Cisco Pumps Up Catalyst Switches with Virtualization, Better Performance


Cisco Systems Tuesday unveiled new technology that will add virtualization, increased capacity and improved performance to its mainstay modular switch platforms.

The San Jose, Calif.-based vendor is bringing virtualization to enterprise networks with a new module for its flagship Catalyst 6500 switch line. It is also rolling out a series extension that represents the next generation of its Catalyst 4500 platform.

Together, the product rollouts mark the next phase of Cisco's Campus Communications Fabric framework for enterprise networks and are driven by customers' use of new technologies such as collaboration and Web 2.0, said Tere Bracco, senior manager of Cisco's switch portfolio.

The product line enhancements were designed to enable customers to build on their existing Cisco investments, she said, noting that the vendor has sold over one million chassis between the Catalyst 6500 and 4500 switch families.

"Rip and replace is not an option when you have an installed base of one million switches," Bracco said.

The new Catalyst 6500 Series Virtual Switching System (VSS) 1440 adds virtualization to the portfolio that enables solution providers to combine multiple physical switches to act as one virtual switch, providing increased capacity and redundancy.

The functionality is enabled by the new Catalyst 6500 Series Virtual Switching Supervisor Engine 720 with 10-Gigabit Ethernet, which enables VSS 1440 to scale to support bandwidth capacity of up to 1.44 Tbits per second.

The virtualization capability means that solution providers no longer have to rely on link management technology such as Spanning Tree Protocol, which requires some switch capacity to be set aside to pair passive links with active links for redundancy, said Walt Blomquist, senior director of marketing for the Catalyst 6500 line.

"Customers can take advantage of active/active links and have the flexibility to double the performance of those links," Blomquist said.

It also means partners and customers will be able to simplify the operation of their Cisco networks as multiple switches share a single point of management, a single routing instance and a single IP address, he said

 

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