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Cisco Unveils Nexus 7000 Series Data Center-Class Platform

January 2008 by Marc Jacob

Cisco® announced an innovative family of data center-class switching platforms, the Cisco Nexus Series, to meet customer demands for nextgeneration mission-critical data centers. As the data center transitions to a more services-centric model, the network plays a pivotal role in orchestrating virtual IT resources and scaling workloads. The Cisco Nexus 7000 Series was designed with this environment in mind, delivering the infrastructure chapter of Cisco’s Data Center 3.0 vision.

Today’s announcement features a new data center platform with both hardware and software innovations, including:
• The Cisco Nexus 7000 Series, the flagship data center-class switching platform combining Ethernet, IP, and storage capabilities across one unified network fabric
• The Cisco Trusted Security (TrustSec) architecture
• An advanced operating system, the Cisco Nexus Operating System (NX-OS), and the

Introducing the Nexus 7000 Series: Purpose Built for Data Centers The Cisco Nexus 7000 Series is the flagship member of the Cisco Nexus Family, the first in a new data center class of switching products. The Nexus 7000 is a highly scalable modular platform that delivers up to 15 terabits per second of switching capacity in a single chassis, supporting up to 512 10-gigabits-per-second (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.

This enables data center consolidation and virtualization. Key components of the unified fabric architecture include unified I/O interfaces and Fibre Channel over Ethernet support to be delivered in the future.

The Nexus 7000 is designed specifically for the data center with improved airflow, integrated cable management, and a resilient platform architecture. The data plane is fully distributed and, when coupled with the Cisco NX-OS operating system, is designed to enable zero servicedisruption upgrades on production systems. This provides a seamless systems design that reduces administrative tasks and simplifies complex systems operations.

Building data centers based on a unified fabric eliminates the need for parallel storage and computational networks, reducing the number of server interfaces and significantly reducing the cabling and switching infrastructure required. A unified fabric also enables customers to move to higher-density server form factors, increasing the IT workload output of each data center.

Combined with virtualization, this new technology will help customers to build more efficient and sustainable data centers, maximizing IT workload for each facility and saving more power overall than the network generally consumes. The Nexus 7000 architecture is designed around this lossless unified fabric capable of simultaneously forwarding storage, Ethernet, and IP traffic. The fabric scales performance linearly with each fabric module and is logically partitioned for efficient unicast and multicast traffic, making it ideally suited for market data video as well as collaboration applications.

Microsoft is currently performing rigorous testing of the Nexus 7000 Series for security, manageability and performance in a lab environment.

At the heart of the Nexus 7000 Series is the NX-OS software, purpose-built to maximize data center resiliency and to consolidate disparate networks. NX-OS combines the best of Cisco’s SAN-OS, Layer 2 switching, Layer 3 routing protocols, and advanced virtualization capabilities into one reliable operating system with the familiar Cisco IOS® interface. NX-OS has many innovative features, including:
• Zero-service-disruption upgrades
• Virtual device contexts
• Graceful systems operations
• XML interfaces to access switch information or any command NX-OS delivers zero-service-disruption system upgrades to maximize production uptime while self-diagnostic capabilities continuously track each software component in the operating system.

If a failure is detected, NX-OS policies enable stateful process restart without service disruption. This modular design provides fault containment and automatic recovery so that processes can be remotely started, stopped and upgraded without human intervention. Innovative virtualization capabilities such as virtual device contexts allow the system to be partitioned into multiple logical devices, each with its own processes and command-line interface running independent of one another. This system may be used by hosting providers and complex enterprise administrative models, to be shared by multiple administrators concurrently, each with its own switching environment. Securing the Data Center with Cisco Trusted Security

The Nexus 7000 Series is the first platform to deliver Cisco Trusted Security, a new architecture introduced last month that integrates identity- and role-based security across data centers.

Cisco TrustSec enforces trusted traffic segmentation without requiring complex addressing models and unmanageable access control lists. This enables virtual machine mobility throughout the data center while helping to ensure data integrity with a wire-rate AES-128 encryption implementation on every port of the Nexus 7000.

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has reviewed the new Cisco data center switch for the high performance computing systems scientists employ for national security research. Applications such as research in fusion energy, atmospheric modeling, and the simulation of other physical phenomena, can benefit greatly from increased network bandwidth for data movement between parallel file systems and archival storage.

Simplifying Data Center Network Operations: Cisco Data Center Network Manager Supporting the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series, the Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) provides visibility across data center networks. Built on the foundation of Cisco Fabric Manager for storage networks, DCNM provides topology discovery and visualization for increased operational efficiency and systems awareness. Nexus 7000 management interfaces are fully compatible with Cisco VFrame Data Center, an orchestration platform that uses network intelligence to provision resources together as virtualized services. VFrame DC will be a key enabler for services orchestration on the Nexus platform.

- Pricing and Availability
The Nexus 7000 Series starts at $75,000, can be ordered globally now, and is planned to be generally available in the second quarter of calendar year 2008. Cisco Capital SM is offering financing for data center solutions globally. In the United States, Cisco Capital is offering lease rates as low as 3.99 percent APR for the Cisco Nexus 7000.

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