Announcements from four vendors this week highlight a growing trend in datacenter networking: the rapid uptake of 10 Gigabit Ethernet to accommodate increasing computational and storage density brought on by application growth, increasing use of blade servers, and large-scale virtualization.
Brocade, Extreme Networks, 3Com, and Force10 Networks are all unveiling new or enhanced products designed to accommodate the growing use of 10 Gigabit Ethernet in datacenters. The products range from a core switch to end-of-row and top-of-rack devices, and modules that support very high-density 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet aggregation.
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Users are deploying 10G Ethernet to aggregate hundreds of Gigabit Ethernet server connections and even linking 10G Ethernet server network-interface cards into the datacenter switching fabric. In fact, 10 Gigabit Ethernet is peaking right now, vendors say, just before 40/100G Ethernet products and standards are expected beginning late this year.
Brocade feels the time is right to unveil its first 10G Ethernet top-of-rack switch. The company's TurboIron 24X is a 1RU device supporting 24 10G Ethernet SFP+ ports and line rate, non-blocking performance of 488Gbps. The TurboIron 24X also features 1/10G Ethernet dual-speed ports to assist users in migrating from Gigabit Ethernet to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and four 10/100/1000Mbps copper for ports shorter range and lower speed server connections.
Brocade says the TurboIron 24X offers a 40 to 65 percent reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) over a five-year period compared with Cisco's Nexus 5000 and 4900M switches, Extreme's X650, and Force10's S2410. These figures include the cost of powering and cooling the switch, according to Brocade.
Brocade also is introducing a stackable switch for campus networks that the company says supports the highest Power over Ethernet (PoE) Plus stackable port density. PoE Plus is an extension of the PoE standard for video support, among other features.
The FastIron CX is available in 24- or 48-port PoE or non-PoE models in a 1RU form factor. It can support as many as 26 PoE Plus ports with redundant power, includes four 100/1000Mbps fiber uplinks, and an optional two-port 10G Ethernet module.
Lastly, Brocade is unveiling an application switch for service providers designed to scale performance and density as datacenters and content demands grow. The ServerIron ADX supports 70Gbps of Layer 4-7 throughput and 16 million Layer 4 transactions per second in a 320Gbps switch fabric. It is available in fixed and chassis configurations with interchangeable modules, Brocade says.
The TurboIron 24X costs $12,000. The FastIron CX costs $5,500 and the ServerIron ADX costs $22,000. All are scheduled to be available in the third quarter.
Instead of new switches, Brocade competitor Extreme is set to unveil new modules for its existing BlackDiamond 8800 chassis that effectively make it into a new switch, which Extreme calls the BlackDiamond 8900.
The modules include a switch fabric card that provides up to 128Gbps per slot on the 8900, Extreme says. They also include a 24-port 10G Ethernet module and a 96-port Gigabit Ethernet card.