Cisco is bringing greater scalability, flexibility and manageability to its Nexus switching platform to help businesses handle the increases in data center demands generated by such trends as virtualization and Internet traffic.
is rolling out a host of new and enhanced data center networking products to
bolster the scalability, flexibility and security in its networking fabric.
offerings, which include the next generation of Cisco's Nexus 7000 switches, a
new Nexus 3000 Ethernet switch and fabric extensions to the vendor's Nexus 5000
switches, are part of a push by the networking giant to enable enterprises to
better handle the rapidly growing amount of Internet traffic.
aimed at giving businesses a networking infrastructure that can scale and
handle whatever the workload, and whether that workload is in a physical,
virtual or cloud environment, according to Shashi Kiran, director of marketing
for Cisco's Data Center Solutions group.
need the networking layer to be flexible enough to manage whatever application
is thrown at them," Kiran said in an interview with eWEEK.
vendors are increasingly pushing network fabrics that offer greater scalability
and flexibility in a single architecture that extends beyond the data center.
Rival Juniper Networks offers its QFabric
Hewlett-Packard earlier this year unveiled its FlexNetwork architecture
. Most recently, Enterasys unveiled its OneFabric networking portfolio
argued that Cisco is a year or more ahead of its competition in all
areas-including scalability and performance-with its United Fabric portfolio,
which includes not only the Nexus data center switches but also the MDS storage
switches. The latest enhancements to the switch lineup, announced Oct.
18, underscore that lead, he said.
the new capabilities in the Nexus 7000 platform and the new Cisco FabricPath
support for the Nexus 5500 switch offer support for more than 12,000 10 Gigabit
Ethernet server ports, more than doubling what is offered in rival portfolios,
and for half the cost, Kiran said.
capabilities for the Nexus 7000 series lets IT administrators scale their data
centers from a few hundred servers to several thousand, while also addressing
demands in such growing areas as cloud computing, and the expanding numbers of
devices and mobile workers. A new Fabric 2 module and high-density L2/L3 10GbE
F2 Series line card means high performance and reduced power per port of less
than 10 watts. Cisco's Fabric 2 enables switches to scale to 550G per slot,
more than the 230G capacity found in Fabric 1.
With the new
capabilities, the Nexus 7000 can stream 4.5 million Netflix movies at the same
time, or download in 114 seconds the 250 million photos that are posted each
day to Facebook, according to Cisco. The networking giant is predicting huge
jumps in Internet traffic over the next few years, growing to 56 exabytes-or
about 12.8 billion online movies-by 2013. Data centers are going to have to be
able to handle such dramatic traffic growth, according to Cisco.
The Nexus 5500
is a top-of-rack switch that offers high 10GbE density and supports Cisco's
FabricPath, which brings greater scalability and helps businesses deal with
data center and cloud workloads that arise from virtualized environments and
dynamic mobility scenarios. With the Fabric Extender (FEX) and VM-FEX
capabilities, the 5500 can handle thousands of virtual machines with a single
point of management.
Cisco also is
rolling out the Nexus 7009, aimed at mission-critical data centers and campus
cores. The switch comes in a compact 14U size and offers high availability and
virtualization support. In addition, the Nexus 3000 switches offer ultra-low
latency for such environments as high-frequency trading, high-performance
computing, "big data" and Web 2.0 deployments.
Cisco also is
offering greater security capabilities for virtualized environments.
offerings come at a time when Cisco officials are refocusing their efforts on
the enterprise and their energies on the networking business, which has seen
increased competition in recent years from the likes of HP
and Juniper. Over the past several
quarters, Cisco executives have pared down the company's consumer efforts and
cut the work force in efforts to make the company more efficient, and the
company has become more aggressive in defending its significant market share in
switches and routers in the face of the rising competition.