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Cisco Accelerates Switching Portfolio to 400 GbE

Thursday Nov 1st 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

Cisco announces four new switches that can support high-speed 400 Gigabit Ethernet connections.

Cisco has long dominated the global market for switches, and as each new generation of Ethernet speed comes out, Cisco has come out with new switches and line cards.

Cisco Nexus 3000

For 400 Gigabit Ethernet (400G), Cisco is now finally unveiling its data center switches with an emphasis on providing more than just more bandwidth.

"Nexus 400G switches bring more than just a new level of speed to the network; they bring flexible deployment options for different sizes and workloads so you can build large-scale 100G and 400G fabrics without sacrificing cost efficiency, Thomas Scheibe, vice-president of product management for data center networking at Cisco, wrote in a blog.

Hardware

The new 400G switches are in Cisco's Nexus data center switch portfolio and include two new Nexus 3400 fixed switches and two new Nexus 9000 switches for the Cisco ACI architecture.

Nexus 3000

The Nexus 3432D-S 32p 400G QSFP-DD switch is a one rack unit (1RU) chassis and is powered by a 12.8Tbps chip. The switch supports native 400/100/40 and 10G connections.Cisco Nexus 9000

The Nexus 3408-S Expandable 100/400G in contrast is a larger 4RU chassis with 8 slots and support for up to 32 ports of 400G. The platform can alternatively support up to 128 ports of 100G.

Nexus 9000

The new Nexus 9316D-GX is a 1RU spine switch with support for 16 ports of 400G. In contrast, the Nexus 93600CD-GX is a 1RU leaf switch, with 28 x 100G ports and 8 x 400G ports.

Intent-Based Networking

The new 400G switches are not just about enabling bigger pipes, but also about further enabling Cisco's Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and broader intent-based networking efforts.

According to Cisco, 400 GbE will serve as the core distribution layer for the next generation of intent-based networks, which use machine learning and other analytics to help automatically build and optimize networking policies. Cisco first announced its intent-based networking strategy in June 2017 and has steadily evolved the model ever since. On Jan. 30, Cisco announced that it is adding assurance and analytics to intent-based networking.

Cisco's entry into the the market for 400 GbE data center switches follows similar announcements made by its rivals earlier this year. Back in July, Juniper Networks announced its 400 GbE efforts, while Arista announced its plans in October.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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