Cisco's powerful CRS-3 router is a significant step in meeting the rapidly growing demand for bandwidth driven by video, cloud computing and mobility, according to analysts. However, Cisco's closest rival, Juniper Networks, is less impressed.
Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers for more
than a year has been preaching that the seemingly insatiable demand for network
bandwidth will only grow as video, mobile devices and cloud computing become
Chambers reiterated that message March 9 when unveiling Cisco's
massive CRS-3 router,
which promises a capacity of 322T bps, can support
IPv6 traffic and supports other Cisco data center and cloud computing products such
as its UCS (Unified Computing System) and Nexus portfolio of switches.
Developed over the course of three years at a cost of $1.6
billion, the CRS-3 is ready to take on the future
bandwidth demands of the average business and the average consumer, with their
video communications and rapidly increasing use of mobile devices as a primary
Internet device, Chambers said.
Industry analysts agreed, noting that six years ago, when Cisco
unveiled its CRS-1, few thought bandwidth
demand would reach the point where 92T-bps capacity was needed. However, as
Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala said, Cisco has shipped almost 5,000 CRS-1
routers during those six years.
"Clearly, there's a demand," Kerravala said in a blog
He said Chambers' vision dovetails with what Yankee Group
analysts said in introducing their Anywhere Enterprise idea in 2008: that the
convergence of cloud computing, mobility and social media-including video-would
drive the need for more powerful networks.
In the consumer world, that's playing out with such products as
cloud-based video, real-time gaming services and HD television.
"In the enterprise markets, this means growth of
bandwidth-intensive applications such as workload mobility, unified
communications, videoconferencing and telepresence," Kerravala wrote.
"Moving these complex applications to the cloud certainly decreases the
complexity level for enterprises and allows the network operators to move from
being a vendor of commodity services to a strategic partner."
Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities, agreed.
"The naysayers will label Cisco's latest invention as
'hype;' however, new, high-performance innovations such as the CRS-3
pave the way for the development of new applications, new services, new uses of
data and potentially new industries," White wrote in a March 10 report.
"At the same time, these products set the stage for the next big leap in
performance that will drive even more data traffic. Ultimately, the few leading
networking vendors that are able keep up with this innovation cycle will reap
Both Kerravala and White said they expect that the demand for
bandwidth will continue to grow, particularly as more products like the CRS-3
arrive to handle that demand.
"Overall, Cisco estimates that each person will consume
15TB of data between our personal and professional lives every month,"
Kerravala wrote. "Is the 15TB a real number? Maybe and maybe not. But the
fact remains, we use all the bandwidth we're given and will continue to."
The more capacity there is, the more consumers will want it,
"As companies such as Cisco enable service providers to
deliver higher-bandwidth services to both consumers and enterprises, we believe
this capacity will expand the core footprint [and] drive further demand for
networking gear, and new applications will arise that drive further
investment," White wrote.
Video will be a key player in this, he said. Cisco has
estimated that 91 percent of Internet traffic by 2013 will be video, and
overall, IP traffic will grow 40 percent per year. The CRS-3
not only will be a good tool for handling that, but also will play a significant
role in future data centers, White said.
"Expanded capacity at the core with the CRS-3
will also pave the way for more powerful data centers that can support the public
cloud, which Cisco is well-positioned to benefit [from] with its Nexus and UCS
platforms," White said.