Cisco continues to enhance Data Center 3.0

Cisco continues to drive their vision of the datacenter while continuing to upgrade their bread and butter hardware offerings.

With a combination of software and hardware releases Cisco pushes their data center strategy by enhancing support for faster, more efficient datacenters and improvements in support for cloud resources.  The offerings start with Ethernet switches and go all the way through complete bundled datacenter networking solutions.

For those in need of Ethernet switches, Cisco has upgraded their top of the line Catalyst 4948 switch to the 4948E, which upgrades the switching capacity of the box from 136Gb/sec to 176 Gb/sec and adds 4 optional  1/10 GbE uplink ports.  It also has a larger packet buffer and hardware support for IPv6.

With the release of Cisco FabricPath Switching System, Cisco also moves further towards a single-layer network topology by moving the traffic management of Layer 3 down to layer two so that the potential problems of blocked links in large spanning tree networks are removed.

Like any proprietary technology, FabricPath requires the latest and greatest hardware to do its magic; in this case the Cisco NX-OS and FiberPath capable hardware, which comes with a significant price tag, but which will also, according to Ram Velaga, VP of Product Management for Cisco's datacenter solutions, a huge improvement in bandwidth utilization, improved performance due to the reduction in latency, more efficient energy utilization due to fewer devices, and simplified management.

FabricPath is going to be available in I/O modules for the Nexus 7000 chassis and Cisco plans on offering a complete datacenter bundled solution consisting of the software plus six Nexus 7000 chassis with 16 line cards each. Given that the standalone price of the line cards is $25,000; this is not a solution for the faint of heart.  No pricing on the complete bundle has been released at this time.

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