Cisco aims to defend core switching business, updates Catalyst 6500

Cisco aims to defend core switching business, updates Catalyst 6500

Summary: Cisco updated its Catalyst 6500 Series Switches as it aims to defend its core business against rivals.

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Cisco on Tuesday updated its Catalyst 6500 Series Switches as it aims to defend its core business against rivals.

The networking giant has been taking its share of hits from the likes of Juniper Networks and HP, but moved to position its Catalyst switches as infrastructure for the next decade.

At the Cisco Live customer powwow in Las Vegas, the company touted the Catalyst 6500 installed base---700,000 systems, 110 million ports deployed and 25,000 customers globally. Indeed, that installed base is a key Cisco asset. But that installed base is increasingly being targeted as smaller rivals pick up share.

As a result, Cisco is reportedly going to cut anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 jobs as it adjusts to a lower cost structure. Those moves won't matter unless Cisco gets its core switching business humming again.

To that end, Cisco's updates to its 6500 switches include the following:

  • IPv4 and IPv6 support;
  • Virtualization additions;
  • A set of service modules and application and visibility monitoring via its NetFlow software;
  • More than 200 technical features to the Cisco iOS software;
  • The Supervisor Engine 2T, a 2 terabit card that allows for 80 gigabits per second per slot. These line cards are critical since they are compatible with Cisco previous chassis.

According to Cisco, customers can replace line cards and leave existing infrastructure in place. The message is that reverse compatibility prevents "rip-and-replace upgrades that jeopardize a customer's network uptime and require additional personnel, expenses and time." That reference is a not-so-subtle dig at HP, which is arguing for Cisco infrastructure to be at least partially tossed.

Topic: Cisco

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