INTEROP - Extreme tops off data center rack

Summit X650 10G switch designed for migration, stacking

Extreme Networks this week threw its hat into the 10Gbps top of rack data center switching fray with a product that's designed to offer a migration path from 1Gbps and can scale through stacking.

Extreme's Summit X650 is a 24-port non-blocking 10 Gigabit Ethernet fixed configuration switch that measures 1RU. It joins recent rollouts from Blade Network Technologies and Cisco.

Extreme unveiled the SummitX650 at the Interop 2008 conference and exhibition.

The Summit X650 switch can support as many as 32 10 Gigabit ports on a single system, or as many as 256 ports in a stacked system, Extreme says. Through switch stacking, the Summit X650 can attain a total throughput performance of 512Gbps, the company says.

It supports 10GBASE-T copper or SFP+ fiber interfaces.

The switch features a slot for Versatile Interface Modules, which allow customers to stack both 10 Gigabit Summit X650 switches and existing Summit X450 Gigabit switches within the same stack. This is intended for 1G to 10G migration and investment protection, Extreme says.

Some competitive differentiators include the absence of FibreChannel over Ethernet gateway capabilities, which both the Blade and Cisco top of rack switches support in order to provide a converged data center switching fabric for both server and storage resources.

Extreme supports FCoE transport capabilities only.

Extreme also says it intends to support "lossless" Ethernet in the future. Lossless Ethernet, or Converged Enhanced Ethernet, is an emerging standard to carry FCoE storage traffic across Ethernet networks using flow-control and congestion-notification, and is supported on both the Blade and Cisco switches.

Extreme says it supports "best in industry Quality of Service" to guarantee packet transmission.

As for server and storage virtualization, Extreme indicated it may have some partnerships lined up to soon add virtual machine capabilities to its ExtremeXOS switch operating system software. This would allow the switches to set bandwidth, virtual LANs, security policies and other network parameters for an entire rack of servers -- regardless of the number or type of servers -- and enable the switches to add, remove or replace servers without reassigning addresses or network and security policies.

The Summit X650 switch will be available in the fourth quarter. Pricing starts at US$19,995.

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