News Release

Cisco Introduces Next-Generation Stacking with New Catalyst 3500 Series XL

New Cisco Switch Clustering Technology and GigaStack
May 24, 1999

New Cisco Switch Clustering Technology and GigaStack GBICExtend Stacking Beyond a Single Wiring Closet

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- May 24, 1999 -- Cisco Systems, Inc. today announced the new Catalyst. 3500 Series XL, the industry's most scalable line of stackable 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet desktop switches that delivers premium performance, manageability, flexibility and unparalleled investment protection. The new family of stackable switches, consisting of the Catalyst 3512 XL, Catalyst 3524 XL and Catalyst 3508G XL switches, use Cisco Switch Clustering technology to take traditional stacking to the next level by allowing network managers to manage geographically dispersed switches through a single IP address, using a standard Web browser.

The Catalyst 3500 Series XL is targeted towards network managers within dynamic mid-sized businesses and enterprise workgroups who value high performance, reduced complexity, low cost of ownership and easy integration with their installed base of networking solutions.

Cisco delivers next-generation stacking through a new scalable stacking architecture consisting of a new hardware platform, the Gigabit-enabled Catalyst 3500 Series XL; a unique flexible stacking transceiver, the GigaStack Gigabit Interface Connector (GBIC); and Cisco Switch Clustering technology that enables single IP management of geographically dispersed switches.

The Cisco stacking architecture is fully backwards compatible with all Catalyst 2900 Series XL and Catalyst 1900 Standard and Enterprise Edition switches, giving customers unparalleled flexibility and investment protection.

"The new Catalyst 3500 XL switches with the unique Cisco Switch Clustering technology and enhanced Cisco Visual Switch Manager makes managing these switches easy and hassle-free," said Juan Garcia, system network administrator at Acer America. "You can now manage an entire group of Catalyst 3500 XL, 2900 XL and 1900 switches from a single IP address regardless of their location, using one Web interface. This is a very powerful message to network managers that now don't have to manage each individual switch as an independent entity."

"The Catalyst 3500 Series XL is the logical choice for network managers who demand a scalable and flexible multiple wiring closet solution that provides premium performance, ease-of-management and low cost," said Larry Birenbaum, vice president and general manager for Cisco's Desktop Switching Business Unit. "The new switches take stacking technology to a powerful new level."

Catalyst 3500 Series XL-- New Stackable 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet Switch

With the introduction of the Catalyst 3500 Series XL and Cisco Switch Clustering technology, Cisco introduces next generation stacking. The Catalyst 3500 Series XL switches feature a 10 Gbps switching fabric that delivers wire-speed performance to each 10/100 port. The new stackable switches feature Cisco IOS. software and Cisco Visual Switch Manager (CVSM) software, an easy-to-use, Web-based management interface. All Catalyst 3500 Series XL switches are available in Standard and Enterprise Editions. Enterprise Edition switches offer advanced software features such as, complete 802.1Q and ISL VLAN support, TACACS+ security, and fault tolerance through Uplink Fast.

The Catalyst 3500 Series XL consists of three switch models:

  • Catalyst 3512 XL: a single rack unit (RU) stackable 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet switch with 12 10BaseT/100BaseTX ports and two GBIC-based Gigabit Ethernet ports that accommodate a range of industry-standard GBICs, including the Cisco GigaStack GBIC, and 1000BaseSX and 1000BaseLX/LH GBICs. The Catalyst 3512 XL is a high-performance, non-blocking switch, ideal for aggregating a small group of Catalyst 2900 XL or Catalyst 1900 switches in a clustered configuration. In a standalone configuration, the Catalyst 3512 XL offers low port density at a low entry price.

