Cisco Adds Breadth and Depth to Catalyst 6500

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Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series

Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series

On Tuesday at Cisco Live, the company’s annual IT and communications conference, Cisco introduced multiple innovations into its flagship Catalyst 6500 Series Switches. With a focus on switching architecture and leveraging the market of over 700,000 deployed 6500 series switches, Cisco introduced a new supervisor engine, line cards and next generation borderless services.

Supervisor 2T

At the heart of the Catalyst 6500 refresh is the Supervisor Engine 2T, a 2-terabit card that unlocks 80 gigabits per second per slot. The new SUP2T takes a 3x jump for the Catalyst 6500 series from 720Gbps to 2Tbps. To avoid forklift upgrades to existing 6500 customers, the SUP2T and line cards are fully compatible with all E-Series chassis models. Through backwards compatibility, it protects the investment of its installed base, but paves the way for 2Tbps of switching capacity and when deployed in a virtual switching system (VSS) configuration, will scale to 4Tbps. What does the ability to download 2 terabits in a second mean:  approximately 250 (1GB) Harry Potter DVDs(i.e.: 15,000 DVDs per minute).

New IOS Features

Over 200 software features have been added to Cisco IOS software to add features for security, mobility, video/voice and virtualization. An updated security architecture in the new IOS includes a full Cisco TrustSec implementation, including hardware-based MacSec for wire-rate data, Security Group Tagging and Security Group Access control lists.  The new IOS also offers system-comprehensive and multiprotocol NetFlow, which allows for enhanced and granular monitoring for IPv4, IPv6, multicast and MPLS traffic.  With this refresh they can now maintain 1 million NetFlow entries – a fourfold increase.

“By closely working with our massive customer base, Cisco is able to focus our innovation on real-world requirements,” said Cisco senior vice president John McCool. “This is why the Catalyst platform spurred the spread of the Internet on campus networks worldwide and is now enabling these same networks to evolve to 10 gigabits and 40 gigabits while taking advantage of a full range of network services in the campus and the data center—no ‘rip and replace’ required. The relationship between installed base knowledge, innovation and business value results in greater competitive differentiation and industry leadership for Cisco, its customers and partners.”

With a 10 year history of Catalyst 6500 deployments and market share hovering around 70 percent, the focus for Cisco is to help its customers receive unmatched investment protection. With the new SUP2T they will extend the life (and margins) of the 6500 series and service a market that is dividing into the data center and campus models.

The new Catalyst 6500 Series is available now and the SUP2T has a list price of $38,000.

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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