Extreme Networks has introduced an entry-level intelligent edge switch, the Summit X150, plus a set of configuration tools to help admins set up scripts to automatically deploy, manage and optimise their switches.

All of Extreme's switches, including the X150, run the same modular operating software, called ExtremeXOS. That means they have the same command line interface (CLI) and that the same automation scripts should run on all of them, claimed Paul Phillips, the company's UK regional director.

"The objective is both to help those who've developed their own scripts and those who need some prompting to get get them going," he said. "Our standard scripts provide best-practice and also a starting point for your own work."

The automation framework includes some neat touches, such as giving a switch the ability to detect particular client types (IP phones, say) and not only set the port up appropriately but make it adaptive as well.

So for example it could turn the port off to save power overnight, or if a phone is moved from one port to another, the VoIP configuration could follow it to the new port - all without needing to refer back to a network management system.

Although the value-class Summit X150 switch is intelligent and supports the scripting tools, it is not stackable, is primarily a Layer 2 device, and does not support Extreme's LLDP-based Universal Port provisioning scheme. That's unlike the stackable and Layer 3-capable Summit X250e, which was formerly the company's entry-level model.

Three versions of the X150 are available, including 24- and 48-port 10/100 models, and a 24-port version that offers full 15.4W Power-over-Ethernet on all ports. All three models also have two 1Gbit/s uplink ports, and European list pricing starts at $1095 (around (£550) for the version with 24 unpowered ports.

PoE approximately doubles the per-port cost, said Phillips, but he noted that there's no 48-port PoE model. Smaller switches are preferable for PoE because powered devices tend to be more business-critical, he argued, adding: "48 ports would be too much of a risk, you could lose too many to a single failure."

The X150 comes with a warranty that covers it for five years from sale, as long as the same customer owns it. Phillips acknowledged that this doesn't look as good as ProCurve's lifetime warranty but argued that it's what's most appropriate outside the network core.

"For the edge, customers want to keep their own spares and have failures replaced under warranty, with a maintenance contract for the core," he suggested.