Blade Network Readies Converged Ethernet Switch

At the Interop 2009 show, Blade Networks will roll out a 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch that will be able to support the upcoming Fibre Channel over Ethernet technologies making their way into the data center. Such network convergence on Ethernet is a key step for enterprises preparing to take advantage of cloud computing in next-generation data centers, said Blade Network officials. Other key networking factors are scalable management, switches that offer high bandwidth and lower latency, energy efficiency and massive virtualization capabilities.

Blade Network Technologies is preparing to roll out a new Ethernet switch that can be used for upcoming Fibre Channel over Ethernet networking technologies, a step that company officials say is important as enterprises prepare for cloud computing.

Officials said May 14 the 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch, aimed at IP SANs (storage-area networks) and virtualized environments, will be introduced at the Interop 2009 show in Las Vegas May 17-21.

The new switch, which supports more than 1,000 virtual ports, is part of a growing portfolio of products that Blade Network is building to help businesses make the transition to cloud computing, according to President and CEO Vikram Mehta.

3Com will use Interop to launch its re-entry into enterprise networking.

"As enterprises and cloud providers seek to harness the considerable advantages of cloud computing, their networks must be equipped with five essential attributes-high-bandwidth/low-latency switching, convergence to Ethernet, massive virtualization for agile workloads, scalable management and advanced energy efficiency," Mehta said in a statement.

That effort is part of Blade Network's Cloud Ready Network Architecture, a set of products that the company also will be talking about at Interop.

Blade Network offers a variety of 10GbE switches that meets the high-bandwidth and low-latency criteria, Mehta said, and the new switch addresses the Ethernet convergence need.

Mehta also said that Blade Network's VMready switch software, which supports more than 1,000 virtual switch ports, currently is used in IBM BladeCenter and BladeSystem blades from Hewlett-Packard, and will be available in Blade Network's own RackSwitch switches by the middle of 2009.

Blade Network's SmartConnect and BladeHarmony Manager, which enables IT administrators to manage multiple switches in a stack from a single node, address the scalable management issue, he said. In addition, at Interop, Blade Network will conduct a "Power FaceOff" between its RackSwitch and a comparable switch from Cisco Systems, officials said.