The Cloud Scale launch in November focused on software enhancements to the industry’s most widely deployed high-end network operating system, IOS XR. While those points were important and well received, I want to emphasize a few points on the new NCS1002 platform that was launched within the Cloud Scale initiative.


The Focus of the Cloud Scale launch was to show that Cisco is offering products with open programmability to new and existing markets. While Cisco has had great success in the service provider market, these new products are exceptionally complimentary to the Over The Top (OTT) and Colocation markets as well. The growth of “Cloud Exchange” as a service in Internet Exchanges and colocation sites as well as service provider data centers, requires the type of products that were announced in this release. For instance, typical cloud exchanges will use a high density switch to enable communication between OTT players, local ISPs and global carriers.

Local connections are also made to content delivery network (CDN) players such as Netflix and Akamai within the cloud exchange site. The NCS1002 might be used by a typical colocation provider in conjunction with the NCS5000 to provide the customer with single point of entry that connects to multiple providers. In fact, within the colocation itself, content providers may want to do their own interconnection with those located within the colocation area by using the NCS1002 to avoid monthly (and rising) cross connect costs. OTT, Internet Exchanges and colocation providers have been asking for open and programmable software to make service delivery at the application level more efficient and cost effective. In this case, using the optics for Data Center Interconnect (DCI) or within the data center with the aggregation router based upon IOS XR can simplify the overall network design.

Here’s a quick look to remind you of at some of the most important competitive points for the NCS1002:

  • The NCS1002 is the only DWDM system offering 250G interfaces. Competitive platforms only offer 100G or 200G. This is a 20% transponder savings over other 200G offerings.
  • Multiple client offerings of 10GE, 40GE and 100GE reside on the same hardware with support for metro and long haul application on the trunk. Potential configurations when deploying NCS1002 are extensive on the client and trunk side depending on the client interface. See below:

New DC Cloud Scale Platforms

  • NCS1002 is the only pay-as-you-grow model where CFP2-DWDM optics can be added on an as needed basis, and not required to be purchased up front.
  • A key differentiator is use of flex grid to tune to lower GhZ and tighter bandwidth between wavelengths that result in 27T of bandwidth potential.
  • Optimum space, power and capacity sizing which is targeted for data center applications that need low footprint and can scale quickly are frankly, a generational jump from traditional and competitive products.
  • The Common IOS XR Operating system and features run across Cisco’s DC focused aggregation routing and optical transport platforms.
  • Fully automated installation, configuration and monitoring.
  • Ability to use third party tools for management or Cisco’s in-house NSO orchestration platform.
  • Advanced telemetry options with YANG and OpenConfig support

Cisco has the highest bandwidth per RU open networking solution for connecting the WAN to the Data Center to deliver applications real-time in a physical, virtual, or a hybrid environment. While much of the Cloud Scale functionality is focused on software and automation, there are some powerful new hardware solutions delivered in this portfolio. I hope that this brings more clarity and focus to the hardware platforms that were introduced with these software enhancements – all of which contribute to increasing the flexibility and agility of these newer networks, ultimately resulting in more efficient and higher utilization of the network.

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Eve Griliches

Senior Product Marketing

Optical Business Unit