News Release

Cisco Network Innovation Enables the Most Scalable Data Center Fabric on the Planet

Cisco scales data center fabrics to more than 12,000 10GE server ports - twice the industry's current offering at half the cost; Cisco firewall to raise the bar for virtualized security
Oct 18, 2011

SAN JOSE, Calif. – October 18, 2011 – As Internet traffic volumes increase at exponential rates (by 2013 it's predicted that there will be 56 exabytes (about 12.8 billion online movies) crossing the internet per month) the data centers that house and secure applications and data need to scale while remaining highly secure. Today, Cisco introduced ground-breaking additions to its data center networking portfolio that address these needs and deliver unmatched architectural flexibility and scale for physical, virtual or cloud computing environments.

The new Cisco® switching products introduced today augment the Cisco Unified Fabricportfolio, which consists of Nexus® data center switches and MDS storage switches that connect servers, data storage, and corporate networks seamlessly within the data center and cloud. Cisco unveiled second generation capabilities for the Nexus®7000 Series and Cisco FabricPath support for the Nexus®5500 switch; together they provide industry-leading data center fabric scalability, supporting over 12,000 10GE server ports: twice the current offering on the marketat less than half the cost.

Cisco also added new switches with sub-microsecond latency to the Nexus 3000 ultra-low latency switching series, and introduced a virtualized version of its popular ASA security appliance to deliver consistent security for virtualized and cloud environments.

Today's announcements further advance Cisco's fabric-based approach to delivering unique solutions to meet diverse data center requirements, from non-virtualized "bare metal" environments, to highly virtualized data centers, cloud-based architectures, Web 2.0 and "Big Data" environments that manage huge data sets.


  • Second generation capabilities for Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Switches.Many of today's emerging applications require data centers to scale from a few hundred to several thousand server nodes, while also meeting the unique demands of new IT models such as Cloud Computing, the growth of video traffic, device proliferation and high expectations of more connected and mobile users. This next generation switching platform provides the foundation for traditional, highly virtualized, and cloud data centers.

    The new Fabric 2 module and new high density L2/L3 10GbE F2 Series line card for the Nexus 7000 Series offer the industry's highest performance (768 Line Rate L2/L3 10GbE ports in a single Nexus 7000 Series chassis) and reduced power per port (less than 10W per 10GE port.)  Combined with integrated FabricPath and Fabric Extender (FEX) support, the Cisco fabric architecture delivers unparalleled scale and operational simplicity.

  • The second generation Nexus 7000 has the capability to:
    • Simultaneously stream 4.5 million Netflix movies (average Netflix movie about 3.5GB.)
    • Download in 114 seconds the 250 million photos that get posted to Facebook each day (at an average 1MB per photo.)
    • 'Tweet' in 3.6 seconds every one of the millions of tweets that generates about 8TB of Twitter traffic during the course of a typical day.
  • Extending Cisco FabricPath to Cisco Nexus 5500.The Nexus 5500 provides industry-leading 10GbE density in a top-of-rack form factor, and will support FabricPath, a NX-OS innovation.  FabricPath provides systems-level scalability and addresses emerging data center and cloud computing challenges posed by sophisticated virtualization requirements, dynamic workload mobility needs, and clustered application environments found in high-performance computing. FabricPath brings the stability and scalability of routing to Layer 2 networks, with data center-wide scalability, resilience and performance.

    With the addition of adapter FEX and VM-FEX capabilities (based on the emerging standard IEEE 802.1BR), the Nexus 5500 Series can now support thousands of virtual machines with a single point of management, providing consistency across physical and virtual domains.  This extends the simplified management and scalability benefits of Nexus 2000 Fabric Extender technology to network interface cards (NIC) and virtual machines.

  • Scaling data center fabrics: Together, second generation Nexus 7000 and Nexus 5500 deliver the industry's leading data center fabric scalability, supporting fabrics to over 12,000 10GbE server ports: twice the current offeringin the market at less than half the cost. Cisco customers can now build the industry's most scalable, simple and cost effective 1/10GE data center fabrics.

