Brocade [NASDAQ:BRCD]: The New IP Revolution

Llyod Carney, CEO At casual glance, the enthralling city of Bristol nested in the hills of South West England would entice any average traveler, dotted by the picturesque AvonRiver, coursing through the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. But very rarely, a lucky onlooker might spot a rugged off-road driverless vehicle speeding past, or notice interactive street lamps entertaining pedestrians by casting pre-recorded shadow imagery. Autonomous cars and other smart city elements may have long since breached the lines separating hypothesis and corporeality, but they are still very much confined to blueprints and abstractions. Not to mention, the ambitious spread of online components that makes a city ‘smarter’ is exceeding the bandwidth of conventional networking infrastructure, resulting in an IP explosion.

Despite these conundrums, Bristol—once a city known for its rich medieval history—has now become the breeding grounds for an experimental project, ‘Bristol is Open’. At its core, the city’s entirety is powered by the networking behemoth, Brocade Communications Systems [NASDAQ: BRCD], which has made the seemingly arduous task of providing a vendor-or protocol-agnostic network, not only feasible, but with flamboyant results.

Founded in August 1995, Brocade was conceived with the expertise of co-founders from fibre-channel networking and network file server system backgrounds. Across the globe, Brocade has been helping organizations realize their mission critical business objectives by providing networking solutions purpose-built for consolidation, virtualization, and cloud computing. Brocade addresses the enterprise needs of storage networking, campus networking, data center and ethernet fabric routing, and the more recent realms of software-defined networking.

New IP: Ground-Up Upgrade

If data explosion is a visible predicament of the ever-increasing digitization, then IP explosion is its underlying equivalent in the networking context. With more smartphones, wearables, computers, and other devices popping up online every second, the existing IP capabilities are running out of steam to accommodate the devices. Amidst the cyberspace logjam, software-defined networking (SDN) has emerged the clear winner to reinforce the digital labyrinth. Poised at the helm of unleashing the power of New IP, a software-defined networking paradigm, Brocade’s solutions help organizations design the ideal network: fast, cost-effective, and reliable. Lloyd Carney, CEO, Brocade recently stated that telecoms are gradually climbing aboard the software-based networking club—a field of study that is Brocade’s strong suit.

The time for digital transformation is now, we need network innovation for better efficiency and security

The infrastructure is designed for agile response and open to the developments of vendors and technical communities. “We are connected to every major storage vendor in the world, so we see what is going on,” beams Carney.

Brocade has been making heavy investments in software networking strategies to design, develop and mass-produce open, vendor-agnostic platforms for SDN and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technologies. The Brocade New IP framework envelopes underlay and overlay infrastructures. The network underlay comprises of the physical, wired infrastructure and associated software that forwards IP packets from one endpoint to another. Brocade VCS fabric technology from Brocade that addresses the network underlay functionalities for data centers, allows organizations to create efficient data centers.

On the other hand, network overlay is the software-enabled logical structure that decouples the physical wired network. Brocade’s network overlay encompasses a comprehensive virtual services platform that includes products for routing, load balancing, application delivery, and visibility and analytics. For instance, the Brocade vRouter is an ultra-high performing and scalable virtual router, which offers hardware-like routing performance in a software-based network appliance. vRouter provisions an enterprise with powerful IPv4 and IPv6 firewall capabilities and ensures protected network access for remote users through embedded SSL-based authentication. Debunking myth, these high-end species of technology require no additional hardware and are easily deployable on existing servers, to get the system “up and running” within seconds.

Brocade for Network Administration

In an effort to streamline backend operations, Brocade offers networking controllers and applications, custom built for software-defined architectures that enable programmable network control. Promising simplified operations, the controllers assure real-time data center visibility, increased flexibility, and risk-free change management. The platform independent Brocade SDN Controller has an open source, carrier-class architecture that is duly tested, documented, and quality assured. Client organizations can also reap the benefits of global 24x7 support, developer training, and certification.

On the application front, Brocade’s line-up of Application Delivery Controllers (vADC) serve the most crucial part of an organization’s IT framework—applications. Highly scalable, vADC offers fast and reliable application delivery across virtual and cloud platforms alike. Of particular concern, the Brocade Virtual Traffic Manager vTM enables organizations to inspect network traffic in real-time, control service levels to differentiate users and services, thereby enhancing end-user experience.
It acts as a load-balancer that dynamically distributes application requests and responses at times of busy network traffic.

Brocade’s ‘Virtual Application Firewall’ solution addresses the rising security needs, by enforcing stringent policies to avert disaster-provoking network incidents. A scalable security platform for business applications, the firewall helps network administrators set business rules to online traffic, and screen for attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).

With automation being the new buzzword, and enterprises leaning on to simplify their operations and process chains, Brocade opens to door to network automation through its Workflow Composer, a platform that enables cross-domain workflows. The indigenously developed platform cohesively binds the territories of the siloed, primary functions of an enterprise infrastructure, namely network, compute, storage, and applications, for an optimized service delivery. Workflow Composer is a highly flexible solution that provides turnkey, customizable, network workflow automation for network lifecycle management and integration with processes from other IT domains.

"We are connected to every major storage vendor in the world, so we see what is going on"

With a sprawling customer base across geographical boundaries and industry verticals, Brocade has had a string of customer success stories, from casinos to government projects. The Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco stands a true testament to the fact that ‘networking is everything’. Home to the iconic San Francisco 49ers football team, Levi’s was once known as Candlestick Park, with a major renovation in the year 2010 giving it, its current stature. Ethan Casson, CRO, San Francisco 49ers wanted the stadium to become a “technology showcase.” For Levi’s, busy game days meant 70,000 fans packing the stands, national broadcast networks, along with 4,000 employees managing varied tasks from concessions to ticketing, and security monitoring, all of which rely heavily on a sound fail-proof backbone network. Brocade’s elaborate networking solutions were game-changers for Levi’s management and more importantly, the avid fans. With the stadium’s app, fans were able to enter the park with e-tickets, order and have food and beverages delivered to their seats, and watch multiple-angle instant replays on their smartphones, thanks to Brocade.

Networking for the Common Man

The ‘smart’ gung-ho has left no stone unturned, and we are surrounded by an environment, perennially underpinned by smartphones, smart appliances, smart city, smart grid, and other ‘smart’ paraphernalia. It is high time that these disparate elements be fastened by tenacious scaffolding—in this case, a powerful network.

“The time for digital transformation is now, we need network innovation for better efficiency and security,” says Carney. And sure enough, Brocade’s vested interest in software-defined networking is already creating waves in the digital world, with major leaders in the domain, following Brocade’s hot trails, in building a connected ecosystem.


San Jose, CA

Llyod Carney, CEO

A provider of networking solutions that help organizations around the globe achieve their most critical business objectives