DCX 8518 Backbone

Eight Vertical Blade Slots to Provide up to 384 16Gbps Fibre Channel Ports, 16U Rackmount

Products Overview

Build a Foundation for Mission-Critical Applications
Fibre Channel is the traditional and transformational networking solution for mission-critical applications and data. It is the foundation for the virtualized data center with years of deployment and customer success. Brocade DCX Backbones are a family of 8 Gbps Fibre Channel modular network switching platforms that deliver performance, scalability, and reliability for enterprise storage. Brocade DCX Backbones are designed to address the data growth and application demands; enable server, SAN, and data center consolidation; and reduce infrastructure and administrative costs.

Additional highlights include:

  • Provides a highly robust 8 Gbps platform in two modular form factors for enterprise data centers supporting open system and System z environments
  • Maximizes chassis bandwidth, performance, and port density with the industry’s first and only 64-port Fibre Channel blade
  • Delivers over four times the performance of competitive offerings to meet data growth and access demands, expand virtualization, and consolidate resources
  • Delivers five times the energy efficiency of competitive offerings, enabling data centers to support more server and storage equipment
  • Provides a high-density, multiprotocol platform for consolidating server connectivity using emerging DCB and FCoE networking technology
  • Secures and protects data against threats and disasters with plug-in blades for data encryption and SAN extension
  • Enables logical partitioning of platforms and fabrics into virtual data and management domains without sacrificing performance, scalability, security, or reliability

Choice at the Core and at the Edge
Brocade DCX Backbones are available in two modular form factors. Built for large enterprise networks, the 14U Brocade DCX has eight vertical blade slots to provide up to 512 Fibre Channel ports using Brocade-branded 4 Gbps or 8 Gbps SFPs. Built for midsize networks, the 8U Brocade DCX-4S has four horizontal blade slots to provide up to 256 Fibre Channel ports.

Both models feature ultra-high-speed Inter-Chassis Link (ICL) ports to connect up to three backbones, providing extensive scalability and flexibility at the network core without using any Fibre Channel ports. At the network edge, organizations can utilize Brocade 8 Gbps switches, Brocade 48000 Directors, or—for complete backbone-class capabilities—the Brocade DCX-4S.

Highest Performance and Scalability
Both Brocade DCX models provide 256 Gbps of bandwidth per slot. When combined with unique Brocade local switching capabilities—data traffic within the same port group does not consume slot bandwidth—the Brocade DCX family provides over four times the performance of competitive offerings. Performance capabilities include:

  • Brocade DCX:
    • Up to 512 ports(equivalent to 576 with ICLs) at 8 Gbps
    • 4.6 Tbps chassis bandwidth
      • 4.1 Tbps Fibre Channel/FICON ports
      • 512 Gbps ICL bandwidth
    • 256 Gbps bandwidth per slot
  • Brocade DCX-4S:
    • Up to 256 ports (equivalent to 288 with ICLs) at 8 Gbps
    • 2.3 Tbps chassis bandwidth
      • 2.0 Tbps Fibre Channel/FICON ports
      • 256 Gbps ICL bandwidth
    • 256 Gbps bandwidth per slot

Flexible Multiprotocol Architecture
Brocade DCX Backbones include a Virtual Fabrics feature that enables partitioning of a physical SAN into logical fabrics and isolation by application, business group, customer, or traffic type. Optional Fibre Channel Integrated Routing alleviates the need for special-purpose blades or routers to connect servers and storage in separate fabrics.

The Brocade DCX family supports 1/2/4/8 Gbps Fibre Channel and FICON, FCIP, and IPFC. To consolidate server connectivity using Data Center Bridging (DCB) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) in open system environments, the Brocade FCOE10-24 Blade enables a high-density, end-of-row chassis configuration.

Plug-In Security and Disaster Recovery Solutions
The Brocade DCX family enables scalable, high-performance, and cost-effective security and disaster recovery solutions through plug-in blades. Brocade FX8-24 Extension Blades extend replication and backup over IP WAN links with the industry’s first and only 10 Gbps FCIP connectivity.

Intelligent Management
To help maximize network performance and reduce operational expense, Brocade Network Advisor provides intuitive system configuration, comprehensive management, and a topology-centric view across Brocade data center solutions. Brocade Network Advisor Enterprise supports both backbone models, while Brocade Network Advisor Professional (bundled) and Brocade Network Advisor Professional Plus support the Brocade DCX-4S.

