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Cloud Focus For Alcatel-Lucent Upgrades

Network equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is introducing new switches and other feature enhancements to a collection of technologies it calls the “Application Fluency” network. This network platform recognizes the device seeking access to the network, authenticates a particular user and identifies the application they are running, and provides the appropriate degree of connectivity required. The company says these innovations are designed to enable enterprises to deliver cloud-based services.

The Application Fluency, a concept Alcatel-Lucent introduced about a year and a half ago, now features a new switch line called the OmniSwitch 6450, which comes in either 24 or 48-port gigabit Ethernet (GbE) versions, which will be available beginning in the second quarter. A 10-port OmniSwitch 6450 has been available since November 2011. The 10-port version is intended for branch office or small-to-medium businesses, while the 24 and 48-port models are intended for an Alcatel-Lucent converged network edge and network access deployment.

While the 6450 is only a 1GbE switch, it can “uplink” to a 10GbE switch, says Cliff Grossner, senior director of network solutions marketing at Alcatel-Lucent. While sales of 10GbE switches are growing, customers are still buying more 1GbE switches than 10GbE.

The core of the Application Fluency network is based on 40GbE, which is the next coming threshold in switch capacity. Although not speaking about this particular announcement, Tam Dell’Oro, founder, president and senior analyst at the research firm Dell’Oro Group, advised businesses that before they invest in 10GbE switches on their networks, they should first install 40GbE switches in their network core.

The Alcatel-Lucent core offers high-capacity bandwidth and simplified management, improved quality of service (QoS) controls and scalability from small to very large organizations.

“Part of the reason to want to have an application-fluent network is the ability to enable cloud-based services,” says Grossner. “We help the enterprise to become cloud-ready, remove barriers to consume cloud services and turn up application-fluency on the network.”

The way the network works is that when a device, including increasingly popular smartphones and tablet computers, seeks access to the network, the network identifies the device, the user and the application they are using and delivers the appropriate QoS, he says. A videoconference would need more bandwidth and other features than an individual watching a You Tube video, for example.

A new feature just added can authenticate a user based on their Windows log-in information.

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