Bookmark and Share

Brocade BigIron RX Series

The Brocade BigIron RX Series of switches provides over one billion packet-per-second performance for cost-effective scaling in data center deployments, with hardware-based IP routing to 512,000 IP routes per line module. The high-availability design features redundant and hot-pluggable hardware, hitless software upgrades and failover, sub-second link/node failover, and graceful BGP and OSPF restart.

Let Us Help

Contact a
Specialist about product questions, pricing information or how to buy.


INT'L 1-408-333-4300

Contact Us

Industry-Leading Performance and Scalability

The BigIron RX Series is the industry's most powerful switch family, delivering up to 1.6 Tbps of data 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 failover 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 the event of link or equipment failures.
    • Metro Ring Protocol (MRP): Optimized for ring topologies, IEEE 802.1s and 802.1w for general Layer 2 topologies, VSRP for redundant switch configurations, VRRP/VRRP-E for redundant router configurations, and ECMP for routed backbones.
  • Multi-Chassis Trunking (MCT, available for purchase the first half of 2012) allows two BigIron RX chassis to appear as one, so aggregated links can forward traffic to either chassis, resulting in higher network utilization and sub-second failover in case of a link or node failure.

Virtual Machine Mobility

  • Seamless vMotion support across server racks and port speeds ensures no disruption or downtime to application availability. Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is immediately updated in the system upon receiving a gratuitous ARP request from vSwitch when the virtual machine moves.

Robust Layer 3 Feature Set

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

  • BGPv4: Scalable to 2 million routes, 500 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 IPv4 and 64,000 IPv6 routes for wire-speed routing performance.
  • Policy-Based Routing (PBR): Supports 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 Series 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 Series also supports Brocade Metro Ring Protocol (MRP) for sub-second service restoration in ring topologies as well as Multi-Chassis Trunking (MCT, available for purchase the first half of 2012) for sub-second link/node failover. 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 failover 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 failover for mesh topologies in which redundant switches provide backup 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 (such as load distribution).
  • Per VLAN Group Spanning Tree (PVGST): Dramatically improves VLAN scalability by servicing up to 4096 VLANs with two to 16 STPs or Rapid STP (RSTP) group instances.
  • Topology Groups: Dramatically improves Layer 2 control protocol scalability by allowing a few instances of STP, RSTP, MRP, or VSRP to control large groups of VLANs.
  • 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.
  • Multi-Chassis Trunking (MCT, available for purchase the first half of 2012): Provides fast link and node failover protection while simultaneously maximizing network utilization. Also, it eliminates the need for spanning tree while enabling efficient usage of network resources through active-active load balancing.

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: Consistently low latency for strict priority applications such as Voice over IP (VoIP), High-Performance Computing (HPC), 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 an 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.

Brocade IronShield Security

  • Single interface for Wire-Speed Extended IPv4 and IPv6 Layer 2, Layer 3, and Layer 4 Access Controls Lists (ACLs): Controls packet forwarding and restricts access to the system management interface, while providing wire-speed switching and routing:
    • Extensible ACL Implementation for Layer 3 and Layer 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: Supports up to 8000 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, MacAuth, 802.1x, RADIUS, TACACS, and TACACS+ prevents unauthorized network access.
  • 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.

Continuous System Monitoring

  • Increasing system availability and averting failure before it occurs are key to ensuring maximum network uptime and application availability. Continuous System Monitoring (CSM) is a tool that runs in the background and monitors specific hardware components on all line cards, switch fabrics, and management modules. It uses both polling and interrupt methods to gather information about the system. If a failure is detected, an alarm entry is placed in the syslog, allowing IT administrators to take action. CSM will shut down, reset, or redirect traffic depending on the failure type.

Brocade BigIron RX Series Resources

Browse a complete listing of all Brocade resources. View All Resources


This guide describes the software features supported on the BigIron RX Series Switch and the CLI commands used to configure them.


This guide describes the BigIron RX Series Switch. It provides procedures for installing the interface modules, power supplies, and other components of the switch.


This document contains the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) Management Information Base (MIB) objects that are supported on devices.