Simplified Management and Robust Network Analytics
Brocade Fabric Vision technology provides a breakthrough hardware and software solution that helps simplify monitoring, maximize network availability, and dramatically reduce costs. Featuring innovative monitoring, management, and diagnostic capabilities, Fabric Vision technology enables administrators to avoid problems before they impact operations, helping their organizations meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Fabric Vision technology includes:

  • Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS): Provides a pre-built, policy-based threshold monitoring and alerting tool that simplifies fabric-wide threshold configuration and actions. Administrators can configure multiple fabrics at one time using pre-defined or customized rules and policies for specific ports or switch elements.
  • Fabric Performance Impact (FPI) Monitoring: Uses pre-defined thresholds and alerts in conjunction with MAPS to automatically detect and alert administrators to severe levels of latency and identifies slow drain devices that might impact the network. This feature uses advanced monitoring capabilities and intuitive MAPS dashboard reporting to indicate various latency severity levels, pinpointing exactly which devices are causing or impacted by a bottlenecked port.
  • Dashboards: Provides integrated dashboards that display an overall SAN health view, along with details on out-of-range conditions, to help administrators easily identify trends and quickly pinpoint issues occurring on a switch or in a fabric.
  • Brocade ClearLink Diagnostics: Ensures optical and signal integrity for Gen 5 Fibre Channel optics and cables, simplifying deployment and support of high-performance fabrics. ClearLink Diagnostic Port (D_Port) is an advanced capability of Gen 5 Fibre Channel platforms.
  • Flow Vision: Enables administrators to identify, monitor, and analyze specific application flows in order to simplify troubleshooting, maximize performance, avoid congestion, and optimize resources. Flow Vision includes:
    • Flow Monitor: Provides comprehensive visibility into flows within the fabric, including the ability to automatically learn flows and non-disruptively monitor flow performance. Administrators can monitor all flows from a specific host to multiple targets/LUNs, from multiple hosts to a specific target/LUN, or across a specific ISL. Additionally, they can perform LUN-level monitoring of specific frame types to identify resource contention or congestion that is impacting application performance.
    • Flow Generator: Provides a built-in traffic generator for pre-testing and validating the data center infrastructure—including route verification and integrity of optics, cables, ports, back-end connections, and ISLs—for robustness before deploying applications.
  • Forward Error Correction (FEC): Enables recovery from bit errors in ISLs, enhancing transmission reliability and performance.

Brocade Network Advisor simplifies Gen 5 Fibre Channel management and helps users proactively diagnose and resolve issues to maximize uptime, increase operational efficiency, and reduce costs. The wizard-driven interface dramatically reduces deployment and configuration times by allowing fabrics, switches, and ports to be managed as groups. Customizable dashboards graphically display performance and health indicators out of the box, including all data captured using Brocade Fabric Vision technology. To accelerate troubleshooting, administrators can use dashboard playback to quickly review past events and identify problems in the fabric. In addition, dashboards and reports can be configured to show only the most relevant data, enabling administrators to more efficiently prioritize their actions and maintain network performance.

Energy Efficiency and Reliability
Brocade DCX Backbones are highly efficient at reducing power consumption, cooling, and the carbon footprint in data centers. While providing unmatched performance and scale, Brocade DCX Backbones use less than one watt per Gbps—making them five times more efficient than competitive offerings.

To help minimize downtime costs, the Brocade DCX Backbone family builds upon years of innovation and leverages the core technology of Brocade systems performing at greater than 99.999 percent uptime in the world’s most demanding data centers.


Systems Architecture


  • Single chassis: Up to 512 (Brocade DCX) or 256 (Brocade DCX-4S) 8 Gbps (E, F, FL, M, EX) Fibre Channel ports using up to eight 16-, 32-, 48-, or 64-port Fibre Channel blades
  • Dual-chassis: Up to 1024 (Brocade DCX) or 512 (Brocade DCX-4S) 8 Gbps Fibre Channel ports; ICL ports (four per chassis, copper pin) connect up to two Brocade DCX or Brocade DCX-4S chassis (same models or a mix)
  • Three chassis: Up to 1536 (Brocade DCX) or 768 (Brocade DCX-4S) 8 Gbps Fibre Channel ports; ICL ports (four per chassis, copper pin) connect up to three Brocade DCX or Brocade DCX-4S chassis (same models or a mix)

Control Processor

  • Redundant (active/standby) control processor modules


  • Full fabric architecture of 239 switches

Certified Maximum

  • 6000 active nodes; 56 switches, 19 hops in Brocade FOS fabrics; 31 switches, larger fabrics certified as required

Special-purpose blades

  • Brocade FX8-24 Blade: Provides SAN extension over IP networks (12 8 Gbps Fibre Channel ports with license options providing up to 10 1 GbE ports and up to two 10 GbE ports per blade; up to four blades)
  • Brocade FCOE10-24 Blade: Provides DCB/FCoE connectivity for server I/O consolidation (24 10 GbE DCB ports; up to two blades)


