Nortel Soldiers On With New Networking Gear

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Nortel VSP 9000
Source: Nortel. Click to enlarge.

LAS VEGAS – Nortel Networks is a company that has made headlines this year as a networking vendor that is under bankruptcy protection. It is now trying to restructure and re-invigorate its business with a series of new networking initiatives officially being announced here at the Interop trade show.

The new gear includes a core networking virtual services platform, a new secure router platform and a new Unified Communications management solution.

“One of the things we want to do at Interop is clearly articulate why Nortel is in this business, why we think we’re relevant, and we want to clearly show our commitment and innovation,” John McHugh, Nortel’s vice president of enterprise solutions told “We’re the real deal.”

Part of McHugh’s real deal comes in the form of Nortel’s newest virtual services platform the VSP 9000. According to Nortel’s product specification the new VSP 9000 can support up to 27 terabits per second (Tbps) of switching capacity in a single chassis delivered by up to 720 10GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) ports per rack.

McHugh called the VSP 9000 the next generation and big brother to Nortel’s high end core modular solution the ERS 8600.

“The VSP 9000 now is a 10GbE aggregator solution with high performance and a fully redundant architecture virtualizing for better consolidation and for supporting network services and applications,” McHugh said.

Nortel is also announcing its new Secure Router 2330 which is a branch router solution. McHugh noted that the platform is also a virtualizing platform that can run Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS). Nortel and Microsoft have a multi-year partnership on unified communication dating back to 2006. Microsoft made its own collaboration news this week by announcing a unified communication partnership with HP for $180 million.

“The SR 2330 really creates the power of taking a routing platform and layering services on top to create an entire branch ecosystem,” McHugh said.

Nortel is also rolling out a new management architecture which does device management as well as application delivery management and optimization.

“You can see how performance of an application is being manifested in the network and how underlying network link performance might be impacting app performance,” McHugh said.

Nortel is not getting into the WAN acceleration market with this new release, rather it is looking at optimizing an existing network for application delivery.

“My objective with this tool is not to be putting things into the data or control path of the application but instead be able to show a customer where customers might have application delivery issues,” McHugh explained. “More than anything it is a view of an infrastructure that specifically is aware of how an application is sitting in that infrastructure.”


Earlier this year, Nortel sold of part of its enterprise equipment portfolio to Radware. That sale, according to McHugh, wasn’t about just shedding assets but about his business unit renewing its focus.

“The divestiture of the so called Alteon portfolio to Radware was a recognition that I want to be great at enterprise networking infrastructure,” McHugh said. “What we sold is the actual application switches, that specific application space is one where I thought I didn’t have the focus and breadth of engagement to be exceptional at.”

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