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Don’t be Bewitched by the Switch – What You Need to Know when You Evaluate Solutions

It’s undeniable that the biggest convergence happening in the access layer is Wired/Wireless. Today, we’re no longer forced to treat wired and wireless any differently when it comes to network visibility and management. However, the unification of Wired/Wireless doesn’t come without its own challenges and complexity.

As we’ve seen with the latest switching announcement at Interop 2015, there is a lot of noise in the marketplace and customers and partners increasingly need to cut through this to achieve their IT goals and meet today’s increasing demands on the network and the demands of tomorrow.

Earlier this week, HP made false claims about our Catalyst 4500E switch. To help you out, here is what you need to know about Cisco switching and, specifically, our Catalyst 4500E switch:

  • As the world becomes increasingly more digital, there is an elevated need for a flexible and scalable network to address rapid shifts in technology use and its associated traffic. We’ve seen tremendous demand for our modular switches that supply the best flexibility for this change. In fact, Cisco has the industry’s most widely deployed modular access switches with a modular PoE port share that just reached an all time high of 81.5 percent.
  • To tackle the biggest convergence in the access layer, Catalyst 4500E supports built-in wireless controller capabilities and delivers common intelligent services across wired and wireless for security and policy, application visibility and control, network resiliency, smart operations, and more.
  • Cisco’s Catalyst Multigigabit (mGig) technology available across the access portfolio including the Catalyst 4500E can prepare customers’ access switches for the next wave in wireless, 802.11ac wave 2 by delivering speeds beyond 1 Gigabit on existing Category 5e cables. This technology also supports PoE, PoE+, and Cisco Universal PoE (UPOE) so you don’t need to install new electrical circuits to power your access points.
  • Cisco’s modular access switch portfolio offers backward compatibility with up to three generation of line-cards providing unmatched investment protection – 2x in terms of number of years over other vendors.
  • A key operational consideration for IT is to maximize uptime and provide seamless code upgrades. In Service software upgrades (ISSU) have been available on Cisco’s 4500E portfolio for almost a decade
  • The Catalyst 4500E has unmatched scale to meet the needs of a customer’s network and future proof for an influx of new devices – 25X route entries, 16X multicast entries & 42X Security/QoS entries when compared to other vendors.
  • As IoT trends upward, more “things” connect to the access network and it is key that the network is able to scale to meet these needs – Cisco offers 33 percent more scale in terms of POE+ ports and 50 percent more POE+ scale for redundant power deployments to connect more users, devices and things. Additionally, Cisco supports UPOE, which future-proofs our customers for upcoming applications requiring more than 30W/port.
  • Security is a top of mind for our customers and Cisco offers a complete end-to-end solution with support for MacSec, Cisco TrustSec, Identity Services Engine and Flexible Netflow, providing the best in class network encryption, segmentation and networking sensing solutions.
  • The Catalyst 4500E is designed for supporting rich media services with its superior multicast scale and design. Cisco Catalyst 4500 is designed to support hardware accelerated multicast with deep buffers. The Cisco Catalyst 4500E accommodates up to nine times larger data bursts, delivered to otherwise loaded output ports, without loss.
  • Cisco Catalyst 4500E supports a multitude of capabilities that support IT simplicity and smart operations. Examples: Simplified provisioning with Plug and Play, Simplified configuration of switches & interfaces with AutoConfiguration and Interface templates and faster troubleshooting with embedded wireshark, a world-class protocol analyzer.

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SDN – A Cisco Champion’s perspective

Software defined networking (SDN for short) is going to be an important technology that will change the way we do networking. But what is SDN today and even more important, what is it going to be?

When you start reading about SDN as a network engineer, you ask yourself what your future job will look like. Will you still be a network engineer as we know you today, or a network developer, with a focus on scripting and programming your network? In my opinion, the reality will be somewhere in between. But no one can tell you today what impact SDN will have on your daily work tomorrow. Read More »

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Cisco Spring PONC on the heels of a strong OFC insertion

leonard_lunaBy Leonard Luna, Senior Marketing Manager, Cisco Service Provider Solutions

Cisco’s one-two punch for IP Optical Convergence in 2015 began with an impressive showing in March at OFC in Los Angeles, and crescendos with our annual Spring Packet Optical Networking Conference (PONC) being held May 12 -14 in Dallas TX – shaping up to be our most comprehensive and informative PONC ever.

