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
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
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
The next generation Nexus 5600 family offers VXLAN bridging and routing capability, line rate L2/L3, and 40G uplinks, to deliver high performance in a compact form factor for 10G Top of Rack, 1/10G FEX aggregation deployments.
AND THERE HAS BEEN BROAD CUSTOMER ADOPTION ACROSS THE DATA CENTER!
From Nexus 1000V to the Nexus 9000, Cisco’s holistic approach resonates with customers because it provides increased business agility, operational efficiency, and empowers IT to rapidly evolve as business requirements change.
Here are the latest examples of why our customers chose Nexus:
I could not have asked for a better start to the New Year. 2014 was quick off the starting blocks with January already setting the tone for the rest of the year as momentum continues to pick up in data center and cloud networking. Here are some highlights of the state of the business, new product introductions and additions to the ACI partner ecosystem -
ACI customer traction continues to get stronger; Ecosystem continues to add new members
Cisco Live! in Milan provided first-hand evidence of the strong interest from customers to learn more about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Customer briefing sessions were packed and demos in the World of Solutions had strong interest. Hundreds of customers are engaged in proof-of-concepts just in the first 30 days. Select customers have been provided the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) simulator to get them early exposure and help harden the APIC ahead of its general availability targeted for Q2 this year.
The open architecture of the APIC means that it is easier for new technology partners to come on board and integrate. New members coming on board the ACI ecosystem include A10 networks, Cloudera,MapR and Catbird. Expect solution data sheets to be made available closer to the APIC availability.
Watch Soni Jiandani provide details of the momentum building around ACI -
The vision of ACI was also extended to Campus and WAN environments with the announcement of the APIC Enterprise module. Stay tuned for more on this space.
Nexus 9000 continues to break new records – Miercom and Lippis test reports available
The Nexus 9000 has been shipping since Q4 of 2013 and is already breaking new records. Miercom released a report that detailed how the Nexus 9500 is offering the highest performance and lowest latency in 40GbE competitive studies. This supplements test reports released here earlier by Lippis and Ixia that focus on performance, availability, power efficiency and programmability.
There’s been a lot of news and momentum surrounding VXLAN technology in the last several months, and there is no doubt that VXLAN is becoming a more strategic and pervasive technology across cloud networks as a result. When we rolled out VXLAN about two years ago with the first commercial implementation as part of our Nexus 1000V virtual switch, VXLAN was solely a virtual networking construct and had real constraints in how it could be extended to physical networks and devices. It was also restricted to overlay networks using our Nexus 1000V switch (or other virtual switches supporting the VXLAN overlay protocol).
Now, however, VXLAN is being supported broadly across Cisco networking platforms and devices, across multiple Cisco fabric architectures, and we are even seeing broader support from other vendor ecosystems and non-Cisco switching platforms. Cisco is continuing to expand its support for VXLAN onto the new Nexus 5600 Series switches, as well as Nexus 7700 Series using the F3 line card.
For those of you not fully up to speed on VXLAN, VXLAN stands for Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network, and started out as vastly more scalable Layer 2 LAN and tenant isolation construct for data center and cloud networks. Where cloud networks were running out of only 4000+ VLAN IDs to segment application networks, VXLAN gave them over 16 Million logical network segments.
From the outset, Cisco Unified Fabric has been ahead of the curve and ahead of the market in its innovation and the value that it brings to Cisco customers. Its introduction brought about a profound shift to data center fabric: unification of the IP and storage networks. Today it is foundational – a primary building block for cloud-based, virtualized data centers, providing architectural flexibility and consistent networking across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.
Customers know this too, as evidenced by Cisco’s continuous leadership in this market maintaining the #1 market share for Data Center Ethernet Switching with over 70% of the market*, and #1 in FCoE SAN Switching with 77% of the market**.
Cisco also announced the vision for our revolutionary networking architecture with Application Centric Infrastructure. Yet again, we are evolving our infrastructure to help IT departments dramatically simplify how they provision their data center resources (networking, servers, storage and services) that are critical to the performance of their applications. As we heard from Padmasree Warrior, “the Application Centric Infrastructure will give our customers the agility to deliver applications to end-users where they want, when they want, and to any device they want -- securely, rapidly, and at a lower cost.”
We continue to innovate as no other IT company does, providing the vision and technology to transform the data center. Tomorrow starts here.
*Source: Infonetics, Q1CY2013 DC Network Equipment Report **Source: Dell’Oro, SAN Switching, Q2CY2013