  • Introducing the Cisco Nexus 7009.Designed to meet the needs of the most mission critical data center environments and campus core deployments, the Nexus 7009, featuring a compact form factor (14RU) and  high availability and virtualization support.  The Nexus 7009 provides investment protection through support for all currently shipping Nexus 7000 I/O modules, supervisor and power supplies with the same industry-leading NX-OS, Cisco's data center operating system.>
  • Ultra Low Latency with Cisco Nexus 3000 Series Switches.Designed forHigh Frequency Trading, High Performance Computing , 'Big Data', and Web 2.0 deployments, two new Cisco Nexus 3000 Series Switches deliver industry-leading sub- microsecond low latency, and  high density 40 Gigabit Ethernet (16 port 10G/40G) and copper (48 port 100Mb/1GbE) options for L2/L3 deployments.  
  • Security for Virtualized Environments.  Cisco also expanded its security portfolio to add a virtual firewall for secure multi-tenant and cloud environments.  The Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) – the industry's most deployed firewall with more than one million installed appliances– will be available in a virtual form factor: the new Cisco ASA 1000V cloud firewall, which integrates with the Nexus 1000V software switch. Complementing Cisco's Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), the ASA 1000V extends firewall capabilities to provide consistent security for physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures.

    ASA provides best-of-breed firewall capabilities, comprehensive real-time threat defense, effective, always-on, highly secure remote access, and comprehensive network security for networks of all sizes. The Cisco ASA 1000V firewall complements the zone-based security capabilities of the Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and provides multi-tenant edge security, default gateway functionality, and protection against network-based attacks. Dynamic, policy-driven, multi-tenant management is delivered through the Cisco Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC), which is a centralized management solution for both the Cisco ASA 1000V firewall and the Cisco Virtual Security Gateway.

Additional Cisco Network Portfolio Enhancements

  • With enhanced buffering capability, the Nexus 2248TP-E is designed to support streaming video and audio, bursty traffic, and Big Data environments.
  • Catalyst 6500 brings advanced VPLS (A-VPLS) to enable Layer 2 Data Center Interconnect with enhanced redundancy, load balancing, troubleshooting, and easier provisioning.
  • Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) support is now available across the Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) portfolio, enabled through the new 5.1 software release. IPv6 allows for many more devices and users on the internet as well as extra flexibility in allocating addresses and efficiency for routing traffic.

New Cisco Services

  • The Cisco Network Operation Automation Service helps customers automate network management  tasks and integrate Cisco best practices with the customer's environment to make their unified fabric infrastructure smarter and easier to manage.  Automating tasks such as provisioning, incident management and change management reduces installation, maintenance and network infrastructure support costs, minimizes human error and allows IT resources to focus on more strategic activities.
  • Cisco Unified Fabric Optimization Service provides architecture, business continuance and security assessments and design, software and change support to ensure a more efficient data center fabric. Customers can optimize their existing environment and operations by taking advantage of Unified Fabric and Unified Network Services features to improve security, efficiency, and availability.


Zhang Cheng, senior manager of information systems, Baidu: "Baidu provides China's leading internet search engine and is one of the world's fastest growing internet companies, serving billions of search requests daily across 138 countries, with a daily average of over ten search queries for every Chinese-speaking Internet user on the planet," said Zhang Cheng, senior manager of information systems.  "The Cisco Nexus 7000 series and the next generation F2-series line-rate 10GE I/O modules and Fabric2 modules offer unmatched high performance, high density and low power draw, ensuring Baidu can continue to scale and serve our rapidly growing customer base."

John McCool, senior vice president and General Manager, Core Technology Group, Cisco

"Customers clearly believe Cisco's data center fabric approach better helps them achieve their business goals, faster and with less risk. The flexibility of our portfolio – which spans small  scale or general purpose enterprise applications up to the special requirements of Web 2.0, high performance computing, ‘Big Data' and cloud computing – has been a key differentiator in our amassing 19,000 NX-OS customers and leading the transition to 10Gb Ethernet."

Rajan Patel, Senior Network Engineer, Hannover Life Re America:"We rely on our Cisco network architecture to give us the best network performance today and future capabilities for tomorrow, while protecting our existing infrastructure investments. Cisco continually delivers technology innovation on the Nexus 7000 platform which helps us to better support our business through improved scalability, high performance, and simplified operations."


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