Foundry Networks ha launched two 10 Gigabit Ethernet application acceleration switches designed to support VoIP and web applications.

The new switches are designed to handle an explosion of traffic volume in data centres used by e-commerce and other businesses, brought on as voice, video and data over IP increasingly converge, said Gopola Tumuluri, director of product management at Foundry.

Both new switches are part of the fast-growing market for application acceleration for Layer 4-7 switches, said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group Research. He estimated that the market was worth about $700 million globally last year and should grow by as much as 25 percent in 2006. “There will be a lot of activity in the 4-7 space,” he said. “It’s a hot market now.”

The new ServerIron GT switches are physically smaller than the Foundry ServerIron 450 application acceleration switches Right Media installed in its four data centres about two years ago, said Matt Phillips, vice president of technology for the New York-based online advertising management provider. The data centres - and a fifth that's coming online soon - handle a few hundred servers.

Phillips said he would have used the new GT switches if they had been available two years ago, and he praised Foundry’s products and service. “With every switch manufacturer, there are always problems. But the key difference is how the problems are dealt with, and Foundry has smart guys who always work with us.”

He plans to buy the new SSL acceleration modules to expand the capability of his ServerIron 450 machines, which have already been expanded with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet module.

When Right Media was expanding its operations, Phillips compared Foundry’s products with those of F5 Networks in Seattle, and Netscaler, now owned by Citrix Systems. It turned out that Foundry's products performed better and cost less than competing offerings, said Phillips. “We need really fast connections, since we serve over 30 billion ad impressions per month,” he said. “Foundry is core to our network.”

Application acceleration accounts for a majority of market leader F5’s revenue, but only a fraction of Foundry’s revenue, said Kerravala.

Both of the ServerIronGT switches will be available next month and will sell for US$39,995, with two optional modules for SSL acceleration selling for an added $9,995 and $17,995.