Extreme adds pair of modular switches

Extreme this week plans to introduce two modular switches with Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet capabilities.

The Aspen 8810 includes 10 slots, and the Aspen 8806 has six. Extreme said the Aspen rollout adds a tier of switches below its BlackDiamond high-end line. The new devices are suited for use as access-layer switches for integrating wired, wireless and IP telephony deployments and as interconnects for high-performance computing clusters, the company said.

Welch Foods has purchased two Aspen 8810s to use as core network switches that will work in tandem, with one redundant to the other, said Carmine Iannace, manager of IT architecture at the US juice and jelly maker.

The switches, which are due to be installed within a month, will eventually be shifted to support a planned voice-over-IP system. But Iannace said that for now, their performance and high-availability features should let them function well in Welch's data center. "High availability in these switches is critical for us, since we support financials for manufacturing and other functions," he said.

Extreme "gave us a very aggressive price" on the Aspen switches, Iannace added. He wouldn't disclose the amount but said it was 35 percent lower than the cost of Catalyst 6509 switches from Cisco Systems Inc. that he also evaluated.

Another customer, High Performance Technologies, is adding an Aspen 8810 to a Linux-based system that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses to do weather modeling, said Craig Tierney, a systems architect at HPTI. The switch will be placed in the backbone of the 1,000-node cluster at a NOAA facility in Boulder. HPTI is a systems integrator for the agency.

According to Tierney, HPTI has used Extreme's products for many years because the vendor's gear is both high-performance and inexpensive. "We want everything, and we want it really cheap," he said.