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Force10 Goes Terabit

Force10 Networks Inc. today introduced a new high-end Ethernet switch/router that it says doubles any existing port capacity and supports total throughput as high as 1.6 terabits.

The new Force10 TeraScale E-Series switches are based on a new ASIC designed by Force10 and built by IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
using its Cu-11 technology, a 130-nanometer chip design for high-end applications. Force10 says the new product supports 672 line-rate gigabit Ethernet ports and 56 line-rate 10-gigabit Ethernet ports in one chassis. The Milpitas, Calif.-based switch maker claims this is twice the port density of its nearest competitor.

Andrew Feldman, Force10's vice president of marketing, calls it "the largest routing device ever made."

Yes, that's a tall claim -- but so far, after checking with several competitors, there's nobody refuting it. With the product, Force10 says it's going after a new market of high-end data centers where better port density is needed to save space and power.

Is the market out there? It may take some time to develop. Analysts say such a high density would provide a lot more power than a typical corporate customer would need. For now, the TeraScale E-Series could appeal to a select group of data centers with more demanding applications, such as the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the research unit of the University of California at San Diego. The center deployed the TeraScale E-Series about six weeks ago.

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