Available in four chassis models, the BigIron RX Series Switch allows network designers to standardize on a single product family for aggregation and backbone switching. In addition to its enterprise role, the BigIron RX Series, with its high-density and compact design, is an ideal IP solution for high-performance computing environments and Internet Exchanges and Internet Service Providers (IXPs and ISPs) where non-blocking, high-density Ethernet switches are needed.

All four BigIron RX systems are designed for non-stop operation, supporting 1:1 management module redundancy, N+1 switch module redundancy, M+N power module redundancy and N+1 fan redundancy. Additionally, the BigIron RX Series supports hitless Layer 2 software upgrades and graceful restart routing for fast convergence in the event of a management module failure.

Brocade-BigIron-RX-Series-SwitchAt the heart of the BigIron RX architecture is an adaptive self-routing Clos switch fabric with a virtual output queue (VOQ) design. This non-blocking architecture is optimized for maximum throughput and low latency for all size packets. Scalable to over two billion packets per second, the BigIron RX Series is the most powerful Ethernet switch family in the industry. This advanced and scalable design ensures the reliable delivery of all IP-based voice, video and data applications.

The BigIron RX switches ship with field-proven IronWare networking software and IronShield security, embedded sFlow per port, advanced Ethernet switching, IPv4/IPv6 routing and multilayer security services. The BigIron RX Series enables a user to deploy a reliable, secure and scalable networking solution today that is ready to accommodate tomorrow’s applications and technologies.

Industry Leading Performance and Scalability

The BigIron RX Series is the industry’s most powerful switch family, delivering up to 1.6 Terabits per second of switching capacity and 1.14 Billion packets per second of forwarding performance.

High-Availability Design

  • Redundant, hot-swappable components provide non-stop service delivery

    • Switch Fabric Element Redundancy: Systems configured with a redundant switch fabric module support millisecond fail-over performance

    • Switch Fabric Element Redundancy: Systems configured with a redundant switch fabric module support millisecond fail-over performance

    • Hitless Management Failover (HMF): Stateful layer 2 failover ensures that the forwarding engines on the line modules are not impacted by a management failover. This capability enables non-stop packet forwarding in the event of a management module failover

    • Redundant Power Supplies: All three chassis support M+N power module redundancy for AC and DC power configurations.

  • Distributed Forwarding Architecture—Advanced network processors, high-performance CPU and high-speed memory on each interface module provide for a scalable high-performance architecture

  • IEEE 802.3ad link aggregation up to eight links—Scalable, cross- module trunking provides for resilient high-capacity connections between switches.

  • Resilient Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocols provide fast service restoration in event of link or equipment failures

    • Metro Ring Protocol optimized for ring topologies, IEEE 802.1s and 802.1w for general Layer 2 topologies, VSRP for redundant switch configurations and VRRP/VRRP-E for redundant router configurations, ECMP for routed backbones

Robust Layer 3 Feature Set

Brocade IronWare software suite includes scalable EGP and IGP routing protocols.

  • BGPv4—Scalable to 2 million routes, 256 peers and 14,000 attributes with MR2 management module

  • OSPF—Scalable to over 400,000 routes

  • IS-IS—Support for Level 1 and Level 2, includes 25,000 routes and 256 adjacencies

  • Brocade Direct Routing (BDR)—The forwarding information base (FIB) is downloaded to the hardware-based forwarding engine on each line module. This memory can be pre-populated with as many as 512,000 IP V4 and 64,000 IPV6 routes for wire-speed routing performance.

  • Policy-based Routing (PBR)—Support customizable routing policies using access control lists (ACLs). This feature can be used to balance network usage by controlling the network paths for different traffic flows.

  • Comprehensive multicast feature set—Provides hardware-based support for a number of multicast protocols including DVMRP, MSDP, PIM-SM (Sparse Mode) and PIM-DM (Dense Mode), allowing network managers to efficiently deploy next-generation multicast applications

  • VRRP and VRRPE (Enhanced VRRP)—Enables the BigIron RX to operate as a backup router to other network routers. In the event of a router failure, the BigIron RX will automatically and seamlessly perform the tasks of the failed router.

Industry Leading Layer 2 Features

To provide self-healing topologies in Layer 2 configurations, the BigIron RX supports industry standard Ethernet protocols including Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), Rapid Spanning Tree (RSTP), per VLAN STP (PVST) and per VLAN group STP (PVGST). The BigIron RX also supports Brocade Metro Ring Protocol (MRP) for sub-second service restoration in ring topologies. Additionally, the BigIron RX supports multi-instance spanning tree, VLAN topology grouping and VLAN tunneling for advanced Layer 2 service configurations.

  • Metro Ring Protocol (MRP)—An alternative to Spanning Tree Protocol, MRP provides sub-second fault detection and fail-over for Ethernet ring topologies. MRP works in conjunction with VSRP and 802.3ad based link aggregation to provide bandwidth scalability and SONET-like resilience.

