Foundrys Next-Gen Ethernet Switches Push Performance

The company's new ServerIron GT 10G switches promise network scalability and a small form factor option.

Foundry Networks Inc. continued to sing its network scalability tune on Thursday when it launched the next generation of its ServerIron 10 Gigabit Ethernet Layer 4 through Layer 7 switches.

The new ServerIron GT 10G switches leverage Foundrys fourth-generation application processors to help scale application network performance in the data center beyond what its existing 10 Gigabit Ethernet ServerIron switches can provide.

The switches, targeted at both enterprises and service providers, are intended to help IT meet the increasing performance demands being driven by data center consolidation and the Web-enablement of applications, according to Gopala Tumuluri, director of product marketing for application and security at Foundry in San Jose, Calif.

"We have new application processor subsystems that leverage more advanced Application-Specific Integrated Circuits that are field-programmable," Tumuluri said.

"We can download software to them for more acceleration features and leverage higher performance CPUs to boost performance overall," he said.

The new ServerIronGT C Series switch also brings a new small form factor switch to the line with a two-Rack Unit, three-slot design for space-constrained data centers.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about high-end switches from Foundry.

The extra available slot in the modular C Series switch can be used to increase port density, double performance with a second management module or integrate SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) acceleration.

The new ServerIronGT E Series is a more expandable five-Rack Unit model with four slots.

Both units can handle 200,000 Layer 4 connections per second and 70,000 Layer 7 connections per second, and support denial-of-service protection at gigabit speeds.

It is Foundrys emphasis on high performance and 10 Gigabit Ethernet that sets it apart from competitors, said Nathan Raciborski, chief technology officer and co-founder of Limelight Networks Inc. in Tempe, Ariz. Limelight is a high-performance content delivery network provider focused on digital video, serving customers such as TiVo Inc., Fox, ABC Inc. and CBS Broadcasting Inc.

"People in general got lazy with Layer 4 processors. The excitement in Foundry is that they continue to invest in next-generation processors and functionality. I dont know of a higher-performing Layer 4 switch," Raciborski said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifFoundry adds SSL and Web accelerators to its switching line. Read more here.

But from a feature or function perspective, Foundry is more of a laggard when it comes to the "richness of its software," said Joe Skorupa, an industry analyst at Gartner Inc. in San Jose, Calif.

Both switch models provide server load balancing, content switching, SSL acceleration, HTTP connection offload, application security and high-availability configurations with hitless failover, on top of standard Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching and routing.

Foundry also intends to add HTTP compression in the new models as well as other existing ServerIron models later in the first quarter of this year.

The ServerIron GT C Series and E Series switches are due next month and are priced at $39,995. New SSL acceleration modules with either one or two processors are $9,995 or $17,995.

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