Interop: Nortel Gets 'Back To Basics' With New Enterprise Gear


At Interop Las Vegas 2009, the struggling Toronto-based vendor and former telecom powerhouse said it's getting back to basics, building innovative gear to drive the network.

John McHugh, Nortel's vice president of enterprise data solutions, said Nortel has taken a step back and is investing in and delivering on networking technologies that are built to provide resiliency and efficiency, looking to earn Nortel back the secure footing it once had in the enterprise network.

First, Nortel at Interop launched the Virtual Services Platform (VSP) 9000, a high-performance core data network and data center switch that offers massive performance, reliability, flexibility and virtual network services. The new switch pits Nortel against myriad other vendors that have launched data center-caliber switch offerings in recent months, including 3Com, with its newly branded H3C gear, Force 10 Networks, Juniper Networks and others.

McHugh said the VSP 9000 is the big brother to the ERS 8600 core switch. The 10-Gbit aggregator box with virtualization capabilities can support up to 720 10 Gigabit Ethernet port density per rack, or 240 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis, and up to 27 Tbps of switching capacity in a single chassis, or more than 100 Tbps in a quad switch cluster.

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The VSP 9000 simplifies virtualization, ultimately letting users reduce capital and operation expenses and driving a more energy-efficient network. It also offers carrier-grade reliability for uninterrupted business services based on its ability to repair communications paths in milliseconds, according to McHugh.

The VSP 9000, which will ship early next year, takes up one-third of data center rack space and provides 10 I/O slots for 24-port, 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ modules, 48-port Gigabit Ethernet modules and 48-port 10/1000/1000-Mbps Ethernet modules, McHugh said.

Nortel also launched a new secure router, the Nortel Secure Router 2330, which offers integrated routing, WAN, security and voice gateway services for small and midsize branches. The 2330 can also support survivable SIP services.

Along with new hardware, Nortel also unveiled the Nortel Energy Saver (NES), a new software feature that can turn down switching capacity during times of limited or no connectivity, which McHugh said can save up to 39 percent of the typical energy requirements during peak hours. The NES will be available initially on Nortel's Ethernet Routing Switch portfolio via Nortel's enterprise Policy manager, during the second half of this year. The feature will be added into Nortel's remaining Ethernet switching lines at a later date.

According to McHugh, Nortel's reinvigorated focus on the enterprise shows its focus on data networking and marks a return to form for the vendor, which in recent years started to stray from that focus.

"The challenge in times like this really is getting back to basics, and bringing out innovative products that add value."