Broadcom beefs up Fibre Channel Director switches with more 64Gbps ports

Broadcom has unveiled its updated 256-port and 512-port Fibre Channel Director switches, operating at 64Gbps. This represents the seventh generation of Fibre Channel storage networking technology, accompanied by a higher-capacity extension switch.

Fibre Channel (FC) is a lossless networking scheme used in Storage Area Networks (SANs). The seventh-generation FC succeeds the 32Gbps Gen 6 version. Systems, including servers and storage arrays, employ FC host bus adapters for switch connections and subsequent access to host systems. The larger switches with the most network ports are termed Directors, while devices designed for long-distance links are known as Extension Switches. Almost three years after launching its first 64Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) switch gear, Broadcom is updating its products with more 64Gbps ports.

Broadcom’s Dennis Makishima, VP and GM for its Brocade Storage Networking division, said: “High density and global network extension technology enables Broadcom customers to build datacenter infrastructure that is scalable, secure, and reliable.”

Broadcom Brocade X7-8 and X7-4 Directors in their 14RU and 8RU chassis
Broadcom Brocade X7-8 and X7-4 Directors in their 14RU and 8RU chassis

In 2020, Broadcom announced the first-generation Brocade brand X7 Directors with up to 384 64Gbps line rate ports, using 8 x 48-ports or 512 x 32Gbps ports, G720 switches with 56 x 64Gbps line rate ports in a 1RU design, and 7810/7840 extension switches. Now it has been able to work up to providing 512 x 64Gbps ports in the X7 Director by using a new 64-port blade with SFP-DP transceivers, which is 33 percent faster, it says, than the prior transceivers.

Broadcom has also added the 64Gbps Brocade 7850 Extension Switch to the product set, enabling faster worldwide scale and delivering up to 100Gbps over long distances. It manages the longer latency and packet losses that occur with such extended distances. The new switch complements the existing 7810 switch, with its 12 x 32Gbps FC and 6 x 1/10Gbps Ethernet ports, and also the 7840 with its 24 x 16Gbps FC/FICON and 16 x 1/10Gbps Ethernet ports. FICON is the Fibre Channel IBM mainframe link.

Brocade 7850 Extension Switch

The 7850 is significantly faster than the 7810 and 7840, with 24 x 64Gbps FC and FICON ports, and 16 x 1/10/25Gbps and 2 x 100Gbps Ethernet ports. It supports in-flight encryption and can be used to hook up a disaster recovery site to the main site, with lossless failover between WAN links.

Cisco’s MDS 9700 Fibre Channel Director uses a 48-Port 64Gbps Fibre Channel Switching Module (blade). Its MDS 9000 24/10-Port Extension Module provides 24 x 2/4/8/10/16Gbps FC ports and 8 x 1/10 Gbps Ethernet Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) ports. Broadcom’s new gear is faster.

There is backwards compatibility for 8, 16, and 32Gbps Fibre Channel with the new Broadcom products. The Brocade X7 Director and 7850 Extension Switch are available now. Get an X-7 Director product brief here and 7850 Extension Switch details here.