Extreme X460 Switches Aimed at Virtualized Data Centers, Cloud Environments

Extreme Networks is rolling out a family of Ethernet switches designed to give enterprises greater flexibility in such areas as the campus core, virtualized data centers and cloud computing environments.

Extreme Networks officials are aiming for versatility and scalability in a new family of Ethernet switches that can be deployed anywhere from the edge of the network through campus environments and into virtualized data centers.

The Summit X460 family of Gigabit Ethernet switches, unveiled Oct. 26, is designed to help enterprises address increasingly varied demands on the network, from new applications and mobile workers to new devices and network services, according to the company.

The highly stackable switches all run Extreme's ExtremeXOS operating system, and offer 80 Gbits/s performance up to 100 meters and integrated PoE (power over Ethernet) capabilities. Adding to the flexibility being offered, the switches come in 28-, 48- and 52-port models, and with copper, fiber and PoE, and can be repurposed for a variety of tasks.

The new switches are expected to compete against Cisco Systems' Catalyst 3750-X and the EX4200 switch from Juniper Networks, according to Extreme officials.

The switches can be used in the network edge to help employees and their devices connect to the network, as network aggregation switches, or as top-of-rack switches in data centers, with high-speed 80 Gbits/s cross-stacking at distances up to 100 meters. At the campus level, the X460 enables up to six switches to be stacked, with those switches deployed in a virtual chassis configuration and being able to be linked to other switches or switch stacks 40 kilometers away, according to the company.

The X460 family gives businesses the flexibility to build a virtual chassis within a rack, across racks and over long distances, and deploying up to 8 switches in a virtual chassis. The choices include either 40 Gbits/s through Extreme's SummitStack module, 80 Gbits/s through the new SummitStack-V80 module, or with the ability to use 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

"The campus network is evolving quickly and requires a new class of network switches that are versatile enough for supporting the convergence of voice and video, high-speed aggregation, and serving as a virtual chassis," Harpreet Chadha director of product marketing for Extreme, said in a statement.

The switches also are designed to help businesses move to virtualized and cloud computing environments by supporting Extreme's "Direct Attach" data center architecture, designed to offload server-based switching onto the switch. Extreme officials introduced Direct Attach at the Interop 2010 show in April as part of its larger overall data center strategy that was unveiled in December 2009.

Direct Attach is designed to simplify the management of virtualized environments by taking virtual switches, which normally are embedded in the server, and putting them onto the network.

The new X460 switches will ship in the fourth quarter, with the 28-port models starting at $4,495, and the 48- and 52-port models starting at $6,995.