Today we are making a significant announcement with several new innovations across our data center and switching portfolio that showcase how our customers can build large scale-up and scale-out data center networks. While the press release does a great job (thanks Lee!) of highlighting all the innovations across the Nexus Unified Fabric portfolio and the new ASA 1000v, two aspects of the announcement stand out quite prominently:
- Cisco is delivering the highest density 10GbE modular switching platform in the industry
- Cisco is delivering the most scalable fabric in the industry and, by extension -- on the planet! (we’re told planet sounds much cooler)
No. 1 above is fairly straightforward. With our new 2nd-generation F2 line card and Fabric 2 module, at 768 ports of 10GbE line-rate switching ports running NX-OS, the flagship Nexus 7018 in a fully-loaded configuration is simply the epitome of switch scale.
No.2 is where things get interesting, because we’re no longer thinking about just the “box” but rather, how we can weave different elements across the data center into a holistic “fabric”. This systems-based approach focuses on multi-dimensional scale transcending the box and even the data center LAN, to span between data centers, while providing feature-rich fabric capabilities. At 12,000+ 10GbE nodes supported as part of one Fabricpath-enabled system, and with the ability to support Fabric Extender (FEX) technology (plus L2 and L3 capabilities), this approach re-defines fabric scalability at 2X the scale and half the cost point of the next best claim in the industry. More important, it achieves this in an evolutionary manner for our 19,000+ NX-OS customers, offering investment protection for brownfield deployments while raising the bar for greenfield environments!
The Nexus platforms have been around for 3+ years, and over 500 customers have deployed FabricPath on the Nexus 7000 alone since its introduction about an year ago. It is a proven technology. With Fabricpath now coming onto the Nexus 5500 platforms, the momentum is likely to spike up with a mix of both size and scale. Like I said, things get interesting.
To make it more fun, our technical experts from the product teams have taken a data-driven approach and compared Cisco’s new innovations and our box and system-scale with others in the industry.
They looked at a couple of representative examples -- the first being, what it would take any other vendor to build a non-blocking 768-port 10GbE “switch”, with capabilities similar to what the Nexus 7000 could provide in a single chassis. The second example takes a look at what it takes to build a “fabric” with Cisco leveraging its Nexus portfolio and NX-OS to build that.
Take a look and let us know what you think. It is useful to note that most vendors in the industry today have no fabric capabilities to speak of, and the few that are attempting a systems approach, have really limited to no customer traction thus far. Our customers and key analysts tell us that Cisco has a multi-year innovation lead in this space, even as Cisco continues to focus on bringing the network, compute, storage and application services together with integrated management to drive productivity and efficiency across traditional IT and organizational silos.
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Tags: ASA 1000V, Baidu, Cisco Data Center Fabric, F2-series line card, Fabric 2 module, Fabric Extender, FabricPath, Nexus 2000, Nexus 3000, Nexus 5500, Nexus 7000, Nexus switching, Rackforce, Unified Fabric
Few years ago, in order to interact with the audience, I started a Cisco Live presentation involving some Spanning Tree design with three questions:
- Who hates the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)?
This one is easy. You could sell ice blocks to an Eskimo based on the ubiquitous hatred for STP. Here, I got a good 90% of the hands in the air.
- Who has a good understanding of STP?
More personal question, but this is Cisco Live, with networking experts all over the place. Some 60-70% hands were raised.
- Who thinks that the root bridge can block a port?
Audience stunned! Some were shaking their head, with a negative expression, the others suddenly realized they had an urgent email to check or looked away. Among the more than 100 attendees, only one person in the front was frantically raising his hand. Too bad for him, there was no prize.
I drew two conclusions from this:
- First, giving the impression that you’re thinking your audience is made of idiots is not good for your session evaluation.
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Tags: data center, FabricPath, Unified Fabriic
Today’s IT organizations face a broad set of challenges today.
- How to deal with the proliferation of end-user devices? (smartphones, tablets, etc.)
- How to deal with the proliferation of virtualization and it’s new operational model?
- How to adapt to requirement for new application traffic patterns (east-west, VM mobility)?
- How to manage the edges of their networks as work/life locations blur?
- When do they decide to deliver a business need via internal resources vs. external resources?
- With all this technology change happening so rapidly, how do they align their teams?
Tags: Big Data, Cisco UCS, Cloud Computing, Cloud-Ready Network, Consolidation, FabricPath, Hadoop, LISP, nexus, OTV, virtualization
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?
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Tags: Big Data, Borderless Networks, Cloud Computing, Data Center Fabric, FabricPath, Layer 2, Layer 3, nexus, UCS, virtualization, Web Applications
I hope you are all packed and ready for Cisco Live – Las Vegas next week. In the Sin City we will demo our innovative products and solution architectures that will help simplify and accelerate your journey to private and hybrid clouds. The best way to quickly learn about our products and solutions is by seeing them “LIVE IN ACTION”. With more than 50-60 demos being showcased across different focus areas (e.g. Borderless networks, collaboration, data center etc.) in the Cisco Main Booth, I thought it would be helpful to highlight the data center specific demos.
Dedicated to Cisco Data Center products and solution architectures, we have total of 12 demo kiosks with different themes as listed below. Each of the kiosks will have one or more demos that will highlight Cisco’s unique offering in that focus area. All the kiosks will be staffed by Cisco experts to answer all your tough questions. I am very excited to be part of the show and would love the opportunity to meet you in person. I will be available at the data center demo kiosk 12 -- “Automate and Simplify Your Journey to Cloud”.
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Tags: Cisco, cisco live, FabricPath, FlexPod, LISP, nexus, OTV, SMT, UCS, Vblock, vdi, VM-FEX