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Why You’ll Want This Switch, Part 3

March 17, 2008 - 0 Comments

So, as an impressionable young”yout”, as Joe Pesci would say, in the early days of networking, I learned an important lesson. I have to admit I started out as a Wellfleet bigot ( for those of you who, sadly, have no idea what I’m talking about). At first blush, it looked to be a better box: elegant hardware architecture, checked all the boxes in terms of standards compliance, better performance (on paper at least)-hands down, the BCN won the data sheet wars. But a curious thing happened-…I learned that when it came to deploying features and functionality that mattered to people who’s jobs depended on the network being up and running, those people consistently chose Cisco. Case in point: I worked for a service provider that sold both Cisco and Wellfleet access routers as part of our managed router service. I learned that our field engineers would take a Cisco router out with them, even if they were installing Wellfleet routers at the customer prem. Why? Because the Cisco router did a better job of helping them troubleshoot problems bringing the network-’nuff said. I started prepping for my CCIE shortly after.So, fast forward a decade or so (long enough for Wellfleet to become Bay Networks and then part of Nortel), and you can see this heritage in the Nexus 7000. As we look to help our customers build more scalable systems, one of the areas we concerned ourselves with is helping the operations staff scale by giving them tools to help them be more productive. We put a lot of thought into the Nexus 7000 to make it more manageable and we think you will find we baked in some useful innovations. One of my favorites is CMP, which is an independent sub-system that gives you lights-out style management capabilities with the system. Anyone who has had to reboot a remote system and is familiar with the praying that goes on while waiting for the login prompt to come back will appreciate this feature. Folks have been doing this for years with terminal servers and modems, but we built-in the functionality and let you access the system at network speeds. Another favorite feature is a built in protocol analyzer for the control plane. We built WireShark ( into the Nexus 7000 to give you a distributed sniffer network to allow you to do packet captures and decodes of control plane traffic. Off the top of my head, couple of more manageability features include Call Home and Flexible NetFlow. Finally, all the high-availability features, like the stateful restartable processes help keep the staff out of fire drill mode in the first place.While I will always have fond memories of the venerable BCN, I think the choice then, and now, is a no-brainer. So, why do you want this switch? 🙂

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