Force10 Networks on Oct. 9 will make its move out of the data center and into the wiring closet when it introduces its first LAN switches for enterprise networks.
The San Jose, Calif., company, a mainstay in many high performance computing and large data center environments, will introduce its new S50V and S25 wiring closet switches.
The pair deliver the same type of resiliency in Force10s high-end E-Series core switches to the enterprise LAN and allow users to build capacity as needed by stacking the fixed-configuration switches.
Up to eight switches can be stacked and managed as a single switch. They provide stacked link aggregation and automatic failover stacking so that if a single switch goes down, the others in the stack continue to operate.
The new 48-port S50V edge switch provides Power over Ethernet on every Gigabit Ethernet port, and the switch provides up to four 10 Gigabit Ethernet optional uplinks. To boost the flexibility of the switch, Force10 included an expansion slot that can accommodate the high-speed 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports or stacking uplinks.
It is priced at $187 per port, which represents a $30 per port premium over Gigabit Ethernet without PoE, according to Steve Garrison, vice president of corporate marketing at Force10.
"People are willing to pay that to use the switch for VOIP or to know that it is future proofed," he asserted.
Existing customers at Purdue University view the new wiring closet switches as "a natural extension for us," said Tim Korb, assistant head of the computer science department in West Lafayette, Ind.
"We worked with them and Cisco, but Force10 had the most exciting product and the best price," he said.
Purdue does not yet run VOIP but plans to in the future. With PoE on every port, "we dont have to worry which port has power," Korb said.
Force10 had greater security in mind when it built its new S25 switch, which provides 24 fiber Gigabit Ethernet ports and four 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks.
It includes port security, IEEE 802.1x authentication and access control lists.
"Unlike copper, fiber is hard to tap, and it could be repurposed for the data center, where this is a lot of fiber," said Garrison.
Industry analyst Abner Germanow doesnt expect to see Force10 Networks displacing incumbent wiring closet switch vendors such as Cisco Systems or Hewlett-Packard, but the new switches will obviate the need for existing customers to go to others for a wiring closet switch.
"If Im a customer and I say to my networking vendor, we like you and we have this other networking project, could you help us with that and my answer is no you have to go to one of my competitors for that, its not such a great position to be in," said Germanow at IDC in Framingham, Mass.
At the same time, the new Force10 edge switches allow the company to better serve smaller data center customers.
"The people that run the data center network at a Yahoo or Google are not the same people who run their enterprise network," Germanow said.
"But when you start going down market and you get into smaller companies, or when you start talking about startups like YouTube that have very significant networking needs in the data center and not terribly significant networking needs in their wiring closets, they want one vendor to do all that."
The new switches, due in December, are priced at $9000 for the S50V and $10,000 for the S25.