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Press Release -- March 30th, 2011
Source: Cisco Systems
Tags: Consolidation, Datacenter, Equipment, Ethernet, IPv6, Low Latency, MPLS, Video

Cisco Pioneers End-to-End Data Center Fabric Convergence to Simplify and Accelerate Virtualization for Cloud-Ready Architectures

Innovations Unify Entire Data Center Infrastructure – from Servers to Storage; Fabric Extends Across Data Centers and to the Cloud

SAN JOSE, Calif. – March 30, 2011 – Cisco today announced technology innovations across its entire Data Center Business Advantage portfolio, including the Cisco Nexus® 7000 family and Nexus 5000 Series, the new ultra-low latency platform Cisco Nexus 3000, Cisco ® MDS storage switches, the Cisco Unified Computing SystemTM,  the Cisco Data Center Network Manager, and Cisco NX-OS, the comprehensive data center operating system that spans the Cisco data center portfolio.

With these innovations, Cisco continues to tightly integrate its Unified Fabric, Unified Computing, and Unified Network Services into a holistic data center fabric designed to be simple, scalable and highly secure, delivering any application across any location, within the data center, across data centers, or to the cloud.

The Cisco data center fabric enables converged network management and ‘wire once’ agility from the server to the storage array for both physical and virtualized environments. With these additions, Cisco further enhances the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative standards-based data center portfolio, allowing multiple data centers and cloud services to be connected across a common intelligent fabric, delivering architectural flexibility, investment protection and operational simplicity.


Unified Fabric: The Power of End-to-End Network Convergence

  • Enhanced Flexibility with New Cisco Nexus 5548UP, Nexus 5596UP switches.  With Unified Port (UP) capability on all ports for these 48- and 96-port data center switches, information technology managers can designate any port to be 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel (2/4/8 gigabits) or Fibre Channel over Ethernet, simplifying configuration and offering maximum flexibility for data center needs.  These switches support Layer 2/3, provide support for IEEE 802.1Qbh, and are FabricPath-ready.
  • Ultra Low Latency with Cisco Nexus 3000 Series Switches.  The new Cisco Nexus 3000 Series Switches delivers industry leading low latency (less than 1usec port to port), in a high-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch for specific markets, such as high-frequency trading applications, where low latency is the No. 1 requirement.  The one-rack-unit switch supports Layer 2/3 wire-rate switching and a wide range of routing protocols within the Cisco NX-OS operating system.
  • Fabric Extender Technology for Data Center Scalability and Simplified Management. An industry-leading standards-based innovation, Cisco fabric extender technology (FEX) enables customers to build a single, modular fabric that extends from Cisco Nexus switches to Cisco Unified Computing System servers to adapters and to virtual machines.  The design flexibility, reduced cabling infrastructure, and simplified management have resulted in equipment and operational savings of up to 50 percent for the more than 5,000 customers who have deployed the Cisco FEX architecture. Today Cisco introduced three additions to its fabric extension portfolio, all based on the IEEE 802.1Qbh emerging standard:  Adapter FEX, VM-FEX and FEX Support for Nexus 7000.
    • Adapter FEX offers intelligent bandwidth segmentation to better utilize existing network interface card resources transparent to applications. Adapter FEX delivers highly secure, scalable network monitoring and management for server IO by utilizing the single point of management provided by its “parent” Nexus access layer switch.
    • VM-FEX extends the switching fabric all the way to the server hypervisor. By providing switching of virtual machine traffic in hardware, Cisco enables IT managers to consolidate the virtual and physical access layers and achieve greater performance.  With VM-FEX, the “parent” Nexus access layer switch provides a single point of management for the fabric extending all the way to virtual machines.
    • FEX support on Nexus 7000 with the Nexus 2232PP 10GE Fabric Extender provides the industry’s highest-density 10Gb Ethernet solution for top-of-rack deployments, offering a single point of management for up to 1,500 ports per chassis.
  • Director-Class Multi-hop Fibre Channel over Ethernet.  The Cisco Unified Fabric unites data center and storage networks to deliver a single high-performance, highly available and scalable network.  Now Cisco is introducing end-to-end data center convergence from server to storage by delivering new director-class, multi-hop Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) capability for the Nexus 7000 data center switch platform and the MDS 9500 storage switching platform, adding to existing FCoE functionality on the Nexus 5000 switch platform.  With the industry’s broadest selection of standards-based FCoE switches, Cisco provides Unified Fabric support to both the access and core network layers, supporting all storage traffic (Fibre Channel, FCoE, iSCSI, and NAS) over simplified infrastructure based on lossless 10-Gigabit Ethernet.
  • End-to-End Management With Cisco Data Center Network Manager. Cisco’s new Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) enables SAN, LAN, and server teams to cohesively manage converged end-to-end data center networks up to 150,000 ports for provisioning, performance, and trouble-shooting, and offers tight integration with VMware vCenter.
  • Scaling the Internet and Enabling Cloud Services with LISP and MPLS on the Nexus 7000.  The Nexus 7000 provides the most comprehensive network consolidation and virtualization feature set in the industry, supporting both Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) for Layer 3 virtual private networks (VPNs) to help enable a highly secure, cloud-ready network infrastructure, and an industry first:  Location/ID Separation Protocol.  LISP is a groundbreaking IP routing and addressing architecture initiated by Cisco.  IT managers can take advantage of LISP to enable highly agile networks for workload mobility; cloud enablement; the transition to IPv6; and scalable multi-tenancy.

