Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Force10 Announces 40 Gigabit Ethernet Top-of-Rack Switch and Line Card

By David Gross

Extreme and BLADE Networks announced the launch of their 40 GigE ToR switches a few weeks ago, and now you can add Force10 to the list of vendors selling the devices.    The company announced a new Top-of-Rack switch today, the S4810, which features 4 40 GigE uplinks, and will be available for sale by year-end.   But Force10 didn't stop with the ToR switch news, it also announced a 40 GigE line card for its Exascale core switch.

IBM currently re-sells Force10's S60 ToR device, but the company did not say if the S4810 would be included in the IBM resale program.   It did say that it would offer lower power consumption than BLADE's RackSwitch, which was an important statement, because it means that unlike ToR switches with Voltaire, Juniper, and other company's logos on them, the S4810 is NOT an OEM of the BLADE RackSwitch.

Unlike Extreme and BLADE, Force10 did not publicly announce pricing for its 40G ports, but the other vendors are charging around $1,000 per port on their ToR switches.   But these are for short-reach links.   Longer reach 40GBASE-LR4 ports will be much more expensive when they come to market, and 40 Gigabit OC-768 ports on routers cost half a million dollars, or 500x a 40GBASE-CR4 switch port.   Meanwhile, 40 Gigabit QDR InfiniBand ports now sell for under $300, with similar short-reach QSFP links as the Ethernet boxes.  Ultimately, with values between $250 and $500,000, you can't really say there is such a thing as a price for a 40 Gigabit port, but rather a price based on transceiver type, port density, and most importantly, link length.

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