, Fabric Vision technology enables administrators to avoid problems before they impact operations, helping their organizations meet SLAs.

What value do Brocade UltraScale Inter-Chassis Links (ICLs) provide for the Brocade X6?

Both Gen 5 backbones and Gen 6 directors provide up to 32 QSFP ports on the 8-slot chassis and up to 16 QSFP ports on the 4-slot chassis to help preserve switch ports for end devices. Each QSFP port actually has four independent 16/32 Gbps links, providing a total of 64/128 Gbps of bandwidth.

Gen 6 UltraScale ICL technology provides a high-density solution that doubles the bandwidth with 128 Gbps connectivity to enable flatter, faster, and simpler fabrics that increase consolidation while reducing network complexity and costs.

The Gen 6 UltraScale ICL connectivity ports support standard optical cables up to 100 meters at Gen 6 (4×32 Gbps) speed and 2 km at Gen 5 (4×16 Gbps) speed for longer distances. Gen 6 UltraScale ICLs are backward-compatible and can connect to Gen 5 ICL ports, enabling organizations to maximize their investments. UltraScale ICLs enable connections of up to 12 chassis in a coreedge, and up to nine chassis in an active-active mesh topology. These high-density chassis topologies reduce inter-switch cabling by 75 percent and free up to 33 percent of ports for servers and storage. This maximizes overall port density within the smallest amount of rack space while freeing up front-facing device ports for server and storage connectivity.

What UltraScale Inter-Chassis Link (ICL) kits are required to enable these ports on the Brocade X6?

The Brocade X6 Director requires two ICL kits to enable the full capacity of chassis. To license all ports on the Brocade X6-8, two Brocade X6-8 ICL kits are required; to license all ports on the Brocade X6-4, two Brocade X6-4 ICL kits are required.

  Number of Optics in the Kit Description
Brocade X6-8 Gen 5 ICL Kit 16 Kit includes 1×ICL PoD license + 16 4×16 Gbps 100 m QSFP; PoD license enables 8 QSFP ports per CR blade (16 QSFP ports for chassis); no cables; required for ICL connectivity to Gen 5 chassis
Brocade X6-8 Gen 5 ICL Kit 2 km 8 1×ICL PoD license + 8 2 km 4×16 Gbps QSFPs; PoD license enables 8 QSFP ports per CR blade (16 QSFP ports for chassis); no cables; required for ICL connectivity to Gen 5 chassis
Brocade X6-8 ICL Kit 100 m 16 1×ICL PoD license + 16×4×32 Gbps SWL QSFPs; PoD license enables 8 QSFP ports per CR blade (16 QSFP ports for chassis); no cables
Brocade X6-4 Gen 5 ICL Kit 8 1×ICL PoD license + 8 4×16 Gbps 100 m QSFP; PoD license enables 4 QSFP ports per CR blade (8 QSFP ports for chassis); no cables; required for ICL connectivity to Gen 5 chassis
Brocade X6-4 Gen 5 ICL Kit 2 km 8 1×ICL PoD license + 8 2 km 4×16 Gbps QSFPs; PoD license enables 4 QSFP ports per CR blade (8 QSFP ports for chassis); no cables; required for ICL connectivity to Gen 5 chassis
Brocade X6-4 ICL Kit 100 m 8 1×ICL PoD license + 8×4×32 Gbps SWL QSFPs; PoD license enables 4 QSFP ports per CR blade (8 QSFP ports for chassis); no cables

What is the throughput of the UltraScale ICL connections? What happens if an UltraScale ICL connection fails?

Each UltraScale ICL port provides 128 Gbps of bandwidth over a QSFP (4×32 Gbps) link. A minimum of four ports (two from each core switching blade) are required to connect chassis together.

The Brocade X6-8 has a total of 32 UltraScale ICL ports (16 per Brocade CR16-8 core switching blade) that deliver 4.1 Tbps of bandwidth. This is equivalent to 128 32 Gbps ISLs. The Brocade X6-4 has a total of 16 UltraScale ICL ports (eight per Brocade CR16-4 core switching blade) that deliver 2 Tbps of bandwidth. This is equivalent to 64 32 Gbps ISLs.

Frame-based trunking is enabled between up to four UltraScale ICLs. Brocade Dynamic Path Selection (DPS) balances exchanges across all ICL connections using a hash of the SID, DID, RxPort, and OxID. If an UltraScale ICL connection fails, all traffic will travel over remaining active links.

