Extreme Networks has entered the 10Gbit/s datacentre switching market with a stackable product that's designed to offer a migration path from 1Gbit/s.

Extreme's Summit X650 is a 24-port non-blocking 10 Gigabit Ethernet fixed configuration switch that measures 1RU. It joins recent rollouts from Blade Network Technologies and Cisco.

The Summit X650 switch can support as many as 32 10-Gigabit ports on a single system, or as many as 256 ports in a stacked system, said Extreme. Through switch stacking, the Summit X650 can attain a total throughput performance of 512Gbit/s, said the company.

The switch features a slot for Versatile Interface Modules, which allow customers to stack both 10 Gigabit Summit X650 switches and existing Summit X450 Gigabit switches within the same stack. This is intended for 1G to 10G migration and investment protection, said Extreme.

Some competitive differentiators include the absence of FibreChannel over Ethernet gateway capabilities, which both the Blade and Cisco top of rack switches support in order to provide a converged datacentre switching fabric for both server and storage resources. Extreme supports FCoE transport capabilities only.

Extreme also says it intends to support "lossless" Ethernet in the future. Lossless Ethernet, or Converged Enhanced Ethernet, is an emerging standard to carry FCoE storage traffic across Ethernet networks using flow-control and congestion-notification, and is supported on both the Blade and Cisco switches.

Extreme says it supports "best in industry Quality of Service" to guarantee packet transmission.

As for server and storage virtualisation, Extreme indicated it may have some partnerships lined up to soon add virtual machine capabilities to its ExtremeXOS switch operating system software. This would allow the switches to set bandwidth, virtual LANs, security policies and other network parameters for an entire rack of servers - regardless of the number or type of servers - and enable the switches to add, remove or replace servers without reassigning addresses or network and security policies.