Foundry Networks Inc. on Monday launched its next-generation terabit switching architecture and the first two products that implement the high-performance hardware architecture.
The foundation of the architecture is 10Gbps Ethernet technology, which will be targeted at both enterprises as well as service providers for LAN, MAN and WAN applications.
“The next generation switching products will be 40Gbps ready, which we believe will be the next performance plateau,” said Ken Cheng, general manager of Foundrys enterprise business unit in San Jose, Calif. Cheng pointed out that the IEEE has already begun to form committees to work on developing a standard for 40Gb Ethernet.
Foundry achieved several advancements in its next-generation switching platform to take it beyond the markets current high-end switching platforms. Its application specific integrated circuit chipset, dubbed Terathon, contains 80 million transistors on a single chip. The architecture also uses 3.125 Gigahertz serialization to build very fast serial connections for the switching fabric. Foundry also employed fully programmable gate arrays to bring programmability to the hardware architecture and exploited advancements in optical interface technologies to allow for higher density chassis, according to Cheng.
Although Foundry has upped the ante among high-performance switching providers, it has not changed the competitive landscape with its new architecture, believes Zeus Kerravala, vice president of infrastructure at The Yankee Group Inc. in Boston.
“Foundry is still the high-end alternative to Cisco. Theyve solidified themselves as the viable alternative at the high end,” he said.
With the new architecture, Foundry is targeting grid or cluster computing installations, server farms that employ Gigabit Ethernet server interfaces, universities with large campuses and as a means to interconnect islands of storage area networks as well as ISP metro networks and WAN applications.
The first of several planned products based on the architecture include the new BigIron MG8 backbone Layer 2/3 switch, which supports the full 1.28 terabits per second switching capacity and provides 32 ports per system.
The BigIron MG8, targeted at enterprises, offers a number of features for high availability, including hot-swappable power suppliers, hot-pluggable interface modules, redundant management modules with fast failover and IEEE 802.3ad link aggregation.
It also offers 802.1Q rapid spanning tree Layer 2 switching, can maintain 200 peers and 2 million routes based on Border Gateway Protocol 4.0, supports a variety of multicast protocols and includes several security mechanisms.
“They havent ventured too far into the router space, or done a lot of different things with security. Their focus has allowed them to make a very good switch. Theyre like the Juniper of switching. If you wanted to build a best of breed network, youd use Foundry for switching and Juniper for routing,” said Kerravala.
For Internet Service Providers, Foundry announced the NetIron 40G metro router, which also supports 32 ports per system and 1.28 terabits per second capacity. It will differ from the BigIron MG8 in its management and interface modules. Its management modules can scale to 4 million BGP routes, and its interface modules can scale to 512,000 IP routes.
The switches are due out later this summer.