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Ethernet equipment

Extreme Goes Big on Ethernet

Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) is announcing a really big switch on Tuesday, posing the question: Instead of working so hard to make the network look like one big switch, why not just offer one really big switch?

Extreme's new BlackDiamond X8, fitting in one-third of a 7-foot rack, supports 768 10Gbit/s ports or 192 40Gbit/s ports. It can handle 1.28 Tbit/s in each of eight slots and has a latency of less than 3 microseconds port-to-port, the company claims.

Extreme is also announcing the Summit X670 top-of-rack switch, which supports 48 10Gbit/s ports with four 40Gbit/s uplink ports. A second version has 64 10Gbit/s ports and omits the uplinks.

Why this matters
The important thing here is that Extreme is working to keep up with new high-end switches from the likes of Arista Networks Inc.

Ethernet chips are now advanced enough to support a new generation of switches at a time when vendors are starting to peddle data-center overhauls. Consultant Nick Lippis of Lippis Enterprises tested a handful of them last year and noted on Twitter that he knows of eight -- no, nine -- new top-of-rack switches being announced at Interop.

In other words, it's not the time to fall behind, in top-of-rack switches or in the data-center core.

Oh, and the "one big switch" crack? That's really how Extreme is talking about its new product (it's not a Light Reading joke).

For more
Here's more about that new generation of Ethernet switches.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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