Startup rolls out 40G data center switches at Interop

LAS VEGAS -- Tucked way in the back corner of the exhibition floor in a tiny cubicle, Gnodal Limited, a startup data center switch vendor from Bristol, U.K., unveiled its initial Ethernet offerings at Interop 2011 this week.

The company rolled out its GS line of 1RU, Layer 2 top-of-rack switches based on its own PETA ASIC. Each switch delivers 1.5Tbps of non-blocking, low latency switching for server access, switch-to-switch communications, and fabric switching.

WHAT'S NEXT? IEEE seeks data on Ethernet bandwidth needs

The GS line consists of three switches: the GS7200, which features 72 10Gbps SFP+ ports; the GS4008, which sports 40 10G SFP+ ports and eight ports of 40G QSFP; and the GS0018, a fabric switch with 18 40G QSFP ports. Multiple switches can be combined for scale, Gnodal says, from 72 ports up to 64,000.

In a multi-chasses configuration, a link or entire switch can be removed from the fabric without disrupting the rest of the network -- the fabric will dynamically adjust to the changing environment without management intervention, Gnodal says. Port-to-port latency is 150ns and additional hops are 66ns. Overall system latency is 414ns.

The Gnodal fabric can dynamically load-balance traffic to offer full bandwidth utilization, even if there is endpoint congestion, Gnodal says. These techniques also prevent head-of-line blocking, the company says.

The GS line uses in-line and adaptive routing techniques to avoid loops, Gnodal says. The switches also support the IEEE's Data Center Bridging specifications to provide "per-priority pause" for lossless Ethernet, and support for FibreChannel-over-Ethernet and iSCSI storage convergence.

The switches consume under 1.6 watts per twinax copper port and under 2.5 watts per optical port.

The GS line will begin shipping by the end of the second quarter. They'll go up against top-of-rack and fabric switches from all leading vendors, including Cisco's Nexus line, Juniper QFabric, Brocade's VDX, Extreme's new Summit X670, Arista's 7000 series, HP's 6600 switches, Force10's new Z series, Avaya's new VSP 7000 and Alcatel-Lucent's OmniSwitch 6900 line.

Gnodal's target customers include those in the scientific and engineering, financial services, Web 2.0, cloud and hosting provider, video, life sciences and oil and gas exploration markets. The company has raise $11 million in venture funding from investors in the U.K.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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