TFD Bonus 3 – Peter Wohlers of Force10 Presents to Tech Field Day San Jose 09/16/2010

On September 16 & 17, Pushers Greg Ferro and Ethan Banks attended the Tech Field Day event in San Jose, California.  This TFD bonus edition podcast is the third in a series of edited vendor presentations that is releasing over the next few weeks.

Notes on the audio:  the presentations were recorded with a conference table microphone so as to pick up both the presenters and the delegates as there was back and forth dialog from time to time.  In post-edit, noise filtering and leveling was applied to make the quality as listenable as possible.  That said, the audio is not perfect.  We know.  Audio quality is important to us, too, and we promise we’re trying to make it as good as we can.

What You’ll Hear

Peter Wohlers, Systems Engineer with Force10 Networks, presents to the Tech Field Day delegation about the Force10 product line “speeds and feeds”.  The conversation gets geeky with a lot of back and forth between Peter and the delegates.  In the conversation, you’ll hear Greg FerroIvan Pepelnjak, and Brandon Carroll from the TFD delegation, as well as Stephen Garrison, Vice President of Marketing for Force10.

  • Force10’s flagship product is the E-series.
    • This is Force10’s first product, and has evolved over time.
    • Peter claims there’s hardly a transaction you do on the Internet that doesn’t touch this gear at some point or another.
    • Greg and Peter discuss the E-series fabric cards as compared to the Cisco Nexus 7000 fabric cards.
    • Peter talks about how the forwarding load is distributed throughout the chassis and line cards.
    • The E-series backplane is completely passive.
    • Customers Force10 is allowed to discuss include Facebook, NYSE, Yahoo, and SalesForce.
  • The economic version of  the E-series is the midrange C-series chassis.
    • Performance claimed to compare well against the Cisco 6500 series.
    • Many of the high-performance features of the E-series in a more economical bundle.
    • Different line cards from the E-series.
    • More merchant silicon as compared to the E-series.
  • The top-of-rack switch is the S-series.
    • 24 & 48 GbE PoE and non-PoE versions in a 1U form-factor
    • 4x10GbE uplinks
    • Ridiculously deep buffering
    • Several other configuratations – hit the link above for more detail.
  • Peter philosophizes on stacking in the rack, stacking in the core, and his intense fear of split-brain. “Split brain is no brain,” so says Peter.  So say we all.
  • The delegation corners Force10 on their FCoTR strategy, and Peter hints at what plans Force10 might have for FDDI.
  • Greg raises the issue of QoS management across the Force10 platforms. Everyone loves the party bus!


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Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks, CCIE #20655, has been managing networks for higher ed, government, financials and high tech since 1995. Ethan co-hosts the Packet Pushers Podcast, which has seen over 3M downloads and reaches over 10K listeners. With whatever time is left, Ethan writes for fun & profit, studies for certifications, and enjoys science fiction. @ecbanks
Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks