Extreme Switches To Target Virtualised Data Centres And Cloud

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

Extreme releases Ethernet switches offering greater flexibility in virtualised and cloud computing environments

Extreme Networks is 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 virtualised data centres.

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

Flexible Options For Differing Environments

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

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

The switches can be used at the network edge to help employees’ devices connect to the network, as network aggregation switches, or as top-of-rack switches in data centres. At the campus level, the X460 enables up to six switches to be stacked, with those switches deployed in a virtual chassis configuration and able to link to other switches or switch stacks 40 kilometres away, according to the company.

The X460 family gives businesses the flexibility to build a virtual chassis within a rack, across racks or over long distances, deploying up to eight switches in a virtual chassis. The choices include either 40Gbits/s through Extreme’s SummitStack module, 80Gbits/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 are also designed to help businesses move to virtualised and cloud computing environments by supporting Extreme’s “Direct Attach” data centre architecture, designed to offload server-based switching onto the module. Extreme officials introduced Direct Attach at the Interop 2010 show in April as part of its larger overall data centre strategy unveiled in December 2009.

Direct Attach is designed to simplify the management of virtualised environments by taking virtual switches, which are normally 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.