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What is Lossless?

In a recent post, I read that there’s no reason to wait to implement FCoE and that an underlying lossless Ethernet network is not really required. In fact, a CEO of another vendor actually proclaimed that their switch is lossless and can be used for FCoE today.In some ways, I agree. There is no reason to wait to implement FCoE today. But shouldn’t you implement it with all the features necessary for a truly lossless Ethernet? Features like Priority Flow Control (802.1Qbb), Bandwidth Management (802.1Qaz), and Congestion Management (802.1Qau)? All of these encompass what we call Data Center Ethernet and are being standardized by IEEE and supported by the Ethernet Alliance.It’s also interesting that he measures lossless capability by testing just simple forwarding on a single switch. Any modern switch can forward line-rate at different packet sizes with zero packet loss. The real question is how does an Ethernet switch handle congestion? How then does it handle storage traffic that doesn’t tolerate drops while dealing with congestion of other protocols? This is why Data Center Ethernet is required which allows you to build a lossless NETWORK, not just a lossless switch.The Cisco Nexus 5000 delivers Data Center Ethernet and FCoE today. Be sure to look at it when comparing against other so-called lossless Ethernet switches.

Happy Birthday to Data Center 3.0

June 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

Well, it’s been a year since my first blog post on, which happened to be about the newly announced Data Center 3.0. As you may remember, at the time Jayshree Ullal noted that DC 3.0 was going to be a multi-year journey, which some took to mean it would be a while before we saw anything tangible to support that vision. Not quite. So if we look back at the last year, its been pretty busy on the data center front:- Cisco Catalyst VSS- 10GbE Catalyst Blade Switches for Dell, HP, and IBM blade servers- Virtual Blade Switch technology- Cisco Catalyst 4900 Switch- Ubiquitous 10GbE (core, agg, access, modular, rack, blade)- Storage Media Encryption- Data Mobility Manger- NPV/NPIV Support- The Cisco Nexus Family (7000 and 5000)- NX-OS - Data Center Ethernet- Fibre Channel over Ethernet- ACE Appliance- WAAS Mobile- WAAS Hosted Virtualization- ISV Validation from SAP, MSFT, ORCL and others- Cisco TrustSec- IronPort- VFrame 1.2 service orchestration- Data Center Network ManagerGo ahead, I’ll give you a sec to catch your breath- I think the key point is that we helped our customers move the ball forward on multiple fronts (switching, storage, security, management, apps) in the data center with a blend of investment protection of existing platforms and also the introduction of new platforms and technologies.Doug pointed out in January that there were a slew of good things in the works and we are only halfway through the year, so, stay tuned.

The funniest thing I’ve seen in a data center

Cisco Live 2008 -- June 24, 2008

Our greatest data center challenge

Cisco Live 2008 -- June 24, 2008

The funniest thing I’ve seen in a data center

Cisco Live 2008 -- June 24, 2008