Can UltraScale ICLs and ISLs be used together to connect chassis?

Simultaneous ICL and ISL connectivity between two Brocade X6 chassis is not supported.

What kinds of cables are used with the 4×32 GFC 100 m QSFP+ for UltraScale ICLs?

Brocade X6 UltraScale ICL cables connect UltraScale ICL ports over OM3 or OM4 optical cables up to 100 meters in the following manner:

  • Brocade X6 4×32 GFC 100 m QSFPs require MPO 1×12 OM3 ribbon cable connectors and multimode ribbon fiber cable, limited to 100 meters.
  • Although the connector has 12 lanes in a row, the 4×32 GFC QSFP uses only the outer eight lanes (four from each end). The central four lanes are not used.
  • Plug orientation does not matter because the plug is polarized—it takes care of itself, just like RJ-45. Specifically, it is female-female and key-up to key-up orientation.

Cables are available from:

Vendor 1 m
(OM3 part number)
10 m
(OM3 part number)
50 m
(OM3 part number)
50 m
(OM4 part number)
100 m
(OM4 part number)
Molex 106283-1005 106283-1015 106283-1050 N/A N/A
Wave2Wave 50-4120P-1M 50-4120P-10M 50-4120P-50M 50-9120P-50M 50-9120P-100M
CWI Trading N/A N/A N/A QSFP-PFPF-4R-50M QSFP-PFPF-4R- 100M

For more information, visit www.molex.com, http://www.wave-2-wave.com/.

What types of QSFPs are used with the new 4×32 GFC 100 m QSFP+ for UltraScale ICLs?

Brocade-branded 4×16 Gbps (100 m and 2 km) and 4×32 Gbps (100 m) are supported. 4×16 Gbps QSFPs are required on the Brocade X6 for connectivity to Brocade DCX 8510 ICL ports.

What are integrated metro and geo connectivity?

Brocade X6 Directors also support integrated storage extension over native Fibre Channel (metro connections up to 100 km) or over Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) (geo connections beyond 100 km) on all ports. Native Fibre Channel connections now include in-flight compression as well as optional support for 10 Gbps Fibre Channel over DWDM and dark fiber.

With the Brocade SX6 Extension Blade, the Brocade X6 Director provides integrated metro and global connectivity with a purposebuilt data center extension solution for Fibre Channel and IP storage environments. This solution delivers unprecedented performance, strong security, continuous availability, and simplified management to handle the unrelenting transfer of data between data centers and to maintain SLAs.

The Brocade X6 Director can scale up to four Brocade SX6 blades per chassis. Each Brocade SX6 Extension Blade provides 16 32 Gbps Fibre Channel/FICON ports, 16 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, and 2 40 GbE ports to deliver the high bandwidth, port density, and throughput required for maximum application performance over WAN connections, and to address the most demanding disaster recovery requirements.

What are the benefits of in-flight compression over ISLs?

In-flight compression optimizes network performance within the data center and over long-distance links. Data is compressed at the source and uncompressed at the destination. Performance varies by data type, but Brocade uses an efficient algorithm to generally achieve 2:1 compression with minimal impact on performance. In-flight compression is only available on Gen 6 Fibre Channel port blades.

How does the Gen 6 ASIC compare to previous generations?

The Gen 6 ASIC is the industry’s most powerful and efficient Fibre Channel switching technology. In addition to Gen 6 Fibre Channel 32 Gbps speed and 128 Gbps speed, it includes more bandwidth (2 Tbps), faster IO performance (566 million frames switched per second), 33 percent more density (allowing the Brocade X6 to gain three times more slot bandwidth than Gen 5), and more functionality that includes Fabric Vision, IO Insight, ClearLink Diagnostics, in-flight compression, and Forward Error Correction (FEC).

What power management features are included?

Brocade X6 port blades and Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel switches (Brocade G620 Switches) support real-time power measurement, providing insight into power consumption in the fabric.

Brocade X6 Director Hardware

What 8 Gbps or 16 Gbps Brocade DCX and DCX 8510 blades are compatible with Brocade X6 chassis?

The Brocade X6 will not support any of the existing 8 Gbps or 16 Gbps blades; however, the Gen 6 Brocade FC32-48 blade does support 4, 8, and 16, Gbps connectivity.

