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Latest Extreme switches fill gaps in data center portfolio

New Extreme switches include the company's first 100 GbE product for top-of-rack and leaf-spine architectures. The company also unveiled this week multirate edge switches.

Extreme Networks Inc., which recently bought the data center businesses of Brocade and Avaya to become more of a full-service networking company, has introduced a 100 GbE switch that fills a gap in the company's product portfolio.

Several Extreme switches launched this week at the Interop networking conference in Las Vegas included the X870 Series -- the company's first 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) device for top-of-rack and leaf-spine architectures.

Also, the company launched two multirate Ethernet switches: the X620-16p and X460-G2 Series. The Extreme switches for the network's edge comply with the IEEE 802.3bz and NBASE-T standards that make it possible to support 2.5 GbE and 5 GbE on existing CAT5e and CAT6 cabling.

The X870 Series comprises fixed-form switches with 32 quad small form-factor pluggable ports. QSFP is a high-density fiber connector with 12 strands of fiber.

The high-density switching family includes interface speeds of 10/25/40/50/100 GbE in a 1RU form factor. The series is built for the data centers of large enterprises and cloud providers. Extreme is offering pay-as-you-go port pricing, so customers can move gradually from low to higher data rates.

The flexible pricing model is a plus because 100 GbE is expensive, said Andrew Froehlich, TechTarget contributor and president of IT consultancy West Gate Networks, based in Loveland, Colo.

"This gives customers the chance to use the throughput where they need it today and eventually upgrade additional links as needed," he said.

The X460 and X620 families of Extreme switches

The X460-G2 edge and aggregation switches provide 1 GbE access with four 10 GbE uplinks. A 48-port model includes 2.5 GbE on up to 16 ports. All ports are capable of 30-watt Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+).

The series runs the ExtremeXOS operating system, which is modular in design, so customers can run only the software features needed on the network. Companies can stack X460-G2 switches with other ExtremeXOS devices.

The X620 family of 1RU switches is designed for 10 GbE edge applications. The X620-16p represents a new switching line in the family, with 2.5 GbE and 5 GbE options on up to 12 ports. The line includes a switch with 60-watt PoE++ on up to eight ports, with 30-watt PoE+ on remaining ports.

With the X620-16p and X460-G2 access-layer switches, Extreme is catching up with other networking vendors that have similar products, Froehlich said.

"This is something that's a bit overdue," he said. The new switches make it possible for Extreme customers to upgrade their wireless LANs to access points that support the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi standard, which supports speeds of 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps.

In March, Extreme agreed to buy Broadcom's Brocade data center business, which included switches, routers, and network automation and analytics software, for $55 million. Extreme announced the deal roughly two weeks after agreeing to pay $100 million for Avaya's networking business, which included switches, software for network management and access control, and the software-defined networking portfolio Fabric Connect. Extreme expects to complete both transactions in the summer.

In September 2016, Extreme bought Zebra Technologies' wireless LAN business for $55 million in cash to strengthen its existing WLAN portfolio. All the recent acquisitions have left Extreme with a technology mix that will require lots of integration and consolidation to produce a coherent, unified product line, analysts said.

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