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Clients are seeking a robust, resilient and proven switching platform that delivers speed, flexibility and intelligence to the essential access, distribution and aggregation layers where server and storage systems are connected to the data centre network. Today’s ToR and embedded Ethernet and Converged switches require a full Layer 2/3 feature set implemented in a standards-compliant, interoperable and modular software architecture.

Data centre switch OS should be extensible to support virtual machine (VM) awareness, lossless operation for converged data and storage networks, as well as emerging standards such as Data Centre Bridging/Converged Enhanced Ethernet (DCB/CEE), 802.1Qbg Edge Virtual Bridging (EVB) and OpenFlow.

Product features

Software summary

Feature Benefits
Complete Layer 2/3 feature set
Management via GUI or industry-standard CLI
Ease of deployment and manageability via IBM System Networking Element Manager
DCB support for lossless Ethernet required for FCoE and high performance Internet small computer system interface (iSCSI) and network attached storage (NAS)
OpenFlow support for Software Defined Networking (SDN)
Network Virtualisation with VMready and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.1Qbg Edge Virtual Bridging (EVB)
Module Feature Standard/Basis
Security Remote authentication dial in user service (RADIUS) with EAPOL IEEE 802.1x
Terminal access controller access control system (TACACS+) (Cisco)
Secure copy (SCP)  
Wire speed filtering: allow and deny  
Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) Secure BBI  
Secure SHell (SSH) v2  
Secure interface login and password  
MAC address move notification  
Shift B Boot menu (password recovery/factory default)  
Lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP)  
Virtual local area network (VLANs) Port-based VLANs  
4096 VLAN IDs support IEEE 802.1q
Guest VLAN IEEE 802.1x
Private VLAN Edge  
Lossless Ethernet DCB/CEE IEEE 802.1
Priority Based Flow Control IEEE 802.1Qbb
Enhanced Transmission Selection (ETS)  
Data Centre Bridge Exchange (DCBX) protocol  
FIP Snooping T11/08-079v0
FC/FCoE* N_Port Virtualisation (NPV) Gateway FC-BB-5 Compliant
FC port speeds 4 gigabits (Gb) and 8Gb
Bridging to FC storage area networks (SANs)  
End-to-end (E2E) FCoE (initiator to target)  
Direct attachment of FCoE targets  
Manageable via ISCLI/BBI  
Full Fabric FC FC-BB-5 Compliant
FC port speeds 4 Gb and 8 Gb
Fabric Services Fabric Services include Name Server, Registered State Change Notification (RSCN), Login services, Zoning
WWN, FCID, or Alias Based Zoning  
Login load distribution  
FC classes of service Class 2 and Class 3
Manageable via ISCLI/BBI  
Trunking LACP IEEE 802.3ad
Static trunks (EtherChannel)  
Configurable trunk hash algorithm  
Spanning tree Multiple spanning tree IEEE 802.1s
Rapid spanning tree IEEE 802.1w
Bridge protocol data unit (BPDU) guard  
Root guard  
Loop guard  
Quality of service (QoS) Priority queues IEEE 802.1p
Data services command processor (DSCP) remarking  
Routing protocols/Layer 3 features Routing Information Protocol (RIP) v1/v2 NOTE: Multiple RFCs
Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) NOTE: Multiple RFCs
Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) NOTE: Multiple RFCs
Dynamic BGP Peers  
BGP Next hop self*  
eBGP Multi-hop*  
IP interface on physical port*  
Policy-based routing*  
High availability (HA) Layer 2 failover  
HotLinks HotLinks is a sub-second Layer 2 redundancy feature that replaces Spanning Tree. HotLinks uses a pair of ports (or link aggregation groups (LAGs)) that are configured to act as a backup of each other. One port is active, while the other port functions as a backup. If the active port (or LAG) fails, the backup port instantly takes over. HotLinks speeds the Layer 2 convergence by updating the forwarding database (FDB) of upstream network devices using a Multicast flood
Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) IETF RFC 2338
Virtual Link Aggregation Groups (vLAG) VLAGs allow for multichassis link aggregation and facilitates active-active uplinks of access layer switches.
