Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cisco unveils 40GbE and 100GbE switch upgrades

The networking company announced the upgrades to its Nexus products on Wednesday, although some customers are already using the switches. General availability is expected within the next few months, which should give Cisco a lead over competitors like Juniper Networks and Arista. The company also added 40GbE technology to its Catalyst range and released a low-latency switch aimed at the financial industry.

"What we're doing today is announcing extensions to our existing [switching] platforms," said Ram Velaga, Cisco's vice president of product management for switching, on Wednesday. "Juniper does not have 40GbE or 100GbE on their switching platforms [yet]," he added.

The Nexus 7000 M2-Series 2-port 100GbE Module is an add-in linecard for the Nexus 7000 switch that can provide up to 32 100GbE ports with an aggregate throughput of 15 terabits per second. It's aimed at major service providers requiring high-throughput switching between multiple datacentres, or within very large facilities. The Nexus 7000 M2-Series 6-port 40GbE Module does the same job for 40GbE, and can provide up to 96 ports on a single chassis.

"These [100GbE and 40GbE] capabilities provide a holistic architectural approach across campus, data centre and service provider environments, and give customers a significant advantage while addressing emerging trends like cloud, video, mobility and the proliferation of 10GbE," the company said in a statement.

Cisco's main competitors for high-end switching — Arista and Juniper Networks (PDF) — have developed switches that support 40GbE and 100GbE, but no product has yet been released, nor a timeline for general availability announced.

"If you look at the IT landscape today you can't escape the fact there will be competition," Shashi Kiran, Cisco's director of switching marketing, told ZDNet UK. "[But] we really haven't seen much traction for any of those products in customers who have a Cisco install base."

The company also announced a 40GbE module for Catalyst 6500 Series switches, making the hardware 1, 10 and 40GbE-capable.

As part of its strategy to build small switches for space-constrained areas, the company also announced the Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Switch, a 1U switch with simplified management tools that's available to buy from today.

Finally, the company gave details on a switch designed for high-frequency trading: the Nexus 3064-X is a low-latency switch with millisecond response times that can accommodate up to 64 10GbE ports.

Pricing was not available at the time of writing. ZDNet UK understands that the 100GbE and 40GbE Nexus modules will become available over the next few months, but no details were disclosed.