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The cloud's the limit for new Arista, Brocade and HP switches

Jim Duffy | May 7, 2013
Arista, HP and Brocade add scale, virtualization hooks to take platforms beyond the data center and raise the bar for forthcoming Cisco/ Insieme products.

The 7500E series switches and line cards are available now. List prices start at $99,995 for the switch and $10,000 per 100G port, $2,200 per 40G and under $600 per 10G port.

Arista will have to fend off HP, which refreshed its switch line and fortified its SDN portfolio with three new systems and a router, along with management and provisioning software extensions.

In the core, HP unveiled the FlexFabric 12900, 16- and 10-slot chassis that are OpenFlow 1.3-enabled and can support up to 36Tbps of non-blocking fabric switching, according to HP. The 12900 sports up to 768 10G and 256 40G Ethernet ports, with IEEE Data Center Bridging and ANSI FibreChannel over Ethernet support and in-service software upgradability.

The 12900 also supports industry-defined fabric technologies TRILL and Shortest Path Bridging, which replace Spanning Tree with a multiple active path topology optimized for east-west traffic  flows between data center racks.

The 12900 is aimed at Ciscos Nexus 7000 F and M switches, and Junipers QFabric and EX9200.

In the aggregation layer, HP unveiled the 11908 switch, which is also supports OpenFlow 1.3. The 11908 features a 7.7Tbps non-blocking fabric that can support up to 384 10G and 64 40G Ethernet ports. Like the 12900, the 11908 also supports TRILL and SPB fabrics, FCoE and Data Center Bridging, and in-service software upgrades.

The 11908 is also aimed at Ciscos Nexus 7000 and Junipers QFabric. HP claims a fourfold increase over Juniper in 10G fabric density 24,000 to 6,000 and twice that of Cisco.

HP also unveiled a virtual switch to run under server hypervisors. The FlexFabric Virtual Switch 5900v supports the IEEEs Ethernet Virtual Bridging aka VEPA standard for offloading some switching capabilities from the server to a physical switch. The 5900v is optimized for VMware environments and supports mobility and management of network policies for virtual machines configured through VMware hypervisors.

The new router is called the HSR 6800. It combines routing, firewalling and VPN in a system with a 2Tbps backplane and 420Mbps of routing throughput. It supports 32 10G Ethernet ports and 687 microseconds recovery through HPs Intelligent Resilient Framework virtual chassis capability.

The HSR 6800 is also 40/100-ready, HP says. It will go up against Ciscos ASR 1000 router.

Analysts say HPs launch shows progress from the company in data center switching, and in its 4-year-old 3Com acquisition.These are behemoths of switches, and certainly give HP a product advantage, says Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research.  Also, the support for TRILL, SPB and DCB I thought was interesting as customers do not have to choose.


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