Monday, July 11, 2011

Cisco Overhauls Catalyst 6500 with 2 Tbps Engine, Better IPv6, Upgraded NetFlow

Cisco unveiled a set of enhancements to its flagship Catalyst 6500 Series Switches to help enterprise customers to evolve their network infrastructure for the proliferation of connected devices, growth of video traffic, cloud computing business models and increasingly mobile workforces. The company also updated Cisco IOS software with over 200 new features.

The newly overhauled Catalyst 6500 offers seamless IPv4 and IPv6 support from the switch's hardware platform, new network virtualization capabilities, a comprehensive set of L4-7 integrated services modules and new application performance and visibility monitoring through a completely revamped implementation of NetFlow.

The key element of the overhaul is a new Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T, a 2-terabit card that delivers 80 Gbps per slot, new feature-rich 10 Gbps and 10 GigE line cards, and next-generation borderless services. The new supervisor engine can increase the throughput capability of the Catalyst 6500 from 720 Gbps to 2 Tbps, a threefold increase. It can also quadruple the number of devices or users that can connect to a network. For example, a single Catalyst 6500 can now support up to 10,000 mobile devices.

All new line cards and the 2 Tbps supervisor are compatible with all Cisco E-Series chassis models, offering minimal intervention to the existing Catalyst 6500 E-Series infrastructure. Cisco said this compatibility prevents rip-and-replace upgrades.

Highlights of the rollout include:

Cisco IOS New features include: Advanced Security Services with the full Cisco TrustSec implementation, including hardware-based MacSec for wire-rate data confidentiality and integrity; Security Group Tagging for role assignment and persistence through the network; and Security Group Access Control Lists for role enforcement. The unique Catalyst 6500 Supervisor 2T Layer 3 Security Group Tagging allows for the highly secure interoperability and interconnection of geographically disperse networks. Scalable Network Virtualization Services with VRF-Lite, MPLS, and native hardware-based VPLS as well as MPLS over GRE are available at full interface speeds.

Next-generation service modules. New L4-7 mobility, security, network analysis and load balancing service modules allow customers to reduce the number of L4-7 devices in their network they need to manage, improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon footprint.

IPv6. The Catalyst 6500 now offer IPv6 First Hop Security features (such as device tracking, Neighbor Discovery Protocol Inspection, and IPv6 per-port address limits.

LAN/WAN boundary. Virtual Private LAN Services support and Bridged Domain Technology, enable rapid and flexible service provisioning, because the service bandwidth is not tied to the physical interface.

System-comprehensive and multiprotocol NetFlow. Cisco has added support for Flexible and Sampled NetFlow for enhanced and granular monitoring of IPv4, IPv6, multicast and MPLS traffic. This promises up to a fourfold increase—to 1 million—in the number of NetFlow entries that can be maintained.

Video. The Cisco Supervisor Engine 2T provides up to a 16-fold increase in multicast route scalability. It also delivers major improvements to the way the Catalyst 6500 selectively forwards multicast traffic to only the links that have solicited them. Called IGMPv3 and MLDv2 Snooping, these enhancements help ensure that multicasting does not cause an unnecessary load on the host device, and they are especially useful for bandwidth-intensive IP multicast applications such as IPTV.

The new Catalyst 6500 Series is available now.

  • The Cisco Catalyst 6500 was introduced in 1999 and has a $42 billion installed base, nearly 700,000 systems/110 million ports deployed and more than 25,000 customers worldwide.