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Cisco’s Catalyst 6500: Ready to embrace the next wave of networking challenges

As Mark Twain supposedly wrote, ‘rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated’ – a phrase that certainly rings true for Cisco’s Catalyst 6500.

With a raft of new innovations recently announced at Cisco Live, competitors that were struggling to catch-up with the last iteration of this flagship switch have now seen their goalposts shift yet again.

The latest innovations provide Catalyst 6500 customers with the capability to evolve their network infrastructure for the coming decade’s  proliferation of connected devices, growth of video traffic, cloud computing business models and increasingly mobile workforces—without requiring “rip and replace” upgrades.

So, once again, Cisco continues to deliver business-enhancing innovation and investment protection for its customers – and with a platform that many had wrongly assumed was dead. Amongst the enhancements announced were:

–          Yet another ‘industry first’ with seamless IPv4 and IPv6 support from the switch’s hardware platform
–          New network virtualisation capabilities
–          A comprehensive set of L4-7 integrated services modules and new application performance and visibility monitoring through a revamped implementation of NetFlow.

The real key though is the introduction of the highly anticipated Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T, a 2-terabit card that unlocks 80 gigabits per second per slot, new feature-rich 10-gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet line cards, and next-generation borderless services that provide customers with new mobility, security, network analysis and load balancing capabilities.

The new supervisor engine provides a threefold increase on throughput capability. It can also quadruple the number of devices or users that can connect to a network. For example, a single Catalyst 6500 can now support up to 10,000 mobile devices.

All new line cards and the 2 Tbps supervisor are compatible with all Cisco E-Series chassis models, offering minimal intervention to the existing Catalyst 6500 E-Series infrastructure. This compatibility prevents rip-and-replace upgrades that jeopardize a customer’s network uptime and require additional personnel, expenses and time.

The video below features Kumar Srikantan, Cisco’s VP of Marketing for the Scalable Networks Business Unit, as he talks about the latest updates to the Catalyst 6500, why Cisco and our customers are so excited about them and what it means for the broader industry.  Enjoy!

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Is Your Network Ready for the Cloud Journey?

For many months now, we’ve talked about the Journey to Cloud Computing and how an evolution within your Data Center is needed to make that a reality. In many cases, we looked at this from an application perspective, focused on the interaction between automation, applications, servers, storage and the edges of the network.

But many of you have asked us to provide you a broader understanding of the role the Network plays in the Journey to Cloud Computing. Specifically you’ve asked us to highlight several areas:

  • What is Cisco’s perspective and strategy around the usage of multiple types of Cloud Computing (Private, Public, Hybrid, Community) and what is needed from the network to interconnect all these offerings?
  • How does my business manage the network transitions needed between today’s applications (often client-server), the virtualization of those application, and next-generation web and big data applications?
  • What considerations do we need to make within my Data Center as we try and maximize efficiency and scalability?
  • What considerations do we need to make at the edges of our networks when the proliferation of devices is almost out of control?
  • Are there ways to protect my network investments while still having the flexibility to deal with the business uncertainties that are around the next corner?
Is Your Network Ready for the Journey?
View more presentations from Cisco Data Center.

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Borderless Networks: Experience Required

In a recent blog, I talked about how recording artists are using the network to create new ways of nurturing customer (or fan) relationships while also building a great marketing base. But as we increasingly move into a world of borderless networks, where traditional, limiting boundaries fall away, we’re seeing a new cultural playground. One that allows us, as users, to connect with what enriches our lives. And that, too, is a powerful force in building relationships and community on the network.

As the explosion of mobile devices continues, and new forms of social media and tools emerge, we are entering an exciting new phase. Because when you start putting these together, along with innovative functionality in the routers and switches that bring those things to life, we have the opportunity to experience things that might have been out of reach in the past.

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Borderless Networks Will Set You Free! – Telework for Government

There is a lot of buzz out there right now about Telework Solutions for Government as many agencies are making the transition that so many Corporations have already completed.  Personally, I haven’t worked full time in an office since pre-1996 and can’t imagine wasting that much time every day on preparations and commuting for no real purpose other than donuts, coffee and the latest office gossip.

Work is an activity, not a location in today’s professional world with pervasive networking capabilities and the Government is getting on board under the leadership of the current administration.

If you want to get a feel for the progress and momentum around this,  check out the public/private partnership at the Telework Exchange site focused on eliminating the Telework Gridlock.  Cisco is one of the sponsors of this activity because we see the value, have lived it for better than 15 years,  and can offer solutions to help make this a reality for our Government customers. Read More »

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Hey HP…Really? Time for a reality check!

Cisco doesn’t usually weigh in on rumor, speculation, or just plain nonsense, but we simply had to address some blatantly misleading information that HP has been sharing with customers and reporters in the wake of Cisco’s industry-changing Catalyst 6500 announcement of earlier this week.  I’m a big fan of Dragnet, so in the style of Detective Sergeant Joe Friday, let’s talk about “Just the facts”:

First, Cisco emphatically stands behind the claim of 3x the performance at 1/3 the price when you compare a simple upgrade of Catalyst 6500 versus HP’s A9500.  HP is suggesting we should instead be comparing the Catalyst 6500 against their replacement platform, the A10500.  We’re perfectly happy to do this but we found it’s really hard to do a comparison with a product that doesn’t yet exist.  Don’t believe us?  Go look at the HP web site.  You won’t find any details to support HP’s claims.  Yes, HP did ‘launch’ the A10500 in May, but it still hasn’t been posted to their configuration tool, nor does it appear anywhere on their networking product pages.  So is the A10500 real, or is it just marketing until it gets off the factory floor?

Second, HP’s claim that the E-Series has only been around for months is incorrect.  The Catalyst 6500 E-Series has been in the market for seven years and is in 80 percent of our installed base customer networks.  80 percent!  So, for 80 percent of our customers, migrating to the Sup2T really is as simple as a $38,000 list price upgrade.  That’s all it takes to get that 3x performance increase, 4x scalability boost, and access to over 200 new software features.  Investment protection has always been a key criterion for Cisco and its customers.

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