Extreme upgrades switch software, adds scalability

ExtremeWare XOS Version 11.0

Extreme Networks Inc.

Product summary: Santa Clara, Calif.-based Extreme Monday plans to announce the latest version of the operating system for its switches. Extreme said the upgrade is more scalable than the current Version 10.1, and it supports open application programming interfaces and XML-based data, as well as virtualized switching and routing. The new release will also run on PC-based softswitches from Extreme and other vendors. In addition, it offers improved protection against denial-of-service attacks.

User experience: Over the next two weeks, Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to install Extreme's BlackDiamond 10K core network switches with the latest operating system release in its Santa Clara data center, which runs load and performance tests involving thousands of Sun servers. Version 11.0 looks to be resilient enough to give technicians the ability to reload software test modules without any system downtime, said Dean Nelson, a test lab manager at Sun. "We're an Extreme and Cisco house, but what I needed with the new Extreme OS was scalability and expandability and performance," Nelson said.

Analyst assessment: The biggest value of ExtremeWare 11.0 isn't new functionality but the fact that Extreme is building a flexible operating system that will let development partners easily build applications in areas such as voice over IP and intrusion detection, said IDC analyst Abner Germanow.

-- Other vendors in the market: Cisco Systems Inc. and Foundry Networks Inc., among others.

-- Price: Included with Extreme's switches; the BlackDiamond 10K series starts at US$100,900.

-- Availability: Due for release with the BlackDiamond switches (in photo) in June and with other products later in the year.

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