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Cisco fills out SDN family with 40G switch, controller, cloud gear for data center

Jim Duffy | Feb. 5, 2013
Nexus 6000 designed for high-density 40G; InterCloud, for VM migration to hybrid clouds; ONE Controller for programming Cisco switches, routers.

Cisco this week will fill out its programmable networking family with a new line of data center switches, cloud connectivity extensions and a software-based SDN controller.

The new products fill out Cisco's ONE programmable networking strategy, which was unveiled last spring as the company's answer to the software-defined networking trend pervading the industry. Cisco ONE includes APIs, controllers and agents, and overlay networking techniques designed to enable software programmability of Cisco switches and routers to ease operations, customize forwarding and more easily extend features, among other benefits.

This week's data center SDN rollout comes after last week's introduction of the programmable Catalyst 3850 switch for the enterprise campus.

The new Nexus 6000 includes two configurations: the four RU Nexus 6004 and the 1 RU 6001. The 6004 scales from 48 Layer 2/3 40Gbps Ethernet ports, all at line-rate Cisco says, to 96 40G ports through four expansion slots. The switch also supports 384 Layer 2/3 10G Ethernet ports at line-rate, and 1,536 Gigabit Ethernet/10G Ethernet ports using Cisco's FEX fabric extenders.

The Nexus 6001 sports 48 10G ports and four 40G ports through the four expansion slots. The Nexus 6000 line features 1 microsecond port-to-port latency and support for up to 75,000 virtual machines on a single switch, Cisco says. It also supports FibreChannel-over-Ethernet tunneling on its 40G ports.

The Nexus 6000 will go up against 10G and 40G offerings in Arista Networks' 7000 series switches, Dell's Force10 switches and Juniper's QFabric platforms. Cisco also announced 40G expansion modules for the Nexus 5500 top of rack switch and Nexus 2248PQ fabric extender to connect into the Nexus 6000 for 10G server access and 40G aggregation.

Cisco also unveiled the first service module for its Nexus 7000 core 10G data center switch. The Network Analysis Module-NX1 (NAM-NX1) provides visibility across physical, virtual and cloud resources, Cisco says, including Layer 2-7 deep packet inspection and performance analytics. A software version, called virtual NAM (vNAM), will also be available for deployment on a switch in the cloud.

For hybrid private/public cloud deployments, Cisco unveiled the Nexus 1000V InterCloud software. This runs in conjunction with the Nexus 1000V virtual switch on a server and provides a secure tunnel, using cryptography and firewalling, into the provider cloud for migration of VM workloads into the public cloud.

Once inside the public cloud, Nexus 1000V InterCloud provides a secure "container" to isolate the enterprise VMs from other tenants, essentially forming a Layer 2 virtual private cloud within the provider's environment. The enterprise manages that container using Cisco's Virtual Network Management Center InterCloud software on the customer premises.

Within the context of Cisco ONE, Nexus 1000V InterCloud is an overlay, while the Nexus 6000 is a physical scaling element for the virtual data center. A key core element of Cisco ONE is the new ONE Controller unveiled this week.


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