Cisco Data Center Portfolio Enhancements

  • Several new features and products enhance Cisco’s data center portfolio while preserving investment protection for existing infrastructure.  Additions for the Cisco Catalyst® 6500 series include a new Application Control Engine ACE30 module for dynamic workload scaling with Cisco Overlay Transport Virtualization which provides 54 percent higher performance for application delivery; a new ES40 module with 40 gigabit line-rate performance for high-performance Data Center Interconnect, and a new ASA Service module offering embedded firewall and security services.
  • The new MDS 9000 Storage Media Encryption fabric service offers highly secure media encryption for disks as well as tapes to meet security requirements for regulatory compliance, and requires no SAN reconfiguration.
  • The Nexus 1010 provides an NX-OS based appliance platform for hosting virtual services. This platform now supports two additional services: the Cisco Virtual Security Gateway which provides VM-level segmentation in a multi-tenant virtualized data center, and the Cisco Data Center Network Management Center

Cisco Unified Computing System Portfolio Now Offers Nine Form Factors

  • The Cisco Unified Computing System unites computation, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single cohesive system that reduces total overall cost and increases agility for both virtualized and non-virtualized data center environments.  With more than 4,000 Cisco UCS customers, Cisco’s pioneering vision for fabric-based computing is gaining industry recognition.  A new Gartner report titled “Fabric Computing Poised as a Preferred Infrastructure for Virtualization and Cloud Computing” discusses this industry trend.
  • Joining the portfolio, the innovative Cisco Unified Computing System C260 M2 Rack-Mount Server is designed to power transaction-intensive applications and offers Cisco Extended Memory Technology which doubles the memory capacity of comparable 2-socket traditional servers. Cisco also announced new versions of the Unified Computing System B230 M2, B440 M2, and C460 M2 that deliver improved virtualization performance and reduced latency, incorporating the next generation Intel® Xeon® processor family, codenamed Westmere EX.

End-to-End Management With Cisco NX-OS

Designed for the evolution to cloud environments, Cisco’s NX-OS data center operating system provides high availability, supports a unified data center fabric, advances virtualization, simplifies operations, and provides a platform for innovation while protecting existing technology investments.  Spanning network, storage, and computational infrastructure, Cisco NX-OS now adds support for multihop Fibre Channel over Ethernet (, an industry-first capability that enables multiple points of management to increase the scalability of unified fabrics.

Expanding ISV Partner Ecosystem

Independent software vendors  and partners are developing to the open Cisco Unified Computing System application programming interface (API), with more than 10,000 applications supported on the system today. The Cisco Unified Computing System is an ideal platform for agile, on-demand delivery of IT resources.  For example, the Unified Computing System API enables cloud management software to quickly reconfigure computational, network, and storage access functions as business needs change. View the Cisco ISV Partner Page to see a list of independent software vendors supporting the Cisco Unified Computing System API.


    • Jack Sepple, global managing director, Accenture & Cisco Business Group at Accenture

“Cisco’s latest advances with data center fabric convergence creates an end-to-end view of the virtualized data center network down to the virtual machine, helping to provide lower total cost of ownership, reduced complexity, better workload management and security in the cloud. Through our strategic alliance with Cisco, we’ve developed a suite of joint data center solutions that combine Cisco’s advanced technologies with Accenture’s industry-specific process knowledge and expertise. Accenture is committed to helping clients implement these joint solutions onto Cisco’s new unified fabric technologies to enable a more agile data center.”

    • Francesco Barbieri, manager of data center operations, at Almaviva TSF

“Cisco’s Unified Fabric product portfolio enabled us to build an agile and efficient architecture offering new revenue-generating services to successfully win contracts for several hundred million Euros. With industry-leading, enterprise-class end-to-end FCoE across its Nexus and MDS platforms, Cisco’s data center architecture enabled seamless convergence of our virtualized data center to provide competitive pricing, faster deployment and new services while lowering OpEx and CapEx.”

    • Andy Shooman, vice president of infrastructure management at BAE Systems, Inc.

“As one of the largest defense companies in the United States, we look to Cisco as a key technology partner in driving efficiency as we consolidate dozens of data centers to streamline operations, go green, and save money with many lights-out locations. Cisco’s vision for a single fabric that integrates network, computer, and storage resources as a data center resource pool will be critical in helping us optimize resources, reduce complexity, control IT costs, and, most importantly, maintain a high level of service delivery that engages our customers and keeps our company competitive.”

    • Todd Horsman, vice president of operations, at Consert

“As an intelligent energy management company for distributing power utilities, we manage and process thousands of real-time energy usage metrics from homes and businesses . This enables Consert to present aggregated demand data and power resources available to our utility customers “As we grow our data center to handle more of these business-critical applications, server memory and faster processor access to memory are key factors.  Cisco’s Unified Computing System with Extended Memory Technology provides much more memory, reduces our costs, and increases performance compared to traditional servers.”

Technology Partner Support for Cisco Data Fabric:


Technorati Tags: Cisco, Data Center, Data Center Switches, Unified Computing System, Unified Fabric

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