  • Fibre Channel: 1.063 Gbps line speed, full duplex; 2.125 Gbps line speed, full duplex; 4.25 Gbps line speed, full duplex; 8.50 Gbps line speed, full duplex; auto sensing of 1, 2, 4, and 8 Gbps port speeds; optionally programmable 1, 2, 4, and 8 Gbps ports;
  • DCB: 10.0 Gbps line speed, full duplex

ISL Trunking

  • Frame-based trunking with up to eight 8 Gbps ports per ISL trunk; up to 64 Gbps per ISL trunk
  • Exchange-based load balancing across ISLs with DPS included in Brocade Fabric OS

Chassis bandwidth

  • Brocade DCX: 4.6 Tbps per chassis
    (512 ports × 8 Gbps data rate + 512 Gbps ICL bandwidth)
  • Brocade DCX-4S: 2.3 Tbps per chassis
    (256 ports × 8 Gbps data rate + 256 Gbps ICL bandwidth)

Slot bandwidth

  • 256 Gbps (data rate)

Local switching bandwidth

  • 128 Gbps for FC8-16: 16 ports x 8 Gbps (data rate)
  • 256 Gbps for FC8-32: 32 ports x 8 Gbps (data rate)
  • 384 Gbps for FC8-48: 48 ports x 8 Gbps (data rate)
  • 512 Gbps for FC8-64: 64 ports x 8 Gbps (data rate)

ICL bandwidth

  • Brocade DCX: 512 Gbps; four ICLs provide the equivalent of 64 8 Gbps ports
  • Brocade DCX-4S: 256 Gbps; four ICLs provide the equivalent of 32 8 Gbps ports
  • Both models: ICL bandwidth is load-balanced using eight 8-port frame-based trunks and DPS

Switch latency

  • Locally switched ports 700 ns; blade-to-blade latency is 2.1 µsec

Maximum frame size

  • 2112-byte payload

Frame buffers

  • 2048 per 16-port group on 16-, 32-, and 64-port blades and up to 2048 per 24-port group on 48-port blades, dynamically allocated

Classes of service

  • Class 2, Class 3, Class F (inter-switch frames)

Fibre Channel Port types

  • FL_Port, F_Port, M_Port (Mirror Port), E_Port, EX_Port (Fibre Channel Integrated Routing); optional port type control

Data traffic types

  • Fabric switches supporting unicast, multicast (255 groups), and broadcast

Media types

  • 4 Gbps: FC8-16, -32, and -48; blades require Brocade hot-pluggable, Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP), LC connector; 4 Gbps Short-Wavelength Laser (SWL); 4 Gbps Long-Wavelength Laser (LWL); 4 Gbps Extended Long-Wavelength Laser (ELWL)
  • 8 Gbps: FC8-16, -32, and -48; FX8-24; and FS8-18 blades require Brocade hot-pluggable SFP+, LC connector; 8 Gbps SWL; 8 Gbps LWL
  • 8 Gbps: FC8-64 blades require Brocade hot-pluggable mSFP, mSFP LC connector; 8 Gbps SWL only
  • Fibre Channel distance subject to fiber-optic cable and port speed
  • DCB media type: Hot-pluggable, Brocade 10 GbE SFP+ supports any combination of Short-Reach (SR) and Long-Reach (LR) optical transceivers; Brocade copper Twinax cables of one, three, or five meters


  • 1 USB port per control processor for firmware download, support save, and configuration upload/download

Fabric services

  • Advanced Performance Monitoring (including Top Talkers); Adaptive Networking (Ingress Rate Limiting, Traffic Isolation, QoS); BB credit recovery; Bottleneck Detection; Brocade Advanced Zoning (default zoning, port/WWN zoning, broadcast zoning); Dynamic Path Selection (DPS); Extended Fabrics; Fabric Watch; FDMI; Flow Monitor; Frame Redirection; FSPF; Integrated Routing; IPoFC; ISL Trunking; Management Server; Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS); N_Port Trunking; NPIV; NTP v3; Port Fencing; Registered State Change Notification (RSCN); Reliable Commit Service (RCS); Simple Name Server (SNS); Virtual Fabrics (Logical Switch, Logical Fabric)


  • Supports DWDM, CWDM, and FC-SONET devices; FCIP, data compression, Fast Write, read/write Tape Pipelining, QoS, BB credit recovery


  • FICON cascading (FOS: Brocade DCX, DCX-4S; and M-EOS: Brocade DCX only); support for lossless DLS with port-based and exchange-based routing; FICON CUP; Advanced Accelerator for FICON (FICON Global Mirror and XRC emulation and read/write Tape Pipelining). The FC8-64 blade does not support FICON

