Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande'

LAS VEGAS -- Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) will introduce its long-awaited 10-Gbit/s platform, code-named Mucho Grande, at the Network+Interop tradeshow here today.

Bobby Johnson, president and CEO of the company, previewed the announcement last week during the company’s earnings call but gave no details.

Mucho Grande is not a single product. Rather, it’s a suite of products based on a new architecture and chipset. According to Foundry, Mucho Grande increases throughput, density, and footprint on existing 10-Gbit/s systems and has the capacity to support 40 Gbit/s per line card. The first two products in the new family, BigIron MG8 and NetIron 40G, will be showcased here this week.

Foundry’s Johnson stressed the new design in his talk last week. “This is a revolution and not just an evolution," he said. The company's been selling 10-Gbit/s line cards for its BigIron 4000, 8000, and 15000 switches for the past 18 months (see Foundry Intros Next-Gen 10-Gig Ethernet ). But those boxes have been able to support just 8 Gbit/s of throughput per slot via the existing switching backplane. While that speed's been sufficient for most customer needs, Foundry says, the latest suite of products run at full 10-Gbit/s line rates and open the way for the next leap in bandwidth -- to 40 Gbit/s.

Foundry claims the new Mucho Grande chipset is not only faster, but it's more functional, allowing for denser line cards and a more compact chassis. A single unit fits into one third of a seven-foot telecom rack.

Both the BigIron MG8 and the NetIron 40G are eight-slot chassis that provide 32 ports of 10 Gbit/s per box for 96 ports of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet per rack. Each box has a routing capacity of 640 Gbit/s or 1.28 Tbit/s full-duplex switching capacity.

The BigIron MG8 is specifically designed to be used for enterprise applications to offer high performance grid computing, enterprise Gigabit Ethernet aggregation, and network attached storage. It will be released this summer.

The NetIron 40G is an Internet router designed for service provider metro networks. It can be used in scaleable Layer 2 networks and to provide peering services for Internet exchanges. It will be available in the third quarter and competes primarily with the 7600 edge router from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and the ST200 router from Laurel Networks Inc., which recently was enhanced with 10-Gbit/s Ethernet interfaces (see Laurel Targets 10-Gig at the Edge).

The closest competitor to the Mucho Grande architecture in terms of performance and density appears to be Force10 Networks Inc. That vendor's E1200 platform offers 1.2 Tbit/s per box full duplex and supports 28 10-Gbit/s interfaces. In comparison, the Catalyst 6500 from Cisco, which was recently enhanced with denser and higher performing 10-Gbit/s Ethernet modules and reduced per port pricing (see Cisco Takes On 10 GigE Competition), supports 720 Gbit/s of capacity with 16 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports per box. Riverstone Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RSTN), which also recently announced a new platform, supports 320 Gbit/s and 16 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports per device (see Riverstone Fuels 10GigE Price War).

Foundry seems intent on emphasizing performance and future-proofing as key differentiators, particularly against Cisco. “Foundry isn’t competing on price with this announcement,” says Rachna Ahlawat, principal analyst with Gartner/Dataquest. “This is the next generation of product... Customers want to know what is on the road map going forward. These new platforms may not be needed now, but they are the starting point.”

But Foundry isn't alone in focusing on performance, and it faces a formidable roster of competitors who are also picking their spots as high-speed Ethernet switching heats up. Enterasys Networks Inc. (NYSE: ETS) and Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) are expected to make announcements later this year (see Enterasys Taps Tenor Assets ). Extreme also is believed to be working on an entirely new platform that will be able to handle 40 Gbit/s of Ethernet switching per slot (see Extreme Hatches Switch Surprises).

While Foundry's pricing may be a bit higher than some of its competitors, it’s still in the ballpark. The 10-Gbit/s Ethernet four-port line card for the BigIron MG8 has a per-port list price of $21,250, which includes 1310 nanometer Xenpak optics. The NetIron 40G, which also offers four-port line cards, lists for $28,750 per port with the 1310nm Xenpack optics included.

Foundry also has drastically reduced pricing on its existing 10-Gbit/s products. The one-port card lists for $14,995 per port without any optics; a one-port module with Xenpak optics lists for $25,000 per port; and the four-port module with Xenpak optics lists for about $10,000 per port.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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stuartb 12/5/2012 | 12:09:40 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' Between this and the price war started by Riverstone. this probably spells the end of Force10 IMO.

wilecoyote 12/5/2012 | 12:09:39 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' I read this as a positive for Force10. It shows that Cisco, Extreme and Foundry all see the opportunity in 10G and are compelled to pre-announce products. Anyone who doesn't see this is kidding himself and anyone who believes these guys have product is naive. Furthermore, anyone who wants to build from the core of their enterprise with an eye on long term investment, on a re-packaged 65K "may not get fired, but won't get promoted either."

