October 2017 will mark the 20-year anniversary of the world record set for the fastest automobile ever recorded – the appropriately named “ThrustSSC” that distinguished itself as the first car to ever break the sound barrier

The ThrustSSC driven by Andy Green traveled more than 763 miles per hour over one mile becoming the fastest car ever.

Almost two decades later, the Cisco Nexus 9516 Switch put up some serious performance numbers of its own such as the ability to handle more than 1 million IPv4/v6 routes and a record 10.2 million multicast routes, all the while dropping zero packets during grueling stress tests across its fully loaded 1024 50G-Ethernet ports. The test was independently conducted by Network World, and was the highest density core-switch test ever done by the publication.

OK, fine, the car thing might be a bit cooler in terms of pop culture but that doesn’t diminish the Nexus 9516 achievements in the networking world.  Network World proved the record-setting capabilities of the Nexus 9516 switch in its exclusive Clear Choice Test, including putting some of these records into some eye-opening perspective from David Newman:

The results were staggering. Among the key takeaways:

  • Line-rate throughput for all frame sizes in tests involving IPv4, IPv6, and multicast traffic
  • Support for more than 1 million IPv4 and 1 million IPv6 routes
  • Support for 10,000 IP multicast groups and 10.2 million multicast routes. Both numbers are the highest levels ever achieved in multicast testing of a single system
  • Power consumption between 13-22 watts per port

The switch test involved not only blasting the fabric with Ipv4 and IPV6 unicast and multicast traffic but also fully loaded the switch control plane with BGP routing state. To scale intra and inter data center communications, customers are leaning towards BGP as a choice to scale efficiently.  More than 1 million IPV4 and Ipv6 routes provides a solid foundation to any DC architect to scale and future proof their data center.    As you can see from the unicast test summary below, Nexus 9516 was able to forward traffic at line rate, regardless of frame size, without dropping a single frame!

Low average latency and Jitter makes this switch ideal for high-performance computing and high-frequency trading applications along with other delay sensitive applications like voice and video.

To get a sense of what a million routes represents, consider that the entire public Internet consists, at this writing, of around 671,000 IPv4 and 40,000 IPv6 routes. Thus, the Nexus 9516 could route traffic to every network reachable on the public Internet and still have plenty of headroom left.

Especially noteworthy, is the fact that the Nexus 9516 like its other smaller size family members, delivers consistently low latency and jitter, across all packet sizes, while all the ports are loaded and running at line rate. This is what storage networks require so we are seeing more and more customers use the Nexus 9000 in storage networks for big data analytics, scale out NAS solutions, and other I/O intensive applications for private clouds.

The multicast performance records are impressive as well, and have meaningful impact for networking power users such as Cable MSOs and financial service organizations. These customers require reliable and rapid delivery of data across their vast multicast networks that reach millions of subscribers and customers each day. Failure of these networks in any large scale potentially compromises billions dollars in revenue, not to mention some pretty irate users.

Here were three highlights that Network World pointed out about the Nexus 9516’s multicast capabilities:

  • 10,000 unique IPv4 multicast group addresses, nearly twice as many groups than in any previous Network World project
  • Configured the switch to replicate multicast traffic to 1,023 ports – a record
  • 10.2 million unique entries (10,000 groups times 1,023 destination ports), another record

Latency and jitter results were practically negligible even at an unprecedented testing scale. Limiting latency and jitter are critical for networking use cases such as high-performance computing (HPC), high-frequency trading applications, as well as other delay-sensitive applications such as voice and video.

The one test category that the Nexus 9516 would blow the doors off the ThrustSSC is in power efficiency. In its record test, the ThrustSSC burned almost five gallons of high-octane rocket fuel per every second, giving it a deplorable fuel-consumption rating of .04 mpg. And you thought the Hummer was bad. By comparison, Network World test results showed that the Nexus 9516 consumed just a hair above 13 watts on each of its 50 GbE ports, or enough power for a low-end LED light bulb. No contest.


The Cisco Nexus 9000 Series delivers proven high performance and density, low latency, and exceptional power efficiency in a broad range of compact form factors. Powered by Cisco Cloud Scale ASIC innovation, these switches provide 50 percent lower system cost, better reliability, industry leading programmability, automation and pervasive visibility for your data center deployments.

These test not only broke record as far as scale and performance but also proved that Cisco Nexus 9516 is an ideal choice if you want to scale your data center efficiently. Whether it’s large routes or multicast groups or even high density, scalability and reliability, the Cisco Nexus, powered by Cloud Scale ASIC, enables you to zoom and future-proof your networks to yet-unimagined destinations.

For more info:

Cisco Nexus 9000: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/nexus-9000-series-switches/index.html

Cisco Nexus 9516: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/nexus-9516-switch/index.html

Networkworld Performance Test: http://www.networkworld.com/article/3211356/lan-wan/cisco-nexus-9516-data-center-switch-aces-a-grueling-high-density-stress-test.html

Tony Antony
Sr. Marketing Manager


Tony Antony