Cisco Ups 10 Gigabit Ante

Company aims to best Force10 and Foundry.

With 10 Gigabit Ethernet prices coming down and data center performance requirements going up, Cisco Systems is moving to grab broader market acceptance for its high-speed networking technology.

On Sept. 25, Cisco launched a higher-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet module for its Catalyst 6500 that doubles the number of ports, increases performance by 60 percent and reduces the cost per port for its Catalyst 10 Gigabit Ethernet offering by about 30 percent.

Along with the new eight-port, 10 Gigabit Ethernet module, Cisco added the Catalyst Blade Switch 3040 for Fujitsu Siemens Computer servers and created a community interface for users who develop automation scripts based on the Cisco IOS (Internetworking Operating System) Embedded Event Manager to allow the users to share scripts with each other.

To attract data center operators to its switching platforms, Cisco emphasized improved port densities for better scalability, better manageability and greater resiliency, according to Marie Hattar, senior director of network systems marketing at Cisco, in San Jose, Calif.

That message resonates with Cisco data center users at Orbitz Worldwide.

"The way were using their technology provides us with five-nines availability. They allow us to train the staff on the switches in a very effective way. Their software is very reliable and helps us with our operational excellence goals," said Bahman Koohestani, CIO at Chicago-based Orbitz Worldwide.

Cisco equipment was selected for its port density, Koohestani said.

Ciscos modular IOS software, which includes the Embedded Event Manager, can be upgraded without taking a switch out of service, for example.

And although the new module can be over-subscribed, Cisco sought to ensure better availability under heavy loads by increasing the buffer size of the module from 16MB per port to 200MB per port.

With the new Catalyst module, Cisco is hoping to catch competitors such as Force10 Networks and Foundry Networks in the data center, said Zeus Kerravala, industry analyst with The Yankee Group, in Boston.

"Its been primarily a Force10/Foundry race in high-performance computing and data center networking. Cisco has managed to sell product in there as a result of its brand, but they havent had a competitive product until now," Kerravala said.

The Cisco Catalyst Blade Switch 3040 for the Fujitsu Siemens Computers Primergy blade server series chassis joins existing co-branded switch blades for servers from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

The eight-port Catalyst 6500 is available now, and the Catalyst Blade Switch 3040 for Fujitsu Siemens Computer servers is due this month.