Brocade Ethernet Fabric Races

We visited Brocade today and they were showing off some of their new ethernet switches (if this sounds old-hat, remember that from its beginning until recently, Brocade has been storage-fabric-only *edit*…although Lisa Caywood tells me that they bought Foundry in 2008). They’re competing with the Ciscos and Junipers (and many other companies) of the world. But they’ve built well respected storage switches for a while, so time will tell how their ethernet offerings do.

As a way to introduce their ethernet switches to the Networking Field Day guys, they broke the 10-person group into teams of 2, gave each team some pieces of hardware, and held a contest to see who could get a working network up and running first.

As a non-delegate, this was an interesting thing from my perspective. I’ve learned something important.

Rule One: Secure your infrastructure first
With people this intelligent, following rules gets boring, so the game quickly devolved from the goal of “winning” to the goal of “making sure your neighbor loses”. Network cables were unplugged, passwords changed, routers rebooted, all in the name of screwing with your friends. If I’m ever in a competition like this, step one is changing my admin password and putting a guard on my equipment.

There was a lot of screwing with each other, but everyone had a great time. The exercise worked really well, and all of the guys felt really comfortable with the interface. Here are some quotes:

RT @ecbanks: I just built a TRILL-based fabric with Brocade VDX … << and had fun doing it!! #NFD2

“Impressed so far. I haven’t been able to break it yet, but I’ll keep trying.” —@networkjanitor #Brocade #NFD2

The Brocade CLI is very comfortable since it’s exactly what I’m used to. #NFD2

I’m really glad that Brocade did what they did today. It was a lot of fun after some long slideshows and sitting still. The guys thought it was a good break, and I enjoyed it too.

This post mentions a company which paid my employer to partake in an event. I was not paid to write this post, nor was it requested of me. This company has provided me nothing of value besides things which would be considered normal conference swag, such as memory sticks, bags, or pamphlets of information. I write this entry of my own volition and stand by the contents. As always, if I say something is good, it is because I think it is good, not because someone asked me to say it is good.

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  • Michael Schipp

    Ok fine – so who lost?

  • Honestly, I don’t think there were any losers. Everyone had a great time, and we all kind of lost track of who got done first and who didn’t.