numbers10 Million is a big number. How big? To put it in perspective, 10 million minutes is a bit over 19 years…Which is about 15 years longer than it took the Nexus 3000 to reach 10 million ports sold.

Said differently, the Nexus 3000 is the Top of Rack switch of choice for lots of customers. Indeed, customers have purchased over 10 million Nexus 3000 ports in just 4 1/2 years of shipping. This is a major milestone for the Nexus 3000 since it is a number very few products attain, and to do so in less than 5 years is testimony to the value its providing.

Consider this – Nexus 3000 switches alone accounted for more data center 10/40/100G fixed ports than shipped by any other vendor during the past 4 1/2 years. Something else to consider is that the Nexus 3000 is based on merchant silicon. Switches based on the same merchant silicon are available from lots of different vendors.   So, if we combine these 2 facts – 10 million ports shipped and the use of merchant silicon – we arrive at the conclusion that the Nexus 3000 is the merchant silicon switch of choice for customers.

This is interesting for two reasons:

  • Cisco offers choice: Cisco provides the option of buying switches based on custom ASIC’s, which have their own set of benefits, or buying switches based on merchant silicon. (See this excellent IDC paper for more on Cisco’s new custom ASIC’s and their benefits.)
  • Cisco is essentially the largest “brite box” (i.e. branded white box) vendor in the data center market.

Since the same merchant ASICs are used by many switch vendors, what makes the Nexus 3000 the better choice?  There are multiple reasons, but let’s highlight 3 here:

  1. Best in class support model
  2. Feature capability and agility
  3. Open, programmable operating system

1. Best in class support model providing a single spot to rapidly solve problems

Most customers – including those who want merchant silicon – want a switch pre-loaded with a network operating system and an effective, comprehensive support model. There is a very small subset of customers who are interested in buying commodity hardware, then loading software on top of it, and integrating hardware and software. However, that model simply does not work for most people running networks. That’s why the Nexus 3000 offers a best in class support model, from start to finish, from sourcing to the Technical Assistance Center. Customers want a central point of contact that will solve their problems quickly. Cisco and the Nexus 3000 provide this.

2. Feature capability and flexibility

The Nexus 3000 has numerous features that provide differentiation. Many customers depend on heightened visibility for effective operations and troubleshooting. The capabilities of features like Nexus Data Broker help to address this.  For example, for customers in the finance vertical, it allows them to filter all incoming and outgoing traffic to their suite of analytic, risk and compliance tools. Flexible connectivity is another reason customers are buying Nexus 3000s.   Our latest Nexus 3232C offers an even broader array of speeds than before with 1/10/25/40/50/100G, as well as copper/fiber cables & transceivers (including Bidi) to suit any DC connectivity need. Other key features Nexus 3000 customers leverage involve API’s and integration with DevOps tools, which are covered below.

3.Open, programmable operating system with NX-OS

The Nexus 3000 series provides a wealth of programmability options, creating a very open environment so as to integrate smoothly into orchestration, automation and management tools of choice. You can use tools like NX-API (built into the Nexus 3000’s NX-OS) to basically auto generate chunks of code leveraging Python scripts. This is quite useful if you are a network engineer just learning scripting. Or maybe you are much more comfortable with a Bash shell than a NX-OS CLI prompt. If you’re used to using tools like ifconfig or ethtool on servers, you can use the same tools – and many more – on the Nexus 3000.  For a bit more on some of the programmability tools (which are available across the Nexus portfolio) here are a few references:

For these, and many other reasons, the Nexus 3000 series switches are celebrating this milestone of 10 million ports shipped. With the recent addition of the Nexus 3200 series using Broadcom’s Tomahawk ASIC, the success is bound to continue. Many thanks to all the customers who have helped the Nexus 3000 hit this milestone so quickly.

Thanks to Thomas Scheibe @thomas0002 for his contribution to this blog.

Photo credit: pixabay.com


Craig Huitema

No Longer with Cisco