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VMware’s SDN Strategy is No Threat to Cisco, says Mike Fratto

August 8, 2012 at 8:30 am PST

For those of you wondering about the impact to Cisco of Software Defined Networking and the combined SDN strategy of VMware and Nicira, I point you to a very rational and well-articulated article by Mike Fratto of Network Computing, that basically says Cisco doesn’t have much to worry about. (Enterprise Strategy Group had already said something similar, by the way).

Specifically, Fratto says:

Mike FrattoThe lack of programmability in existing networking hardware is certainly a problem, but VMware’s acquisition of Nicira does not mean that Cisco and its ilk will be marginalized… It does mean the role and management of the physical network is changing, and I think Cisco is further ahead than most of its competitors in creating a vision for the next phase of networking.

I couldn’t agree more. Since Cisco live! when we announced our Cisco ONE strategy for network programmability as well as the advances in our Nexus 1000V portfolio for virtual network overlays, I have been posting on many of the same points.

My take here was that the VMware-Nicira acquisition did not portend a strategic break with Cisco, and while there are some obvious overlaps in our product lines, there are still a number of areas of collaboration, cooperation and interoperability. The virtual network infrastructure is just one piece of a larger software stack and the differentiation will likely be decided in the orchestration, management and applications built on top of the newly programmable infrastructures sometime down the road. Read More »

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Scaling the Nexus 7000 with New 2nd Generation Supervisors

Earlier this year I wrote a blog titled “Feeling the need for speed”, which highlighted the ongoing performance and port speed evolution on the Nexus 7000 platform. These and other performance enhancements on the Nexus 7000 focused on the data plane, essentially making packet switching faster. Over the last four years, we’ve increased the per slot switching capacity from 80G to 550G with the introduction of new fabric and I/O modules. If you do the math, the Nexus 7000 data plane can now support up to 17.6Tbps, that’s a lot of bits flowing through the switch.

So, to keep up with this dramatic increase in the data plane speed, we’re introducing two new supervisors, the Sup2E and the Sup2 to boost the Nexus 7000 control plane performance and scale.

In the Nexus 7000, the Supervisor is essentially the control plane. It handles all the control plane and management functions such as Layer 2 and 3 services, redundancy capabilities, configuration management, status monitoring, power and environmental management, and much more. 

To handle all these functions and be able to scale to meet the growing demands of data centers, the new supervisors are built with significantly faster CPUs and increased memory. They also offer two key new features, FCoE enablement on the F2 Series modules and VDC CPU shares, which lets you set CPU priority on a VDC basis.

The Sup2E is designed for the broadest network deployments and the highest investment protection. With daul quad-core processers and 32GB of memory, it delivers the highest performance and scale. From a pure CPU performance perspective, the Sup2E delivers 4 times the performance of the current Sup1. This increase enables faster routing and STP convergence times and increased VDC and FEX scale. With the current software release, you can configure up to 8 VDCs, plus 1 admin VDC and connect up to 48 Nexus 2000 Switches (10GE version) per Nexus 7000.

With a quad-core processer and 12GB of memory, the Sup2 is ideal for small and medium sized deployments. Even though it’s double the CPU performance compared to a Sup1, it delivers similar feature scale. However, it offers faster control plane performance and added features for the same price point as the Sup1.

Here’s a table that provides a high-level summary of the three Nexus 7000 supervisors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, with the introduction of the new supervisors, you’re no longer limited to a one-size fits all Supervisor selection. You can now choose the right supervisor based on the size of your network deployment and the place in the network.

For more detail on the new Supervisors, I encourage you to check out the Sup 2/2E datasheet posted on the Nexus 7000 page.

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Play Ball!

June 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm PST

One of the annual joys and rites of summer for millions of Americans is cheering for their favorite baseball teams. Fans continue to have more options than ever for following their favorite teams on-the-go with always-on access to MLB.com’s news and streaming video anywhere, anytime, on any device, supported by Cisco networking and data center infrastructure. Press coming to Cisco Live are in for a baseball treat today, with a tour of Petco park, followed by a behind the scenes look at the MLB IT infrastructure from Joe Choti, CTO and Sr. VP, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and Steve Reese, VP of Technology, Petco Park.

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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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