Can Brocade FC16-32, FC16-48, and FC16-64 16 Gbps blades be upgraded to 32 Gbps blades?

No. Brocade FC16-32, FC16-48, and FC16-64 blades are not upgradable to 32 Gbps functionality.

What blades are available for the Brocade X6 Directors and Brocade DCX 8510 Backbones?

The following table lists the blades supported by each.

Brocade Blade Brocade X6-8 Brocade X6-4 Brocade DCX 8510-8 Brocade DCX 8510-4
FC32-48 N/A N/A
FC16-32 N/A N/A
FC16-48 N/A N/A
FC16-64 N/A N/A
FC8-32E N/A N/A
FC8-48E N/A N/A
FC8-64 N/A N/A
SX6 N/A N/A
FCOE10-24 N/A N/A
FX8-24 N/A N/A
Brocade DCX 8510 Control Processor N/A N/A
Brocade X6 Control Processor N/A N/A
Core Switching Brocade CRX-8 Brocade CRX-4 Brocade CR16-8 Brocade CR16-4

How many Brocade SX6 Extension Blades can be utilized per Brocade X6 chassis?

Up to four Brocade SX6 blades per chassis are currently supported.

How is chassis bandwidth calculated for Brocade X6 Directors?

With all 384 (Brocade X6-8) or 192 (Brocade X6-4) ports running at full 32 Gbps speed (data rate) and with all traffic traveling over the backplane (utilizing slot bandwidth), there will be no oversubscription or 1:1 for either model. Brocade X6 Directors also support local switching—with ingress/egress traffic on the same blade—which yields no oversubscription as well.

ICL bandwidth adds an additional 4.1 Tbps (Brocade X6-8) and 2.1 Tbps (Brocade X6-4). The combination of port and ICL bandwidth yields the total chassis bandwidth of 16.2 Tbps (Brocade X6-8) or 8.1 Tbps (Brocade X6-4).

Are Brocade Small Form-Factor Pluggable plus (SFP+) optics required for the Gen 6 Fibre Channel Brocade X6 Director or switches?

Yes. Brocade X6 Directors and Brocade G620 Switches require Brocade-branded SFP+ optics.

Why do Brocade X6 Directors require Brocade SFP+ optics?

Brocade SFP+ optics have advanced features, such as Brocade ClearLink Diagnostics, that help ensure optical and signal integrity for Gen 5 and Gen 6 Fibre Channel optics and cables, simplifying the deployment and support of high-performance fabrics.

In addition, using Brocade optics provides quality control that in turn avoids application downtime. The greater the port speed— especially 32 Gbps—the less tolerance that directors and switches have for out-of-spec wavelengths that lead to port failure and application interruption.

Are supported cable distances affected by 32 Gbps?

Yes. Supported distances are reduced as Fibre Channel speed increases. See the table below.

Transceiver Type Form Factor Speed Multi-Mode Max Distance Single-Mode Max Distance
      OM1 OM2 OM3 OM4 9 μm
SWL SFP+ 32 Gbps - - 70 m 100 m Not applicable
SFP+ 16 Gbps 15 m 35 m 100 m 125 m
SFP+ 10 Gbps 33 m 82 m 300 m 550 m
SFP+ 8 Gbps 21 m 50 m 150 m 190 m
LWL SFP+ 32 Gbps Not applicable 10 km
SFP+ 16 Gbps 10 km
SFP+ 10 Gbps 10 km
SFP+ 8 Gbps 10 km
ELWL SFP+ 32 Gbps Not applicable 10 km
SFP+ 16 Gbps 10 km, 25 km
SFP+ 8 Gbps 25 km

What cable management solutions are available for Brocade X6 Directors?

Brocade X6 Directors include horizontal (Brocade X6-8) and vertical (Brocade X6-4) cable combs for basic cable management. Brocade cable management and patch panel partners offer structured cable management solutions using patch panels for existing (1U LC patch panel) and high-density (1U MPO patch panel) solutions.

Which components are common between the Brocade X6-8 and Brocade X6-4 models? Which are different?

