Brocade VCS Fabric Helps Redstone Grow

In order to meet the demands of more than 1,000 existing customers and pave the way for future expansion, managed service provider Redstone has turned to Brocade to deploy a data centre Ethernet fabric based on Brocade VCS Fabric technology as part of a major network upgrade. Specifically, Redstone has deployed Brocade VDX 6720 and 6730 Data Center Switches and VCS Fabric technology across two of its primary data centres to provide the reliability, operational simplicity and elastic scalability needed to deliver a multitude of hosted cloud services on demand, such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), network monitoring and hosted messaging and collaboration.

As businesses look to increase efficiency and flexibility while reducing operational overheads, IDC predicts that the European Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) sector will grow at an annual rate (CAGR) of more than 36 percent over the next four years.

“Over the last few years, we have seen a huge increase in demand for hosted services,” commented Fraser Fisher, Managing Director at Redstone. “Our portfolio of offerings traditionally focused around co-location services, but more recently our customers have been looking for more sophisticated cloud-based solutions as data volumes skyrocket. With customers looking to move core applications off-premise, and leverage the operational benefits of applications such as VDI and VoIP, the importance of a network that can keep pace with demand increases exponentially.

Redstone is a leading provider of network based end-to-end managed services, technology and infrastructure solutions. Operating out of seven locations across the UK, with peering connections across Europe linked to a core MPLS network, it can deliver all of an organisation’s IT requirements under one roof, simplifying the procurement process and offering a single point of accountability.

As part of Redstone’s long-term business plan, the company sought to upgrade its primary data centres – in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire – to provide the foundation for next-generation services. “The co-location business has served us well for more than 15 years and will continue to be important to us, but we knew we needed to invest for the future and increase capacity and performance now, which is why we turned to Brocade,” added Fisher.

At the Cambridgeshire facility, Brocade VDX 6720 and 6730 switches were deployed with VCS Fabric technology to create an Ethernet fabric delivering 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) performance and unmatched resilience for highly bandwidth-intensive applications.

At its Hertfordshire data centre, Redstone radically updated its environment; not only was a Brocade VCS fabric rolled out, but the network was also upgraded with Brocade MLX Routers, Brocade NetIron CER 2000 Routers and Brocade ICX 6610 Switches. The result is an infrastructure that has not only delivered significant productivity benefits for Redstone, but one that could provide a reliable blueprint for future networks.

Designed specifically for highly virtualized environments, Ethernet fabrics built on VCS Fabric technology accelerate application deployment and enable faster virtual machine (VM) migrations through zero -touch VM discovery, VM mobility and VM port configuration migration. Using VCS fabrics, customers can manage dozens of switches as a single logical device, dramatically reducing operational costs. They can also save installation time as new switches self-provision when they are connected to the fabric. With more than 700 customers, Brocade is building on the success of its VCS fabric-enabled switch portfolio with the recent addition of the modular Brocade VDX 8770 Switch.

“Our business is built around giving customers choice, and the Brocade platform gives us the confidence to extend our value proposition beyond its current state. Brocade VCS Fabric technology – combined with the wider network refresh – gives us a bullet-proof foundation. And knowing that Brocade’s open architecture allows us to work with an array of vendors in delivering business solutions to our clients means that the sky’s the limit for us. As a Brocade reseller, we already knew that the Brocade solutions were second to none, so deploying Brocade VCS Fabric technology in our environment was an easy decision to make,” stated Fisher.

Brocade MLX Routers are designed to enable cloud-optimised networks by providing industry-leading 1, 10 and 100 GbE wire-speed density; rich IPv4, IPv6, Multi-VRF, MPLS and Carrier Ethernet capabilities; and advanced Layer 2 switching. Brocade NetIron CER 2000 Routers are purpose-built for high-performance Ethernet edge routing and MPLS applications. By improving scalability and flexibility, these routers enable service providers to meet the dynamic needs of higher-bandwidth services. The Brocade ICX 6610 is a high-performance Ethernet access switch that combines chassis-like reliability and performance with the flexibility and affordability of a stackable switch, providing 8×10 GbE uplink ports and the highest stacking bandwidth in its class at 320 Gbps.

“In the short time that the network has been live, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in speed and reliability. We are now able to better predict capacity requirements and utilisation, and have already scaled the network to support 4,000 virtual machines. With the new environment, we are already planning for the future, developing new service offerings knowing full well that we have a network that can cope with whatever we ask of it. That kind of confidence is priceless,” conclude Fisher.

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