Cisco Catalyst 6500 shops adopting Nexus 9000

All data center customers will have next gen switch by end of 2015; enterprise cores picking it up too

sdn cisco nexus

SAN JOSE -- By the end of 2015, all of Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 data center customers will have deployed the company’s new Nexus 9000 switch.

That’s not to say they will have retired all of their Catalyst 6500s, according to Rob Soderbery, Cisco senior vice president of enterprise products and solutions. But they will have deployed the Nexus 9000 at least alongside the older switches with the expectation of replacing them over time.

“There’s generation skipping” in the data center, with Catalyst 6500 customers moving right to the Nexus 9000 and passing over the Nexus 2000, 5000 and 7000 series switches, Soderbery said at the Cisco Global Editors Conference here this week. “They’re skipping a mid-2000s architecture.”

That’s because, in addition to the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric, customers consider the Nexus 9000 to be a better switch series than the Nexus 2000/5000/7000, he says.

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Meanwhile, Catalyst 6500 campus core customers are not only moving to the new Catalyst 6800, but also the Nexus 7000 and 9000 switches, Soderbery says. Cisco’s APIC Enterprise Module controller, which makes the Nexus switches programmable, can abstract the differences between the Catalyst and Nexus switches in the core, making them viable alternatives to the older 6500 -- and 6800 -- in the enterprise campus.

With the APIC Enterprise Module “we let them pick,” Soderbery says. “They may not care if it’s the Catalyst 6800, Nexus 7000 or Nexus 9000 in the core.”

Despite the competition the Catalyst 6800 faces in replacing the Catalyst 6500, the Catalyst 6800 chassis now forms close to one-third of the total Catalyst 6500/6800 modular chassis. The switch is ramping in high volume since the portfolio began shipping three quarters ago, having just crossed a quarter of a billion in bookings, and with 10G on the platform experiencing a 35% year-over-year growth.

The 6800’s Instant Access feature, which is designed to support automated deployment and provisioning through “one touch” programming, is a “well received” capability, Soderbery says.

The APIC Enterprise Module will be generally available in early 2015. It’s been going through field trials since its introduction in January.

When the APIC Enterprise Module ships, it will have applications for collaboration, security, orchestration and Internet of Things from partners Citrix, Glue Networks, ActionPacked Networks and Radware, as well as Cisco and others, Soderbery says. It will not support Cisco’s OpFlex southbound policy protocol initially, but an existing command line interface.

The controller will be rearchitected to support OpFlex, NETCONF/YANG and other “open” southbound protocols over time. It will be a hybrid of Cisco and OpenDaylight reference designs, including northbound and southbound APIs, Soderbery says.

Also entering general availability are the Cisco ONE enterprise license suites for data center, WAN and access. These are enterprisewide software licenses designed to simplify customer purchases of Cisco hardware and software by alleviating the need to purchase new licenses when upgrading hardware.

Next month, Cisco will announce how the software licenses are structured, priced and packaged, Soderbery says. These details were expected to be disclosed at last May’s CiscoLive conference.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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