Force 10′s Open Cloud Networking

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The Force 10 Networks Z9000 ZettaScale core switch.

Force 10 Networks announced new data center core and top-of-rack switches and their vision for cloud and conventional data centers, built on open architectures.
Open Cloud Networking

Underpinning its new vision for the cloud and conventional data centers, Force 10 announced its Open Cloud Networking (OCN) framework, built on open architectures, open automation, and open ecosystems. The building blocks of the new OCN framework include a new Z9000 distributed core switch, a new Z9512 centralized chassis-based switch, the S7000 top-of-rack switch and FTOS advanced software features.  Force 10 will also expand its Open Automation in version 2.0 with greater automation capabilities throughout the product line.

“It is good for the market to see Force10 take the open, standards-based architectural approach in their OCN vision,” said Michael Howard, principal analyst and co-founder of Infonetics Research. “With the OCN option, users have the chance to reduce capex costs by selecting best-of-breed storage, application, orchestration, networking, and computing solutions.”

Z-Series ZettaScale switches

For data center networking needs Force 10 announced its new Z-Series ZettaScale core switches, a generational technology leap in density and performance in the core of data center networks. As a distributed core switch the new Z9000 features 2.5 Terabits per second switching capacity and was purpose-built for use in a leaf-and-spine architecture where it can scale from 2 to 160 Terabits in a distributed core architecture with latency as low as 3 microseconds.  “By offering 128 10 GbE ports in a space-efficient form factor, Force10 is enabling customers to transition to an energy-efficient, operationally-efficient data center,” said Lucinda Borovick, vice president, enterprise communications infrastructure and data center networks at IDC. “The Z9000 provides the flexibility and scalability necessary to tackle the business challenges which lie ahead.”

A new Z9512 chassis-based switch features 480 line-rate, non-blocking 10GbE ports, 96 line-rate, non-blocking 40 GbE ports, and 48 line-rate, non-blocking 100 GbE ports in a 19RU form factor. Force 10 is one of the first to offer 40/100 GbE ports with the Z9512 for multi-service deployments.  It also boasts 9.6 Terabits per second switching capacity, an initial 400 Gbps per-slot switching capacity, sub-5 microsecond latency and an 8 Gigabyte packet buffer for each of its 12 line cards.

Available in July 2011 the Z9000 switch will list for $175,000 and the Z9512 will be available in the second half of 2011 and pricing is configuration dependent.

S7000 Top-of-Rack Switch

As another component of the Open Cloud Networking framework Force 10 announced innovations for Top of Rack (ToR) networking that deliver new levels of integration at the top of rack for data center operators. The new switch features 64 10GbE non-blocking ports and supports TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links), user port stacking and Virtual Link Trunking (VLT). “In an era when data center managers are looking to converge infrastructure and deploy higher levels of functional integration, the S7000 raises the bar,” said Mike Spanbauer, Principal Analyst with Current Analysis. “By enabling users to run third-party applications right on the switch, the S7000 brings Force10’s experience in high performance environments to embedded network applications within the data center switch. In an era where microseconds begin to matter, the closer to the switched packet you move higher level application control functions the more agile environment you create.”

The S7000 Open Cloud Switch will be available in the second half of 2011.

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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