Force10 fortifies data centers with new switch

Claims 100G per slot capacity.

Force10 Networks this week unveiled a new line of switch/routers designed to improve the performance, management and cost effectiveness of virtualized data center and cloud computing environments.

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The ExaScale E-Series supports 140 line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ ports in a half-rack chassis. Force10 claims the new switch delivers 100Gbps of useable data capacity per slot.

The switch is also available in a one-third rack configuration.

The ExaScale E-Series will go up against Cisco's Catalyst 6509 and Nexus 7010 switches; Brocade's MLX-32; and Juniper's EX 8216. Of those, Force10's 10 Gigabit Ethernet density is less than only the Nexus 7010, but Force10 claims all of its 140 ports are wire-speed, compared to 32 on the Nexus 7010.

The ExaScale E-Series delivers total throughput of more than 2 billion packets per second across a switching fabric capacity of up to 3.5Tbps, or 250Gbps full duplex per slot. The switch also supports IPv4 unicast and multicast routing, and is "IPv6 ready" for native and dual stack next-generation IP networks

Even though Force10 is targeting Cisco's Nexus 7010 switch, the ExaScale E-Series will not fully compete head-to-head with the system, which is also marketed by Cisco as a unified data center switching fabric system."This is not a converged fabric switch," says Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala of the ExaScale E-Series. "This is more for the virtual environment. It's designed for low latency and high bandwidth for virtual machines."

The ExaScale E-Series is also "MPLS ready" with VPN functionality, and also 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet ready, Force10 says.

Using patented techniques in backplane and chip design, as well as custom designed power components, Force10 says it can reduce overall system power consumption and lower per port consumption by as much as 70% on the ExaScale E-Series. The switch can also modify buffer depths according to specific application requirements, enabling users to tune for peak application performance, independent of network load, Force10 says.

The ExaScale E-Series is the foundation for Force10's Virtualization Framework. The Virtualization Framework is designed to ease the management of virtualized data centers through real-time network traffic analysis, management and architectural tools such as Force10's VirtualControl, VirtualScale and VirtualView software.

In addition to virtualized data centers and cloud computing networks, the ExaScale E-Series is targeted at high-performance computing networks with non-blocking and deterministic management and storage I/O requirements; and high-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching and routing in Layer 2 and IP core or aggregation networks.

The half-rack Force10 ExaScale E1200i chassis bundle starts at $89,000 and is available now. The one-third rack ExaScale E600i chassis bundle starts at $63,500 and is scheduled for third quarter availability.

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