Catalyst 6500 Sup2T New ACL Dry-Run and Atomic Commit Verification

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November 30th, 2011

Access Control List or ACL are important tools in the configuration and customization of network attributes, especially with the Catalyst 6500. In the Catalyst 6500 upgrade with Sup2T, the TCAM has been both increased and its architecture improved. For ACL, a major concern was the lack of visibility of TCAM overflows when new ACL scripts were submitted, disrupting network operation. Therefore, Cisco developed the ACL Dry Run and ACL Atomic Commit to mitigate this scenario. To verify ACL improvements, we use ACL Dry-Run to assure that the TCAM would not overflow, and then implement the changes safely with ACL Atomic-commit; assuring no network interruption. It’s a great short video that verifies how useful these new tools are in ACL management.

Download “A Comprehensive Testing of Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T” report here.

A Comprehensive Testing of Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T

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November 30th, 2011

During the week of October 31, 2011, the Lippis Report tested Cisco System’s new Catalyst 6500 with Supervisor 2T or Sup2T for performance, upgradability, control and scalability at Ixia’s modern iSimCity laboratory in Santa Clara CA. By all counts, Cisco’s upgrade of the Catalyst 6500 via its new Sup2T, is its most ambitious and thoughtful yet for the venerable platform. The Sup2T is a major upgrade to the most widely-deployed switching platform in campus and data center networking. It’s the new Catalyst 6500’s network services that deliver most of the value, which is partially found in the Sup2T’s Policy Feature Card or PFC that increases NetFlow monitoring and a new TCAM design offering improved Access Control (ACL), Quality of Service design options, encryption security and many other features. This Lippis Report test verifies many of Cisco’s performance and upgradability claims. While it’s impossible to test all of the Catalyst 6500’s new 200-plus features with the Sup2T, we rather focus on a select few that will have the widest impact on IT business leaders’ product acquisition decision process.

Catalyst 6500 Sup2T 802.1ae MACSec Throughput Performance

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November 30th, 2011

MACsec encryption has become increasing popular and important to campus network design, but previous switch performance degraded when encrypted traffic was passing through it. Here we show that the catalyst 6500 does not suffer a performance degrade while MACsec traffic is passing through it. We tested the Catalyst 6500 via the cPacket Networks cTap 10G passive probe to verify traffic flows were either MACsec encrypted or unencrypted. We found that there is no material difference in throughput performance, other than 802.1ae encryption key overhead, thanks to 16 additional bytes per packet. The cPacket passive probe also measured line rate throughput performance. This is a great short video that verifies how the old encryption performance penalty is now gone.

Download “A Comprehensive Testing of Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T” report here.

Catalyst 6500 IPv4/IPv6 & IP Multicast Performance

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November 30th, 2011

For IPv4 and IPv6, dual stack implementations are most popular where desktops and mobile devices run both IPv4 and IPv6, therefore, the network infrastructure needs to support both equally at high performance. IPv6 performance has not been on par with IPv4 until now. To demonstrate how the Catalyst 6500 upgrade with Sup2T has improved IPv6 performance, we measure IPv4 and IPv6 unicast and bidirectional traffic performance via RFC 2544. IP Multicast traffic has been on the rise, thanks to the increased use of video services within the enterprise. Therefore, we test IP Multicast performance via RFC 3918 on the new Catalyst 6500 Sup2T to stresses its packet replication ASIC built into the 6908-10G line cards. We find that the new Catalyst 6500 delivers equal Ipv4 and Ipv6 performance; a 2x increase from the Sup720 for IP unicast, bidirectional and multicast forwarding.

Download “A Comprehensive Testing of Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T” report here.

Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T VSS Throughput Performance

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November 30th, 2011

One of the most impressive network design options available on the Catalyst 6500 is the use of VSS. Connecting two Catalyst 6500s equipped with Sup2Ts creates a virtual switch, adding each switch’s performance while operating as a single switch thus eliminating spanning tree in favor for active-active links. We configure two Catalyst 6500s via VSS. We measure throughput performance to verify that VSS throughput rates are equally high performance as the MPLS and VPLS scenarios. Check out the two-Catalyst 6500 configurations we deployed for this test.

