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Used Brocade VA-40FC SAN Switch

Used Brocade VA-40FC SAN SwitchAs organizations consolidate data centers, expand application services, and begin to implement cloud initiatives, large-scale server architectures are becoming a standard part of the data center. As a result, the network must be able to scale efficiently to handle additional connectivity and data traffic when new servers are deployed. Minimizing the network deployment steps and simplifying management can help organizations grow seamlessly while reducing operating costs.

The Brocade VA-40FC helps meet this challenge, providing the first Fibre Channel edge switch optimized for server connectivity in large core-to-edge SANs. By leveraging Brocade Access Gateway technology, the Brocade VA-40FC enables zero-configuration deployment and reduces management of the network edge—increasing scalability and simplifying management for large-scale server architectures. Ease of use, a flexible hardware design, high performance, and maximum port density make the Brocade VA-40FC an efficient solution for meeting the requirements of next-generation virtual data centers.

The Brocade VA-40FC is designed for rapidly growing virtualized environments, providing 40 Fibre Channel ports in a compact 1U form factor and operating at 8, 4, 2, or 1 Gbps speeds. Moreover, organizations can trunk up to eight ports between the Brocade VA-40FC and the SAN core to enable high-performance end-to-end networks. Because Access Gateway technology is built on industry-standard N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), the Brocade VA-40FC can be connected to any NPIV-enabled fabric, including Brocade B- and M-Series, Cisco, and QLogic fabrics.

The default setting for the Brocade VA-40FC is Access Gateway mode, which allows organizations to deploy the switch immediately, without any configuration. Optionally, Automatic Port Configuration (APC) automatically sets F_Ports and N_Ports based on what is connected, and servers ports (F_Ports) are automatically balanced across fabric links (N_Ports). When organizations add or remove server or fabric links, the switch can automatically rebalance the connections.

The Brocade VA-40FC in Access Gateway mode facilitates network scalability by appearing to the core fabric as a single physical device rather than a network switch. As a result, the switch does not consume a fabric domain and does not cause the fabric to grow. This enables organizations to add racks of servers without stressing their scalability limits. All servers, physical or virtual, receive a virtual N_Port, with traffic flowing through a physical N_Port. Logically, the servers are presented directly to the core, enabling the network to appear flat while still taking advantage of core-to-edge scalability.

New server solutions can help organizations optimize their data centers to provide more services while remaining within the physical constraints of those data centers. They do so by increasing the amount of compute power beyond what traditional server form factors typically provide. The Brocade VA-40FC supports these high-density server designs by providing the industry’s most compact enterprise-class Fibre Channel switch, with a depth of only 17.6 inches.

In addition, high-density server racks are designed to leverage advanced cooling technologies have specific airflow requirements. As the only Fibre Channel edge switch with a reversible airflow option, the Brocade VA-40FC supports this design by providing either port-side or power-side exhaust to meet specific operational demands.

The Brocade VA-40FC in Access Gateway mode enables connectivity into multiple SAN fabrics, providing a unique level of network flexibility at the edge. Using the port grouping capabilities of Access Gateway, some servers can be mapped to one fabric, with other servers mapped to another fabric. This enables organizations to scale their servers without being constrained by which fabric the available storage is attached to.

In addition to serving as a complementary building block to the Brocade DCX Backbone and other Brocade SAN solutions, the Brocade VA-40FC can connect to any SAN fabric that supports the NPIV standard. This includes Brocade B- and M-Series fabrics, as well as Cisco and QLogic fabrics. By being able to connect servers directly to SAN fabrics using different vendor solutions, organizations can more easily deploy new technologies and perform network migrations.

With a cut-through, non-blocking architecture and full 1:1 8 Gbps performance, the Brocade VA-40FC provides an overall bandwidth of 320 Gbps, making it the industry’s highest performing 1U Fibre Channel switch. To provide maximum performance throughout the network, the Brocade VA-40FC utilizes hardware-based trunking across N_Ports, supplying up to 64 Gbps of aggregate link bandwidth to the fabric core. These performance capabilities enable the switch to provide optimal server connectivity for the virtualized environments of today and tomorrow.

At less than 2.3 watts per port and 0.28 watts/Gbps, the Brocade VA-40FC is the most energy-efficient Fibre Channel solution in the industry. Energy efficiency is critical in high-density server racks because, in many cases, only a finite amount of power can be supplied to a single rack.

The Brocade VA-40FC provides Adaptive Networking, a suite of tools including Ingress Rate Limiting and Quality of Service (QoS). These advanced capabilities help optimize network behavior and ensure ample bandwidth for mission-critical applications.

Ingress Rate Limiting restricts data flow from less-critical hosts at preset bandwidths, and QoS expedites critical traffic in the event of congestion while keeping all traffic flowing. Top Talkers, a component of Advanced Performance Monitoring, analyzes traffic flowing through the Brocade VA-40FC by measuring the top bandwidth-consuming traffic (including by individual virtual machine) in real time.

The Brocade VA-40FC is a reliable building block for large-scale environments. Each switch comes standard with dual, redundant, hot-swappable power supplies with integrated cooling fans. Two power supply models are available to provide the desired airflow direction (back-to-front or front-to-back). Moreover, hot code load and activation help maximize application uptime with faster system upgrades and maintenance to reduce the dependency on scheduled outages. Combined with the included Brocade Data Center Fabric Manager (DCFM) fabric-wide SAN management application, these capabilities help establish a highly available SAN environment.

The Brocade VA-40FC is in Access Gateway mode by default, which is ideal for larger SAN fabrics that can benefit from the scalability of fixed-port switches at the edge of the network. Some use cases for Access Gateway mode are:

  • Connectivity of many servers into large SAN fabrics
  • Connectivity of servers into Brocade, Cisco, or any NPIV-enabled SAN fabrics
  • Connectivity into multiple SAN fabrics

The Brocade VA-40FC also supports Fabric Switch mode to provide standard Fibre Channel switching and routing capabilities that are available on all Brocade enterprise-class 8 Gbps solutions. Some use cases for Fabric Switch mode are:

  • Connectivity of servers directly to storage
  • Connectivity to other switches to expand the SAN fabric
  • Routing between SAN fabrics to isolate networks