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Dell EMC World 2017, Monday May 8, 2017, Blog 1: Extension (IPEX & FCIP)

By mdetrick posted 05-08-2017 06:28 AM


Monday May 8, 2017, Blog 1: Extension (IPEX & FCIP)


Vegas Baby! The first Dell EMC World, live’n and love’n it! It’s Monday morning and we’re already in the thick of it. Today’s topic – Extension, you know… formerly “SAN Extension”. We're doing more than just FCIP now. The industry’s flagship products are the EMC’s MP-7840B and the SX6 Extension Blade for the ED-DCX6 in either the 4 or 8 slot Directors (see products below). I will be doing my Extension breakout session on Tuesday at 3:00 PM. Be there!


You say flagship, really?  How’s that?  Let’s look at what’s new and unique…


Brocade 7840 Extension Switch

EMC MP-7840B Extension Switch


Brocade SX6 Extension Blade

EMC SX6 Extension Blade


IPEX (IP Extension)

IPEX is unique to Brocade. It is not an appliance; it’s purpose built HW. It is an ultrahigh-speed device optimizing IP storage flows between data centers. IPEX is more than just the optimization of throughput, it’s also optimizing operations, visibility, diagnostics, security and availability of replication flows across the WAN. IPEX greatly improves the transport of replication for products like: Isilon SyncIQ, DLm, RecoverPoint, SRDF RE Ports, Data Domain, VNX Data Mover….  We’ve had remarkable success solving frustrating customer problems stemming from: WAN latency, congested oversubscribed links, security compliance/privacy issues, and the inability to visualize IP storage flows across the WAN. One such customer expanded their IPEX deployment to be worldwide because it enabled “practical” from the “impractical”.  Solved with Brocade IPEX!



Nobody beats the EMC MP-7840B Extension Switch or the SX6 Extension Blade in performance! Not only has Brocade developed an extremely fast and agressive heavy-duty transport called WAN Optimized TCP, Brocade’s High Efficiency Encapsulation pushes performance to the max. High Efficiency Encapsulation is unique to Brocade and is a clever method of performing extremely efficient encapsulation. Additionally, High Efficiency Encapsulation facilitates IPEX’s any MTU in (LAN side) to any MTU out (WAN side) conversions. If your data center still has a 1500 byte MTU and your WAN is now 9K byte jumbo frames – no problem, Brocade has you covered. Data will be packaged into full size 9K jumbos for efficiency. Maybe, your data center is already 9K jumbos, but your WAN is still 1500? Again – no problem, Brocade makes it happen!


Vision (Monitoring, Alerting, Reporting, Diagnostics)

If you can’t see, how can you drive! Well, maybe Al Pacino in a “Scent of a Woman”.  Nonetheless, you cannot and should not drive your storage operations blindfolded, which is exactly what you’re doing without proper monitoring, alerting and reporting. It’s so frustrating when things are not working as expected and you just can’t pinpoint the problem. Brocade gives you total visibility and automation to remedy fabric problems.


Flow Vision Extension Tunnels


Have you heard of Brocade MAPS (Monitoring Alerting Policy Suite)? Just turn it on, and you will instantly have years of experience accumulated by thousands of Brocade customers running in the background of your FabricOS. Monitoring all fabric aspects. Upon an anomaly, some combination of actions is performed (RAS log, email, decommission a port, SLA a circuit...).


Additionally, there is Flow Vision for Extension. You can see the individual flows within FCIP and IPEX*, both traverse the same WAN tunnel. Yes, you can see your IP storage flows from SyncIQ, RPA, DLm, SRDF and Data Domain without having to bother the network guys. You'll be keeping a graphical history of what’s your “normal” for at least the past few months, and if operations go sideways you’ll see a change. Now, you have documentation before requesting help from the network guys. Who agrees with this statement… “The network guys are always open to owning their network problems.”?


*Flow Vision for IPEX will be released later in CY2017.


Strongest Security

The MP-7840B has always been the leader in inflight extension encryption between data centers. This can’t be disputed. Why is this so, you say? Here’s the Brocade extension encryption facts:


  • Strongest extension encryption available with AES-256. This is not twice as strong as AES-128, if there was an AES-129 that would be twice as strong. Right? Customers have expressed that AES-256 is the minimum by today’s standards. As encryption standards evolve, Brocade will be there.
  • Extreme Throughput! Hardware implementation of AES-256 for ultrafast (20 Gbps per Data Processor – there are two DPs) on the IP WAN side (egress encryption plus ingress decryption). The maximum speed with encryption disabled = the maximum speed with encryption enabled = 20 Gbps.
  • UltraLow Latency! Hardware implementation of AES-256 for ultralow latency. Brocade encryption is not calculated by software on a processor, therefore, only a couple µs (about 2 microseconds) are added to the propagation delay through the box.
  • Suite B is new to the Brocade Extension encryption offering. If certificates are a security requirement in your shop… requirement met! If not required, enter a PSK (Pre-Shared Key) and be done. Some encryption is better than no encryption.
  • Brocade Extension encryption (IPsec) is part of the base unit. No optional licenses or cost. Just configure it, which is quick and simple to do. We always recommend enabling encryption, why wouldn’t you?



Suite B












Enhanced Availability

eHCL (Extension Hot Code Load). Brocade always had HCL for non-disrupted FC/FICON switching during FW updates. However, ever since there’s been FCIP, non-disrupted extension has been elusive to the tunnel (the IP WAN side). Traditionally, the tunnel goes down during code updates… Those days are over! Brocade eHCL automatically and seamlessly maintains replication during firmware updates for both FCIP and IPEX and does so without: any data loss, retransmissions, or OOO (Out of Order) data. That’s right, for intensely demanding mainframe FICON environments - no IFCC! For distributed systems – pure SCSI gravy!  Yes, it was a heavy lift by Brocade’s super talented engineers, but this is precisely the type of innovation you’d expect from Brocade.


This concludes today's post. Please come back tomorrow for more on other Brocade technologies. And, please come see me in the Brocade booth, we have such great innovative technology to show you! Anyone thinking FC’s days are number must believe mainframes and tape are going away too! BTW, more mainframes were sold this last year than ever, so…


Be Good!

Mark Detrick @Extension_Guru

Brocade Principal Solutions Architect

1 comment



05-11-2017 08:19 AM

Great Blog Mark!


05-11-2017 08:19 AM

Great Blog Mark!