January 16, 2012

Grace Under Pressure – Lippis tests show 192 40GbE ports at wire speed with zero packets dropped

Personally I have always been a fan of big and fast. As a child, a model SR-71 Blackbird hung from my ceiling. In the late 80’s when Top Gun came out, I rode a Kawasaki 900 Ninja, one of the first of the full fairing superbikes. Later, in 1999 Suzuki rewrote all the record books with the legendary Hayabusa, a big, burly 191 mph motorcycle. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I had to have one and it got me in all sorts of trouble.

Now, a new comer joins the ranks of the powerful and fast, the Extreme Networks BlackDiamond X8. Just like doing top speed testing of machines like the Hayabusa or the Blackbird is non-trivial in terms of selecting a venue, the same applies for filling 192 ports of 40GbE with full line rate traffic. Fortunately, our friends at Ixia were able to help with their iSimCity. What they and Nick Lippis of the Lippis Report found was some really good news for Extreme and the BlackDiamond X8:

  • 100% throughput with 0 packet loss across all 192 40GbE ports
  • 2.3 microsecond latency for Layer 2 and Layer 3 traffic
  • As little as 50% the power consumption of some competitors

To put the performance in easier to understand terms, if all that throughput was used for downloads you could download the entire Apple App Store in about 2 seconds based on 500,000 active apps x 5.0 megabytes = 2.3 terabytes. While we were delighted with the performance figures Nick found, we were also delighted with the support we got from our friends at Ixia.  For the uninitiated, Ixia is in the test and measurement business.

Martha Lawrence and John Johnson, both with Ixia

Martha Lawrence, an Ixia SE, and John Johnston, an Ixia TME, both flew out to Santa Clara to support this effort. Bonus points if you can identify John’s favorite rugby team. Hint: they do the haka. While having good products is a nice start, part of what makes dealing with Ixia a pleasure is support they provide and the quality of their people.

Here is the Extreme BlackDiamond X8 in the lab cabled in for some of the tests.

Ixia X12

Here is the Ixia XM12 with Xcellon-Flex 10/40GE and 4x40GE high density load modules used for load testing.

So while we are very excited about the overall test performance of the BlackDiamond X8, we are also excited about its efficiency. Power (and cooling) are some of the biggest costs that data center operators have to deal with.   With power consumption as low as 5.6 watts per port, you are not only getting high performance, but you are also getting high efficiency as well. Imagine a 1000 hp Bugatti that sipped gas like a Toyota Prius hybrid.

Interested in learning more?


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Extreme Marketing Team

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