Cisco’s Nexus is a big deal

It’s arduous to overstate how vital the Cisco Nexus data-center switching platform, set to be unveiled Monday, is to Cisco Systems: for the dominant networking vendor’s enterprise business, it is the biggest factor since the Catalyst 6000, that created its debut in 1999, in line with the 2 key executives on the project.

At a dinner with press last week, they compared it to the CRS-1 (Carrier Routing System), a large switch for the core of carrier networks that Cisco rolled out in 2004. To bring that platform to life, the corporate developed a brand new version of its flagship IOS (Internetworking Operating System) software and designed the hardware to scale up to 92Tbps of throughput. The core of the net is Cisco’s turf, and it wasn’t willing to grant any ground to upstarts.

The Nexus brings Cisco into not simply a brand new territory for its business, however a brand new product category: a unified switch that spans storage and computing in information centers and has security inbuilt. Given the stakes, superlatives are natural.

– one Nexus chassis are ready to handle quite 15Tbps of traffic ripping through an information center, up from simply 2Tbps for a current Catalyst 6500 switch.

– At that rate, the switch might run five million concurrent transcontinental conferencing sessions using Cisco’s TelePresence Collaboration system. It might additionally copy the whole searchable web in seven.5 minutes.

– One interface module for the Nexus 7000 chassis can associate with thirty two 10Gbps ports, and also the platform is meant to support future interfaces together with 100Gbps.

– the corporate spent concerning $250 million on analysis and development for the new platform, and at its peak, the Nexus R&D team numbered quite five hundred engineers, in line with Tom Edsall, senior vp and chief technology officer of Cisco’s information Center Business Unit.

As with the Catalyst 6000 Series and also the CRS-1, Cisco developed the Nexus with a watch to long-term wants. Where the CRS marked the debut of IOS XR, the primary modular version of IOS, the Nexus can have Cisco’s 1st OS that may be totally virtualized, known as NX-OS. The Nexus also will break new ground with its lossless switching material, a departure from ancient Ethernet — though backward compatible with it, Cisco said.

The system additionally represents a raffle on FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet), a still-emerging customary for sending ancient Fibre Channel storage network traffic over Ethernet. Though the new customary can most likely succeed with the backing of Cisco and alternative huge vendors, the put in base of Fibre Channel is big, said american cluster analyst Zeus Kerravala. there’ll be a proving amount for Ethernet as a reliable, lossless information center transport, he said.

Cisco expects the uptake of the new platform to require time, simply because it did with the CRS. the primary Nexus product can prolong sale within the second quarter of this year, and within the 1st year Cisco expects to visualize largely trials of the new system, said Jayshree Ullal, senior vp of Cisco’s information center cluster. Deployments can most likely begin to select up within the second, third and fourth years once the introduction, she said.

But simply because the chance was huge for the Cisco CRS, as video and alternative traffic rose quick on carrier networks, the possibility to capture next-generation information centers is probably going to justify Cisco’s efforts on the Nexus line. Web-based services and applications, similarly as outsourced computing offerings from and alternative firms, are powering the expansion of huge information centers. Microsoft’s MSN division may be a take a look at client of the Nexus, said Ullal. Asked whether or not the mighty Google would purchase in similarly, Ullal said, “I would hope therefore.”