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Cisco's Nexus Targets Data Center's Future

In possibly its biggest product launch in four years, Cisco is unveiling its long-awaited follow-up to the Catalyst line of switches today, combining Ethernet and storage networking with an eye toward data center trends such as virtualization and faster switching speeds.

The ambitious new platform, named Nexus, is a stab at high-end Ethernet players such as Force10, Foundry, and Woven Systems. Cisco says it will outdo them, as Nexus will eventually reach 15 Tbit/s in switching density -- 7.5 Tbit/s each for the ingress and egress paths -- and 512 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports per system.

Nexus will also incorporate storage switching, taking a bit of a swipe at Brocade and its Data Center Fabric strategy. (See Brocade Unveils Backbone Switch and Brocade Outlines Server/Storage Fabric.)

But the storage capabilities are yet to come: Cisco is basing its platform on Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCOE), which won't be added to Nexus until that standard is complete. (See Storage Must Wait for Cisco's Data Center Vision .)

Figure 1: Nexus & Family

The Nexus 7000, flanked by its I/O modules

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