Roundup: SGI, Level 3, Gartner

SGI introduces Origin 400 workgroup blade system for key business verticals, Level 3 expands its Ethernet switches, and Gartner warns that converged networks may be less efficient than separate LAN and storage networks.

John Rath

March 17, 2010

2 Min Read
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Here’s a roundup of some of some of this week’s headlines from the data center and hosting industry:

SGI unveils Origin 400 Blade System.  SGI announced the availability of Origin 400, an integrated workgroup blade system that features compute and storage area network (SAN) storage functionality. Targeting enterprise verticals such as healthcare, education and local government, the new blade system has extensive software certifications, including VMware, Linux, SAP, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server.  In a 6u enclosure the Origin 400 can scale to six dual-socket compute blades and 14 2.5" SAS hard drives.  It also supports the new Intel Xeon processor 5600 series with up to 72 cores per system.  "SGI's new Origin 400 offering will not only help SGI expand further into the business computing market, but will be vital for resellers that serve small- to medium-sized enterprise markets," said Jed Scaramella, senior research analyst, servers at IDC.

Level 3 Expansion of Switched Ethernet footprint. Level 3 (LVLT) announced delivery of a significant phase within its Ethernet Expansion Program.  Level 3 will expand the number of Ethernet switches on its U.S. network by almost 400 percent. "This expanded architecture enables Level 3 to address a significantly broader set of enterprise and wholesale customer requirements for Ethernet services, said Sureel Choksi, chief marketing officer for Level 3. Level 3 will also make additional feature enhancements that will expand the company's already comprehensive Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)-certified Carrier Ethernet services portfolio.

Gartner's Take on Data Center Networks.  Gartner issued a press release Tuesday advising users to not assume that a single converged data center network is more efficient than two well-designed separate networks. Their research shows that a converged network requires more switches and ports, is more complex to manage and consumes more power and cooling than two well-designed separate networks. Joe Skorupa, research vice president at Gartner states "alternatively described as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Data Center Ethernet (DCE), or more precisely, Data Center Bridging (DCB), this latest set of developments hopes to succeed where InfiniBand failed in its bid to unify computing, networking and storage networks."  He continues the argument by saying that "while the promise that a unified fabric will require fewer switches and ports, resulting in a simpler network that consumes less power and cooling, may go unfulfilled, that doesn't mean that enterprises should forgo the benefits of a unified network technology."  Additional information on this research is available in the report "Myth: A Single FCoE Data Center Network = Fewer Ports, Less Complexity and Lower Costs."

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