Foundry Platform Goes Beyond Current Switching

Unveils tools based on new architecture.

Foundry Networks Inc. last week unveiled its next-generation terabit switching architecture along with the first two products that implement the high-performance hardware architecture.

The foundation of the architecture is 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology, and it will be targeted at enterprises as well as service providers for LAN, metropolitan area network and WAN applications.

"The next-generation switching products will be 40G-bps-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 said the IEEE has already begun to form committees to work on developing a standard for 40 Gigabit Ethernet.

Foundry achieved several advances in its new platform to take it beyond current high-end switching. Its chip set, dubbed the Terathon, contains 80 million transistors on a single chip. The architecture uses 3.125GHz serialization to build fast serial connections for the switching fabric. Foundry also employed programmable gate arrays and incorporated advanced optical interface technologies to allow for a higher-density chassis, according to Cheng.

BigIron MG8

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 WANs.

The first of several planned products based on the architecture is the BigIron MG8 backbone Layer 2/3 switch, which supports the full 1.28-terabit-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 supplies, hot-pluggable interface modules, redundant management modules with fast failover and IEEE 802.3ad link aggregation.

For ISPs, Foundry announced the NetIron 40G metro router, which also supports 32 ports per system and 1.28-terabit-per-second capacity. It will differ from the BigIron MG8 in its management and interface modules.

The products are due this summer.