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How Cisco Switching Innovations Help Deliver Cloud-Ready Networking

February 1, 2012 - 7 Comments

Today, we made a significant announcement that transcends data center, campus and service provider and Cloud-based deployments,  geared towards helping our customers embrace the winds of change that are buffeting the IT landscape.  This announcement is precipitated by a number of mega-trends that were buzzwords even a couple of years ago but have become looming realities in the IT landscape. Think video, virtualization, 10G, Bring your own device (BYOD) and not to forget – the journey to cloud.

Layer in ongoing careabouts like security and Energy Efficiency – and boy, do we have the perfect storm brewing.

The three “Cs”:

For many customers,   it is no longer sufficient to take a “band-aid approach”.  A faster switch here or a new wireless LAN access point there just doesn’t cut it. They have to step back and evaluate their environment holistically, and minimize the chokepoints proactively. This is causing them to evaluate the three “Cs” of capacity, complexity and cost, while ensuring that they’re in a position to deliver the end-to-end IT experience.

At Cisco, these care abouts are being systematically addressed. If I put the spotlight on just the switching portfolio for a moment – we have overhauled several multi-billion dollar product lines across data center and campus over the last 18 months – 2nd generation data center platforms, FabricPath/TRILL, LISP, OTV capabilities on the DC switches, Sup 2T on the Catalyst 6500, UPOE on the Catalyst 4500 – these are but a few examples.

Now we are ready to take this conversation to the next level with several new capabilities that underscore the infrastructural enhancements we’re making to let our customers get ahead of the potential chokepoints.

10G to 40G to 100G

These include support for 40G/100G M2-series modules on the flagship Nexus 7000, new 40G line card on the Campus workhorse – the Catalyst 6500 and two compact high density 10GbE switches – the 4500-X (for campus aggregation in space constrained environments) and the Nexus 3064-X (for ultra low-latency applications).

Simpler, Scalable, Cloud-ready virtualization

But it is going beyond throwing bandwidth at the problem. Easy Virtual Network (EVN)  as the name implies provides a 10X magnitude simplicity in campus environments compared to VRF-lite and is interoperable with all MPLS VRF technologies . Similarly on the data center, we’re providing VXLAN support on the Nexus 1000V and Virtual Security Gateway while rolling out a Nexus 1010-X  for higher scale virtual service blades.

The Forrester Total Economic Impact Study

Finally, there are a number of enhancements across IOS and NX-OS that drive operational simplicity and lower TCO. We’ll cover these in a separate blog. But what I’m excited about is The Total Economic Impact Of Cisco Catalyst Access Switches, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cisco, that is based on actual customer information. It analyzes incremental costs (the cost paid above and beyond the costs of non-Catalyst switches) and incremental benefits (those solely associated with Catalyst switches.

The architectural approach – orchestrating the total IT experience

First, do you notice a pattern? And second what does it all mean? The pattern is, we’re not addressing the challenges posed by the mega-trends in silos. We’re looking at entire portfolios that impact the campus, data center and service provider environments and bringing holistic changes there.  For example, we originally introduced 100G on the CRS and ASR 9000 service provider product lines. Now, the Nexus 7000 will be 100G capable  in the data center, even as the Catalyst 6500 is starting to ship 40G. Similarly EVN will be supported on the Catalyst 4500, Catalyst 6500 and the ASR 1000 and broadly interoperable.

This is the architectural approach that has given Cisco a definitive edge and our ability to help our customers deliver the total IT experience. It has also reduced business risk, and continued to lower costs.

Case in point – desktop virtualization with VXI. Today, we’re in a position to orchestrate the experience because Cisco has a presence all the way from the Virtualization Experience Client to the core of the data center or cloud. No other vendor can match the breadth of the portfolio to make this happen. Similar is the case with video, or by extension Telemedicine or Healthpresence applications. Cisco’s CloudVerse framework which underpins our entire offering for Cloud solutions has already been tested to deliver significant differentiation for cloud services and beyond. This space is only going to become more exciting.


So, when we consider the fourth “C” – competition, this is when the Cisco differentiation stands out. When we poll our customers, it becomes very clear why no other vendor can help enable a similar end to end experience. A majority of the vendors have a silo’d presence in the IT landscape. Where they have some presence, they mostly focus on vanilla speeds and feeds and have limited network services integration unlike Cisco’s Borderless Network Services. Finally, in the data center, where the boundaries between the network, compute, storage and application services are blurring with fabric computing, Cisco has a distinct leadership, with many vendors having no ability to develop a data center fabric, or having crude implementations.

So, when our customers want to embrace the winds of change – any guesses on which company they would most benefit from choosing?

Hint: The answer starts with a “C” : )

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  1. This is a great post. I’m very dependent on Cisco products and it’s good to know you guys remain consistently dedicated to improving our daily lives! Thanks you.

  2. Great articles – Cisco is on top of their game for sure

  3. I work in the banking industry and for us Cisco is the standard. We currently have no need for mobile, but with the coming of employee owned end points and bring your own device. I would like to here Cisco’s plans for mobile as well.

  4. where I live and work when you say data you really mean Cisco I tried to picture a workplace without them and I can’t they really know their stuff. Thanks Cisco for being consistent.

  5. CISCO has a great vision when it comes to enhancing its current line of products, but I do not see where CISCO is in the mobile world (which his the future of the Internet). What does CISCO intend to do to enhance its presence in that market?

    Cloud is one thing that CISCO can leverage to extend its profits, and that’s great. But CISCO has to enter the mobile game the same way Microsft and the likes are now entering it.

  6. Today who thinks in not migrate to cloud technologies is digging his own grave.There’s no way to escape from the future, and i’m happy to see that cisco it’s not stoped on time. very nice!

  7. great articles…thanks