Highlights from OFC

OFC 2015

Day one of OFC could not have started on a higher note – Verizon announced Cisco as a key partner in the deployment of its next generation Read More »

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Myth-busting: White-box Switches are No Bargain

In the last episode of our myth-busting series, Cisco SDN expert Frank D’Agostino and I are debunking the myth of the bargain priced white-box switch. White boxes aren’t a new subject in the market, but customers are just now starting to evaluate them for return on investment. So, where to start? When considering a white-box deployment, it is crucial to do all of the math. You must consider both the capital costs and the ongoing operational costs of this type of solution.

Two independent reports show that the up-front cost savings of a white-box switch are marginal as compared to those of traditional vendors. Deutsche Bank published “Whitebox Switches are Not Exactly a Bargain” in 2013, while Forrester Research recently released a study titled, “The Myth of White-Box Network Switches,” (February 20, 2015).

While the cost of a white-box and traditional switch are fairly similar from a capital expenditure point of view, Cisco analysis shows that white-box switches are more expensive when you include operational expenditures, such as the integration of third party software, tools and support costs. In fact, these real-life deployment factors can result in a total cost of ownership for Cisco that is approximately 20-30 percent less expensive than the full deployment of white-box switches.

Bottom line: White-box switches have hidden costs that make them more expensive than traditional switches when fully deployed. When you add up the cost of hardware, third-party software, integration and support, they are clearly no bargain. Check out our video conversation for more on this topic.


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Interop 2015 : ITD is Best of Interop finalist


ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) has been selected in Top 3 finalists in the Best of Interop 2015 Data Center category. ITD Delivers:

  • $2 Billion TAM disruptive technology: This technology innovation disrupts today’s $2 Billion TAM for load-balancers, redirection and clustering solutions
  • 100x Scale improvement: The high-end load-balancers today can handle about 200Gbps traffic. ITD can load-balance 20Tbps traffic.
  • 1000x cost-savings for customers: A 40Gbps L4 load-balancer costs about $200k to customers. ITD provides multi-Tbps load-balancing for a fraction of the price.
  • Zero Latency: ITD performs load-balancing, redirection, NAT and access control, all in one-clock cycle in hardware, hence it introduces zero latency.
  • 10x OPEX savings : Order of magnitude reduction in configuration, and ease of deployment
  • Overall CAPEX savings : Wiring, Power, Rackspace and Cost savings
  • 70+ customers interested in deploying within 1 month of shipping.
  • 10x High availability : N + M redundancy, health-monitoring and automatic failure handling
  • $15 Billion install-base can be leveraged: The technology has humongous market capture potential. It works on existing hardware. $15 Billion install-base of Nexus switches is able to use this technology.
  • 30+ patentable ideas: ITD has unprecedented innovations.

Cisco ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) is a hardware based multi-Tbps Layer 4 load balancing, traffic steering and clustering solution on Nexus 9K/7K/6K/5K series of switches. It supports IP-stickiness, resiliency, NAT, (EFT), VIP, health monitoring, sophisticated failure handling policies, N+M redundancy, IPv4, IPv6, VRF, weighted load-balancing, bi-directional flow-coherency, and IPSLA probes including DNS. There is no service module or external appliance needed.


ITD has a lot of different types of use-cases. Some of these are:

  1. Create a multi-Tbps Firewall
  2. Create a multi-Tbps Video-cache
  3. Firewall/IPS/IDS/WAF load-balancing.
  4. Web Server load-balancing
  5. Application server load-balancing
  6. Replace WCCP. Redirect and Load-balancing traffic to Web-cache, WAAS, WAE
  7. Traffic steering to VDS/video-cache/Professional Media Network devices
  8. Load-balance to Hadoop/Big-data cluster.
  9. load-balancing to mobile equipment
  10. Load-balancing to Layer 7 load-balancers
  11. Replace legacy features such as ECMP, port-channel, PBR, etc

Recording of the presentation


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