Cisco Kicks Off Big Refreshes For Switching, Routing Behind 40/100 GbE Upgrades, ISR Shift


Cisco has confirmed significant updates to its major Ethernet Switching lines, as well as disclosed plans for a major upgrade cycle on its key Integrated Services Router (ISR) line.

Among the big changes on the Switching side are that Cisco has added 40G Ethernet to the Catalyst 6500, still Cisco's most-sold single product and top switching line, and also added 40/100G Ethernet to its Nexus 7000 data center switch.

Any updates to Cisco's switch lines, of course, affect a major installed base. Researcher Dell'Oro Group put Cisco's share of Layer 2-Layer 3 switching revenue, excluding unmanaged switches, at 71.8 percent for the third quarter of 2011, and its port share of that category at 51.7 percent. In its fiscal Q1 2012, Cisco posted $3.67 billion in switching revenue.

Craig Huitema, director of data center solutions at Cisco, said Cisco has shipped in excess of more than 10 million 10G Ethernet ports but that the enterprise and service provider transition to more robust Ethernet is well underway.

"With all that bandwidth around the edge of the network we are moving to a point where 40G and 100G start to manifest themselves," Huitema said. "The need is more critical among service providers and large enterprises because there are applications driving huge demand. We've reached that inflection point."

The updated Catalyst 6500 switches will be available in April, while the updated Nexus 7000 will be available later in the second quarter of calendar 2012. Cisco plans to put 40G Ethernet on its Nexus 5000 switches next, Huitema added.

Cisco is also launching two new fixed configuration switches, the Catalyst 4500-X -- a 40-port 10 GbE switch intended for constrained campus environments wanting easy compatibility with virtualized networks -- and the Nexus 3064-X, which adds additional bells and whistles, such as QSFP+ ports.

Further, Cisco is adding network virtualization capabilities to its Catalyst 6500, Catalyst 4500 and ASR 1000 products using a technology Cisco calls the Easy Virtual Network configuration, plus a virtual services appliance for the data center, the Nexus 1010, which supports Cisco's six-month old Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) capability for scaling different data center workloads. Cisco confirmed that the Nexus 1000V virtual switch also now supports VXLAN.

Cisco cited research from Infonetics Research that the 10 GbE switching market would see 58 percent compound annual growth from 2010 to 2015 for both data center and enterprise campus deployments. For 40GbE/100GbE switching at the aggregation/core layer, Infonetics has the CAGR as 214 percent.

"Those are big numbers when you consider the value you have put forth and the number of ports that will go into these types of segments," said Wenceslao Lada, vice president, worldwide channels for Borderless Networks at Cisco. "We have the biggest installed base by far. So that's a lot of traction with our customers."

The new switches will apply to Cisco's major partner incentive programs, such as VIP, TIP and OIP, and Lada said partners should also expected new value-added services opportunities in the coming months.

Next: Cisco's Router Refresh