Cisco releases new high-end switch

The networking giant has released a new switch it claims is capable of 15 terabits per second switching capacity.

Cisco has released a high-end Ethernet switch, the Nexus 7000.

The networking giant promises the step up from its Catalyst series to be able to cope with the growing data traffic in the data center, with a switching capacity of up to 15 terabits per second.

To put that in perspective, Cisco claims the switch can enable the transfer of Wikipedia's entire database in 10 milliseconds--it takes 50 milliseconds to blink your eyes.

Cisco is also touting the "unified fabric" feature of Nexus, which Catalyst does not have.

This "fabric" architecture allows the switch to reduce the number of server interfaces required by consolidating them, which the company said boosts the data center's strengths in areas such as security and power management.

Rajiv Ramaswami, vice president and general manager of Cisco's data center business unit, said at a launch event: "The bulk of a data center's power is spent on I/O (input/output) interfaces. There is an 8 percent reduction in power consumption as a result of consolidating all of those into one unified fabric."

The "unified fabric" also provides a security layer by encrypting each packet. "Encrypting at each stop provides visibility through the network, as opposed to encrypting at the data level," added Ramaswami.

The switch also runs on its new NX-OS operating system, based on Cisco's current IOS and SAN-OS operating systems, which power its Catalyst series and MDS multilayer switches, respectively.

Cisco said the US$75,000 Nexus 7000 may not gain as much traction in the region's emerging markets.

Bernie Trudel, Cisco's APAC head of technology, data center, said the switch is expected to meet the demands of larger set ups such as those of governments of such countries. "These are the perfect greenfield sites, and [the switch] will allow them to evolve over the years."

However, Trudel added that for set ups in the region of a smaller scale, "the Catalyst [series] will do the job".

Cisco's release comes at the same time as rival networking vendor Juniper Networks' recent announcement of a new switch added to its portfolio, which leverages the company's strengths in security.

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