Cisco expands switch lineup

By Kevin Komiega

-- Cisco continues to push its unified fabric infrastructure products into the enterprise with a slew of additions to its Nexus switch family and enhancements to its Catalyst products, all designed to support virtualization, Web 2.0 applications and cloud computing.

At the high-end, Cisco unveiled the Nexus 7018, which features an 18-slot chassis that provides up to 16 I/O module slots supporting up to 512 10Gbps Ethernet (10GbE) ports. The 7018 nearly doubles the capacity of the existing Nexus 7010, enabling higher levels of consolidation, according to Cisco's vice president of product management, Ram Velaga.

Cisco also added a 48-port line card with support for mixed 1Gbps and 10Gbps Ethernet environments. 

In addition to the Nexus 7018, the 28-port Nexus 5010 switch is also new to the family. A 1U switch that supports 10GbE, Data Center Ethernet (DCE), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Fibre Channel, the Nexus 5010 is capable of consolidating LAN, SAN and server cluster traffic onto a unified fabric.

For users in search of a way to manage server growth, Cisco launched the Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extender as an “on-ramp” to a unified fabric architecture. The Fabric Extenders take on the persona of a connected Nexus switch and essentially operate as remote line cards by mirroring the features and behavior of the attached switch.

Fabric Extenders are used to connect Gigabit Ethernet servers to a central Nexus switch. For example, Nexus 2148T Fabric Extenders connected to dual Nexus 5020 switches can support up to 2,496 Gigabit Ethernet servers, thereby improving scalability of the access layer without increasing management points, according to Velaga.

Rounding out Cisco's product push is a series of enhancements to the Catalyst 6500 switch, including an In-Service-Software-Upgrade feature and support for long-range, integrated 10GbE optics. Customers can also now use the Catalyst 6500 as a virtualized service node together with a Nexus core to secure and accelerate applications.

Related articles:
Cisco exposes virtual servers to the SAN
Cisco delivers new switch for unified fabrics
Cisco enhances virtual data centers

This article was originally published on January 28, 2009