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The technology will help solution providers capitalize on the virtualization trend, bringing high-end redundancy features previously reserved for service providers down to the enterprise, said Mike Chase, director of advanced technology solutions at SIGMAnet, a Cisco Gold partner in Ontario, Calif.
"Virtualization is extremely popular. We're seeing virtualization of storage, servers, pretty much every resource in the data center, so the fact that Cisco is driving it into switches makes them a pioneer," Chase said. Virtualization of switches will help support virtualization of all of the other data center resources that connect to the network, he said.
Pricing for the new supervisor engine, available now, starts at $31,500 with a base software image and $38,000 with an IP services software image.
In addition to the upgrade to the Catalyst 6500 line, Cisco is also launching enhancements to its Catalyst 4500.
The new Catalyst 4500 E-Series with CenterFlex delivers capacity of 320 Gbps, representing over two-and-a-half times the performance and a four-fold increase in per-slot bandwidth over previous versions. CenterFlex is the name Cisco has given to technology improvements powered by its new Supervisor 6-E custom ASICs.
Cisco provides forward and backward compatibility between its Catalyst 4500 gear, meaning that upgrading to the new Supervisor 6-E adds CenterFlex features, such as in-hardware IPv6 support, to previously deployed line-card ports.
Scheduled for availability later this month, the new Supervisor 6-E is priced at $19,995. The new line cards range from $9,495 to $24,995. The new chassis are available in 3-, 6-, 7- and 10-slot versions ranging from $995 to $12,495.