Alcatel Lucent Unveils Intelligent 10G Ethernet OmniSwitch

Alcatel-Lucent claims its 10G OmniSwitch 10000 Ethernet switch comes with intelligent management features, fast performance and an attractive price.

Alcatel-Lucent moved into enterprise data switching with a new 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch and an Application Fluent Networks strategy, the company announced on Oct. 12.

A 5T-bps system the can scale up to 256 wire-speed 10G Ethernet ports, the OmniSwitch 10K Modular LAN Chassis is globally available and will face off against Cisco's Nexus and switches from Juniper Networks. The base price for the chassis is $60,000, with 10G ports priced from $1,875 to $2,200.

"Enterprises today are facing an explosion of end-user devices, as well as extremely challenging delivery requirements for real-time sensitive communication applications, such as video conferencing," said Nicolas De Kouchkovsky, Alcatel-Lucent CMO for its Enterprise business, in a statement.

Alcatel-Lucent's Application Fluent Network is optimized to deliver high-quality, real-time applications that result in streamlined operations and lower IT management costs, the company said.

In a nod to its carrier roots, Alcatel-Lucent introduced virtual queuing technology to the OmniSwitch to enable fine-tuned application delivery control that can prioritize traffic. Traffic is queued on the input side and sent across when it is ready, eliminating dropped packets.

"It is no longer enough to just throw bandwidth at the problem. Our OmniSwitch 10K meets the challenge with intelligent management of available resources and applications through simplified network architecture and dynamic policy management," said De Kouchkovsky.

At 16U, the newest member of the OmniSwitch family is a hefty one. The chassis features 12 slots, with eight set aside for line cards. Supported line cards include 32-port 10G SFP+, 48-port Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 copper and 48-port Gigabit Ethernet SFP. Other line cards, including a 16-port 10G SFP+ module with large MPLS forwarding tables, a six- to eight-port 40G Ethernet QSFP+ board, and a two- to four-port 100G Ethernet CFP, are expected in a year, according to Alcatel-Lucent.

Alcatel-Lucent claimed a performance increase of "up to four times" in non-blocking switch capacity, port density and power efficiency. The new OmniSwitch supports redundant chassis management, switching fabric, and AC and DC power supplies, as well as front to back cooling. Energy consumption is a mere 1.5 watts per non-blocking gigabit per second bandwidth, the company said.

The switch also supports flow-based quality of service with variable flow control and virtual output queuing and traffic management based on 5GB per blade of packet buffering. Profile-based policies for user, device, location and application, including those for virtual machines, are available. In other words, IT managers can apply specific policies based on individual users, devices and applications.

The switch also supports dynamic provisioning and tracking of virtual machines and policy-based enforcement of network access control, as well as Ethernet ring protection to improve bandwidth efficiency and utilization.

This is Alcatel-Lucent's first switching platform based on the company's Linux-based AOS 7 network operating system. Previously based on Wind River's VxWorks embedded operating system, Alcatel-Lucent decided to shift AOS to Linux in 2009.

The Application Fluent Network strategy will also feature automatic controls for adjusting application delivery based upon profiles, policies and context. Application Fluent Networks also deliver streamlined operations through automated provisioning and low power consumption, Alcatel-Lucent said.

This is Alcatel-Lucent's first major OmniSwitch announcement since it unveiled the OmniSwitch 9000E two years ago.