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Extreme Networks X770 Switch Targets Big Data

Analyst says new switch's low latency and high throughput support big data efforts. The X770 also promises to boost data center consolidation initiatives.

Fresh off its acquisition of rival Enterasys Networks for $180 million, Extreme Networks released a new top-of-rack switch that attempts to address big data and other hot-button enterprise technology issues.

Extreme says the Summit X770 is designed to provide more bandwidth to support multi-faceted big data initiatives even as networks are consolidated in search of improved efficiency.

Built to scale up to 104 10Gb Ethernet ports and 32 40 Gb Ethernet ports per rack, the X770 supports the TRILL multipathing specification, as well as software-defined networking via platforms such as OpenFlow.

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, said in an email that the X770 offers better density than any other switch he’s aware of. That, he said, should make data center operators happy by helping their consolidation efforts and further lowering operating costs by reducing the number of devices to manage.

On the big data front, Kerravala said the X770’s emphasis on very low latency and massive throughput is ideal for big data, which results in a lot more east-west traffic than many current networks are designed to accommodate. And while many vendors have focused on network virtualization, he said virtualized environments lack the performance most companies want for their big data initiatives. That represents an area of opportunity for the X770.

[Read about the progress of a Facebook-led effort to develop an open, operating-system agnostic switch in "Open Compute Project Considers Switch Specs."]

What’s more, Kerravala said the combination of the X770 with the leaf-spine architecture of Extreme’s underlying Open Fabric data center architecture enables rapid scaling. “All you need to do is add more leafs to the spine,” he said.

While all these features should play well enough with prospects, Kerravala said there are also other benefits for existing Extreme customers.

For instance, the X770 is backwards compatible with other Extreme products, enabling companies to deploy the new switch and migrate big data platforms over time, rather than doing a hot cut. In addition, Kerravala said the fact that the X770 can be stacked with other Extreme products should give customers looking to maximize their existing network investments.

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