Cisco Rounds Out Cisco ONE Strategy With New Catalyst Switches, Routers

Cisco has introduced an updated line of Catalyst switches and routers meant to make enterprise networks more programmable, application-centric and optimized for the burgeoning Internet of Everything trend.

The new switches and routers, which were unveiled Monday at the Cisco Live event taking place this week in Orlando, Fla., are part of the Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture, the networking giant's next-generation Borderless Networks Architecture that uses open APIs to make networks more programmable, flexible and aware of the applications they support.

"We view this announcement as truly changing the game for our customers and for IT organizations," said Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior director of Enterprise Networking marketing at Cisco, in an interview with CRN.

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The primary aim of the Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture, along with the new networking gear introduced Monday, is to help organizations deploy and optimize a new, smarter breed of business applications. Hospitals, for example, could leverage the Cisco ONE architecture to deploy location-based services that automatically push out a patient's records to a doctor's tablet when the doctor walks into that particular patient's room, Lasser-Raab said.

Cisco views this new, application-centric architecture as a key enabler of both software-defined networking (SDN) and the Internet of Everything, a trend Cisco projects to drive 50 billion connections between people, data and a new generation of "smart" objects by 2020.

Among the new Cisco gear unveiled Monday to support Cisco ONE is a refreshed Catalyst 6800 Series of switches. The new family consists of the Catalyst 6807-XL modular switch, the Catalyst 6880-X semi-fixed switch and the Catalyst 6800ia Instant Access switch, all of which are targeted at campus deployments.

Kathi Bomar, technical solutions architect, routing and switching at World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based solution provider, said the new Catalyst line not only represents a massive refresh opportunity for Cisco partners, but proves Cisco's commitment to the Catalyst line moving forward.

"There's been this perception in the industry, I think, since Nexus was announced several years ago, that Cisco was moving away from the large Catalyst switching arena," Bomar told CRN. "I think this [Catalyst] 6800 announcement really positions this platform as being the enterprise campus, core aggregation platform for the next five to seven, or even nine years."

NEXT: Cisco's Router Rollout

The new Catalyst 6807-XL modular switch, according to Cisco, shares the same DNA as its older sibling, the Catalyst 6500, but is optimized for 10/40/100 Gbps. The new switch is a seven-slot, 10-rack-unit modular chassis with up to 880 Gbps per slot capacity and 11.4 TB per port switching capacity.

The second switch in the new line-up, the Catalyst 6880-X, is targeted at smaller and mid-size campus deployments. It's a three-slot, four-rack-unit switch with fixed 16 10-Gbps port supervisor and four half slots for optional 10- or 40-Gbps line cards.

The Catalyst 6800ia Instant Access switch is the third switch in the new Catalyst line-up, and one that Cisco said is optimized for programmable, one-touch deployments. The Cisco Catalyst 6800ia is meant to simplify the management of campus networks by virtually consolidating access switches across multiple buildings into one extended switch.

Cisco said the new Catalyst family is slated for availability in November.

Cisco also launched two new routers, the Integrated Services Router (ISR) 4451-AX and the Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000-AX. The new ISR 4451-AX, available now, is targeted at larger enterprise branch offices, and the ASR 1000-AX, available in July, is unique in that it has Cisco's Application Visibility and Control functionality built in.

World Wide Technology's Bomar said Cisco's growing focus on the Internet of Everything and SDN align with WWT's own focus on these two trends. While customers may not be asking about them today, they eventually will, Bomar said.

"I don't think it's going to happen tomorrow. I think it's going to be months, maybe even a few years. But we've been in this business for about 23 years at this point, and we're not in it to make the short-term sale," Bomar told CRN. "We are in it to create the kind of customer who will be with us years into the future."