It's amazing how time flies. The Nexus 5000 was released almost 2 years ago, in April 2008. We started the technical evaluation process for our next data center switches in September 2008, about 18 months ago. One of our primary requirements was 10GbE top-of-rack support since we wanted to go 10GbE right to the host level (servers and storage). At the time, our options were rather limited. The Nexus 5000 was the only top-of-rack 10GbE switch around. Other vendors would pitch their chassis switches with lots of 10GbE ports, but that didn't fit our federated data center architecture. After an extensive vendor evaluation, we chose Cisco.
Flash forward to today and my rule proves again; competition is a great thing. There are now several vendors with top-of-rack 10GbE switches, many of which went through a very nice Clear Choice Test on NW.com. The overall picture: the Nexus 5000 is playing catch-up at this point. The Nexus 5000 overall score was lower than Dell's switch (ouch):
Arista scored the highest and, looking at the feature comparison chart, I can see why. A good set of features, along with kick-butt performance. The Nexus 5000 also brought very good features - earning a similar 4.5 score as Arista - but was hurt by poor power and latency performance results.
Cisco's one feature all the others didn't was native FCoE support. The Nexus 5000 supports FCoE, whereas the other switches just pass it as any other Ethernet frame. So, if you need FCoE (not likely today), the Nexus 5000 is your sole option.
However, at this point, Cisco has some catching up to do. I'm wondering when the Nexus 5100 series will be out? :-)
The Clear Choice Test is nicely broken down into several sections:
More >From the Field blog entries:
Go to Cisco Subnet for more Cisco news, blogs, discussion forums, security alerts, book giveaways, and more.
Michael Morris is a communications engineering manager at a $3-billion high-tech company. His background is in enterprise WANs working with telcos and developing large-scale routing designs. He has worked on networks at government and corporate organizations, including networks at two Fortune 10 companies. In his current role, he leads a team of 10 engineers responsible for large-scale IT networking projects and architectural standards for data networks, storage area networks, IP telephony, contact centers, and security. Michael is CCIE #11733 and recently became one of the first three Cisco Certified Design Experts (CCDE) ever (#20080002). He has 11 years experience in networking and communications, including four years as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army. He has a bachelor's degree in MIS from the University at Buffalo and is working on his MBA from NC State University. In 2008, he was awarded the Network Professional Association (NPA) Professional Excellence and Innovation Award for his work on network architecture, templates and enterprise MPLS design.
Michael Morris's From the Field blog is also featured on the Cisco Learning Network. See it there, along with the blogs of other Cisco Experts.