Extreme Networks is rolling out its BlackDiamond 8900-Series modules, which offer scalability and flexibility in 1GbE and 10GbE data center environments. Extreme officials say the modules offer better density, cost and energy efficiency than competing products from vendors such as Cisco and Juniper. Like companies such as HP, Juniper and 3Com, Extreme sees changes in the data center and economic pressures forcing enterprises to consider alternatives to Cisco.
Extreme Networks is putting the final touches on its Ethernet data
center strategy with the rollout of the BlackDiamond 8900-Series
The BlackDiamond 8900-Series modules for Extreme's BlackDiamond
Series 8800 switches include a 24-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet card,
96-port 1GbE card and 128/80 Gigabit-per-slot fabric.
The products were announced May 11 and will be demonstrated by Extreme at the Interop 2009 conference in Las Vegas May 17-21.
Company officials said the products come as changes continue to come
in the data center and as IT departments under pressure from the global
recession and increasing business demands begin looking for
alternatives to dominant networking vendor Cisco Systems.
In the data center, virtualization, multicore processing and blade
servers are ramping up the density of the computing environment, said
Kevin Ryan, senior director of data center solutions for Extreme.
"Data center and enterprise customers are looking to get a lot more density in the data center," Ryan said.
Where once IT administrators were putting anywhere from three to 10
virtual machines on a single physical server, now that number is
climbing to as high as 50 VMs, he said. That type of density, plus the
rapidly increasing amount of data that needs to be stored, and the
growth of resource-intensive applications as high-definition video,
unified communications and Web 2.0 social platforms are driving the
demand for 10GbE in the data center.
Several analyst firms agree with that view. In March, Infonetics Research and Dell'Oro Group both issued reports
essentially said while the overall Ethernet switch market was down, the
10GbE switch space would still see positive revenue and port growth in
However, Ryan said the move to 10GbE was still in a transition
phase, which is fueling demand for products that offer flexibility.
"Ten Gigabit Ethernet is taking off," he said. "But there's still a mix of 1 and 10G."
Extreme is delivering that flexibility, Ryan said. The BlackDiamond
8900-Series modules offer 10GbE and 1GbE ports, and can scale up to 582
10GbE ports in a single rack. Overall, the 8800 Series switches offer a
single and modular operating system in the ExtremeXOS and quick
integration and automation of network environments through the
company's Universal Port.
In addition, the vendor has enabled XML, CLI (command-line
interface) and SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) interfaces
through its EPICenter management tool.
The 8900-Series modules, which can fit into Extreme's 8806 or 8810
chasses, also offer energy efficiency though dynamic energy management
features. For example, the modules can go into hibernation mode during
off-peak hours, reducing power consumption by up to 70 percent.
Such capabilities are key differentiators for Extreme from its
competitors, in particular Cisco, Ryan said. Cisco has multiple OSes
for its myriad offerings, which "creates a lot of complexity that leads
to a lot of problems," he said.
Extreme isn't the only networking vendor to sense some vulnerability
in Cisco's dominance, thanks in large part to the recession, as well as
Cisco's push into other areas of the data center, such as servers,
through its Unified Computing System initiative.
Juniper Networks and Hewlett-Packard have been making strong plays in the space, and one-time network giant 3Com
May 11 that it was making a push back into the global enterprise
networking space on the strength of its H3C business in China.
Extreme's Ryan said the recession is forcing enterprises to closely
scrutinize their IT spending and to look for alternatives as ways to
increase efficiencies and save money.
As a result, Extreme is finding new business opportunities, he said.
"We're seeing that we're being considered in [enterprise] proposals that maybe 18 months ago we wouldn't be in," Ryan said.
With its BlackDiamond platform, "we've been able make the
performance [of its offerings] very high and keep the costs very low,"
Extreme officials claim that their 8900-Series modules beat Cisco
and other competitors in bandwidth per line card, 10GbE port density
and cost of acquisition.
Extreme's BlackDiamond 8900-Series modules will be available this quarter, starting at $24,995.