SOURCE: BLADE Network Technologies

April 23, 2008 08:00 ET

BLADE Network Technologies Introduces RackSwitch -- Industry's First Ethernet Switches for Rack-Level Network Virtualization

BLADE's "Virtual, Cooler and Easier" Switches Overcome Network Overload Through "Rackonomics" -- Revolutionary Approach for Scaling Out Data Center Networks to Drive Down Total Cost of Ownership

SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - April 23, 2008) - BLADE Network Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in network virtualization for servers and storage, announced its new RackSwitch family of Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches, the industry's first Ethernet switches for rack-level network virtualization.

BLADE's new 1U RackSwitch product family extends virtualization by mirroring the benefits of server virtualization within the network at the rack level, saves energy through rack-friendly cooling and alleviates management pain by removing complexity through simplified management and fabric convergence.

Priced at under $500 per 10 Gigabit Ethernet port, BLADE's RackSwitch products take a breakthrough approach that is becoming known as "Rackonomics" to reduce the total cost of ownership of data center infrastructures, overcome network overload and enable scale-out data center economies. For the first time, data center architects can standardize on a unified and affordable rack-level network infrastructure to provision and scale-out Web 2.0 environments, high-performance clusters and virtualized data centers.

"A perfect storm of factors -- among them server and storage virtualization, I/O-intensive Web 2.0 applications and the move to data center consolidation using blade servers, multi-core CPUs and converged I/O fabrics -- is overloading data center networks," said Vikram Mehta, President and CEO, BLADE Network Technologies. "Weathering this overload requires a revolutionary new set of customer-driven rules for the data center that is becoming known as 'Rackonomics.' IT departments can leverage Rackonomics to scale-out their data center networks affordably at the rack level. This comes as a welcome alternative to vendor-driven approaches that require them to scale up using inefficient, power-hungry and disjointed network topologies provisioned with large core switches that are far more expensive to deploy and operate. BLADE's RackSwitch is inspired by Rackonomics for data center networking that is 'Virtual, Cooler and Easier' so that IT departments can contain total cost of ownership, deliver greater return on investment and increase business flexibility."

To bring its new line of rack-level switches to market, BLADE is leveraging its market-leading position as the number-one supplier of Ethernet switches for blade servers. BLADE has more than four million ports installed, connecting more than 800,000 HP, IBM and NEC server blades, delivering its products across 26 market segments including large data center networks equipped with thousands of switches. BLADE's experience with networking optimized for servers and storage validated the need for rack-friendly switches that simplify IT management requirements and equip today's I/O-intensive data centers with network virtualization.

"Rack-level Ethernet switching is important to accommodate data center network loads generated by consolidation and virtualization," said Joe Skorupa, Research Vice President at Gartner. "With servers now being utilized at capacities of up to 80 to 90 percent, server virtualization can saturate your aggregation network. And servers equipped with multiple adapters for networking and clustering require more space and generate more heat. These factors combine to call for a unified approach to network virtualization at the rack level."

"Mantara's technology solution has been designed from the ground up to meet the challenge of exploding market data rates, real time distribution of market data and speed of execution for the demanding securities industry," said Brice Hamon, Chief Technology Officer for Mantara, Inc, a rapidly growing bond and equity trading firm. "BLADE's RackSwitch provides the low-latency, high-bandwidth networking that we require to deliver extremely high-speed data feeds from multiple venues and gives us an affordable growth path to handle exponentially growing volume in the years ahead."

BLADE's new RackSwitch products with SmartConnect™ and VMReady™ software are uniquely designed to be "Virtual, Cooler and Easier." RackSwitch is "Virtual" through rack-level network virtualization enabled by:

--  Network Virtualization: Multiple switches operate as one large virtual
    switch, providing networking connections for an entire rack of servers.
    Bandwidth, VLANs, security policies and other network parameters can be set
    once for an entire rack of servers, regardless of the number or type of
--  Network Mobility: Allows server blades to be added, removed or
    replaced without the need of any address re-assignment -- reducing the
    coordination normally required between server and network administrators.
    BLADE's new Server Mobility™ capability handles address assignments as
    servers move between slots or chassis -- physically or in the case of a
    failover to a functioning server blade. This means that client devices will
    see no change in relevant network addresses as applications move from one
    physical server to another.
--  Virtual Machine Movement: BLADE's new VMReady™ moves networking and
    security policies to follow as VMs are added or moved to meet changes in
    demand. This removes a major obstacle to enabling VM movement -- allowing
    VMs to move without opening security vulnerabilities.