Cisco doesn't have a competitive product for the high end and their announcement proved it. And Mucho Grande is nowhere near being ready. By the time they finish their first trial and ship their first mucho grande for revenue, Force10 will be a $100m company and I/T guy who bet on a product that's twice as large as the E1200 with half the services and much lower GigE density (where all the action is right now--no one needs 30 ports of 10GigE), will look like a dumb ass.

Finishing the chassis is the first step. It will be some time before Foundry has something they can actually ship for revenues.

I bought some of their stock a couple of weeks ago, so I'm betting on them to make a play in 10G. They have to do something before their load balancers run out of gas in the market and Dell/Extreme consumate their deal. I bet Bobby Johnson has something up his sleeve, it's just not mucho grande. I think MG is a red herring for something else they're planning, like an acquisition of a WiFi company for example.

light-headed 12/5/2012 | 12:09:38 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' i thought that "el mucho grande" was just a secret fdry codeword for Bobby's ego.

just kidding... you gotta love the big johnson!
Iipoed 12/5/2012 | 12:09:34 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' WC-astute post, I would like to see Foundry follow your advice on an acquisition, doubtful though.

Having worked there for 4 years I have a great deal of respect for Bobby Johnson. Keep in mind he did not get a degree marketing but is magna cum laude in engineering. In the past Foundry has really not developed any significant partnerships, no reason to think anything will change.

The Mucho Grande is their future, it is not a product, it will develop as the chassis based BigIron did with the fastiron and netiron etc.

Interested to hear on people's response at InterOP this week and their perception of what Foundry was showing
metroshark 12/5/2012 | 12:09:33 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' First, Cisco announced 720Gb/s switch fabric capacity for the new Cat6500 upgrades, even though they admit they can only support 16 10GigE ports at wire-speed.

Not to be outdone, Foundry announces 1.2Tb/s switch fabric capacity, but according to their own marketing material, they might be able to support a maximum of 32 10GigE ports at wire-speed. No mention of whether this requires some local switching on the line card.

Please stop the insanity. Intelligent trade publications like LightReading should be able to force vendors to disclose their capacity numbers using a reliable metric, like full-mesh test performance results.

Dounble counting the fabric bandwidth used ot be a pretty common trick. Now, some vendors are already moving toward a "quardruple counting" metric. If we don't stop this right now, soon, we will see switching fabric capacity quotes in the tens of terabits range as marketing department finds new creative ways of counting bits multiple times to look better in competitive charts.
slickmitzy 12/5/2012 | 12:09:32 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande'
Sorry for my ignorance, but why does the
Cat6k with the new linecards and supervisor 720
not considered as a "real" product ?

Iipoed 12/5/2012 | 12:09:31 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' Go buy some Cisco 6500s. No real redundancy unless you pay an arm and a leg and still its is a blocking architecture. But since you talk like you work for cisco (make no sense and only negative sell) you probably still believe in the Cat 5000 which you cisco guys sold 5 years past the point it was obsolete.

At least with foundry you get straight answers and the only true migration strategy in the industry that is cost effective with no degradation of performance.
True_10_Gig 12/5/2012 | 12:09:31 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' hooooweeee! sumbitch shore did drop a my-t stinky 'un on all dem poor anal-lysts and make-my-stock-go-broker with this ole lead wait. and just what the sam-hell difference is there bewtixt that MG8 and MG40? looks the same, smells the same, runs the same software, uses the same hardware...when we come accross sum-tin down here in the south that looks an smells like horse sh*t, we shore as snot don't eat it cuz we know its sh*t thru-n-thru. still no redundency. what service provider worth his salt is gonna stick one of these here inta his network. wha happ'ns when the switch fabric fails? wha happ'ns when the management module fails? how long it take dat system to reboot and make the network all stable like? i jest don't by it. nope, i jest don't by it at tall.
fabric_man 12/5/2012 | 12:09:30 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' 100% agree - this is out-of-control marketing and makes the whole industry look bad. Homey don't play that.

When's the last time you talked to a customer when you *didn't* have to say "this is Cisco math" or "this isn't Cisco math"? It takes two minutes per meeting to explain that I'm not double-counting or, God forbid, quadruple-counting the numbers. If I had a dollar for each of those two minutes, I could retire now.

Sheesh ...

- fabric_man

Please stop the insanity. Intelligent trade publications like LightReading should be able to force vendors to disclose their capacity numbers using a reliable metric, like full-mesh test performance results.
True_10_Gig 12/5/2012 | 12:09:30 AM
re: Foundry Unwraps 'Mucho Grande' Lipo'd,
ah'll make dis reel easy like, so's that even youse can understand it

much-ass grassy ass is a box, git it, a box an not a technology dat has no gigabit ethernet modules un no switch fabric redundancy un no hitless management module failover un no shippin product till q3 er so

ah kin tell you what peepole will think but it ain't gonna be kind
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