Foundry Networks Inc. is turning up the heat in an effort to deliver more intelligence at the edge of the network and reduce the cost of 10 Gigabit Ethernet in the core with the launch of its new SuperX series of Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches.
With the release, the San Jose, Calif., company is looking to change network architecture by delivering lower cost, greater density, flexibility, intelligence for security and support for VOIP (voice over IP) in a form factor that can serve both the edge of the network as well as the core of smaller networks.
Foundry, along with rival Extreme Networks Inc., claims it is no longer necessary to build three-tier networks. In the past, "you put in a midrange aggregation layer to lessen the burden on the backbone and reduce the amount of expensive backbone ports required," said Ken Chang, vice president and general manager of Foundrys enterprise business unit. "With [10 Gigabit Ethernet] prices coming down and edge switch capacity going up, you can have a two-tier network."
In its SuperX series, Foundry added edge, core and enterprise/metro models. Each model provides a compact six-rack-unit chassis that uses half-width modules that can be mixed and matched to support a range of connectivity. That includes wireless, 10/100/1,000M-bps Ethernet, 10/100/1,000M-bps POE (power over Ethernet), Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.
Foundry, with its new FastIron SuperX switch, hopes to unseat Cisco Systems Inc.s Catalyst 4500 switch at the edge of the network.
"Our switch is low-cost and versatile enough to deploy at the edge or the core, so the customer doesnt have to buy a different switch with different interface and a different set of spares for each environment," said Chang.
The TurboIron SuperX in the core provides up to 128 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports operating at wire speed for $2,500 per port. It can be upgraded to full Layer 3 routing, which includes Border Gateway Protocol support.
"$2,500 per port for 10 Gigabit Ethernet is extremely aggressive," said Joshua Johnson, an analyst with Synergy Research Group Inc., in Scottsdale, Ariz. "If they can bring down the cost of the switch module, that lessens the pain."
The BigIron SuperX as an enterprise and metro backbone switch supports high-density Gigabit Ethernet fiber, as many as 16 10 Gigabit Ethernet fiber links, and a routing processor and modules that can handle more routes for the backbone.
The FastIron SuperX and TurboIron SuperX are available now. The BigIron SuperX is due in March.