High Availability

  • Passive backplane; separate and redundant control processor and core switching blades (two of each); redundant WWN cards

Chassis power

  • Two 2000 W AC power supply modules (100 to 240 V auto-sensing), 2N redundancy; Brocade DCX supports two additional power modules


  • Brocade DCX: Three blower assembly modules (two required for operation)
  • Brocade DCX-4S: Two blower assembly modules (one required for operation)

Solution availability

  • Designed to provide 99.999 percent uptime capabilities; hot-pluggable redundant power supplies, fans, WWN cards, processors, core switching, port blades, and optics; online diagnostics; non-disruptive firmware download and activation


  • HTTP, SNMP v1/v3 (FE MIB, FC Management MIB), SSH; Auditing, Syslog; Brocade Advanced Web Tools, Brocade APM, Brocade Fabric Watch; Brocade Network Advisor SAN Enterprise (Brocade DCX, Brocade DCX-4S) or Brocade Network Advisor SAN Professional/Professional Plus (Brocade DCX-4S only); Command Line Interface (CLI); SMI-S compliant; Administrative Domains; trial licenses for add-on capabilities


  • DH-CHAP (between switches and end devices), FIPS 140-2 L2-compliant, HTTPS, IPsec, IP filtering, LDAP, OpenLDAP, Port Binding, RADIUS, Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Secure Copy (SCP), Secure RPC, SSH v2, SSL, Switch Binding, TACACS+, Trusted Switch

Management access

  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet (RJ-45) per control processor, in-band over Fibre Channel; serial port (RJ-45) and one USB per control processor module; call-home integration enabled through Brocade Network Advisor


  • POST and embedded online/offline diagnostics, including RAStrace logging, environmental monitoring, non-disruptive daemon restart, FCping and Pathinfo (FC traceroute), port mirroring (SPAN port), and Rolling Reboot Detection (RRD)

Mechanical Specifications

  • Rear panel-to-door airflow; Brocade DCX-4S ships with 1U exhaust shelf


  • Rack-mountable in a standard 19-inch EIA cabinet


  • Brocade DCX
    Width: 43.74 cm (17.22 in.)
    Height: 61.24 cm (24.11 in., 14U)
    Depth (without door): 61.19 cm (24.09 in.)
    Depth (with door): 73.20 cm (28.82 in.)
  • Brocade DCX-4S
    Width: 43.74 cm (17.22 in.)
    Height: 35.00 cm (13.78 in, 8U) plus 4.37 cm exhaust shelf (1.72 in., 1U)
    Depth without door: 61.19 cm (24.09 in.)
    Depth with door: 73.20 cm (28.82 in.)

System weight

  • Brocade DCX 103.50 kg (228.20 lb) for 512-port configuration fully populated 39.55 kg (82.20 lb) for chassis
  • Brocade DCX-4S 68.04 kg (150.00 lb) for 256-port configuration fully populated 25.76 kg (56.80 lb) for chassis


  • Operating: 0°C to 40° C (32°F to 104°F)
  • Non-operating: –25°C to 70°C (–13° F to 158°F)


  • Operating: 20% to 85% RH non-condensing at 40°C (104°F)
  • Non-operating and storage (non-condensing): 10% to 93% at 70°C (158°F)


  • Up to 3000 meters (9842 feet)


  • Operating: 20 g, 6 ms, half sine
  • Non-operating: 33 g, 11 ms, half sine


  • Operating: 0.5 g p-p, 5 to 500 Hz
  • Non-operating: 2.0 g p-p, 5 to 500 Hz

Heat dissipation

  • Brocade DCX
    Min: 16-port configuration of 504 W, 1720 BTU/hr
    Max: 512-port configuration of 1528 W, 5216 BTU/hr
  • Brocade DCX-4S
    Min: 16-port configuration of 383 W, 1306 BTU/hr
    Max: 256-port configuration of 862 W, 2943 BTU/hr

CO2 emissions

  • Brocade DCX
    5.6 metric tonnes per year (with 512 ports at 0.42 kg/kWh)
    1.4 kg per Gbps per year
  • Brocade DCX-4S
    3.2 metric tonnes per year (with 256 ports at 0.42 kg/kWh)
    1.5 kg per Gbps per year

Supported power range

  • Voltage
    Range: 85 to 264 VAC Auto-volt
    Nominal: 100 to 240 VAC
  • Power
    85 to 132 VAC: 1000 W
    180 to 264 VAC: 2000 W

In-rush current

  • 20 Amps maximum, peak


  • 47 to 63 Hz
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