Blade Network Technologies (BNT) has announced the release of what it describes as the first IPv6-ready, 10Gigabit Ethernet switch module for HP's BladeSystem.

The HP 1:10Gb Ethernet BL-c switch provides 10Gbit/s Ethernet uplink performance for up to 16 HP ProLiant and Integrity server blades in the HP BladeSystem enclosure, said the company. It's designed to help systems designers build a unified LAN and Ethernet-based SAN fabric, using the 1Gbit Ethernet ports for upstream LAN connections alongside one or more of the 10Gbit Ethernet ports for connectivity to an iSCSI SAN or IP NAS.

Advantages of using the switch on HP's BladeSystem are said by BNT to include:

  • Lowest total cost of ownership for networks moving from Gigabit to 10Gbit Ethernet

  • Direct connection to core 10Gbit/s Ethernet routers instead of Gigabit access layer switches

  • Reduction of network complexity, cable management and troubleshooting caused by link aggregation

  • Equips blade servers for increased I/O for virtual servers

  • Designed for applications requiring high uplink bandwidth such as IPTV, video surveillance, iSCSI/IP NAS storage, high-performance computing, remote backup, and disaster recovery

  • Layer 3 static and dynamic routing protocols provide network security, flexibility and conserve bandwidth.

BNT also makes much of the fact that the system is ready for IPv6 -- although IPv6 has yet to make appreciable inroads into mainstream enterprise networking.

The product is claimed to deliver 120Gbit/s full-duplex throughput to the HP BladeSystem enclosure via three 10Gbit/s uplinks and a 10Gbit/s cross-connect, 16 1Gbit/s downlinks, four 1Gbit/s uplinks and one 1Gbit/s management port in a single-bay form factor. The switch is fully compliant with the European Union’s Restriction on Hazardous Materials (RoHS) directive, reckoned the company.

The switch also offers industry-standard Layer 2 switching and Layer 3 routing functions, along with quality of service metering, security, and high availability features, according to Blade. The switch prioritises bandwidth for sensitive traffic, and ensures that sensitive traffic is delivered without delay. The QoS feature enables the switch to classify and reclassify packets based on demand.

The combination of both Layer 2 switching and Layer 3 routing (IP forwarding, RIP, OSPF and VRRP) in a single blade switch form factor can also eliminate the need connect the HP BladeSystem to upstream Layer 2/3 device aggregators, making it a candidate for SMBs as well as high-performance computing applications. Layer 3 IP forwarding between VLANs enables traffic destined to other server domains to route through the c7000 enclosure’s backplane for greater data security and lower latency, while conserving uplink bandwidth, reckoned the company.

BNT said that its switch can also help eliminate the complexity of managing separate networking and storage fabrics, and therefore saves money because it consolidates both LAN networking and iSCSI storage onto 10G Ethernet, without affecting network performance.

As with all blade-format switches, it also cuts cabling compared to stand-alone switches.

"Just as people buying plasma TVs today want to make sure they are HD-ready, our new switch for HP BladeSystem is 10G-ready while giving customers the additional option of inexpensive Gigabit Ethernet uplink connectivity," said BNT president and CEO Vikram Mehta.

"Customers are showing that HP BladeSystem c-Class is the platform of choice for any bladed environment," said HP BladeSystem division VP Mark Potter. "In collaboration with Blade, a member of the HP BladeSystem Solution Builder Program, HP is helping customers meet the demanding performance requirements of today’s mission-critical business applications."

"From a TCO perspective, blade servers equipped with 10G Ethernet connectivity decrease associated networking costs by reducing the number of expensive 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports at the distribution and core network layers," said chairman of the Blade Network Technologies advisory board and founder of 60East Technologies Jeffrey M. Birnbaum. "As organisations increasingly seek to exploit 10Gb Ethernet for extremely low-latency applications combined with the value of a unified LAN and SAN fabric to an iSCSI SAN or IP NAS, the new Blade switch is the best choice for HP BladeSystem."

The HP 1:10Gb Ethernet BL–c switch is available from HP now, prices starting at $4,999.