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Dell plans to cut typical 100 GbE switch price in half

Dell plans to sell a 100 GbE fabric switch at half the price of competing products to try to 'disrupt' the market through a low switch price.

Dell introduced a multirate fabric switch that the company plans to sell for half the price of competing products.

The Z9100 packs up to 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) in a 1 RU design. The product was one of three switches Dell introduced this week. The other two, the S4048 and S3048, are top-of-rack (ToR) switches.

The trio can run Dell's operating system or OSes from third parties. Dell is one of a number of vendors providing customers with a choice of OS. Dell hardware uses the Open Network Install Environment, an open source project that defines technology for deploying an OS on bare-metal switches.

Dell plans to use a low switch price to lure customers to the Z9100. Switches with 100 GbE typically cost $5,000 per port, said Arpit Joshipura, Dell vice president of product management and strategy. Dell plans to charge half that price when the Z9100 is available in the second half of the year.

The company wants "to try and disrupt that market in such a way that we can include cables and optics in that price range," Joshipura said.

The Z9100 is available with 32 ports that can be configured for 1 GbE to 100 GbE, John Fruehe, analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy, said.

"This kind of flexibility makes it easier for a company to put these in the tops of all of their racks, regardless of the kinds of servers installed below," he said. The ports can be reconfigured at any time to accommodate server changes.

Other configuration options include 64 ports of 50 GbE, 32 ports of 40 GbE or 128 ports of 25 GbE. The hardware provides up to 3.2 terabits per second of input/output bandwidth.

The Z9100 delivers Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching with quality of service and a set of standards-based IPv4 and IPv6 features.

The device is designed for ToR server aggregation or for connecting to a software-defined networking controller via OpenFlow. The product can also be used as a Layer 2 gateway for a virtual extensible LAN (VXLAN). These gateways allow a VXLAN to communicate with another network, particularly a virtual LAN.

The S4048 is available today in 10 and 40 GbE configurations. The S3038 is set for release in May with 1 GbE or 10 GbE. List price is $18,500 and $8,000, respectively.

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