Combining Brocade X-6 Director with Port Replication Enclosures

Combining Brocade X-6 Director with Port Replication Enclosures

Rick Dallmann | Director, Data Center Architecture 

Designed for high speed FC performance, Brocade’s line of X-6 (Gen6) directors is a building block for growing large-scale enterprise infrastructures. With proven high-performance and availability, the X-6 directors are the choice for the majority of large enterprise data centers that require increased capacity, greater throughput, and higher levels of reliability in their storage networks.

With a Chassis bandwidth of 16Tb/s and up to 64 ports per blade, these directors are designed to support storage growth. And with the recent release of the FC32-64 Port Blade - which delivers 32 Gb/s performance and industry-leading port density at 512 ports per blade - data center managers have to consider the fiber infrastructure and manageability that this type of director requires to perform at an opium level. 

The match made in heaven 

Here’s where the real fun begins. When utilizing port replication™, data center managers will find the only 10 and 12u, X-6 Replication Enclosure that takes the Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable (QSFP) transceivers of the Brocade FC32-64 blades and converts them over to 512 LC duplex transmission ports.

Resulting in a mirrored, elegant, high-density, high performing form factor and manageable enclosure.  

This results in an effectively scaled and built high-density fiber infrastructure to meet data growth demands and handle more interconnects to servers and storage - all while maximizing rack space and ease of workability.

How does this all work?

Port replication “mirrors” the ports of active fiber optic hardware in a passive component (fiber patch panel), creating a direct, one-to-one relationship between the active hardware ports and the passive structured cabling environment.

This allows the X-6 directors to be cabled once and then replicated in a Main Distribution Area (MDA). This simplifies the cabling process with all numbers on the hardware directly corresponding to the numbers on the patch panel. Any changes can then be made at the MDA, as recommended in the TIA-942 Data Center Standard.

Making changes in the passive MDA environment will:

  • Reduces cable management issues
  • Decreases opportunities for patching errors
  • Limits wear and tear on active ports

When CABLExpress’ port replication is utilized in conjunction with a recommended TIA-942 structured cabling design, MACs (moves, adds, and changes) are simplified by the exact one-to-one relationship between the hardware and panel ports. This significantly reduces the risk of human error, the most common cause of network downtime.

With port replication, the X-6 directors can be neatly cabled a single time and then left alone. All active hardware can remain untouched until something needs to be physically replaced.

Network downtime - nobody wants that

Remember, when running 32Gb/s, fiber cabling is high performing with high bandwidth, but improper installation and management can place it under extreme stress.

When the cabling is not properly managed, patch cords can become intertwined and the weight of the cabling will pull on the connectors at the transceiver contact. This can lead to intermittent channel errors and cause network downtime, and nobody wants that.

Take time to ensure you’re getting the most value out of your Brocade directors, especially the new X-6 line. At CABLExpress, we have the solutions, products and resources to help protect your critical investments. 


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