Cisco announces 40GbE and 100GbE switching upgrades

The networking giant looks to support companies in dealing with the data boom, bashing competitor Juniper along the way.


Cisco is looking to help IT managers deal with ever-expanding traffic, today announcing upgrade options so customers can achieve 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet capacities in their switches.

The networking giant is offering 40GbE and 100GbE capabilities in its Nexus 7000 switches via two separate modules, alongside a 40GbE module for its Catalyst 6500 products, all delivered by a tonne of 10Gbps lanes.

The latter focuses more on campus setups, the former more on enterprise data centres.

If we got lazy we would get left behind.

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The upgrade modules for the various switches will please those looking to cope with ever increasing bandwidth, or IT departments hoping to kick start cloud or big data projects.

Customers appeared at Cisco Live in London today to talk about why they were excited about the announcements.

"We're seeing higher and higher peaks of traffic, so the next natural step is to go to 40G. The announcement on that was really the right timing for us. It is time to look for higher capacity links as we're really going to need them," said Jeroen van Ingen, from the University of Twente's ICT service centre.

Malcolm Days, head of infrastructure services at Warwick University, said the educational body sees ever increasing volumes of data and so needs the extra capacity.

"When 7,000 students are watching video and its moving towards high definition, that's using up a lot of bandwidth," Days said. "As long as the modules are coming when we need the bandwidth, we're happy."

The Catalyst 6500 40GbE module will be release in April 2012, whilst the two Nexus 7000 modules will be released in the second quarter.

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Innovator or slow starter?

Cisco was keen to point out that it was leading the pack by getting 40GbE and 100GbE to market, noting Juniper was not supplying such capabilities on its switching platforms.

"Let's compare apples to apples," said Ram Velaga, vice president of product management for switching.

Cisco is convinced it has come along at the right moment with its 40GbE and 100GbE modules, as now is the time when customers are looking to upgrade.

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"Sometimes we are ahead of the competition, sometimes we are not," said Christian Korff, director of sales for Cisco's Borderless Networks division. "But if we got lazy we would get left behind."

Korff also claimed Juniper's main selling point was that it could offer a single operating system to manage networks Junos OS. However, Juniper customers will really have to deal with numerous operating systems, he claimed.

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Force10, now owned by Dell, was the first to get on the 40GbE switching case way back in 2010. At the time, it distanced itself from 100GbE, saying most customers wouldn't want to shell out to support the premium standard.

Yesterday at Cisco Live, the networking vendor claimed WAN optimisation was just a feature, hinting it may not be a market at all in the coming years.

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