Cisco: Catalyst 6500 The Most Successful Switch Ever


"It's the most successful networking product in the industry today," John Growdon, director of routers and switches for worldwide channels at Cisco, said in a phone interview. The Catalyst 6500 family was launched about six years ago, he said.

Though some solution providers and technology rivals such as Avaya, Juniper Networks and others tout the benefits of a best-of-breed solution, San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco maintains that its end-to-end offerings--including about 20 modules to integrate services like security and VoIP into the Catalyst 6500 platform--provide lower total cost of ownership.

Among the latest modules are the Application Control Engine, which adds partitioned server load balancing, application delivery and firewall capabilities, and the Wireless Services Module.

Mike Mogavero, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Data Systems Worldwide (DSW), a Woodland Hills, Calif.-based solution provider, said the Catalyst 6500's ability to offer multiple services on a single platform helped DSW win a recent deal. The customer, El Segundo, Calif.-based PureVideo, required a network that could support a high volume of online video content that it serves to its 1.5 million unique users per month. But at the same time, the company wanted its network to remain as small of a footprint as possible so it could save on co-location data center costs, he said.

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DSW's winning solution, a $400,000 product and services deal, included two Catalyst 6513 switches with added modules for firewall, intrusion detection, load balancing and network monitoring. It replaced a multivendor deployment that included some Cisco gear as well as equipment from several other manufacturers, according to Mogavero. "Now they have a small footprint and a high port density as well, all within two redundant chassis. They'll save on power consumption and rack space," he said.

DSW is increasingly able to add modules to Catalyst 6500 sales as customers look for ways to cut costs, Mogavero added. "It's becoming increasingly common, because what we're seeing is a move back to the data center. And people are becoming increasingly tired of having to cobble together a bunch of different vendors," he said.

With more than 300,000 Catalyst 6500 units installed today, the upgrade opportunity for channel partners to expand those deployments is large, Growdon noted. "Every one of those things can be upgraded with new services modules, supervisors and connectivity [options], so that's a massive opportunity," he said.