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Force10 Gets Dense

With users looking to support growing volumes of servers and storage in their data centers, high density 10-Gbit/s switches are being touted as a way to tie all this technology together. Today, for example, Force10 Networks Inc. unveiled a family of new 8- and 16-port 10-Gbit/s line cards to boost the density of its E-Series switch/routers. (See Force10 Reduces Prices.)

By increasing the number of ports offered on the devices, users can hook more and more servers and storage together and then scale up and down as resources are needed.

But Force10 is not the only vendor looking to bag density bragging rights. Rival Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), for example, recently unveiled its new RX-16 switch, offering up to 64 ports of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, eight more than Force10 previously offered on its E1200. (See Foundry Flashes New Hardware and Force10 Does the Density Dance.)

Now its Forc10’s turn to do the density dance. The new line cards push the E1200’s density from 56 to a whopping 244 ports. But who needs it?

Once upon a time, it was top secret government labs that needed this type of 10-Gbit/s port density. Now, in Force10's view, it's changed. “That clustering that started in the likes of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab has now moved to the data center of large corporations,” says Andrew Feldman, Force10’s vice president of marketing.

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