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Cisco Unveils Nexus 3100 Series Network Switch Lineup

The new top-of-rack switches will fit in with the company’s Cisco ONE SDN efforts, and will be shown off at the Interop 2013 show.

Cisco is adding to its United Fabric Data Center portfolio with the addition of the Nexus 3100 line of switches, the second generation of the Nexus 3000 series of top-of-rack switches that was introduced in 2011.

The new Nexus 3100 offerings, introduced Sept. 30, include two switches that are designed to be both scalable and energy efficient, with the Nexus 3172PQ offering up to 1.4 terabits per second of Layers 2 and 3 switching capacity, and a 48-line rate 10 Gb/s SFP+ with six fixed Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP+) ports. The Nexus 3132Q switch offers 32-line rate 40-Gb/s (QSFP+) ports, and can scale to 2 Tb/s, according to Cisco officials.

Both switches are 1U (1.75-inch) systems and offer a serial console port, USB port, PPS connector and out-of-band 10/100/1000-Mbps Ethernet management port. In addition, all QSFP+ ports on the device can operate as a native 40-Gb/s port or four independent 10-Gb/s ports.

The switches run Cisco’s NX-OS operating system, which supports Cisco’s software-defined networking (SDN) Open Network Environment (ONE) platform, the company’s onePK toolkit and the OpenFlow SDN protocol, Gabriel Dixon, marketing manager for data center and virtualization at Cisco, said in a post on the company’s blog.

“What does this mean for your data center?” Dixon wrote. “Some examples include: improved workload flexibility, higher availability, and enhanced traffic monitoring. All of which help to lower TCO [total cost of ownership].”

SDN is aimed at creating more scalable, programmable and cost-effective networks by taking network intelligence from the underlying hardware and putting it into software. The technology is expected to enable enterprises and service providers to create software-defined data centers that are more dynamic and automated to better handle new workloads like cloud computing and big data.

Most networking and data center solution vendors are building out their SDN portfolios, with Cisco’s ONE being a key to the company’s plans. Cisco also is expected in November to unveil SDN technology from Insieme, a spin-out company created by Cisco for more than $100 million and which Cisco can buy for $750 million should the technology turn out to be a success.

Cisco officials will be showing off the new Cisco Nexus 3100 switches Oct. 2 and 3 at the Interop 2013 show in New York City.