Dell Expands Networking Solutions with PowerConnect 8100

By Sean Michael Kerner | Aug 23, 2012 | Print this Page
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Dell is expanding its switching portfolio this week with the announcement of the new PowerConnect 8100 series.

The PowerConnect 8100 is intended for use in the core and aggregation layers of the network. Chassis include both 24 and 48 port models of 10 Gigabit Ethernet, as well as the ability to support 40 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP+ ports.Dell PowerConnect 8100

William Choe, executive director of Campus, Branch and Mobility at Dell Networking, told Enterprise Networking Planet that the new 8100 series will replace the existing 8000 series products (8024 and 8024F) and is targeted for campus aggregation and core deployments.

Dell has also taken steps to optimize the 8100 series for video conferencing, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and unified communications and collaboration (UCC).

"As part of Dell's better together solutions, we are working closely with other business units and product teams within Dell," Choe said. "For video conferencing, VDI and UCC, we have developed features like QoS, administrative profiles and PVLANs that support better end-user experience along with PowerConnect access switches (7000, 6200 and 5500)."

PVLANS are private VLANS that limit the broadcast domains. The 8100 series also leverage the Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) IEEE 802.3az standard to help reduce overall power usage. EEE was first approvedin 2010 and has been steadily rolling out into vendor solutions ever since. With EEE, ports can enter into a low-power state when they are not in use instead of staying fully powered all the time.

Dell has been an early adopter of EEE, having deployed the energy saving technology since at least April of 2011 on the PowerConnect 7000 series of switches.

Stacking

Choe noted that up to six PowerConnect 8100 series switches can be stacked together. The six stacked switches however are not managed as a virtual construct.

"These switches support true stacking capabilities with non-stop forwarding," Choe said.

Dell has been busy lately expanding its networking portfolio, most notably by way of the acquisition of Force10 Networks in 2011. New Dell Force10 networking gearwas announced in April that embraces the company's Virtual Network Architecture (VNA) approach.

While Dell has been busy integrating technologies from Force10 into its portfolio, Choe noted that PowerConnect is Dell's own product line for the last 11 years.

"These products are developed together with our ODM and manufacturing partners," Choe said.

As for the future of Dell's switching portfolio, Choe said that Dell networking will continue to improve. With the aim being to address new technologies and customer pain points, including software defined networking, improved access layer and converged infrastructure switches with superior performance and support for virtualization.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.