Foundry Switches Speed Web Delivery

Foundry Networks Inc. has introduced two switches aimed at enterprise users and those running e-commerce and Web sites.

Foundry's stackable Web switch, dubbed the ServerIron 4802, features Layer 2 through Layer 7 Internet traffic and content management. This lets customers set policies to provision traffic to assigned servers based on the type of request - speeding response time for Web surfers.

Foundry also introduced a Layer 3 LAN Switch, the FastIron III, which sports more Fast and Gigabit Ethernet ports than previous offerings. Designed as a core enterprise switch, the FastIron III typically sits behind a router on an enterprise network.

The FastIron III features up to 336 10/100M bit/sec ports, or up to 120 Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports. It has an aggregated switching capacity of 480G bit/sec. Foundry's other FastIron offering, the FastIron II, features up to 72 10/100M bit/sec ports, and eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, while the FastIron II Plus features up to 168 10/ 100M bit/sec ports, and eight Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Foundry's ServerIron 4802 Web switch features two Gigabit Ethernet ports and 48 10/100M bit/sec ports. The Web switch typically sits behind a router and firewall in an e-commerce network setup.

The switch provides 22G bit/sec of switch capacity - which translates to about 11 million packets per second, or four million concurrent Web traffic sessions. Among other properties, the switch can use URLs and cookies to make switching decisions, allowing customers to route traffic to servers or other devices such as caches that serve up content. With integrated load balancing, the switch also lets network managers switch traffic to servers based on policies, such as availability, or the type of content or application being requested.

William Hurley, an analyst with The Yankee Group Inc. in Boston, says Foundry's Web and core enterprise switches fill the need for more port density and performance seen in today's corporate and e-commerce sites. The Web switch, he says, will compete with existing offerings from Cisco Systems Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp. Foundry's Web switch will be attractive to its existing customer base because they can easily integrate it with existing products.

The FastIron III switch will be available in November with a starting price of $25,290. The ServerIron 4802 has a starting price of $29,995 and will be available in the first quarter of 2001.


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