RackSwitch is "Cooler" through server and storage rack-friendly cooling with benefits that include:

--  Server Rack-Friendly Airflow: Most network switches are designed with
    airflow opposite to server airflow, which generates "hot loops" that
    increase cooling requirements. BLADE's RackSwitch products are designed
    with server rack friendly front-to-back airflow that allows for cool aisles
    and hot aisles, while keeping all cabling in the back.
--  Low-Power Green Networking: As the industry's first green networking
    products, BLADE's RackSwitch products consume just six watts per 10 GE port
    compared with 20 watts per 10 GE port for conventional chassis-based
--  Rack-level intelligence: Network virtualization distributed to rack
    level networks lowers CapEx and OpEx, reduces power, cooling and space
    requirements and enables pay-as-you-grow distributed switching versus
    conventional centralized networking infrastructures that are more expensive
    to provision and require an overhaul and rebuild of the data center

RackSwitch is "Easier" through simplified management and fabric convergence with benefits that include:

--  Server Administrator-Friendly Networking: Easy-to-use, web-based
    configuration interface designed for server administrators. Server
    administrators can easily provision I/O for an entire rack, and
    independently provide server, storage and I/O capacity. They can also
    detect failures instantly so corrective action can take place
    immediately -- without requiring intervention from network operations
    teams. Unified management with BladeHarmony™ Manager provides a
    comprehensive replicated data center view of I/O, single-click updates to
    thousands of switches and integrate with HP Systems Insight Manager and IBM
--  Lossless FCoE Storage Area Networks: The RackSwitch G8100 is the first
    Ethernet switch to deliver the "loss-less" I/O required to carry Fibre
    Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) storage traffic across Ethernet networks based
    on the emerging standards for Converged Enhanced Ethernet™ (CEE). CEE is
    an enhanced version of Ethernet for data centers which adds flow control
    and congestion notification across multiple lanes of high-performance data
    and storage traffic on a single, unified Ethernet fabric.
--  Rock-solid Ethernet switches: Each RackSwitch has a non-blocking
    internal switching fabric and a complete suite of switching features,
    proven in the networks of half the Fortune 500 companies and matured over
    5+ years of network deployments.
--  Improved Cabling: RackSwitch G8100 supports Active CX-4 technology
    which extends cable lengths to 100m with thinner cables. Patent-pending,
    recessed CX-4 connector design provides better cable management and airflow
    within the rack.

BLADE's RackSwitch G8100, a 1U top-of-rack switch equipped with 24 lossless, low-latency 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GE) ports, is designed for emerging high-volume 10 GE application environments, high-performance clusters that require latency of 300 nanoseconds or less and/or as a 10 GE aggregation switch. BLADE's RackSwitch G8000, a 1U top-of-rack switch equipped with 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports for uplinks and/or stacking, is designed for rack-level server connectivity, Web 2.0 cloud clusters and/or as a Gigabit aggregation switch.

Pricing and Availability

BLADE's new RackSwitch products are available in June 2008. The RackSwitch G8000 is priced starting at $5,495. The RackSwitch G8100 is priced starting at $11,950 -- under $500 per 10 Gigabit Ethernet port.

BLADE will debut its new RackSwitch family of Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches at Interop Las Vegas, April 27 - May 2. Also at Interop, BLADE President and CEO Vikram Mehta will join the "Storage and Networking in a Virtual World" panel on Tuesday, April 29 at 11:30 a.m. Visit BLADE at Interop Las Vegas Booth #1659.

About BLADE Network Technologies

BLADE Network Technologies is a market-leading supplier of Gigabit and 10G Ethernet network infrastructure solutions that reside in blade servers and "scale-out" server and storage racks. The company's customers include half of the Fortune 500 companies across 26 industry segments. BLADE boasts an installed base of over 170,000 network switches representing more than four million switch ports. For more information, visit

BladeHarmony, SmartConnect, VMReady and Server Mobility are trademarks of BLADE Network Technologies. Converged Enhanced Ethernet™ is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation in the US and other countries. All other names are or may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Contact Information

    Tim Shaughnessy
    BLADE Network Technologies
    (408) 850-8963
    Email Contact

    Judy Plummer
    ZNA Communications
    (831) 425-1581 x204
    Email Contact