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The King is dead?! Heck, no!

Oct 02, 20173 mins
Cisco SystemsComputers and PeripheralsNetwork Switches

Aside from being a major revenue stream, the Cisco 6500 chassis family remains a solid platform that Cisco has made extensible by creating the Catalyst 6800 family.

Credit: Martyn Williams

It’s been about a year and a half since I asked the question in this blog, “Is the Cisco 6500 Series invincible?” I believe enough time has passed and that I should revisit that question — especially since people in the industry have been talking, tweeting and writing about the demise of the venerable Catalyst 6500 chassis family for years. 

But don’t worry, the King is not dead because Cisco is having none of that! 

+ Also on Network World: 4 resources to find free Cisco skills and certification labs +

Aside from being a major revenue stream for Cisco, the 6500 chassis family remains a solid platform that the company has made extensible by creating the Catalyst 6800 family. 

The Catalyst 6800 family features: 

  • 6807 chassis — The blade is compatible with the 6500 and upgradeable to 6 terabits per second (Tbps). The network switch fabric supervisor 6T integrates a 6-terabit crossbar switch fabric that enables high performance on the Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL Chassis when in active-standby mode. The 8 port 40 gigabits per second (Gbps) blade (C6800-8P40G/XL) serves a variety of high-bandwidth needs for the next-generation enterprise so far. The published maximum is 11.4 Tbps and 440 Gbps/slot — so there is plenty of room to grow.
  • 6880 mini-chassis — This consists of 220 Gbps slot capacity per port card and has 2 Tbps of switching capacity.
  • 6840-X Series Fixed Backbone Switch — I would consider this a mini-6500 with a sup2t — options range from 16 10-gig SFP+ all the way to 40 10-gig ports and 40-gig uplinks.
  • 6800ia — This gives network administrators the ability to look at buildings in a campus network as a single switch. This includes edge/access layer switching — gigabit copper with or without PoE+ — and it’s even stackable! Best of all, the 6800ia utilizes 6500/6800 chassis as its core.

Cisco 6500 and 6800 families provide great options

And on top of all that, you can still work up a 6500E series configuration — it’s not end of sale (EoS) yet. What more could you ask for? A powerful chassis line with a long history of robustness and success, allowing for a smooth transition to a switching system that encompasses core and edge.

Keep in mind that one of the very good things about these two chassis families is that Cisco designed the 6800 to be a smooth transition from the 6500. The Sup2T and several port blades are compatible with both chassis. So, age doesn’t necessarily need to play a major role in your decision — you have very good options either way.

No matter what your deciding factors are, you have some great options with the Cisco 6500 and 6800 Series. Take a hard look at what’s most important for your technology infrastructure and remember, we can confirm, the King is not dead!


Frank Kobuszewski is vice president of the technology solutions group at CXtec. Being in the remarketing industry since 1988 and with the company since 1994has led him to serve on several technical committees including as a representative on the Anti-Counterfeit Committee for the Association of Service and Computer Dealers International and the North American Association of Telecommunications Dealers (AscdiNatd).

Frank has participated on podcasts and has been quoted in several industry trade publications and papers, the most recent being Gartner’s August 2017 network transceivers research paper, entitled “How to Avoid the Biggest Rip-Off in Networking.”

Frank is an experienced speaker and has presented at technology conferences across North America on strategies for maximizing IT budgets and asset recovery best practices, including at CAUCUS (Association of Technology Acquisition Professionals) and the annual NY Tech Summit. Most recently, he spoke at the Gartner IT Financial, Procurement and Asset Management Summit.

Frank received the “40 Under Forty” award from the Central New York Business Journal in 2000 for his business accomplishments and community involvement.

Follow Frank on Twitter and look for his posts on LinkedIn.