Cisco Widens Offering For 40-GbE, Cloud, Open Networks

Cisco on Monday unveiled a refresh of its networking equipment line with a new focus on 40-Gigabit Ethernet, cloud-to-cloud management, open source networking and software-defined networking (SDN).

The new Cisco line-up comes as customers are looking at the promise of cloud computing and rapid access to expandable IT resources, said Craig Huitema, Cisco's director of marketing for data center and cloud.

"What customers are really looking at is a world of many clouds: private, public and hybrid," Huitema said. "The problem is there are challenges."

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Those challenges include manageability, security, the ability for customers to seamlessly access resources on a self-service basis and elastic resource allocation, which Huitema defined as the ability to grow and shrink resources as needed.

Cisco's answer to those challenges is to scale its fabric with high-density 40-gigabit-per-second platforms, extend the fabric to work across multiple clouds and open the fabric with open source technology, he said.

To that end, Cisco has introduce its new Nexus 6000 series switches, including the Nexus 6004, which fits 96 40-Gbps Ethernet ports or 384 10-GbE ports into a high-density 4U solution, and the Nexus 6001, which fits 48 10-GbE and four 40-GbE ports in 1U. Both switches support both Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) traffic, Huitema said.

The new ports will be a big performance boost for customers with big data applications, Huitema said. "A lot of big data traffic is server-to-server," he said. "Hadoop uses map reduce so that when a server sends a query to other servers, it can get response in a microburst. Our new Nexus switches have the buffering capability to handle the microbursts."

Cisco is expanding performance across other parts of its line as well. This includes the addition of the Nexus 2248PQ, a new 10-GbE Ethernet fabric extender, and a new Cisco Nexus 5500 40-GbE expansion module.

Also new is the Cisco Network Analysis Module (NAM) for Cisco's Nexus 7000 data center core switch. The Cisco NAM provides consistent visibility of traffic flowing through the Nexus 7000, Huitema said. A virtualized version, the vNAM, was also introduced.

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For working between multiple clouds, Cisco introduced the Nexus 1000V, an application for moving customer workloads and their corresponding security policies between different clouds regardless of which virtualization hypervisor customers are using.

With the Nexus 1000V, customer scan choose which virtual machine they want to migrate, select the destination cloud, and then migrate the virtual machine to extend a private cloud to a public cloud via an L2 secure tunnel, Cisco's Huitema said.

"This is a big deal because a.) the customer keeps the same security policies in the public cloud they have in their private cloud, and b.) they can have access to all the needed public cloud resources," he said.

Cisco also expanded its Cisco Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE) open networking strategy as part of its move to be ready for software-defined networks (SDN).

The expansions include the introduction of a new Cisco ONE software controller that includes a new One Platform Kit (onePK), which provides APIs for the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) platforms.

Also new is the ONE Controller and OpenFlow agent for Cisco's Catalyst 3000 switches, as well as OpenStack overlays for a variety of Cisco networking products.