Data center switch start-up expands line

Fiber optic interfaces for data center fabric switch also rolled out

Woven Systems, a 10Gbps Ethernet fabric switching start-up, this week unveiled a 48-port "top of rack" Gigabit Ethernet edge switch for data centers.

Additionally, Woven rolled out fiber optic interfaces for its core data center fabric switch. Woven says the new products will help it offer a high capacity Ethernet fabric switching system that can sustain low latency, non-blocking throughput at 10Gbps across 4000 edge ports to meet the scalability requirements of data centers and high-performance computing clusters.

Woven's TRX 100 Ethernet Switch is a 1U device designed for top-of-rack server and storage aggregation and virtualization in data centers. As an edge switch connected to the Woven EFX 1000 Ethernet Fabric Switch, the TRX 100 is intended to reduce the cost of interconnects throughout the data center, Woven says.

The EFX 1000 was unveiled in April.

The TRX 100 includes 48 standard 10/100/1000BASE-TRX auto-sensing ports, and offers two options for its four 10Gbps Ethernet uplinks: powered CX4 for active copper and optical CX4 cables, or SFP+ for fiber optic cabling. The inclusion of four 10Gbps uplinks is intended to minimize over-subscription and provide optimal I/O performance for servers based on quad-core processors.

The TRX 100 also features redundant AC and DC power inputs and a mean time between failures (MTBF) in excess of 20 years, Woven claims. The switch also consumes 3 watts of power per port, the company says.

The TRX 100 will go up against data center edge switches from Foundry, Force10, Cisco and start-up Arastra, which last week rolled out a 48-port 10Gbps Ethernet switch at US$400 per port.

The expansion of Ethernet edge and fabric switching for data centers will be "the death knell for InfiniBand," says Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala.

"This leads to consolidation (over Ethernet) in the data center," Kerravala says.

In the core, meanwhile, the fiber interfaces for Woven's EFX 1000 fabric switch are embodied in a 12-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet XFP card. This enables the switch to support a mix of twisted-pair copper (CX4) and fiber optic interfaces required to connect TRX 100 or other switches.

The XFP and SFP+ Small Form Factor Pluggable transceivers on the EFX 1000 are optically compatible, Woven says, meaning users can deploy a mix of the interface types. The optical interface also supports short- and long-reach connections for distances up to 10 kilometers, allowing users to extend their EFX 1000 data center fabrics across the metropolitan area for disaster recovery applications, the company says.

Woven also announced this week that Sandia National Laboratories is deploying the EFX 1000 in a 128-node compute cluster.

The TRX 100 switches are available now at a price of US$7,950. The XFP interface card will be available in the first quarter of 2008 and pricing has not been finalized.

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