Foundry Cranks Up FastIron

The company's latest fixed-configuration switch rolls out the big IPv4/IPv6 numbers

Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

April 24, 2008

2 Min Read
Foundry Cranks Up FastIron

Determined to add more and more letters to its product names, Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) is supplementing the FastIron switch series with a line it's calling FastIron Edge XE.

OK, there's more going on than that. What Foundry's doing is packing more throughput and memory into fixed-configuration switches, calling the result the FastIron Edge XE line (FES-XE for short).

It's part of the FastIron X series of switches being launched today, which also includes the SuperX and FESX lines. (See Foundry Upgrades.)

The new FES-XE models can carry as many as 512,000 IPv4 routes or 64,000 IPv6 routes. These are switches 1.5 rack units tall, so they're not meant to compare with monster core routers. Foundry is targeting the FES-XE line at bigger enterprise networks and at service providers.

Foundry says the most comparable boxes are the likes of the Procurve line from HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), the higher-end EX switches from Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), the Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) X450, and the ME 6500 metro Ethernet line from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Juniper Storms Into Ethernet Switching, Extreme Adds Switches, and Cisco Updates Portfolio.)

How's it compare? Foundry, unsurprisingly, claims it beats out everyone with those routing numbers, although there's some give-and-take. The ME 6500 handles 256,000 IPv4 routes and 128,000 IPv6 routes, according to Foundry, so that comparison is a mixed bag. (Cisco wasn't immediately available for comment.) Foundry also says it outdoes most of the competition by providing at least 88 million to 136 million packets per second of throughput.

"There are probably some pros and cons in the comparison, like some of the Cisco ME switches have extensive EoMPLS [Ethernet over Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)] support, but in terms of the specific claim about route scalability with respect to this class of switch/routers then it seems reasonable," writes analyst Mark Seery of Ovum RHK Inc. , in an email to Light Reading.

The FES-XEs come with 24 or 48 ports of Gigabit Ethernet, with two 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports available in an expansion module.

Now, it's true that an Internet router doesn't generally need more than 256,000 routes -- that's basically The Internet right there. The bigger number just reflects how much memory space the router has for other tasks like virtual routers or Layer 2 protocols.

"There are many features on the box that all share memory. The DRAM on the box is not just for routers," says Ishrat Nadeem Zahid, Foundry product marketing manager.

The FES-XEs are due to ship in May at prices around $15,000 and up.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Craig Matsumoto

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Yes, THAT Craig Matsumoto – who used to be at Light Reading from 2002 until 2013 and then went away and did other stuff and now HE'S BACK! As Editor-in-Chief. Go Craig!!

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