Extreme Networks Unveils Scalable Switches for Virtualized Data Centers

Extreme Networks' new BlackDiamond 8900-xl and Summit X480 switches are a key part of the company's larger strategy for highly virtualized data centers and cloud environments, offering enterprises and managed hosting businesses the performance and scalability as they rapidly increase the number of virtual machines.

Extreme Networks officials are pushing forward on their strategy for the data center of the future, rolling out two new high-end switches that they say will offer the performance and scalability necessary for highly virtualized environments.

The new BlackDiamond 8900-xl modules and Summit X480 stackable switches, introduced Jan. 26, bring high-end core switching offerings to Extreme's portfolio, which includes the BlackDiamond 8900 series and Summit X450a and X650 products.

The new switching modules, aimed at managed hosting site and enterprise data centers, come as the number of virtual machines in the data center are expected to grow rapidly over the next few years, particularly as IT administrators look to increase the number of VMs on individual physical servers, Shehzad Merchant, senior director of strategy for Extreme, said in an interview.

Where many enterprises are now running eight VMs on a single physical system, the norm will grow to 16, 32 and more over the next few years, Merchant said. This will put greater demand for scalability and performance on the physical networking infrastructure.

"Data centers are really pressing the limits of where they are today, and it's important that the infrastructure can scale up to meet" the demand for greater scalability and lower costs, he said.

The BlackDiamond 8900-xl offers a line speed of 128G bits per line card, and includes Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet solutions. It also is ready for when 40GbE and 100GbE come to the data center, which is still probably several years away, Merchant said.

The new core switching modules double the Layer 2 and Layer 3 table sizes, and the improved performance and bandwidth capabilities will enable businesses to minimize the number of networking tiers while still handling the growing number of VMs in the data center.

The 48-port Summit X480 10/100/1000 switch offers a flexible stacking architecture that lets users put up to eight switches in a single chassis, supports large-scale virtualization environments and has a slot for a 40GbE uplink.

Merchant said most data centers are running Gigabit Ethernet now, but the move to 10GbE will happen quickly, as will the transition to 40GbE.

At the Gartner Data Center conference in December, Extreme officials outlined their strategy for helping businesses migrate to more highly virtualized data centers and cloud infrastructures.

In their blueprint, the physical and virtual networking layers become increasingly important for tracking and managing VMs as they move across the network, they said.