• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Foundry BigIron MG8

Apr 20, 20043 mins
Network SwitchesNetworking

* The Reviewmeister runs the BigIron MG8 through a variety of performance tests

The Reviewmeister loves big iron – the bigger the better. So  what better product to test than Foundry’s BigIron MG8. And guess what MG stands for – if you guessed Mucho Grande you would be correct.

This baby is a switch that delivers wire-rate throughput on all interfaces of its 10G Ethernet  line cards. Plus it does so with minimal delay and jitter.

The MG8, which includes not only 10G Ethernet interfaces but also a new 40-port Gigabit Ethernet blade, also demonstrated first-rate, quality-of-service (QoS ) enforcement capabilities.

We ran the MG8 through performance tests every which way, including:

* A pure 10G Ethernet setup with four interfaces.

* Between groups of Gigabit Ethernet interfaces exchanging traffic across a 10G Ethernet backbone.

* Within the 40-port Gigabit Ethernet line card.

* Between the 40-port card and four 10G Ethernet interfaces (see How we did it).

Foundry’s best results came during the pure 10G Ethernet tests. The four-port 10G Ethernet module handled small, midsize and large frames at full 10-Gigabit line rate with zero loss.

The MG8 also delivered line-rate performance in our basic backbone test. This configuration tests 10G Ethernet the way it’s most likely to be used – as an aggregation technology for multiple Gigabit Ethernet links.

However, results were less than perfect in tests of Foundry’s 40-port Gigabit Ethernet line card. The late beta version we tested forwarded 64-byte frames at line rate, but dropped 256- and 1,518-byte frames in some tests.

In our 40-port full-mesh tests, the card delivered line-rate throughput with short frames, but throughput with 256-byte frames was equivalent to 96.9% of line rate. When handling 1,518-byte frames, the MG8’s new Gigabit Ethernet blade maxed out at 83% of line rate.

In tests where the 40-port Gigabit Ethernet card exchanged traffic with four 10G Ethernet interfaces – which demonstrates how the switch will perform as part of a 10G Ethernet backbone – the MG8 forwarded 64- and 256-byte frames at line rate. Throughput for 1,518-byte frames fell to the equivalent of 40.2% of line rate.

The MG8 put up impressive delay and jitter numbers, meaning delays will not affect application performance.

In the pure 10G Ethernet tests, the MG8 introduced delay of between 6.8 and 13.9 microsec, depending on frame length.

However, because of a configuration error on our part, we threw 10 times as much traffic at Foundry’s switch as we planned to. Even under these conditions, the MG8 kept delay low and consistent. Jitter was a maximum of 2.5 microsec.

In delay tests of Gigabit Ethernet across a 10G Ethernet backbone, a pair of MG8s held up frames anywhere from 18.4 to 60.2 microsec for short and long frames, respectively.

Within a single 40-port blade, average delay ranged from 7.8 to 24.6 microsec. When moving traffic between the 40-port blade and 10G Ethernet interfaces, delay ranged from 9.3 to 20 microsec.

For the full report, go to