Cisco has joined the Open Compute Project, a Facebook-driven effort to develop open source servers and switches, 16 months after criticizing it. At that time, Cisco CEO John Chambers said OCP has “weaknesses” that Cisco can exploit.
Chambers said efforts like Facebook’s to commoditize and wring cost out of hardware purchases will open up opportunities for Cisco to provide solutions that are better tailored to specific customer needs:
I think this will just be one more series of good challenges that Cisco will say ‘what’s the business objective on.’ There are a lot of weaknesses to the area -- we’re going to go back and solve customer problems. If you’re standalone anything, this is going to be a hard market to play in. Anything white label, where the decision is cost or opex, you’re going to lose.
+MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: Facebook to design an open source switch+
Chambers also said at the time that Cisco will not sit around and let OCP gain mindshare on commodity switches and servers, and put Cisco in a reactive mode. The company learned its lesson on that front with SDN:
What we will not do is leave that concept alone like we did SDN, and allow other people to gain the high ground and then play defense. This one you will see us out ahead of the game on.
Well, it took 16 months for Cisco to join OCP so, from that perspective, it’s still following the game. But from the perspective of heading off server and switch commoditization, Cisco could make a strong case: its most recent UCS splash signals anything but commoditization in the foreseeable future; and the Nexus 9000 launch includes a standalone mode based on merchant silicon intended to appeal to commodity white box switching advocates while enticing them to upgrade software and ASICs for full Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure fabric capabilities.
Speaking of the Nexus 9000, it looks like Cisco is ready to pop some compact 1RU leaf switches. The 9372TX features line-rate 48 fixed 1/10G BASE-T ports and six fixed 40G QSFP+ ports. The 9372PX supports line-rate 48 fixed 1/10G SFP+ ports and six fixed 40G QSFP+ ports.
The 9332PQ switch sports line-rate 32 fixed 40G QSFP+ ports. Here’s how the new switches compare to the existing 2RU and 3RU Nexus 9300 leaf and spine switches.
Cisco is apparently also rolling out a six-port 40G uplink card for the Nexus 9396 and 93128 switches. Up to now they supported eight or 12 40G ports.
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