Brocade is announcing a new data center router, the SLX 9850. The 10/40/100Gbps router, which uses the Broadcom Jericho chipset, includes a new operating system and a modular design that lets customers add capacity over time by slotting blades into the chassis.
The router also introduces SLX Insight Architecture, a new feature that lets engineers and administrators capture device state, and perform modest traffic analysis directly on the router itself using third-party software.
Brocade has developed a new, virtualized operating system for the SLX 9850. The router includes x86 CPUs with VMs to run system-level software, as well as VMs on individual interface modules that control forwarding operations.
In addition, a separate VM is available that lets customers install monitoring or analysis software directly on the router to take advantage of SLX Insight.
Brocade says it has no plans to port the new OS to its existing MLX routers. Maintaining two different OSs isn’t ideal for operations teams, but Brocade is encouraging customers to use its Workflow Composer — an automation platform for provisioning, monitoring, and troubleshooting network gear — as a sort of integration layer for the MLX and SLX lines.
SLX Insight Architecture is a feature built into every SLX router. It captures state information about the router itself, but can also be used for local packet capture and analysis. A standalone KVM-based VM is available to run monitoring and troubleshooting applications, both from Brocade and third parties, on the router.
For instance, a customer might load packet decoder software on the router to assist with troubleshooting. To ensure that this Insight function doesn’t affect traffic forwarding, the router is built with a dedicated, internal 10Gbps Ethernet path to send captured packets to the virtual machine. It also includes 256Gbytes of internal storage.
There’s also a dedicated 10Gig services port so that data on the guest VM can be shipped off the router to a standalone monitoring, analysis, or archiving product.
Brocade notes that this SLX Insight feature isn’t intended to function as a full packet capture system. “We see it as complimentary to full packet capture,” said Daniel Williams, principal director for data center routing, in an interview. “But you can use this Insight Architecture to do some initial processing or for a specific use case.”
“You can set it up to monitor a specific user or application or device or type of service, and capture traffic and send it off somewhere,” said Williams.
By The Numbers
Brocade says the router has the following specs:
- Up to 230Tbps of non-blocking chassis fabric
- 4-slot and 8-slot options
- The ability to support 10, 40, and 100GigE ports in various configurations
- IPv4, IPv6, MPLS support
- REST and NetCONF support
- Supports up to 4 million routes, 2 million policies
The router will be generally available in the fourth quarter of 2016. Pricing starts at around $4,000 per 100GigE port.