Enterasys Upgrades Ethernet Switch Line With New S-Series


Enterasys Monday launched the S-Series, a new family of network switches designed to ease the flow of data, voice and video traffic in not only traditional enterprise networks but also virtualized and cloud environments. The move marks a significant update of what Enterasys can offer for Ethernet switching.

According to Enterasys -- the network infrastructure and security division of Siemens Enterprise Communications Group -- the S-Series switches offer Terabit-class routing and switching and provision power in small measures to enable better Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) performance.

In total, new features give the S-Series 1.28 Tbps in switching capacity and 950 Mbps in throughput, which is respectively four times as much switching capacity and 10 times as much throughput as Enterasys provided in its previous line, the aging N-Series.

The end goal is to drive down enterprise customer costs and offer as advanced and adaptable a switching and routing infrastructure as possible. Enterasys also wants to make it easier for existing N-Series customers to upgrade to the S-Series, although S-Series modules don't work with N-Series chassis.

"This offers a tremendous amount of switching capacity, from core to edge," said Ray Suarez, Enterasys' director of product management for the S-Series. "One thing that's really nice about the S-Series is that across the whole portfolio of configurations, it uses the same firmware. For our install base, finding that out will make installing even easier."

The S-Series systems are priced starting at $15,595. S-Series switches include automated provisioning of virtual and physical server connectivity, fully distributed switching and system management architecture and what Enterasys calls a "self-healing" functionality, in that the S-Series line can automatically redistribute switch and routing applications to other modules if a particular module goes down.

Along with the automatic firmware upgrades for existing Enterasys systems, the S-Series can also automatically identify and provision VoIP services for IP systems from all major IP telephony vendors. Structurally, the S-Series family comes in 1U, three-slot, four-slot and eight-slot chassis options.

Suarez said the S-Series was designed with an industry push toward maximizing -- and making more efficient -- an enterprise's existing data center. For virtualized environments, the S-Series can be configured for VMware, Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V environments, and for cloud-based environments, adheres to on-demand applications.

"We can drastically reduce the footprint of the data center as well as the power and cooling requirements and the networking infrastructure," he said. "There's clearly a value there."

The Ethernet switch refresh is one of the first major Enterasys product launches since the company merged with Siemens' Enterprise Communications group in July 2008.

That joint venture -- 49 percent owned by Siemens and 51 percent owned by the Gores Group, the private equity firm that previously owned Enterasys -- created a $5 billion business unit in hopes of positioning Enterasys as a viable competitor to Cisco and Juniper.

According to Enterasys, the Enterasys name will eventually be folded into Siemens entirely as the companies continue to integrate product portfolios.

"It's a one plus one equals three situation," said John Grimm, Enterasys' director of product marketing. "We didn't have overlap to deal with and the more they learn about what we do, they're eating it up. The Enterasys challenge has always been our name, but they've started to spread the word and train on us across the whole company."