  • Catalyst 3524 XL: a single RU stackable 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet switch with 24 10BaseT/100BaseTX ports and two GBIC-based Gigabit Ethernet ports that accommodate a range of GBICs, including the Cisco GigaStack GBIC, 1000BaseSX and 1000BaseLX/LH GBICs. The Catalyst 3524 XL is ideal for delivering dedicated 10 or 100 Mbps bandwidth to individual users and servers in a stack or cluster configuration. Built-in dual GBIC-based Gigabit Ethernet ports provide users with a flexible and scalable solution for Gigabit Ethernet uplinks or GigaStack stacking.

  • Catalyst 3508G XL: a single RU stackable Gigabit Ethernet switch with 8 GBIC-based Gigabit Ethernet ports. The Catalyst 3508G XL is ideal for aggregating a group of 10/100 switches and Gigabit Ethernet servers using Cisco GigaStack GBICs or standard 1000BaseX GBICs.

Cisco GigaStack GBIC-New Flexible Hardware Stacking

The Catalyst 3500 XL and modular Catalyst 2900 XL switches can be stacked using the low-cost Cisco GigaStack GBIC. The two-port GigaStack GBIC offers a range of highly flexible stacking and price/performance connectivity options. It delivers a 1 Gbps stack bus in a daisy-chained configuration or up to 2 Gbps full-duplex connectivity in a dedicated, switch-to-switch configuration. GBIC-based Gigabit Ethernet aggregation via the Catalyst 3508 XL delivers up to 5 Gbps aggregated forwarding bandwidth to connected switches in a switch "cluster".

The GigaStack GBIC is ideal for performance and cost-conscious customers who require an independent stack bus to interconnect multiple Catalyst 3500 XL and Gigabit-enabled Catalyst 2900 XL switches.

Cisco Switch Clustering Technology-Single IP Address Management

Cisco Switch Clustering software enables up to 16 interconnected Catalyst 3500 XL, 2900 XL and 1900 switches, regardless of geographic proximity, to form a managed single-IP address network. These switches can be interconnected using a broad range of connectivity options, delivering different levels of performance to meet customer needs. Clustering connectivity options include Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Fast EtherChannel, low-cost Cisco GigaStack GBIC, Gigabit Ethernet and Gigabit EtherChannel technologies.

Because the technology is not limited by proprietary stacking modules and stacking cables, Cisco Switch Clustering software expands the traditional stacking domain beyond a single wiring closet and allows users to mix and match interconnections to meet specific management, performance and cost requirements.

Cisco Switch Clustering software for the Catalyst 3500 XL, 2900 XL and 1900 switches, enables the management of a "cluster" of switches through a single IP address. The clusters can be grouped regardless of interconnection media or physical proximity. In a Cisco switch cluster, one Catalyst 3500 XL or 2900 XL switch is designated as the "command" switch and all other switches in the cluster are designated as "member" switches. The command switch serves as the single IP management point and disburses all management action dictated by the network manager.

Cisco Switch Clustering command software is pre-installed on all Catalyst 3500 XL switches and is available as an upgrade for Catalyst 2900 XL and 1900 switches. Cisco Switch Clustering technology supports Command Line Interface (CLI) in addition to Cisco Visual Switch Manager.

Web-based Switch Management-Cisco Visual Switch Manager 2.0

The Catalyst 3500 Series XL features the Cisco Web-based management tool, Cisco Visual Switch Manager (CVSM 2.0), which allows network managers to view and manage a switch cluster from anywhere on the network through a standard Web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. CVSM 2.0 is launched from the switch itself and delivers simple network and device-level management, including VLAN set-up, port configuration, network cluster views and port monitoring. CVSM is an integral part of the Cisco scalable stacking architecture, allowing users to easily configure and manage switch stacks and clusters, and administer software upgrades across multiple switches.

Pricing and Availability

The new Catalyst 3500 Series XL switches are available now with a lifetime limited warranty, with U.S. list prices starting at $2,495 for the Catalyst 3512 XL, $3,495 for the Catalyst 3524 XL, and $4,995 for the Catalyst 3508G XL. The GigaStack GBIC will be available in June '99 with a U.S. list price of $250.

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.

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