Compact switch shines with chassis class

A new switch from Allied Telesyn Inc. promises high quality of service (QoS) for enterprise organizations and service providers.

Released in January, the AT-9924TS is a switch with Layer 3 and QoS functions that has 24 fixed 10/100/1000T ports and two 20Gbps capacity expansion bays.

“This switch provides options for different connection types both in terms of media (copper or fibre) and speed (gigabyte-per-second 10Gbps),” said Dante Martin, product manager for Layer 3 switch products at San Jose, Calif.-based Allied Telesyn.

The tri-speed ports of 10/100/1000T will negotiate the speed of the network based on the speed of the device at the other end of the network — whether it is 10Mbps, 100Mbps or 1Gbps.

The 9924TS switch is also chassis-based, but in a fixed-port form factor that is one rack unit (RU) in height. In the past, Martin said customers either had chassis switches the size of mini refrigerators or fixed-port switches available as purchase options.

Because of the size of the 9924TS Martin said the switch is best suited for applications like server aggregation for rack mountable servers.

“It allows organizations to have these very dense server racks with high switching availability that provides dual internal redundancy in a smaller size,” he said.

Traditionally, Martin added, server aggregation often fell to chassis-based switches because they had redundant power supplies whereas 1RU switches didn’t have that functionality.

He noted the 9924TS has redundant power supplies that can be swapped out without the need to power down the switch.

One feature of the 9924TS is a function called “trigger facility” that provides protection against failures of other network-attached devices. Martin said the switch could be programmed with auto-detection functions, such as the ability to detect a server link failure, which would invoke a trigger that activates an alternative link to a backup device. This trigger can also be used to reconfigure the switch using protocols like OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) that determines which way packets flow in the network using multiple paths to the same destination.

As well, the switch can be mirrored to allow traffic to be replicated from one port to another to inspect packets. Martin said network administrators could use this functionality to troubleshoot issues with devices connected to the network like servers and PCs or for security reasons.

Martin said the 9924TS is positioned to compete against high-end switches like Cisco’s Catalyst 4948, Extreme’s Summit 400-48T and Foundry’s FES x424.

Shirley Hunt, a strategic analyst with Frost and Sullivan, said she hasn’t seen a switch similar to the 9924TS in the marketplace.

“Allied Telesyn is using a fixed platform with modular capability and the technology within this fixed switch is comparable to the chassis of Cisco, Foundry and Extreme,” she said. “The 9924TS may be 1RU, but it does the same thing as a chassis-based unit.”

Hunt added that the 9924TS is probably aimed at mid-size companies with strict budgets that can’t afford to buy high-end switches like Cisco’s Catalyst 4948 but still have needs to handle gigabit-per-second or 10Gbps speeds.

“These high-bandwidth switches are needed for organizations to handle Web, voice and video traffic,” she said.

The 9924TS is priced at US$8645 and is the latest model from Allied’s 9900 switch series joining the AT-9924SP and the AT-9924T.

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