At the heart of the Cisco CRS-3 Carrier Routing System is Cisco's QuantumFlow Array, a high-performance, high-core network processor. The result is a significant jump in the CRS-3's ability to scale. At 322 Tbps of capacity, tripling the 92Tbps of its predecessor, the CRS-3 brings the service providers 100Gbps connectivity over their fiber networks, raising the bar on their Internet backbones and eliminating the need to bind multiple 40Gbps networks to meet the growing demand, while using the same chassis and power systems of the previous generation of products.
Along with all of the new capacity and performance metrics, the CRS-3 is designed to enhance the solutions that service providers can offer their customers. "Beyond the speeds and feeds of the CRS-3, the new data center service system, which includes network positioning system and VPN self-provisioning features based on Cisco's UCS, will streamline the managed solutions that carriers offer to the enterprise," notes Glen Hunt, principal analyst for Carrier Infrastructure at Current Analysis. He adds, "Cisco is delivering the tools to enable service providers to offer carrier-grade cloud services." The network provisioning system, for example, can determine the best-qualified path to the cloud resources an enterprise customer needs, based on demand and space requirements, as well as the proximity to the user. When the best path is determined, the CRS-3 can then automatically provision VPN links between that resource and the enterprise.
While Cisco's new core router is not likely to be deployed in enterprise data centers, its entry in the service provider marketplace will certainly have benefits to corporate. The CRS-3 not only enables the carriers to meet the needs of ever-expanding networks, it also allows service providers to bring a new level of services to their customers, without completely ripping and replacing their current investments.