Voltaire Makes Move into Data Center Ethernet Space

A month after announcing an Ethernet initiative to help it gain traction in the data center networking space, Voltaire releases the Vantage 8500 10GbE switch platform. The Vantage 8500 is aimed at virtualized data centers and cloud computing environments, both of which are helping drive the need for the higher bandwidth found with 10GbE and the desire to converge network technologies in the data center.

A month after unveiling an initiative aimed at enabling it to become a player in the data center Ethernet space, Voltaire is rolling out the first of its high-density Ethernet switches.

Voltaire June 8 released the Vantage 8500, a scale-out Layer 2 core 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch that is aimed at enterprise data centers and cloud computing environments.

The Vantage 8500 is designed to give businesses a high-density, highly scalable and efficient switch platform and to give Voltaire greater traction in the burgeoning converged networking space.

The increasing use of such technologies as blade servers, virtualization and Web 2.0 applications is driving the demand for the greater bandwidth that 10GbE can offer. At the same time, enterprises also are looking for ways to drive down networking costs and consolidate the various networking tiers now running throughout their data centers.

Voltaire is expecting that its experience in high-end networking through its history as an InfiniBand supplier will give it an edge in this arena. InfiniBand remains a key technology in HPC (high-performance computing) environments, but 10GbE is where the more lucrative data center market is going. The Vantage 8500 will be an option for those scale-out data centers, according to Asaf Somekh, vice president of marketing for Voltaire.

"Virtualization breaks the old network architecture and creates a need for a new approach to data center networking," Somekh said in a statement. "With virtualization, a three-tiered architecture with oversubscription no longer works-customers need a solution with a non-blocking core that can scale linearly."

The Vantage 8500-which will be available in the second half of 2009-features 288 10GbE ports in a 15U (26.25-inch) chassis, and enables more than 3,400 non-blocking ports in a single switching fabric for greater scalability. Even denser line cards will be offered in future versions, Voltaire officials said.

The switch platform, through software features, also offers capabilities aimed at virtualized and converged data center environments, including the ability for users to manage roaming VM (virtual machine) ports, assign them policies and monitor them as if they were physical systems. Voltaire's management operating system, VT-OS, also offers control of both physical and virtual switch elements.