Download “A Comprehensive Testing of Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T” report here.

Catalyst 6500 Sup2T Network Virtualization via MPLS/VPLS Performance

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November 30th, 2011

Network virtualization, or the ability to divide a physical network into multiple logical networks with unique attributes, is a design that has grown in popularity as IT business leaders have sort ways to segment their network with different attributes for different user groups. This is popular in healthcare, education, travel and other industries. Network virtualization can be implemented either in IP, and/or MPLS. In addition connecting the Catalyst 6500 directly to service provider MPLS networks is another popular design; therefore we test throughput performance for both scenarios here.

For active-active data center operation, disaster planning and load balancing are best practices when connecting data centers via MPLS or VPLS. VPLS layer 2 connected data centers deliver LAN-like service over the campus and/or wide area network. Layer 2 connectivity is important as server-server communications expect layer 2 connectivity as most applications have been designed with this assumption. For connecting more than two data centers, VPLS offers mesh connectivity. Data centers connected via VPLS look and act as if they are on the same LAN. Therefore, we test that VPLS throughput performance rates are equally high performance in this scenario as MPLS.

Download “A Comprehensive Testing of Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T” report here.

Catalyst 6500 Upgrade From Sup720 to Sup2T

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November 30th, 2011

During the Lippis Report test of the Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 at Ixia’s iSimCity we perform an upgrade from Supervisor Engine 720 to 2T. What IT business leaders are looking for are incremental network upgrades with minimal disruption. Therefore, we swap out Sup720 for Sup2T and bring up existing service modules and line cards. Remember that line cards represent the largest investment in switching equipment, so we’ll demonstrate that older line cards interoperate at high performance when the new Sup2T replaces the Sup720. We find that the upgrade process is easy and smooth with compatibility of line cards, configuration code, service modules, transceivers and chassis.

Download “A Comprehensive Testing of Cisco Systems Catalyst 6500 Sup2T” report here.

Cisco Scales Up Its Data Center Fabric At Industry Setting Levels

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November 21st, 2011

IT business leaders are seeking data center fabrics that scale to support increasing density of physical and virtual servers at cloud spec. In October of this year, Cisco delivered a monster data center fabric announcement aimed at increasing scale, security and new data center services. A few highlights are the second-generation Nexus 7000 capabilities, a new Nexus 7009 platform, plus FabricPath capabilities on the Nexus 5500 and expanded Nexus 1GbE and 40GbE form factors of the Nexus 3000. Shashi Kiran, Director of Market Management for Data Center/Virtualization and Enterprise Switching at Cisco Systems joins me to talk about what IT business leaders will gain from this new announcement from a business outcome and data center fabric design perspective.

Securing and Gaining Deep Visibility To What Applications Are Flowing Over Your Enterprise Network with NetFlow

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November 16th, 2011

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Cisco’s next generation NetFlow provides deep application visibility, detailed measurement plus increased control and security for IT departments that are struggling to get ahead of an Enterprise application portfolio that is undergoing a massive transition thanks to mobile and cloud computing. Samuel Pasquier, product manager for Cisco Systems, and Adam Powers, chief technology officer for Lancope discuss best practices for securing and gaining visibility to applications that are flowing over enterprise networks with the next generation of NetFlow.

Fundamental Changes In Data Center Networking Afoot

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November 16th, 2011

Andre Kindness, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research and Zeus Kerravala, principal at ZK Research join me to discuss the shift-taking place in data center networking. Data Center networking is at an inflection point thanks to industry transitions driving new economics, technologies and IT delivery via mobile and cloud computing. These market transitions happen only once every decade or so and we detail its dynamics in this industry analyst round table. We discuss virtualization, merchant silicon, software defined networking, the rise of best of breed products, what network designs are working and which aren’t. We end with how IT business leaders can navigate an industry is transition.

