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Miercom Performance Verified – Cisco Nexus 7700 Delivers Industry’s Highest 100Gbps Scalability, Performance and Availability

This will probably date me, but when I started in telecommunications a few years back, 10-Mbps thin-net Ethernet was the cool new technology. I used to think, “Who would ever need that much bandwidth?” Since then, IT technology has changed dramatically, with applications continually demanding more and more bandwidth. Ethernet switching capacity has advanced by leaps and bounds to keep pace with demand, ratcheting up connectivity speeds from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps. For most data centers today, 1- and 10-Gbps connectivity is commonplace. But now 100 Gbps is quickly gaining traction in the vertical markets that require the highest performance. If history is any indication, 100 Gbps will be commonplace in most data centers in the not too distant future.

To meet the high-performance demands of today’s service providers, research labs, and large enterprises, Cisco started shipping a 12-port 100-Gbps module for the Cisco Nexus® 7700 platform switches about a year ago.

Nexus 7700 100G, 12 port module

Nexus 7700 100G, 12 port module

The module is based on the Cisco® F3 chip, which offers the industry’s most comprehensive data center feature set for the core and the data center interconnect, including multicast, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN), Cisco Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV), and Cisco Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). The module was designed to deliver line-rate performance with a total switching capacity of 1.2 terabits per second (Tbps). So, theoretically, a fully loaded Cisco Nexus 7700 18-Slot Switch chassis with 192 100-Gbps ports could deliver up to 38 Tbps of bidirectional throughput. No matter how you slice and dice it, that’s a lot of throughput—enough to meet the demands of any network.

As a matter of fact, 192 100-Gbps ports with 38-Tbps throughput would make the Cisco Nexus 7700 18-Slot Switch the industry’s highest-density 100-Gbps switch, with the Industry’s highest throughput rate. To verify this industry leadership, we put the switch to the test.

Cisco commissioned Miercom to conduct an independent performance test on a fully loaded Cisco Nexus 7700 18-Slot Switch with 192 100-Gbps ports. One of the first challenges Miercom faced was how to generate 38 Tbps of traffic to test line-rate performance. Miercom called upon Ixia’s world-renowned labs to help. The solution called for multiple Ixia Xcellon modules in Ixia’s iSimCity lab to conduct the tests (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Ixia test lab set up

Ixia test lab

 

Along with the raw throughput testing, Miercom also tested critical Cisco Nexus 7700 platform features to see how they would perform under full load. Tested features included MPLS, IPv4/IPv6 multicast, and hitless In Service Software Upgrade (ISSU).

After the testing was complete, the Cisco Nexus 7700 18-Slot Switch proved that it offers the industry’s highest 100-Gbps density and performance with line-rate services and exceptional availability. This level of scale provides customers with many years of investment protection as they transition from 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet to 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet architectures in the future.

Robert Smithers, CEO of Miercom, summed up the test results nicely: “Miercom independently exercised and evaluated Cisco Systems Nexus 7718 and was frankly stunned by the incredible power and throughput of this system, coupled with consistent low latency and latency variation, as well as solid MPLS support and high-availability features. The first switch we have independently tested with 192 x 100GE ports, the Cisco Nexus 7718 is awarded Miercom Performance Verified in our ongoing Data-Center-Class 100GE Switch Study.”

For the full details of the test, check out the comprehensive Miercom test report and accompanying test/results video. Also, here is what Miercom and Ixia had to say in their press releases.

Here’s a quick summary of the Miercom test results:

  • Testing found the Cisco Nexus 7718 can forward at line rate on all 192 of its 100GE ports – delivering over 38 Terabits/s of bidirectional traffic
  • Testing confirmed the Cisco 7718 can distribute real-world IPv4 and IPv6 multicast traffic at wire speed, with each of 191 receiver ports handling 1,250 IGMPv2 groups
  • The Cisco 7718 can process real-world MPLS traffic at line rate on all 192 of its 100GE ports, with no loss and low latency
  • Testing confirmed that an active Supervisor module or fabric module can be replaced with no packet loss, with IPv4 and v6 traffic running at high capacity on all of its 100GE ports
  • The Cisco 7718 executed an in-service software upgrade, with IPv4 and v6 traffic running at high capacity on all 192 of its 100GE ports, with no loss

Visit the Nexus 7000 series webpage for more information on all the F3 modules and the latest innovations such as Cisco Remote Integrated Service Engine (RISE) and Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) that continue to raise the industry bar for scale and efficiency.