  • Virtual Switch Redundancy Protocol (VSRP)—Supports sub-second fault detection and fail-over for mesh topologies in which redundant switches provide back-up operation for one another

  • Single-instance STP—Provides a single instance of STP to run on all port-based VLANs within a single device, interoperable with others that are 802.1d compliant

  • Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol based on IEEE 802.1w—Dramatically improves the spanning tree convergence time to sub-second by automatically renegotiating port roles in case of a link failure without relying on timers

  • Per VLAN Spanning Tree (PVST)—Allows for control of STP on an individual VLAN basis for traffic engineering VLAN traffic (i.e., load distribution)

  • Per VLAN Group Spanning Tree (PVGST)—Dramatically improves VLAN scalability by servicing up to 4,096 VLANs with 2 to 16 STP or Rapid STP group instances

  • Topology Groups—Goes beyond PVGST to scale all supported Layer 2 control protocols including STP, RSTP, MRP and VSRP

  • Super Aggregated VLANs (SAVs)—Allows transparent tunneling of multiple VLANs through a single backbone VLAN

  • PIM and IGMP Snooping—Offers efficient handling of multicast traffic in Layer 2 topologies by identifying ports that request a multicast stream and forwarding the stream only on these ports. This dramatically improves the performance of multicast applications, allowing for many more streams to be transiting the network.

Advanced Quality of Service

  • Advanced QoS—Allows administrators to enforce QoS policies based on port, VLAN, source MAC, ACL rules, 802.1p priority, Type of Service (ToS), DiffServ settings or Rate Limiting status

  • Very low latency across all packet sizes—Consistent low latency for strict priority applications such as voice over IP, high performance computing and video over IP

  • Configurable combinations of queuing disciplines and congestion control policies—Combinations of Strict Priority (SP) and Weighted Fair Queuing (WFQ) provide flexibility for network administrators. In the event of egress port congestion, traffic policies can be configured for tail drop or weighted random early detection (WRED) operation.

  • Advanced Bandwidth Management—Allows intelligent bandwidth management using hardware based enforcement of Committed Information Rate (CIR) with Excess Burst control capabilities and seamless integration with other advanced QoS features including priority marking and honoring.

Cohesive, Unified and Easy-To-Use Network Management

  • Centralized network management—Brocade IronView Network Manager is a web-based, graphical interface tool that empowers network operators to seamlessly control software and configuration updates

    • Command Line Interface (CLI)—Industry-standard configuration interface, consistent and common throughout all Brocade products

    • Web interface—Provides easy-to-use Graphical User Interface (GUI) for system configuration from standard Web browsers

    • sFlow (RFC 3176)—Provides scalable, wire-speed network monitoring and accounting with no impact on network performance

IronShield Security

  • Wire-speed extended Layer 2, Layer 3 & 4 Access Control Lists (ACL)—Control packet forwarding and restricts access to the system management interface, while providing wire-speed switching and routing:

    • Extensible ACL Implementation for Layer 3 & 4 Information: Identifies traffic based on source or destination IP address, IP protocol type, TCP or UDP port, IP precedence or ToS values

    • Flexible ACL Implementation for Layer 2 Information: Identifies traffic based on source or destination MAC address, Ethernet type, VLAN-ID values and 802.1p values

    • ACL scalability: Support for up to 8,000 ACLs

    • Ease of administration: Identify an ACL by name or number, or add a comment line for ease of administration

    • Secure Shell and Secure Copy: Provides secure access to the administration and management interface over the network

  • Protection against Denial of Service (DoS) attacks—Prevents or minimizes network downtime from malicious users by limiting TCP SYN and ICMP traffic and protects against broadcast storms

  • User authentication—Authentication with AAA, 802.1x, RADIUS, TACACS, and TACACS+ prevents unauthorized network access

  • MAC Port Security—Controls the MAC addresses allowed per port

  • sFlow (RFC 3176)—Provides cost-effective, scalable, wire-speed network monitoring to detect unusual network activity

  • SNMPv3—Secured SNMP management with authentication and privacy services

  • BGP-Guard—Complements MD5 security for BGP sessions to protect against session disruption by restricting the number of hops the BGP session can traverse

System Summary

Brocade BigIrion System Summary


Typical Applications

Brocade Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions

Today’s Enterprise network is critical to the ongoing operations of the organization. Network administrators are concerned about zero downtime on the network, securing the network from DoS attacks, cyber-spying, and malicious users, and maintaining data integrity and confidentiality, without adding excessive cost or impacting performance. All this in a structure that allows for graceful growth as the Enterprise grows.



The BigIron RX Series incorporates exceptional resiliency, security and scalability in an architecture designed to scale from the edge to the core to minimize TCO. The resilient design includes redundant management modules, switch fabrics, fans and power supplies. This hardware resiliency is enhanced with software resiliency including hitless system failover, graceful restart, MRP, VSRP, and VRRP for Layer 2 and Layer 3 resiliency. High priority voice and data traffic fly through the chassis utilizing the high performance hardware-based QoS features of the RX Series. Wire-speed security is maintained by locking out unauthorized users with port security, by filtering DoS and unauthorized traffic with ACLs, and by monitoring traffic flows with sFlow. The BigIron RX Series allows you to grow from just 24 ports of 10/100/ 1000 at the edge up to 1,536 ports of 10/100/ 1000 or 128 ports of 10-Gigabit Ethernet in the core. The BigIron RX Series provides one common architecture that meets the demands of today’s, and tomorrow’s Enterprise network needs with high performance, resiliency, security and scalability with low TCO.

Brocade for Enterprise and Application Hosting Solutions

Data centers are the core of business operations requiring high density, high performance, high security and low latency switching to ensure connectivity to mission critical applications. The increasing value of the data center to business operations necessitates that data and network integrity, confidentiality and security must be maintained without impacting performance.

The BigIron RX Series addresses these needs by acting as the gateway and switch fabric of the data center. The density of the RX Series allows for growth from the smallest to the largest data center. Port aggregation allows for high performance interconnects up to 80 Gbps increasing the availability of the server farm.

Brocade Enterprise and Application Hosting Solutions


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