Both the Brocade X6-8 and Brocade X6-4 models utilize the same Gen 6 Fibre Channel SFP+ (32 Gbps and 128 Gbps SFP+), Brocade FC32-48 (32 Gbps 48-port) port blade, and Brocade SX6 Extension Blade (for FCIP). They also use the same Control Processor (CPX) blade, power supply, fan, WWN cards, and Brocade UltraScale ICL cables and optics. Besides the chassis, the only components that differ between the Brocade X6-8 and Brocade X6-4 models are the core switching blades (Brocade CR32-8 and CR32-4).

Will Brocade X6 Directors work with existing firmware versions in current fabrics?

Brocade X6 models require Brocade FOS 8.0.1 or greater. Brocade X6 models are compatible with all 8 Gbps platforms running Brocade FOS 7.3.1 or later connectivity. Any 4 Gbps legacy devices running prior versions of Brocade FOS are supported only through Fibre Channel routing. For complete support information, please refer to the respective Brocade FOS release notes.

The Brocade X6-8 model accommodates four power supplies. Why does it ship with three? Do both the Brocade X6-8 and Brocade X6-4 support 240 VAC and 110 VAC power supplies?

Three 240 VAC power supplies come standard with the Brocade X6-8 model for a 2+1 configuration for redundancy. All are active, but if one fails, the others will provide enough power to maintain the entire chassis. Four total power bays are available for higher (power) availability, and four must be installed to provide the greatest power efficiency and a 2+2 redundant configuration. The Brocade X6-8 also supports using 110 VAC power input in place of the 240 VAC power input.

The Brocade X6-4 has two power supply bays and ships fully populated. Both are active/active, but if one fails, the other will provide power for the entire chassis. The 110 VAC power input can also be used to provide power, but with some restrictions. Please refer to the Brocade X6 Director hardware installation guide for additional information.

The Brocade DCX 8510-8 model accommodates four power supplies. Why does it ship with two? Do both the Brocade DCX 8510-8 and Brocade DCX 8510-4 support 110 VAC power supplies?

Two 240 VAC power supplies come standard with the Brocade DCX 8510-8 model. Both are active/active, but if one fails, the other will provide power for the entire chassis. Two additional bays are available for higher (power) availability, or to meet increased power needs for particular blade options. The Brocade DCX 8510-8 also supports using 110 VAC power supplies in place of the two 240 VAC supplies, but with some restrictions.

The Brocade DCX 8510-4 has two power supply bays and ships with 240 VAC power supplies. Both are active/active, but if one fails, the other will provide power for the entire chassis. The 110 VAC power supplies can also be used to provide 1000 W redundant power, but with some restrictions.

Brocade X6 Software

What advance software is bundled with the Brocade X6-8 and X6-4?

The Brocade X6-8 and X6-4 models both ship standard with the Enterprise bundle, which includes Brocade Fabric Vision technology, Brocade Extended Fabric, Brocade Trunking, and CUP.

What optional software licenses are available for Brocade X6 Directors?

There are no optional licenses. All value-add software is included within the Brocade X6 Director, including integrated 10 Gbps Fibre Channel extension and the enterprise ICL license.

What key storage networking management capabilities does Brocade Network Advisor provide?

Brocade Network Advisor provides comprehensive management of data center SAN fabrics, including configuration, monitoring, diagnostics, best-practices validation, and management of Brocade X6 Directors and Brocade Gen 6 switches. Brocade Network Advisor 14.0.1 provides support for all Brocade Fabric Vision technology, such as Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS), Flow Vision, Configuration and Operational Monitoring Policy Automation Services Suite (COMPASS), and IO Insight. Brocade Network Advisor also provides out-of-the-box support for leading data center management solutions from IBM, HP, and EMC, as well as seamless support for leading hypervisors from VMware and Microsoft. Furthermore, Brocade Network Advisor features a REST API and SMI-S interface for integrating capabilities into partner and customer management applications.

Brocade Network Advisor provides organizations with a programmable, Web-based interface through a standard REST API to reduce operational tasks by automating zoning, scripting, and reporting. To further simplify management tasks, administrators can quickly search through events, historical data, and base inventory, and apply filters. In addition, a standard REST API leverages Brocade Fabric Vision technology to gain fabric-wide health and performance visibility via easy-to-read dashboards.

Documentation:

Download the Brocade X6 Directors Datasheet (PDF).

Pricing Notes:

Brocade Products
X6 Director Backbones
Brocade X6-4 Director Backbone
Four Vertical Blade Slots to Provide up to 256-port equivalent with 16 UltraScale ICL ports, 8U Rackmount
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