John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

New Cisco Switch Fast Enough to Create Rift in Space-Time Continuum

rift.jpgCisco is calling it its biggest enterprise product launch in 15 years, and given the cloud of hyperbole in which it debuted today the Nexus 7000 data-center switch may be just that.

Like any network switch, the Nexus 7000 controls and directs the flow of data between connected computers. But unlike any network switch, it can transfer data at 15 terabits per second, which–depending on whatever silly illustrative metric you prefer–is fast enough to either:

  • copy all the searchable Web in less than eight minutes;
  • download Wikipedia’s database in 10 milliseconds;
  • download 90,000 Netflix movies in less than 40 seconds;
  • run 5 million concurrent high-quality videoconferences between New York and San Francisco;
  • or send a two-megapixel digital photograph of CEO John Chambers to every human being on earth in 28 minutes.

The company claims it can, anyway. “It isn’t often you get to do a clean-sheet design of a system, and that is what we have done over the past four years,” Doug Gourlay, senior director of marketing in the Data Center Solutions unit at Cisco, told SearchDataCenter.com. “The Nexus series is analogous to the Toyota creating the Prius; we have created a new class of data-center switching. We made Ethernet lossless.”

Neat.

For Cisco, which is pushing to increase its presence in the data center and virtualization markets, the Nexus 7000 could be a big winner. “If it works, Cisco would mark off a hugely strategic niche for itself, as a kind of king of virtualization,” Peter Burrows writes in BusinessWeek. “That’s the name of a technology that’s risen to prominence in recent years within pockets of the data center. VMWare, for example, has become corporate tech’s new darling, thanks to software that lets companies spread work among all of their available servers, rather than have them sit idle waiting for their particular job to be called. In storage, gear from companies like Brocade plays a similar role. But until now, no company has figured out a way to easily coordinate these various pools of virtualized gear.”


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