Cisco Pumps Up Its Catalyst Switches

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Cisco Systems says it has updated its Catalyst 6500 family of switches (shown above) for 40 GB Ethernet and 100 GB Ethernet. (Photo: Cisco)

At Cisco Live 2012 London Cisco Systems (CSCO) announced it has updated its switching portfolio with 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) and 40 GE capabilities, the next speed limits for networking. These new capabilities provide a holistic architectural approach across campus, data center and service provider environments.

A 40 GE option is available for the Catalyst 6500 switching line and both 40 GE and 100 GE capabilities are available for the Nexus 7000 portfolio.  Two new M2-Series modules for the Nexus 7000 are available: a 2-port, 100GbE Module delivers up to 32 100GE ports and the M2-Series 6-port 40GbE Module provides 96 non-blocking 40 GE ports.

The new Nexus 3064-X switch supports a variety of 1/10/40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options as a high-performance, high-density, ultra-low latency Ethernet Switch. A new Nexus 1010-X Virtual Services Appliance offers a dedicated hardware platform for scalable deployment of services critical to virtualization infrastructure.

Providing investment protection for the Catalyst 6500 Series, Cisco is also offering a new 40 Gigabit Ethernet Interface module to help customers prepare their networks for transitions to 40 GE. The Catalyst 6500 E Series chassis are now validated to support full 160 gigabits per slot throughput in active/active mode.

Aimed at space-constrained environments the new Catalyst 4500-X switch is a fixed aggregation 1 RU switch. Cisco also announced simpler network virtualization functionality for its Catalyst 6500, 4500 and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 product line with a new technology called Easy Virtual Network as well as scalable virtual services with a new Nexus 1010-X appliance for the data center.

Operational Efficiencies

To compliment accelerating Catalyst and Nexus switches to 40 GE and 100 GE options Cisco introduced solutions to help simplify network virtualization and enhance network monitoring, troubleshooting, and management.   New features in Cisco NX-OS software inclue  PowerOn Auto-Provisioning and Python scripting to customize network behavior based on events as they happen, simplify configuration, and harness network intelligence. A Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) simplifies Unified Fabric management and provides a converged LAN and Storage operational dashboard, bringing visibility and advanced diagnostic capabilities into the virtualized data center or cloud.

“Network virtualization is becoming more important as enterprises seek to address security and regulatory concerns without the expense of overlay networks,” said Dominique Massoni, Network Engineering Operations Manager at EDF Group.  There are a number of available solutions, with varying degrees of scalability and complexity. We found Easy Virtual Network to be the right solution for us. It is simple, easy to replicate between sites, and is fully compatible with the solution we have been using, so we didn’t have to redo the work we’ve already done.”

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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