Feeds

Force10 adds rack-topping Gigabit switch

Fat buffers for virt servers

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Force10 Networks has been flattening out and speeding up networks since its was founded over a decade ago, and today it is fleshing out its product line with a server virtualization–friendly top-of-rack Gigabit Ethernet switch called the S60.

There are plenty of Gigabit Ethernet switches out there, but Steve Garrison, vice president of marketing at Force10, says his company has studied the issues involving switches that cope with virtualized server network traffic and figured that there was room for one more with some different features.

While 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches are getting traction, in the top-of-rack (ToR) area — which Garrison says is the hot spot in the data center these days as companies begin to think at the rack level, not the individual server level — it is plain old Gigabit Ethernet that has the lion's share of the market, with over 90 per cent of ToR switch ports shipped in 2009, according to stats from networking-market watcher Dell'Oro Group.

Companies are deploying Gigabit Ethernet switches at the tops of their server racks, but the problem is that the increasing utilization of servers creates "rogue waves" on the network ports that can quickly swamp Gigabit Ethernet switches. The more VMs you add to a server, which is made possible by the addition of more CPU cores, memory, and I/O bandwidth in the iron, the better chance you have of creating a rogue wave of server traffic that can overwhelm the switch.

A port coming out of the server and going into the switch might burn only 10Mb/sec of bandwidth supporting two virtual machines, but when you push it up to four to ten VMs, you're talking somewhere around 200Mb/sec with spikes that get a bit higher than that, and once you are up to 20 VMs you're pushing Gigabit speeds with spikes that can be significantly higher due to the "bursty" nature of multimedia and storage applications running in the data center these days.

The fix for congestion is not necessarily to move to 10 Gigabit switches, according to Force10, but rather to push line rates in a Gigabit switch and give the device ultra-deep buffering to cope with those momentary rogue waves on the network.

That's what the S60 switch does. The switch comes in a 1U chassis with 44 ports (which support 10Mbit, 100Mbit, and Gigabit speeds) and four SPF+ Gigabit ports, as well as offering two high-speed expansion slots for adding up to four 10 Gigabit uplinks or stacking interfaces. Up to twelve S60 switches can be stacked, lashed together, and managed as a single switch.

The S60 has front-to-back airflow and redundant power supplies (AC or DC), which data centers want these days, and only burns 156 watts, which is a lot less than competing ToR switches — many of which are 10 Gigabit products, admittedly.

The S60 also has 1.25GB of deep packet buffering, which compared favorably to the 768MB in Arista Network's 7048 switch and the 16MB in Cisco Systems' 4948-10GE switch. The Force10 Operating System (FTOS) inside the switch can partition up the packet buffers on the fly and allocate more or less buffer to specific ports as traffic conditions require.

The S60 delivers 120 million packets per second of forwarding capacity and has a switch fabric capacity of 136Gb/sec, too, which is on par with other switches topping off racks.

The S60 top-of-rack switch is being tested at 17 hyperscale customers now and will begin shipping on June 30. The base unit (not including uplinks and stacking modules) costs $10,595. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.