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So What Exactly is a Nexus 4000? — The Answer

OK so first of all, I’d like to thank all the folks here who took time to post extremely useful comments on my previous blog “ So What Exactly is a Nexus 4000?”  . I’m glad to see that there is a lot of interest in this product. Also, glad to see that in terms of understanding and perception of the Nexus 4000 functionality, largely everyone got it right.

I’ve posted some details of Nexus 4000 along with some use cases below. I’ve also tried to respond to each of your comments individually towards the end of this blog. As we mentioned during the announcement, this is a general high level functionality introduction of Nexus 4000 Series. Our blade server partners will be making more details available as it relates to their blade chassis so stay tuned for more information. However, please do continue to post your comments & feedback around Nexus 4000 on this blog…

So what is a Nexus 4000?

The Cisco Nexus 4000 Series is a family of blade “switches” for scale-out x-86 blade servers ( non-Cisco). Nexus 4000 is NOT a Fabric Extender (aka FEX), Nexus 4000 is a “Switch”.

 Nexus 4000 Series Blade Switches are the fourth generation of blade switches from Cisco. It will fit inside blade server I/O slots to provide network connectivity for blade servers. The first generation blade switch was the Cisco IGESM blade switch. The second generation was the Cisco Catalyst Blade Switch 3000 family , the third generation is the Cisco Catalyst Blade Switch 3100 family  (aka VBS). And now the fourth generation is the Nexus 4000 Blade Switches.

So Cisco is not new to the blade switch market, in fact we are clear leader in blade switch market space both in terms of installed base of blade switches & market share even with our Catalyst blade switch product line.

This newest addition to the Cisco Nexus family of data center products, the Nexus 4000 Series will extend the benefits offered by the Nexus family to our partner blade servers. More specifically it provides the Unified Fabric  functionality to our partner blade servers.

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Go Big or Go Home

I thought I would re-visit my cathedral-builders blog, since a couple of interesting stories popped up this week.


For starters, Nick Lippis posted a well thought out blog on his short list of cathedral-builders (Cisco, HP, and IBM).  Yes, I know I have a bias, but these three companies would be my top 3 as well.  I think all three companies have the correct blend of vision and completeness of footprint.  If I were to add a fourth, it would probably be either Oracle or Dell–both companies are certainly working hard on carving out a broader role.


Over at, Gary Orenstein pondered if networking would become the final area of differentiation in the data center.  Certainly, I am not going to be upset if networking capability becomes the primary point of differentiation between Cisco, HP, and IBM :), but, sadly, I don’t think it will be that simple.  I do, however, think he brings up an interesting dynamic for product vendors (the brick sellers in my original post).  If networking becomes a key point of differentiation, I don’t think the current arms-dealer approach of selling their wares to everyone and anyone will fly any longer.  If you are selling bricks with no compelling differentiation, then I think your business gets commoditized and the profit is driven out of it.  On the other hand, if you do have compelling differentiation, then I think you get get snapped up by one of the cathedral-builders to give them a point of differentiation in the broader data center battle that Gary talks about.


All, of which, perhaps helps explain the reports that surfaced this week that Brocade is shopping itself around.  This type of chatter usually makes customers nervous (often with good reason), but in the scheme of things, I can see why Brocade would want to take that risk and leverage its Fibre Channel expertise to find a home with one of the cathedral-builders in the market.


Anyway, I think it will be interesting to see what evolves over the next 12-18 months–how the cathedral builders flesh out their portfolio and what happens to the remaining brick sellers.



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So What Exactly is a Nexus 4000?

Now this is not a rhetorical question. I want answers, folks, answers! In the past we posed such questions but answered them in the same blog post. I’d like to try a different approach, I would like our blog readers to post their initial impression & understanding of Nexus 4000 first. So go ahead & post.


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Cisco will be at Oracle Open World . Guess why? part II

Mark Fulgham, VP Cisco Data Center Solutions invites you to join us on Cisco booth (2301) to talk about running your Oracle applications on unified computing system . Cisco and Oracle have been for a long time partners, working together on specific architectures such as the retail architecture, taking advantage of application acceleration and network optimization. Today with the Cisco Unified Computing Systems, the deployment of Oracle application has never been so fast and so simple

For more information on Cisco and Oracle partnership

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Cisco Data Center Update On-Demand Link

For those of you that missed this week’s broadcast or ran afoul of some technical gremlins (sorry about that), here is the on-demand link: 

One of my favorite parts of the show was the conversation with  Derek Masseth, Senior Director for Infrastructure Services for the Universtity of Arizona on their FCoE deployment.  

  • Why they choose to deploy FCoE?
  • How difficult was the deployment?
  • What approach did they take?  How long did it take?
  • What were the benefits, ROI, and TCO? 
  • Were they worried about deploying FCoE before the standards had been approved?

Beyond Derek’s piece, there is some good info on our shiny new Nexus 4000 FCoE blade switch as well as a look ahead to some of the upcoming product and technology releases for the Nexus and MDS families.

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