Alcatel-Lucent unleashes on large enterprises

Data center switch part of 12-month product development splash

Alcatel-Lucent this week is expected to unveil a range of enhancements to its large enterprise product portfolio, including an upgraded data center switch and IP telephony extensions.

The enhancements are designed to help Alcatel-Lucent customers tackle projects such as data virtualization, unified communications and application and business process integration. The company says these objectives are in keeping with its "dynamic enterprise" vision of aligning networks, people, processes and knowledge to simplify communications and improve performance.

It appears to be sticking. Alcatel-Lucent says it has signed on 5,000 new customers over the past two years, and that despite the current economic challenges and forecasts of lower IT spending globally, contract sizes in the first half of 2008 have increased in the US$1 million to $10 million-plus range.

Alcatel-Lucent is looking to win more accounts like its showcase University of Pittsburgh Medical Center deal. That's valued at more than US$300 million over 10 years. But the company is still challenged when it comes to gaining market share -- it has been relatively flat at 1.2 percent of the US$18 billion global market for the past three years, according to Dell'Oro Group.

Perhaps the new OmniSwitch 9000E will catalyze that. The 9000E is an end-of-row data center switch featuring multi-virtual routing and forwarding, which allows it to partition different virtual routing instances or domains within the switch. This is designed to reduce costs and power consumption by dividing up a single routing switch into multiple, discrete routers serving different applications or workgroups.

The 10- and 18-slot 9000Es have the same 192G to 1.92Tbps switching and backplane capacity, and density, as Alcatel-Lucent's existing 10- and 18-slot OmniSwitch 9000 switches. The key difference, aside from the virtual routing, is that the 9000E features in-service software upgrades, higher capacity buffers/queues, wire speed interfaces and higher availability.

Also on tap from Alcatel-Lucent is a new branch office router called the OmniAccess 5510. The 5510 serves as a unified services gateway that integrates network services, voice call processing, WAN connectivity, VPN tunnel encryption and management, and intrusion detection and prevention. It's available in a range of fixed configurations that provide WAN connectivity at up to one T-1/E-1, Asymmetrical DSL, Serial or SFP interface, Alcatel-Lucent says. Each model sports four 10/100Mbps LAN ports and an integrated 10/100Mbps Ethernet WAN port, the company says.

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