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Tolly tests new Force10 switch

Mar 28, 20062 mins

* The Tolly Group tests Force10's S2410 for latency

Timed with Force10 Networks’ release of a fixed-configuration 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch, The Tolly Group released the results of tests of the switch.

Force10 commissioned the group to perform the tests (as usual, I tell you this up front, so factor that into your considerations), which found that the new S2410 switch had zero-loss throughput across all 24 of its 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Tolly also measured the switch’s latency.

Force10 is positioning the S2410 as a device for aggregating servers, both the traditional kind and blade servers. It can also act as a high-speed interconnect for network-attached storage devices, and Force10 is comparing its performance to that of InfiniBand.

The ports can be fiber-based or copper-based (using the 10GBase-CX4 standard for short runs). According to my colleague Phil Hochmuth’s article, you could put the switch between a bank of servers with 10 Gigabit cards and a data center backbone switch, among other configurations.

The Tolly Group tested the switch this month for zero-loss throughput with a variety of frame sizes, and found that it held up for all of them.

The testing group then looked at latency for the different frame sizes. The switch handled 9,216-byte frames – this is a “jumbo,” nonstandard frame size for Ethernet – with 210-nanosecond latency. Frames at 64 bytes each incurred 311 nanoseconds of latency. The latter is the minimum frame size – which means the switch is processing more frames, and you would expect the latency to be higher than for the larger frames.

If you would like to see the full test results, click here.

CORRECTION: Last week I wrote about the many standards efforts going on in the IEEE. I mischaracterized 802.3ap as Ethernet on a switch backplane. None other than IEEE 802.3 Chair Bob Grow wrote to clarify:

“The target isn’t a switch backplane (though implementers may choose to use it to interconnect the internals of a switch). The primary application is for blade servers and ATCA. Typically, the chassis will include a switch blade (possibly with redundancy) and the server or telecommunications blades will include a NIC… What used to be separate boxes (e.g., switch and servers) in a rack connected with standard Ethernet links now become blades in a chassis connected with standard Ethernet links tailored for backplane media.”