VLAG with Spanning Tree off helps avoid the wasted bandwidth associated with links blocked by spanning tree
Multicast Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) Snooping v1, v2 and v3 with 4K IGMP groups IETF RFC 2236, 3376
Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM Sparse Mode/Dense Mode) PIM-SM draft 05
Monitoring Port mirroring  
VLAN mirroring  
Access control list (ACL)-based mirroring version 5  
ACL notification  
sFlow version 5  
Virtualisation VMready with VI Application program interface (API) and preconfiguration of VM OUI MACs VMready provides VM aware networking for dynamic VM mobility using any standard hypervisor. This integration ensures that essential network personality characteristics (VLAN, QoS and ACLs) automatically follow VMs as they move dynamically from server to server across an enterprise data centre network. VMready is capable of supporting EVB as defined by IEEE 802.1Qbg
Virtual network interface card (VNIC) management through simple network management protocol (SNMP) applications* vNIC carves up a dual-port 10 G adapter into eight vNICs and creates dedicated virtual pipes between the adapter and the switch. vNIC functionality provides the ability to dynamically allocate bandwidth per vNIC in increments of 100 megabits (Mb)
Unified Fabric Port (UFP)* Provides a cost-effective way to maximise the benefits of client’s 10 Gb (and higher) physical NICs by letting them allocate, share and dynamically control their network throughput according to their needs
Management features Netboot  
Universal serial bus (USB) boot  
System log (SYSLOG) configuration tracking Logging of all configuration changes include what was changed and the user making the change
Stacking* Stacking allows multiple switches to behave as a single device, sharing a single Internet protocol (IP) address utilising a single configuration file. Stacking allows servers with multiple NICs to utilise LACP to load balance the traffic across their network interfaces and maintain the redundancy of multiple network devices upstream
Link Layer Detection Protocol (LLDP) stacking* LLDP is a standards based protocol used by vendors to advertise and discover the identity and capabilities of other devices on the local network. Extending the stacking feature to support LLDP means the stack can now advertise itself to others and be identified as a single unit with the combined features and port capabilities of the stack
Local preference for stacking* Local preference in stacking provides a configuration option where the user can specify the local ports as a preferred path over the shared stacking link
SPAR (Switch Partition)* SPAR provides the ability to create logical Layer 2 SPARs within a single physical switch. This provides dedicated port isolation to different networks without incurring the cost of additional hardware
Clients isCLI (Cisco-like)  
Scriptable CLI  
Browser-based client or telnet  
Management ACLs  
Standard protocols IPv6  
SNMP v1, v2c and v3  
Remote Network Monitoring (RMON)  
Dual Network Time Protocol (NTP) server support  
Dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) client  
DHCP relay  
DHCP option 82  
DHCP snooping  
LLDP IEEE 802.1ab
Jumbo Frames  
Flow Control IEEE 802.3x
OpenFlow* OpenFlow Switch Specification Version 1.0
Switch platforms supported IBM RackSwitch G8316  
IBM RackSwitch G8264T  
IBM RackSwitch G8264  
IBM RackSwitch G8124/G8124E  
IBM RackSwitch G8052  
IBM RackSwitch G8000  
IBM BladeCenter Virtual Fabric 10Gb Switch Module  
IBM BladeCenter 1/10Gb Uplink Ethernet Switch Module  
IBM Flex System Fabric CN4093 10Gb Converged Scalable Switch  
IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 and EN4093R 10 Gb Scalable Switch  
IBM Flex System EN2092 1 Gb Ethernet Scalable Switch  

* Not all software features listed in this document are supported on all switch models. For more information on specific feature summaries by platforms, visit: and enter in your product name in the “Find and activate a product” field on the top left.

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