Force10 Networks moves to terascale backplane -- Systems get PowerPC, ASIC midlife kickers; support for 672 Gigabit Ethernet ports -->
Colorado Springs, Colo. - Force10 Networks Inc. is upgrading its switch/routing systems to the TeraScale E-series family, using a new backplane and revamped processors to offer an aggregate backplane speed of 5 terabits/second, and aggregate switching fabric throughput of 1.68 Tbits/s.
The company has designed the upgrade of its original EtherScale family with an eye on the eventual arrival of 100-Gigabit Ethernet. However, in the meantime, a TeraScale system can support 672 Gigabit Ethernet ports and fifty-six 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports.
The three TeraScale family members-E300, E600 and E1200-preserve the nomenclature of the EtherScale series, and customers can make direct upgrades from the EtherScale 1/6 rack, 1/3 rack and 1/2 rack models. Existing customers of EtherScale can purchase new route processor modules and new line cards to gain many of the speed benefits of TeraScale, Force10 said.
Steve Garrison, senior director of corporate marketing at Force10 (www.force10networks.com), said that customers with visualization applications and with oil and gas field applications are driving the need for switching large image packets. Force10 may have cut its teeth as a pioneer in native switched 10-Gbit channels, but demand for 100-Gbit service will emerge faster than public-network 40-Gbit skeptics think, Garrison said. Among Force10's leading customers are Google, Dell and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and its TeraGrid project; these power users may need a faster upgrade to high-end switching than a typical Ethernet switch user, Garrison said.
No packet loss
The TeraScale architecture handles dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 services simultaneously, and the company said its systems take no performance hits when up to 1 million access control lists are processed. For resilient systems in carrier applications, TeraScale suffers no packet loss in a hitless failover at Gbit/s rates, the company said.
The basic partitioning from the EtherScale family is preserved in TeraScale. Three PowerPC processors are used in the route processor module (RPM) for switching, routing and management, respectively, though higher-performance family members were utilized in the TeraScale RPM. These are augmented on the RPM board with ASICs for buffer management and backplane scheduling. The line card uses a local PowerPC for backplane access, along with a ternary CAM, Gigabit Ethernet medium-access controller and ASICs for switching interfaces.
The line cards all feature XFP optical modules for 10-Gbit interfaces. The FTOS operating system can manage up to 1,500 ports in a system.
Each TeraScale RPM card is priced at $30,000. A four-port 10-Gigabit Ethernet line card for either the E600 or E1200 costs $48,000, while a 48-port Gigabit Ethernet line card for the same models costs $47,500. A 48-port module that supports 10-Mbit, 100-Mbit or 1-Gbit ports costs $37,500. For the E300 switch, a two-port, 10-Gbit line card costs $27,500, while a 24-port Gigabit Ethernet module costs $30,000.
A typical configuration of chassis with four 10-Gbit uplinks and 270 nodes, all operating at line rates, is $380,000.