 

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Greece Ready for 100G Internet

One of the most interesting aspects of the Cisco Visual Networking Index is how the explosion of Internet traffic is taking place everywhere. We’ve talked before about how countries such as Iceland and Bermuda are leveraging high speed connections to the world to grow their economies. This time let’s look at Greece and competitive carrier hellas online (hol) on how they are preparing for the zettabyte era. (A zettabyte is 1021 bytes, in case you had forgotten).

Hol is one of the largest fixed-line telecommunications services providers in Greece offering a range of retail, business and wholesale services, and they also own the most extensive core backbone network in Greece. Their fiber optical network stretches over 4166 km nationwide and recently they’ve started offering an on-demand interactive video service called “hol video club” that has really taken off. Despite the challenges of the European economic situation, hol is continuing to see not just increases in bandwidth demand but also gains in the number of subscribers. Most recently they’ve seen increasing growth in cloud-based services as well.

Cisco 100G coherent demo in lab.

Hol is also one of the most recent carriers to put Cisco’s 100G coherent optical solution through its paces. For hol, 100G offers a solution to meet their need for as-needed, cost-effective bandwidth growth without the need to replace any fiber infrastructure. This is a common situation – carriers are finding the 10G links are no longer sufficient; yet running multiple 10Gs in parallel is not optimal. The challenge has been finding a solution which simply enables “plug in play” upgrades to 100G. This was one of the key objectives of the Cisco engineering team who developed the 100G DWDM solution. To make 100G widely deployable and commercially successful, it needed to have similar performance and engineering specifications as previously deployed 10G links.

Hol’s successful trial of the dense wavelength division multiplexing solution was run between two Read More »

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Cisco Helps Iceland’s Farice Play a Key Role in Green Cloud Computing

One of the topics we covered this week at the Cisco Packet Optical Networking Conference was cloud computing. A benefit of cloud computing is that the physical infrastructure – the storage and compute resources – can be located almost anywhere as long as there is reliable network access. Several countries are leveraging their low cost green power to grow their economies with new data center facilities. A publicly announced example of this is Facebook which has built an enormous facility in northern Sweden. Iceland with its cooler temperatures and green geothermal power, plus ideal location between North America and Europe has seen a significant growth in its data center industry. However, being an island nation it faces a challenge to ensure that sufficient cost-effective network capacity is available to connect off-island users with its storage and compute resources.

Farice, the primary provider of networking services to and from Iceland and operator of two submarine cable links to Europe has sought to Read More »

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Feeling the “need for speed”? Announcing 100GE on the Nexus 7000 Series

It’s clearly evident from the evolution of technology that the “need for speed” seems to be deeply embedded in human nature.  Reflecting back without going too far back in history, the horse and buggy was the main mode of transportation, unfortunately not fast enough. So we invented the locomotive, automobile, airplane, fax machine, e-mail, and mobile phones with text messaging among the hundreds of other inventions to fulfill our need to do things faster.

Being a networking guy, I might be biased, but I see networks as the new frontier for speed, especially now that we are a media/information driven society. It wasn’t long ago that a 10Mbps shared Ethernet LAN and 56kbps WAN links were considered fast (showing my age here). However, every time faster networking speeds were introduced, newer applications quickly consumed the capacity driving the need for even higher speeds.

Over the years we’ve seen Ethernet speeds increase in increments of 10x starting with 10Mbps to 100Mbps to 1GE and 10GE and now, we’re again at another speed inflection point -100Gigabit Ethernet! This week Cisco added to our 100GE router portfolio (CRS and ASR routers) with the announcement of a 100GE M2-Series module for the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series switches. Along with the 100GE module, we also announced a 40GE M2-Series module for the Nexus 7000 and a 40GE module for the Catalyst 6500.

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Latest 100 Gigabit News from Cisco

In case you might have missed it (or don’t read Russian) I wanted to call out two newsworthy items related to Cisco and 100G technology.

Last week at CiscoLive! London we announced the availability of 100GE interfaces on the Nexus 7000 to reduce bandwidth bottlenecks in the data center and help our customers meet the demands of emerging cloud computing applications. With this announcement Cisco becomes the only vendor in the industry offering an end-to-end 100G solution which includes the core (CRS), edge (ASR 9000), data center (Nexus 7000), and coherent DWDM optical transport (ONS 15454 MSTP). Furthermore we’re also one of only a handful of companies in the networking industry that owns (through our acquisition of CoreOptics) the underlying technology needed to make 100G (and beyond) a cost effective reality. With the high forecasted growth rate of the global Internet we believe that our customers will strongly benefit from the unique breadth of our solution to meet both their business and technology requirements.

Cisco end-end 100 Gbps Solution-- Core, edge, optical, data center.

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