Extreme Shows Off 40GbE, 100GbE Networking Switch Modules

At the SC12 supercomputing show, Extreme officials also announced that the company will support SDN offerings from Big Switch Networks.

Extreme Networks is adding 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet modules to its high-end BlackDiamond X8 networking switch while also extending support for software-defined networking solutions unveiled by Big Switch Networks Nov. 13.

The 100/40GbE XL modules are designed to bring greater scale to the BlackDiamond X8 switch, which was introduced last year as the cornerstone of Extreme’s Open Fabric solution for highly virtualized data centers and SDN environments. The 12-port 40GbE module and four-port 100GbE module are aimed at environments where performance, density and power efficiency are key, supporting up to 1 million routes, virtual machines and flow entries coming into the network, according to Extreme officials.

The new modules were announced Nov. 13, and Extreme is showing them off this week at the SC12 supercomputing show in Salt Lake City.

The new modules put Extreme into further competition with the likes of Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Brocade and Huawei Technologies, all of whom already offer 100GbE switch modules. In high-traffic environments like high-performance computing (HPC), cloud and virtualized data centers, having switches that can handle the traffic is important, according to Zeus Kerravala, principle analyst with ZK Research.

“The need for these modules should be clear to all in the right environments,” Kerravala wrote in a Nov. 14 blog post on the Network World site. “In some recent research that I have done, the No. 1 issue with being more aggressive with server virtualization is that the network can’t handle the amount of traffic generated. [Extreme’s new modules give] the network the performance it needs to support the high scale created from cloud and virtual computing. While this kind of scale isn’t for everyone, it is important for Internet Exchange Centers and Service Providers where multi-tenant networks and million route entries are the norm.”

Extreme officials said the ability to scale to a million route entries, addresses and flows, and to segment multi-tenant networks with Layer 2 broadcast domains are important in creating the next generation of networks for these data centers.

Customer trials for the 40GbE and 100GbE modules will begin next year, with 40GbE modules starting at $6,000 per port and 100GbE modules starting at $35,000 per port.

In addition to the new BlackDiamond X8 modules, company officials also announced that they will support two SDN applications from Big Switch Networks in their ExtremeXOS operating system, which runs across Extreme’s networking portfolio. The company will support Big Switch’s Big Tap application, which can be used to monitor traffic across the network and gain greater visibility into that traffic through its flow filtering capability.

Extreme also will support Big Switch’s Big Virtual Switch, which helps virtualize the network by provisioning what Big Switch officials call Virtual Network Segments—multiple logic networks across the stack. According to Big Switch officials, the software improves the utilization of computing resources by 25 to 50 percent, and enables organizations to put 50 percent more virtual machines into servers, driving down power and cooling costs.