Monday, April 7, 2008

Cisco Debuts Nexus 5000 Data Center-class Switches Supporting 10GigE, FCoE

Cisco unveiled its Nexus 5000 Series of data center-class switches, a major step towards the company's vision of a Unified Fabric for the Server Access Layer. In conjunction with the product announcement, Cisco announced that it had acquired the remaining 20% equity share it did not already hold in its subsidiary Nuova Systems, a start-up that developed the switch.

The Cisco Nexus 5000 Series switch delivers line-rate, low-latency, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching, as well as the industry's first standards-based, input/output (I/O) consolidation solution via support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Data Center Ethernet and virtualization technologies. The switch is an extension to the Cisco Nexus family designed to support increasing I/O demands of multicore processors and virtualized environments.

FCoE aims to consolidates LAN, Fibre Channel and iSCSI-based storage-area networks (SANs) and server cluster traffic onto an Ethernet-based unified fabric. The Cisco Nexus 5000 also provides virtual machine (VM) optimized services, supporting the Cisco Data Center 3.0 vision by allowing IT organizations to dynamically respond to changing business demands through rapid provisioning of application and infrastructure services from shared pools of consolidated compute, storage, and network resources.

The Cisco Nexus 5000 platform can connect to either Cisco Nexus 7000 or Cisco Catalyst 6500 in the aggregation/core layers of the data center. With native Fibre Channel interfaces, the Cisco Nexus 5000 Series can also connect to SAN fabrics built with the Cisco MDS 9000 platform.

The Cisco Nexus 5000 Series pricing starts at $36,000 for the fixed configuration 40-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch, and is scheduled to be available May 2008. Cisco Data Center VIP will be included within VIP 12, with an expected availability of July 2008 and DCNI 2.0 is planned to be available May 2008.

Cisco also cited a number of ecosystem partners helping to create an end-to-end unified fabric solution with the Cisco Nexus 5000 Series, including 3PAR Data, APC, Broadcom, Dell, EMC, Emulex, Intel, NetApp, Netxen, Panduit, QLogic, and VMware.

SAVVIS is currently testing the Cisco Nexus 5000 switching platform.

Regarding the acquisition of the remaining shares in Nuova, previously the company operated as a majority-owned subsidiary of Cisco, which had invested $70 million for 80 percent of the company. Cisco announced its initial investment in Nuova in August 2006 and announced an amendment to the agreement in April 2007 that expanded the development scope, increased the funding commitment and raised the maximum potential payout of the transaction to $678 million. The Nuova transaction is success-based with the total value primarily determined by the revenue of Nuova products over three measurement periods. The first measurement period will commence in early fiscal year 2010, the second measurement period will commence in late fiscal year 2010, and the third measurement period will commence in mid fiscal year 2011.

  • In January 2008, Cisco unveiled its the next generation, flagship data center-class switching platform for combining Ethernet, IP, and storage capabilities across one unified network fabric.

    The Cisco Nexus 7000 Series, which sets forth the company's Data Center 3.0 vision, represents the culmination of over $1 billion in R&D, according to the company. The platform is designed for next generation data center infrastructure deployments of virtualized servers, storage, networks and applications. Using a unified fabric would eliminate the need for parallel storage and computational networks, reducing the number of server interfaces and significantly reducing the cabling and switching infrastructure required in the data center. At the heart of the network is a lossless unified switching fabric capable of simultaneously forwarding storage, Ethernet, and IP traffic. Cisco's Nexus 7000 is a scalable modular platform that delivers up to 15 terabits per second (Tbps_ of switching capacity in a single chassis, supporting up to 512 10 Gbps Ethernet and future delivery of 40- and 100-Gbps Ethernet. Its unified fabric architecture combines Ethernet and storage capabilities into a single platform, designed to provide all servers with access to all network and storage resources. Key components of the unified fabric architecture include unified I/O interfaces and Fibre Channel over Ethernet support to be delivered in the future.

  • Nuova Systems is based in San Jose, California and has about 200 employees.

  • Nuova's founders include Ed Bugnion, Luca Cafiero, Prem Jain, Soni Jiandani, Tom Lyon and Mario Mazzola. Bugnion is a former co-founder of VMware and Lyon formerly founded Ipsilion Networks. Cafiero, Jain, Jiandani and Mazzola are all former Cisco executives.

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