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New Extreme Networks Switches Address Cross-Platform Stacking

Extreme Networks has launched a set of gigabit Ethernet switches to address the rising mobility and virtualization requirements of campus and data center networks. The company's new Summit X460 provides 80 Gbps performance with cross-racking support up to 100 meters. The X460 switch is available in 28-, 48-, and 52-port options, including copper, fiber, and Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) versions.

This new model of switch uses Extreme's SummitStack Ethernet technology, which allows a customer to physically connect up to eight individual Summit X250, X450, X480, X650, and X460 switches together as a single logical unit. This unit behaves as a single switch with a single IP address and single point of authentication. The company's operating system, ExtremeXOS, recognizes one switch in the stack as the "master switch," which is responsible for maintaining the software tables for all the other functioning switches in the stack. This approach allows the data center to increase or decrease switch capacity and density as requirements change.

The "virtual" chassis can be designed for 10 gigabit Ethernet, 40 gigabit Ethernet via the SummitStack module, or 80 gigabit Ethernet via a new SummitStack-V80 module. SummitStack-V, as the latter is known, also enables long distance stacking connectivity of up to 80 km (nearly 50 miles).

The new switch supports the PoE Plus standard, which accommodates newer devices--such as certain access points or surveillance cameras--that draw up to 30 watts apiece. (The previous standard, PoE, could handle up to 15 watts.) Power supplies feature load sharing, and in the event of excessive power draw PoE Plus ports can take priority.

For transitioning to virtualized networks and the cloud, the Summit X460 model supports the company's "Direct Attach" data center architecture, which offloads server-based switching onto the switch for improved server performance.

"Total cost of ownership is very, very important," said Darius Goodall, senior product marketing manager for Extreme. "IT managers are taking a pragmatic approach to purchasing. In the '90s they could go out and buy whatever they needed. They could over-design and over-architect their networks. They're in a less fortunate situation now. The products they're looking at putting into their networks have to last five years, if not more. So being able to take a product today and repurpose it at a later date is something we see a lot of [organizations] wanting to do."

"Extreme Networks is addressing critical campus network requirements with the launch of its Summit X460 family of switches, featuring key technology that addresses demanding university environments," said Kenrick Thomas, manager of voice and data networks for the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. "As a globally recognized institution, we require the best in flexibility and price performance from our campus switches. With its latest set of performance improvements and flexibility, especially cross-platform stacking, Extreme Networks transitions campus networks well into the future."

The company said it expected to start shipping the X460 sometime in the fourth quarter of 2010. The 28-port models, starting at $4,495, include the Summit X460-24t, Summit X460 24p, and the Summit X460 24x. The 48/52 port models, including the Summit X460-48x and 52-port Summit X460-48t/48p, have a starting list price of $6,995.

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