Despite Cisco positioning as a "fabric" or "central nervous system" for installed CRS core and ASR edge routers, Cisco's new NCS Network Convergence System indeed appears to be an eventual successor to the CRS in the core. A Cisco roadmap presentation delivered in Europe in May and obtained by Network World indicates that CRS development will be capped with the 400G nPower X1 processor while the NCS and perhaps even the ASR will attain a next-generation 800G processor next year.
In commenting on this, a Cisco spokesperson did not deny this positioning but would not comment when asked specifically if the CRS would be capped with the 400G nPower X1.
The Cisco NCS family comprises of the NCS 6000, NCS 4000 and NCS 2000 which are managed as a single integrated system. When combined with the industry leading CRS and ASR products, the NCS acts as a central nervous system or a network fabric that brings existing platforms with the new together as part of a single architecture. The NCS is the industry's first carrier-grade high performance convergence system designed to virtualize services for increased agility, simplify operations and consolidate infrastructure to help improve profitability. CRS continues to be the platform of choice for service provider networks across the globe. Cisco launched an evolution to CRS product family "CRS-X" in June 2013, which will enable service providers to protect their investment in CRS platform and scale their networks to meet the demands of growing traffic.
The 800G processor - nPower X2? - will deliver 2Tb/slot, according to the presentation, compared to the nPower X1's 1Tb/slot capacity. Currently, the high-end NCS 6000 scales to 5Tb/slot, according to Cisco, perhaps by incorporating multiple nPower NPUs.
Meanwhile, line cards for the NCS 6000 include 60-port 10G as well as 10x100G, for single chassis densities of 800 10G and 80 100G. Multi-chassis configurations scale that to 14,400 10G and 1440 100G, according to the presentation, but the Cisco spokesperson declined to comment on the multi-chassis capacity of the NCS.
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