Lippis Report 181: Early Results of the Lippis Report Open Industry Cloud Network Evaluation of 10/40Gbps Ethernet Fabrics at Ixia’s iSimCity

November 7th, 2011

During the weeks of October 10 and October 31, 2011, at Ixia’s iSimCity, the Lippis Report conducted its third industry test of cloud networking data center switches operating at 10 and 40GbE. In just six short months, the industry has moved forward by breaking all previous records of data center switch speed, power consumption, port density and bandwidth. We added four products from three vendors to the eleven products from eight vendors already tested. We now have data on fifteen data center switching products from nine vendors in the new report to be released after Thanksgiving. During May 2011 Interop, we had eleven vendors provide verbal commitment to participate in this Fall industry test (remember it is free for vendors to submit products to test). As the deadline for signed agreements came, this field of eleven dropped to three because their products were simply not ready. 40GbE is hard, and thus you have to give credit to the vendors that go through the testing—in this test, those vendors are Extreme Networks, Brocade and Alcatel-Lucent. These firms have high performance data center switching product that is Enterprise and Cloud service provider ready. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we share our insights gained from testing all these products and provide the topic cloud networking industry trends taking shape now.

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Network Virtualization using Shortest Path Bridging and IP/SPB

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November 7th, 2011

By Avaya

This White Paper discusses the benefits and applicability of the IEEE 802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) protocol, which is augmented with sophisticated Layer 3 routing capabilities. The use of SPB and the value to solve virtualization of today’s network connectivity in the enterprise campus as well as the data center are covered.

This document is intended for technically savvy network managers as well as network architects who are faced with:
• Reducing time to service requirements
• Less tolerance for network down time
• Network Virtualization requirements for Layer 2 (VLAN-extensions) and Layer 3 (VRF-extensions)
• Server Virtualization needs in data center deployments requiring a large set of Layer 2 connections (VLANs)
• Traffic separation requirements in campus deployments for security purposes as well as robustness considerations (i.e., contractors for maintenance reasons needing access to their equipment or guest access needs)
• Multi-tenant applications such as airports, governments or any other network with multiple discrete (legal) entities that require traffic separation

40 Gb and 100 Gb Ethernet

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November 7th, 2011

Just as 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is going through widespread
deployment in the data center, the discussion has now shifted to even
higher speed interconnects—namely 40 GbE and 100 GbE
By IBM

In July 2006, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Higher Speed Study Group was formed to look into the next evolutionary step after 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). In the past, Ethernet speeds would increase by a factor of 10. However, the next generation jump from 10 GbE to 100 GbE has proven to be a technological challenge. Some within the IEEE group felt that 100 GbE made sense for communication service providers and other backbone network providers, but not as a next step for servers—it was simply more speed and expense than would be needed for the near future. While the IEEE initially planned to standardize only on 100 GbE as the next step after 10 GbE, server vendors initiated a push in early 2007 to include 40 GbE in the standard, with the rationale that the effort used to develop 40 GbE would be used for the development of 100 GbE.

In July 2007, the IEEE 802.3ba study group was named, and it is the first standard to include two different Ethernet speeds—the 40 Gbps rate for local server applications, and the 100 Gbps rate for internet backbone—to serve both market needs. In June 2010, the official 802.3ba standard was ratified, opening the field to higher performance in server systems and components, data centers, network storage and systems, high-performance computing (HPC) clusters, data centers, carriers, and the like. This paper provides perspective on the placement and use of 40 and 100GbE.

Next-Generation Networks: Business Value for Today and Tomorrow

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November 7th, 2011

by Cisco Systems

It can be easy to forget how much depends on the enterprise network—until you have to tell the VP of sales that he can’t use his iPhone on the corporate network because the appropriate security controls aren’t in place. Or you must tell the CIO that expanding the virtualization initiative to include business-critical applications will severely tax bandwidth. The truth is, nearly everything in modern businesses is dependent on the enterprise network, and every decision you make is based on whether the network can handle it. This paper takes a look at a common pitfall in IT circles that can have a serious impact on the IT decision maker’s ability to say “yes” to new business initiatives. It also offers recommendations for IT organizations that wish to act as business enablers.