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Any server, any application and anywhere in the data center?

April 7, 2010 - 1 Comment

Yes, this is indeed flexibility of the breakthrough innovative architecture that easily adapts to any combination of server form factors, any server vendor, any scale, any speed & any traffic type. All delivered through a cost-effective & comprehensive set of server access layer solution that greatly simplifies IT operations  —  the newly refreshed line of Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders (FEX).

Before I go into details around the new FEX’s I’d like to provide some background around the innovative FEX architecture. The breakthrough FEX architecture is a part of our Data Center 3.0 vision which is designed to deliver breakthrough solutions allowing IT managers to overcome the constraints imposed by existing technologies and traditional thinking.

About a year back we introduced the first instantiation of FEX architecture, the Nexus 2148. With in less than one year on the market, this innovative FEX product has surpassed an important 1 Million GbE ports milestone validating the industry’s unique and innovative Cisco Nexus data center unified server access layer architecture. Over 2000 customers including St. Josephs Healthcare, TFS, Salem Hospital, Schneider Electric, Alibaba group, Lawrence Livermore and many more customers are already realizing the solid benefits of this architecture across Enterprise, Public Sector, Service Provider and Commercial segments, in all theatres around the globe.

So what’s unique about the FEX architecture?

Traditional top-of-rack data center architecture offers a good start in simplifying cabling. Modular system or end-of-row architecture is easier to manage..

The Cisco FEX architecture delivers the best of both of these worlds, FEX act as a virtual or remote module (aka line card) of the parent switch they connect to, the Nexus 5000  providing a single point of management for up to 12 FEXs. Along with the cabling simplicity of a top-of-rack deployment model, what you get is a virtual modular system. 


And for the record, in the Q2FY10 earnings call, our CEO John Chambers mentioned that Nexus 5000 revenue shipments grew 450% YoY. Within a short period of time, the introduction of FEX along with Nexus 5000 has revolutionized data center designs and enabled data center architects to reduce cost, gain new design flexibility while also simplifying cabling infrastructure and management complexity.

Well you just don’t have to take my word for it, let’s look at the real world experiences of IT organizations that have realized breakthrough business results from Nexus FEX architecture

•           St. Joseph Health System deployed server access layer solution using Cisco Nexus 2000 technology and funded new data center switches from the savings on cabling alone: rather than spending an estimated $1.3 million on cabling, their cost with the unified access layer was a mere $190,000, an 85 percent savings. St. Joseph estimated its space savings at 80 percent, and its power savings at 25 percent. For the full success story, click here.

 •           NetApp reduced their network edge costs by 40 percent by deploying a cost-effective access layer based on Cisco Nexus 5000 Series Switches and Cisco Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders. The cloud computing environment they deployed using this unified access layer requires rapid scalability, and their Cisco Nexus technology-based environment provided them exactly that. For the full story, click here.

           Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) used Cisco Nexus technologies as a foundation to support future growth with increased network availability. They are now prepared to migrate to 10 Gigabit Ethernet and virtualization on their own schedule, all with a simplified management structure. One of the attributes of the unified access layer that particularly interested LLNL is the Nexus 2000 fabric extender’s pay-as-you grow model that incorporates scalability with lower costs. For the full story, click here.

And now what’s new with Nexus 2000 Fabric Extenders?

OK so I would like our blog readers to either answer this question as comments to this blog post based on their impression & understanding of new FEX models from our announcement earlier today Or wait for the part 2 of my blog post around this discussion. Your call:)

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  1. The big news for the storage world is that the FEX (Nexus 2000) now supports 10Gb Ethernet *including* FCoE. A great addition to the Nexus 5000 and Nexus 4000 products, expanding the configurations for converged networks.