October 10, 2013

Does your network stack up?

Starting with 15.1, XOS, Extreme’s single edge to core network operating system, gives you the ability to create a stack of up to eight switches mixing and matching over 70, let me repeat 70 different Summit switches.  Whether it be 10/100, Gig or 10G, copper or fiber, AC or DC power, Extreme Networks has a Summit stackable that fits the bill and they all play nicely together.  Stacking speeds start at 10G and go to 512G for optimum performance in challenging environments such as connecting Top of Rack (ToR) switches.

summitstack_ringExtreme’s  SummitStack provides unmatched flexibility. Stacking starts at 10G but a single stack can use multiple different kinds of connections, allowing your network to grow and scale as you do.   You could start with one switch model and if the need arises, move into another line bringing more speed, density or different connections to the mix.  Let me give you an example.   I could start with a stack of 2 Extreme Summit X440 switches, let’s say one X440-48P and one X440-48T, these are feature rich L3 edge switches providing 10/100/1000 performance.  The X440 switches stack with SummitStack cables to create a 40G connection between the switches. This creates a virtual chassis, with individual Summit switches looking like linecards in a BlackDiamond chassis.

Time goes by, the network demand changes with the need for some growth and a 10G uplink is desired out of this wiring closet housing our Summit X440 stack.  With the Summit line, it’s no problem. I add a switch to the stack, the X460-24T and put a 10G module in the back for the uplink.  Voila, I now have a stack with different switch models and a 10G uplink without needing to replace the whole closet.  What used to be a forklift upgrade is now just the addition of a single switch.

Of course this is only one quick example of SummitStack in action and the flexibility of Extreme Switches and how they can be architected into the network.  Did I mention that Extreme’s Summit line allows for distributed forwarding? This means that packets coming into any member switch of the stack can be forwarded by that switch, unlike other approaches which sometimes require traffic be sent up through the master to be forwarded.

Our data center stackables, the Summit X480, X650 and X670V, also deliver advanced flexibility with options that allow 40G connections and/or Stacking.   These switches can utilize an optional VIM module for up to 4 ports of 40G or Stacking speeds of 320G, with the ability to breakout the VIM ports with two ports for stacking and two ports for 40G connections.  Additionally, any of the 40G connections on these VIMs  can be broken out into 4 ports of 10G if needed, optical or copper CX4.  Extreme has a solution that will fit most any design without compromise. Better yet, if your company and the network it runs on has to grow later, a problem we all hope to have, you may be able to avoid wholesale forklift upgrades but simply adding a single Summit to an existing stack.

Additional information and material on Summit Stack can be found in this Technical Brief:


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Extreme Marketing Team

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