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Raising the Bar Again on Data Center Switching

I really enjoy writing blog entries to provide more details after our announcements. Having done that for past few Nexus announcements, I’d like to continue the tradition & provide a bit more color to our switching part of the announcement yesterday. So before we go into the details of switching – what actually did we announce?

In a nutshell, we announced the evolution of our data center architectural strategy to the Cisco Data Center Business Advantage, which is really an architectural framework designed to help accelerate IT innovation and increase business impact essentially making IT as an enabler of business and a competitive differentiator. At the foundation of this architectural framework are three pillars — Unified Fabric , Unified Computing and new third architectural pillar Unified Network Services (UNS).We also announced key Innovations across the data center portfolio in each of these pillars.

So Cisco pioneered the concept of Unified Fabric in 2008. Since then we’ve continued to evolve Unified Fabric with continuous stream of innovations. Cisco’s Unified Fabric is a network-based approach to deliver systems excellence that unifies Ethernet switching, storage networking and intelligent data center operating system to provide convergence, scale and intelligence.

New switching innovations around this architectural pillar include 2nd generation Nexus 5500 platforms, new capabilities on the Nexus 7000 and Nexus 5000 series with FEX-link additions, Nexus 1000V and several enhancements across the Catalyst 6500 and 4900 portfolio.

First, let’s look at the next generation Nexus 5000 Series, the Nexus 5500 platform . The introduction of the Nexus 5000 Series in the year 2008 was the first instantiation of our Unified Fabric convergence strategy & it essentially changed the entire data center paradigm – Nexus 5000 Series has had tremendous success — with over 3000 customers worldwide. Cisco Nexus 5000 was the first product in the industry to introduce the concept of Unified Fabric to deliver Ethernet & Storage access layer convergence, high performance lossless Ethernet & VM-aware services.

The new Nexus 5500 platform takes the convergence, scale & intelligence attributes of our Unified Fabric to the next level with unique functionalities such as Unified Ports – which takes the Unified Fabric convergence to the next level by delivering much more granular & flexible path to convergence based on business needs.

The new Nexus 5500 platform will also provide industry’s highest density and performance for fixed switches and is multi-protocol, multi-layer and multi-purpose. The addition of layer 3 – will make it a truly multi-purpose platform — this can be used for small scale aggregation – in addition to massively scalable access layer with FEX & FabricPath functionalities.

Working in conjunction with FEX, the Nexus 5500 will have the capacity to provide scalability for over 900 1GbE ports and over  600 10GbE ports. Nexus 5500 also provides predictable low latency and jitter at large scale delivering the ability to handle microbursts. Thus making it an ideal choice for traditional, virtualized and HPC environements

We also announced the expansion of Nexus 2000 Series FEX with

  • Nexus 2224TP FEX : the Cisco Nexus Fabric Extender 2224TP provides alternative deployment options to customers with low server density per rack.
  • Nexus 2248TP FEX :can now connect to the Nexus 7000 Series  (which recently won Best of VMworld award ) , enabling large-scale 100M/1G connectivity while providing simplified management, operational consistency and common sparing. Nexus 2000 FEX architecture provides best of both worlds by combining the benefits of end-of-row & top-of-rack deployments.

Our Cisco Nexus 1000V , an IEEE 802.1Q standard based distributed virtual switch for the VMWare vSphere & vCloud platforms, which has enjoyed tremendous adoption, shipping over 1 million virtual Ethernet ports in less than a year — will have a new software release 1.4 which will provide scalable deployment of virtual network services through vPath and quality of service to virtual machines.

We continue to invest in Catalyst product lines to provide investment protection to customers who continue to leverage Catalyst in traditional data center environments. New Cisco Catalyst 6513-E chassis delives higher density, scalability & investment protection with the support of all the existing IO modules including the new 16-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet 10GBASE-T module and new Catalyst 4900  software with role based access control TrustSec functionality.

Simply put, at Cisco we understand our customers have heterogeneous data center environments and diverse switching needs. We believe in providing choice & flexibility with a comprehensive set of best in class and standard based innovative switching solutions for our customers to address their specialized switching needs.

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