Enterasys, the network infrastructure and security division of Siemens Enterprise Communications, today announced a new “vendor agnostic” data center strategy and a round of enhancements to its S-Series Ethernet switches that help move virtual machines (VMs) and applications around the data center.

The Enterasys S-Series switches can store and apply service provisioning profiles to servers, VMs and storage devices. The Enterasys approach, according to director of product management Ray Suarez, stands in stark contrast to the physical constraints of technologies from vendors such as Cisco and Brocade.

“The way most vendors do it now is they assign policies to physical ports on a switch so that when you connect a VM or application to a switch, those are the policies you get. We don’t apply policies to physical ports. We assign policies directly to applications rather than physical ports,” says Suarez.

Enterasys has improved the S-Series with automation functionality that “virtualizes” network connectivity. The switches can detect VM changes and automatically configure application-specific network policies, priorities and bandwidth across both the virtual and physical environments.

For storage devices, the S-Series provides automated service-level provisioning and packet-level auditing. The S-Series automatically applies the correct network settings to VMs and storage devices as they move within the data center network, according to Suarez.

The Enterasys switches interoperate with multiple virtualization vendors, including Citrix, Microsoft and VMware; and multiple server and storage vendors, including Dell, HP and IBM.

Enterasys’ switching products start at about $17,000 for top-of-rack systems.

The company plans to announce a series of hardware, software and partnership announcements in the coming months as it attempts to build out the automation and visibility features of its switching gear.

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