Blog Viewer

Flash Forward with Gen 6 Fibre Channel

By Scott Shimomura posted 07-19-2016 02:00 AM




Digital transformation is driving new requirements for modern infrastructure and the evolving datacenter workloads require more performance than ever. Cloud, analytics, and automation technology are powering workloads that continue to drive data growth. Social platforms, big data, and mobility contribute to the doubling of stored data every 2-3 years. Your storage infrastructure has to evolve to keep up with the changes or your competitors will pass you.


As your organization continues to digitize and adapt to these new workloads, you need a modern storage infrastructure with a network that will support the highest levels of performance, reliability, and scalability requirements. Fibre Channel fabrics have been at the center of every major innovation in storage. Sharing storage over a network broke down traditional direct-attached architectures with scalable and highly-available storage. Modern SANs have powered the vast majority server virtualization deployments. Today, Fibre Channel is the de facto standard for connectivity for the current wave of storage innovation with flash.


Flash storage has been the most disruptive storage technology in the last decade. The notion of an all-flash data center isn’t a question of “if”; it’s a question of “when”. The transition to flash is pushing the limits of the infrastructure and legacy networks will bottleneck performance. Even as flash is breaking through performance barriers, storage innovation continues to advance with the development of NVMe technology.


NVMe over Fabrics is an industry initiative that will break the current direct-attached storage model with a modern networked storage architecture. Sound familiar? It’s back to a network-centric approach to storage with Gen 6 Fibre Channel. Gen 6 will provide the digital enterprise with incredible performance and the non-stop availability required for tomorrow’s all-flash data centers.


Today, we announced the next wave of network innovation for storage. Data center modernization starts with the Brocade X6 directors built with Gen 6 Fibre Channel. This extends our leadership in offering the industry’s most innovative and widely deployed Fibre Channel storage network solutions, building on the first Gen 6 Fibre Channel switch that Brocade delivered in March 2016.  The new Brocade® X6 director family, the Brocade SX6 extension blade, and new Fabric Vision capabilities were designed to drive always-on business operations, eliminate performance bottlenecks and adapt to the requirements of digital organizations.


Launch X6.png


  • Brocade X6 Director Family. The industry-first Gen 6 Fibre Channel director family delivers breakthrough application performance, data center-proven reliability and increased business agility to accelerate data access, adapt to evolving requirements and drive always-on business operations. The Brocade X6 directors provide up to 384 32 Gbps line rate ports and up to 32 128 Gbps UltraScale™ ICL connectivity ports delivering a total system bandwidth of 16 Tbps. Breakthrough 32 Gbps performance accelerates application response time by up to 71 percent over previous solutions eliminating IO bottlenecks and unleashing the full performance of flash and next generation NVMe-based storage.

Flash 71percent2.png


  • Brocade SX6 Extension Blade. The Brocade SX6 extension blade for Fibre Channel, FICON and IP storage replication moves more data over distance faster and enhances security without compromising performance. With up to 80 Gbps application throughput per platform and line-rate encryption, the Brocade SX6 is designed for the most demanding environments. This purpose-built solution delivers business resiliency at scale with 32 Gbps Fibre Channel and 1/10 GbE IP storage replication over 1/10/40 GbE IP WAN connections to handle the unrelenting growth of data traffic between data centers


  • Brocade Fabric Vision Technology with IO Insight. Fabric Vision technology overcomes the traditional limitations of network monitoring by introducing IO Insight, the industry’s only integrated network sensor that provides deeper visibility into the IO performance of storage infrastructure. 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 to gain unparalleled insight into potential issues and help maintain service levels.


  • Brocade Fabric Vision Technology with VM Insight. Fabric Vison technology will include VM Insight for unparalleled end-to-end visibility into the storage performance of individual VMs. This feature optimizes VM performance and availability in a virtualized data center. VM Insight uses standards-based VM tagging to enable monitoring of VM-level application performance issues in a Gen 6 Fibre Channel SAN. Using this information, storage administrators can establish baseline application performance and identify anomalies in order to fine-tune the infrastructure to meet service level objectives. VM Insight also enables quick correlation with other Fabric Vision metrics to identify the root cause of problems before operations are affected

Note: Brocade X6 directors and Brocade SX6 extension blade are available now through Brocade and its channel partners. Other Brocade OEM partners will start shipping them in the second half of 2016.  Brocade Network Advisor and IO Insight are available today.  VM Insight will be included as part of Fabric Vision technology in the first half of 2017.


We invite you to follow us as we continue to innovate and launch new products and capabilities for Gen 6 Fibre Channel.


If you want to learn more about our X6 directors, check out these resources: