BLADE, on heels of IBM buy, pops 40G Ethernet data center switch

BLADE Network Technologies, the data center switch vendor being acquired by IBM, this week unveiled a top-of-rack 10G switch with 40G Ethernet uplinks, making it one of the first vendors to ship the new standard high-speed technology.

Implications of the IBM/BLADE deal to Cisco

BLADE rolled out the G8264, a 1RU data center server access switch with 48 wire-speed 10G ports and four 40G Ethernet uplinks. The uplinks could be used to connect the switch to end-of-row or core data center switches – if they, too, had 40G Ethernet interfaces.

Since virtually all of them do not, the G8264's 40G ports can each be split into four 10G Ethernet interfaces or be used for stacking the G8264. Splitting them into individual 10G interfaces would give the G8264 64 wire-speed 10G ports for an overall switching capacity of 1.28Tbps full-duplex, a rarity in top-of-rack switching.

Each port on the G8264 can support copper or fiber cabling, BLADE says. It features hot-swappable redundant AC and DC power, and fans, front-to-rear and rear-to-front cooling, and 5.8 watts per port of energy consumption.

The switch also supports, or is capable of supporting, data center-specific capabilities for tracking mobile virtual machines, implementing multipath fabrics, Converged Enhanced Ethernet, IETF TRILL, and IGMP and PIM Multicast. The G8264 is also based on a single ASIC, which reduces latency, power, heat and cost compared to multi-ASIC switches, BLADE says.

The G8264 will go up against Cisco's Nexus 5000, Juniper's EX4500, HP's ProCurve 6600, Arista Networks' 7148, Brocade's TurboIron switches and Extreme's Summit X650 – though those latter two only have 24 ports.

The G8264 is priced at $22,500, which works out to $350 per 10G ports and $1,400 per 40G port. The prices do not, however, include SFP+ or QSFP+ optics for the 10G and 40G ports, respectively.

The switch will be available now through BLADE OEMs, which include IBM, HP and NEC.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

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