Are the commands to configure things like LAG bundles, STP, VLANs, OSPF, MPLS, etc the same between all the platforms or is it different for each? It appears that Brocade uses different OS for each product line.

Put this in comparison to Cisco where most of the configuration for anything on a Catalyst switch and ISRs using classic IOS is the same.

6 Answers 6


Brocade's products come from multiple backgrounds, which is the cause of fragmentation in their command set - ie: their *Iron gear is from their acquisition of Foundry, whereas their fibrechannel products are their core product.

Cisco actually suffers the same problem when you branch out of the core routing/switching arena. Their WAAS products ape IOS, but that's really just a shell on top of the underlying product. The WLCs are off in their own little command structure land. Even the NX-OS gear looks an awful lot like IOS, but it's not definitively identical.


Brocade has actually been moving to a "unified" type OS for their NetIron products, which should work across both the MLX and CES/CER platforms (the replacements for the BigIron/FastIron boxes), so you'll get some of that Cisco behavior, like you're used to. Like Mark said, the NetIron kit is coming from their acquisition of Foundry years ago, but Brocade is still a hardware vendor that doesn't specialize in just networking equipment, so it's unlikely that there will ever be "one OS to rule them all".


For all of the Foundry-legacy products, Brocade's IOS (yes, they call it IOS as well...its not derived from Cisco's IOS, but it does bear some similarities) is very similar...more similar, in my experience, than even Cisco's IOS is.

Its only once you start dealing with the Fiber Channel gear that stuff radically changes.

There are some subtle differences between Brocade/Foundry platforms, but they are really quite minor. I find it much easier to move between the various Brocade/Foundry platforms very, very easy.

  • 1
    They don't call it IOS anywhere, it's IronWare.
    – Niels
    May 28, 2013 at 17:42
  • Yeah, probably for trademark reasons...their IOS always stood for Ironware Operating System, I guess they dropped referring to it as IOS to avoid conflict with Cisco. shrug May 28, 2013 at 18:05
  • Never heard it called IOS. Just Ironware. However it most certainly LOOKS like IOS
    – mellowd
    May 28, 2013 at 18:22

According to my Foundry training instructor from pre-buyout by Brocade, Ironware and IOS both come from the same original university source tree from long ago. Whether or not that's true, I don't know, just what the instructor told us. I do know from personal experience that the FastIron Edge switches command set was near on identical to the BigIron RX series switches (with the exception of protocol vlans, I think). It's been too long since I've touched a NetIron to remember what those are like, but I would expect them to be almost identical as well.

To this day I continually catch myself using the Foundry version of commands on Cisco gear and having to look up the proper syntax.


The configuration and command structure between Brocade XMR/Ironware platform and the 6910 Ethernet Access Switch is VERY different.

IronWare Style

conf t

vlan 555 name Test
 tagged ethe 2/3 ethe 2/10
 router-interface ve 555

interface ethernet 2/3
 port-name Core: 24.r1.test via fiber

interface ve 555
 port-name TestVE
 ip address

EAS 6910 Style


vlan database
vlan 555 name Test media ethernet

interface vlan 555
ip address

interface ethernet 1/1
description Core: 24.r1.test via fiber
switchport ingress-filtering
switchport mode hybrid
switchport allowed vlan add 555 tagged

I'd say "kinda", much like many parts of Cisco's product lines these days the OS' look similar on the outside, but are actually quite different to use and configure.

Some notable inconsistencies in IronWare:

  • Aggregate (bundle / etherchannel) configuration, MLX is different to other platforms
  • Backspace, no I'm not kidding, until mid last year IronWare did not support the normal backspace character when connecting from a *NIX machine. In fact even today it still doesn't work properly.
  • It might be useful to explain how exactly the MLX is different (I can see there being differences based on the fact that the MLX is a multi-stage box) because when setting up your run-of-the-mill LAGs, I don't run into a difference between the MLX and the CES/CER. Also the Backspace issue isn't a Brocade problem, it's a terminal emulator problem. Make sure it's sending Ctrl+H for Backspace. Jun 1, 2013 at 14:12
  • XMR/MLX/CER are pretty much 99% identical. The only differences I've noticed are that a couple of defaults on the CER is different to the chassis boxes. And yes, as long at your terminal emulator is vt100 then backspace isn't an issue
    – mellowd
    Jun 1, 2013 at 15:18

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