May 07, 2012, 12:42 PM — Alcatel-Lucent this week at Interop will flesh out its data center fabric vision with 40G Ethernet and higher-density 10G Ethernet capabilities on its core switches, as well as enhanced software for its top-of-rack and core switches.
Together, the extensions to Alcatel-Lucent's Application Fluent Networking (AFN) strategy are intended to offer users a low latency, multipath network with which to establish multi-site private clouds and connect to public clouds offered by service providers. In this endeavor, Alcatel-Lucent's AFN will go up against fabrics like Cisco's FabricPath and CloudVerse, Juniper's QFabric, Brocade's Brocade One and Cloudplex, and HP's FlexNetwork.
FABRIC WARS: Cisco vs. Brocade vs. Juniper
For its OmniSwitch 10000 core switch, Alcatel-Lucent will roll out 8-port 40G Ethernet and 16-port 10G Ethernet modules. The line cards allow the OmniSwitch 10000 chassis to support up to 64 wire-speed 40G Ethernet ports and up to 256 wire-speed 10G Ethernet ports.
The densities will allow users to configure a mesh of 10G or 40G links between the top-of-rack and core for server-to-server and server-to-storage networking over multiple active paths. The Layer 2 multipath fabric will be based on the IEEE Shortest Path Bridging standard, which is founded on the IEEE 802.1ah Provider Backbone Bridging MAC-in-MAC standard, a Layer 2 alternative to MPLS for Metro Ethernet deployments.
Shortest Path Bridging will be one software extension to come this Fall for the OmniSwitch 10000, and 6850E and 6900 top-of-rack switches. Others will include Virtual Chassis, Data Center Bridging and Virtual Edge Port Aggregation (VEPA) capabilities for the 10000 and 6900, and VEPA and Virtual Network Profiling (vNP) features for the 6850E.