Extreme Networks last week unveiled a module for its BlackDiamond switches that lets users keep transmitting data during upgrades or failures, and to retain existing investments in BlackDiamond line cards.Extreme Networks\u00a0last week unveiled a module for its BlackDiamond switches that lets users keep transmitting data during upgrades or failures, and to retain existing investments in BlackDiamond line cards.The MSM-3 module also features a more than fivefold increase in performance over previous-generation BlackDiamond switch fabrics, such as the MSM-64i.The new module completes Extreme's product rollout based on the Triumph ASIC design that\u00a0the vendor announced last spring.Triumph-based switches are intended to provide greater port densities and a raft of new features - such as hardware-based streaming, port-based fault detection and rate shaping - over earlier architectures.For resiliency, MSM-3 supports what the company calls hitless failover, hitless software upgrades, cross-module link aggregation and 10,000 access control lists.Hitless failover, according to Extreme, is zero second downtime between failure of a primary switch fabric and backup to a redundant fabric. Usually, switches incur a 35-second to 2-minute downtime when this occurs, Extreme says.Extreme says hitless software upgrades mean the MSM-3 can continue forwarding traffic even during updates. Network administrators usually take switches offline when performing these tasks.Convenience retailer 7-Eleven has a voice-over-IP (VoIP) network anchored by BlackDiamond switches. The company currently is testing the MSM-3."We tested these new cards while doing FTP [file transfers] and running a video, as well as doing a VoIP call," says Eric Walters, manager of network services for 7-Eleven in Dallas. "We failed over by yanking a card and did not lose any of the traffic. That was very critical for us because we're running VoIP through the middle of the network."Cross-module link aggregation lets users combine any two or more links from any module to form a virtual high-speed trunk. This protects against cable, port and I\/O module failure, Extreme says.For flexibility, the MSM-3 features performance and capacity enhancements to meet various network demands, Extreme says. The switch fabric module can support 360G bit\/sec.This translates into vastly increased performance for tasks such as network address translation, server load balancing, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol relay and Open Shortest Path First routing convergence, Extreme says.On the competitive front, Cisco says its Supervisor 720 switch fabric for the Catalyst 6500 line of switches performs at 720G bit\/sec, and Foundry Networks says its BigIron switches, based on its JetCore ASICs switches, perform at 480G bit\/sec.For simplicity, MSM-3 is backward compatible with previous BlackDiamond line cards, meaning users don't have to discard old line cards and purchase new line cards to extract the benefits of the new switch fabric, Extreme says.The MSM-3 costs $14,000 and will ship later this month.