Foundry Networks Inc. hopes to hit a sweet spot for enterprise and service provider networks with a new line of midrange application switches that marry the simplicity of fixed configuration devices to the flexibility and availability of a high-end chassis.
The ServerIronGT E Series layers 4 through 7 switches are designed for network operators looking to balance performance and scalability with lower cost. Included in the three-member addition to the ServerIron family is a dedicated 10 Gigabit Ethernet application switch, among the industrys first, Foundry officials said.
Cisco Systems Inc.s Catalyst 6000 Series with a content switch module can also handle 10G bps, but “if you look at the switch platform dedicated to [layers] 4 through 7, it is true [that Foundry is] the first to bring this level of performance for application switching,” said Cindy Borovick, an analyst at IDC, in Framingham, Mass.
The preprovisioned application switches provide a range of the features found in the ServerIronGT line, including security, high availability, session persistence, Layer 3 routing, Layer 4 load balancing and Layer 7 content switching for a range of applications. They include two- and four-port Gigabit Ethernet switches with a layers 4 through 7 management module, as well as a two-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch with a multiprocessor layers 4 through 7 management module.
ServerIron 400 users at New York-based Right Media LLC would have seriously considered the new E Series switches had they been available earlier, according to Matthew Philips, vice president of technology at the online advertising service provider.
“We look for technologies that are simple yet powerful, flexible and upgradable without having to overspend for what we need today,” Philips said. “Something thats more of an appliance than a chassis product with all kinds of configuration options is definitely interesting.”
Right Media considered rival offerings from Cisco, Nortel Networks Ltd.s Alteon division and NetScaler Inc., but Cisco was “too expensive and complicated,” Philips said. NetScaler was too expensive and focused more on Layer 7 switching, and Alteon didnt offer similar performance, he said.
Content-aware, layers 4 to 7 switches handle link and network information as well as application-level data, including user and device information.
The additional information allows users to employ sophisticated policies to manage traffic and bandwidth and perform finely tuned load balancing, quality-of-service measurements and data access control.
An increasing number of service providers and enterprise users are turning to layers 4 to 7 switching to facilitate virtual server farms and to improve their capacity to handle dynamic and streaming content. The switches also enable the running of e-business applications that require tight control of traffic priority and the security of a VPN.
The E Series line provides hot-swappable and redundant power supplies, hot-swappable modules, and expandable capacity. The ServerIronGT EGx2 two-port Gigabit model can support 50,000 Layer 4 connections per second and can withstand 700,000 Syn attacks per second.
The ServerIronGT EGx4 can support 100,000 Layer 4 connections per second and handle 1.5 million Syn attacks per second.
The ServerIronGT E10x2 supports 150,000 Layer 4 connections per second and can withstand 2.3 million Syn attacks per second.
Each switch has two available slots for expansion, redundant management or direct-attached servers. In addition, each can be deployed with or without existing core Layer 2 switches and routers.
The E Series application switches are due by the middle of next month, and they start at $15,995.
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