Dell Debuts New PowerConnect Switches

Dell is expanding its switch portfolio this week with a new PowerConnect 7000 series of enterprise switches.

The PowerConnect 7000 is a platform of managed Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches that also include support for the Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) standard for power utilization.

“The 7000 series switches join the recently launched 5500 series switches in support of EEE, and both platforms leverage industry PHY technology for full EEE 802.3az support,” Larry Hart, senior manager at Dell Networking told “To adequately support EEE requires a complex combination of silicon and software. “

The 802.3az standard was officially completed by the IEEE in October of 2010. HP also supports 802.3az with its E8200 zl and E5400 zl platforms.

“EEE power savings are realized by reducing power at the port during traffic idle periods, which can save significant power during idle periods,” Hart said. “Energy savings are also realized by the 80-Plus certified power supplies, which deliver over 80 percent utilization of the power drawn by the supply itself, and efficient multi-speed fans that decrease power draw by reducing speeds when less cooling is required.”

Hart added that the combination of these energy efficient features results in one of the world’s most efficient Ethernet switches in the 7000 Series.

Dell is a partner of Juniper Networks and there are several switches with the Dell portfolio which are OEM version of Juniper EX switches. Hart noted that the PowerConnect 7000 switches are designed and developed by Dell.

The PowerConnect 7000 series of switches is intended to expand the Dell networking portfolio with a more robust 1GbE Top-of-Rack switch.

“Additionally, the switch can be deployed as a campus aggregation switch because of its high availability capabilities and 10GbE uplinks as well as a campus edge switch where PoE+ is required,” Hart said. The 7000 series offers 24 or 48 gigabit Ethernet ports, with up to 4x10GbE modular ports for uplinks to other network or high-speed storage/server devices.

Other switch vendors including Cisco and HP have recently begun to support virtualization port profile support with either the 802.1Qbg or 802.1Qbh standards. Neither of those standards are currently supported in the PowerConnect 7000 series.

“802.1Qbg and 802.1Qbh are both promising mechanisms to support virtualized environments, and we will be watching these standards as they mature to determine how they best solve the issues our end users are facing in the data center,” Hart said.

Another standard starting to see adoption is 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40 GbE).

“While actual demand for 40 GbE is tepid, we have seen some limited customer interest and use cases for 40GbE,” Hart said. “The primary need we have seen for bandwidth beyond 10 GbE is aggregation of multiple 10GbE switches. In most cases, link aggregation of multiple 10GbE ports provides adequate bandwidth for connecting these switches.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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