Enterasys S-Series Switches To Replace N-Series In Data Center

Enterasys has launched the S-Series of switches for datacenter deployments, a modular switch family that will ultimately replace the N-Series. The new series also comes with an updated operating system that will run on the older N-Series as well. However, the company doesn't have a clear plan for FCoE or partner engagements that Brocade, Cisco and Juniper, have won, leaving us with some doubts about their long term vision.

October 19, 2009

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Enterasys has launched the S-Series of switches for datacenter deployments, a modular switch family that will ultimately replace the N-Series. The new series also comes with an updated operating system that will run on the older N-Series as well. However, the company doesn't have a clear plan for FCoE or partner engagements that Brocade, Cisco and Juniper, have won, leaving us with some doubts about their long term vision. S-Series prices start at $15,995.

Enterasys, which merged with Siemens in 2008, is undergoing a re-branding. In the interim, Enterasys is the Network Infrastructure and Security division of Siemens Enterprise Communications Group. Eventually the Enterasys name will be phased out. Enterasys has often come out with leading technology but hasn't been able to garner the mindshare that Juniper or HP Procurve has.

The S-Series comes in 3 modular chassis: the S8, a 14 U chassis with a 6TB backplane and can switch 1.28Tb/s through  576 Gb port or 128 10Gb ports; the S4, a 9U chassis with a 3 Tb/s back plane that can switch 640 Mb/s through 288 Gb/s ports or 64 10Gb SFP+ ports; and the S3, a 7U chassis with a 360 Gb/s backplane that can switch 120Gbps through 180 Gb ports or 12 10Gb ports. The S-Series Stand Alone (SSA) is a top of rack switch with 48 10/100/1000 mb/s ports and 4 ports of 10Gb SFP+.       

The modules come in two models, the S130 and the S150. The S130 is aimed at basic distribution and aggregation use. It can support common internal routing protocols like OSPF, RIP, and policy base routing. The S130 can move 40Gbps per module. The S150 is aimed at core and aggregation with the ability to use BGP and IS-IS routing protocols. The S150 can support four times the performance of the S130 with the ability to move 160 Gbps. The optional advanced license for the S150 is aimed at WAN deployments with built in MPLS and VPLS, GRE and IP in IP tunneling protocols, and IPv6 to IPv4 translation. The choice of module depends on the cost and the deployment mode required.

One of the unique aspects of the Enterasys switching line is its flow-based switching/routing. By classifying traffic as it enters the switch port, network policies can be assigned to the traffic, governing prioritization, rate shaping, access control and VLAN assignment. As services are brought onto the network, the application policies are automatically applied. The S-Series also support port personalities that are assigned to hosts, virtual or physical, and provision the ports when the host is added or during a virtual machine move from one port to another. Both of these features--flow assignment and server  personalities--reduce management and provisioning burden.Enterasys brought out the S-Series rather than updating the N-Series to take advantage of new technologies and new designs for power and cooling. Unfortunately, the S-Series still uses side-to-side cooling, which when used in an enclosed rack, impedes airflow and cooling and can lead to hot spots in the rack. The company didn't have any plans for FCoE or Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE), betting on the idea that the market will be slow to adopt FCoE and that many  enterprises will adopt iSCSI versus the more expensive Fibre Channel. That may be the case, but the buzz is around FCoE and not having a plan seems short-sighted.

Enterasys has a small but loyal following, particularly in the government and education sectors, but since the 90's has had a hard time gaining mindshare in the enterprise. Other networking vendors (besides Cisco) bring strong footholds or mindshare outside of switching. Brocade has storage networking and is a good candidate to bring together high speed Ethernet and storage. HP Procurve has a robust access layer switching platform that is finally collaborating with HP's server line. Juniper is well respected in service provider routing and that reputation carries them into the enterprise. 3Com, through its partnership with Huawei, has a strong foothold in the growing Asian market. All of these vendors have been fighting hard to gain a foothold in the enterprise. The Siemens Enterprise Communications Group has its work cut out.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like


More Insights