Lippis Report 212: Arista Sets New Standard in Modular Data Center Switching with 7500E

August 13th, 2013

The IT industry is at the beginning of two massively disruptive trends: cloud and mobile computing. Distributing computing tools or the ability for a small number of operational personnel to manage tens to hundreds of thousands of servers is one of the major scale forces driving cloud computing economics being leveraged by cloud providers and enterprise IT. In fact, the number of servers per rack has grown from 20 to 40 in 2010 to 60 to 80 in 2013; a trend that will only continue. Along with unparalleled server density increasing, application access via mobile devices is driving massive east-west and north-south data/traffic, thanks to content being distributed across many servers within cloud facilities. From a networking perspective, all this adds up to increased number of higher speed server connections into leaf or Top-of-Rack (ToR) switches and subsequent ToR-to-Core (spine) switch connections with the ability to support ever increasing “Brownian motion” type traffic patterns. High density and performance plus low latency demands are signaling the need for a new generation of 10/40/100 GbE modular switching in private and public cloud infrastructure plus high-end data centers. Enter Arista’s 7500E that’s designed to address the growing need for 10/40/100 GbE switching within demanding virtualized data center environments. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we dive into Arista’s 7500E as it’s a beacon of what’s to come from many other suppliers over the next 18 months.

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Lippis Report 211: Cisco’s Catalyst 6800 Adds another Ten Years to Catalyst 6500 Series

July 22nd, 2013

nicklippis.jpgBack in December of 2012, we published a research note titled “Why Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 Series Will Be Around in 2025.” While it was, and still is, a bold prediction, Cisco’s latest Catalyst introduction, the Catalyst 6800, provides yet another proof point that this prediction will be reality. Modular switches are big IT investments, with longevity assumed in the purchase. Cisco communicates longevity by continuing to invest in research and development, adding platform value with backward compatibility of previous investments to migrate forward—that is, no forklift upgrades and extracts maximum value from past purchases, delivering investment protection and trust. Cisco does this better than most and is rewarded for the design philosophy. Consider that the Catalyst 6500 is the most deployed campus backbone switch. Cisco’s investing hundreds of million of dollars on a Catalyst innovation roadmap with the 6800 being the latest result of this investment. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review the Catalyst 6800 and reiterate that this Catalyst will be in operation well into 2025.
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Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 Now Supports A VSS With Four Sup2Ts Ushering Next Generation Campus Backbone Reliability Design

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June 3rd, 2013

Charles_Okochu_Ciscos_Catalyst_6500_Now_Supports_A_VSS_With_Four_Sup2Ts_Ushering_Next_Generation_Campus_Backbone_Reliability_DesignTo assure 100% throughput, that is no packet loss or network performance degradation takes place during an inter-chassis switch over, Cisco invested in its third generation of Virtual Switch System or VSS. It introduced support for four Supervisors within a VSS, which it calls VS4O for short. VS40 supports a VSS pair to be resilient to up to three simultaneous supervisor failures; providing deterministic and automated recovery from failures and increases network uptime tremendously in the campus backbone. Sudeep Padiyar Senior Product Manager at Cisco Systems and Charles Okochu, Network Engineer at MarketAxess join me to discuss Cisco’s new additions to the Catalyst 6500 and the resiliency network design options it affords to Cisco customers.

Cisco Invests In Unified Access To Address Fundamental Changes In Enterprise Networking And BYOD

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January 29th, 2013

Cisco is fundamentally changing the way it approaches network  by prioritizing R&D to deliver a common user experience independent upon wired, wireless or remote access. In addition, to simplifying network operations and reducing opex, Cisco is unifying its product suites for One Policy, One Management and One Network to address the BYOD megatrend.  Its approach is to deliver a unified access or holistic solution to IT business leaders that span both wired, wireless and remote network access with a common security,  management and features framework. Cisco calls this new approach Cisco Unified Access. Cisco is also introducing a new converged wired and wireless switch –  Catalyst 3850 switch.   Jeff Reed; Vice President and General Manager Unified Access Group at Cisco Systems joins me to discuss Cisco’s  Unified Access strategy and new Catalyst 3850 switch.

Duration: 15:26 minutes

Lippis Intro/Analysis @ : 00:03 sec

Question 1 @ 2:22: First would you like to add to my intro, that is what is Unified Access and what’s driving it?

Question 2 @ 3:02: What are the basic elements of UA from a product development point of view, that is where is Cisco investing to deliver UA?

Question 3 @ 5:07: Can you expand on the new 3850 product especially around the topic of virtualized WLAN controllers.

Question 4 @ 7:08: How does UA address BYOD, Video and security trends?

Question 5 @ 10:52: How much does IOS 15.0 Infrastructure play a part in UA?

Question 6 @ 12:47: What do you expect the business outcomes to be for those that deploy UA?

Closing @ 14:41: Summary of UA and its impact on business process.


Lippis Report 203: Why Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 Series Will Be Around in 2025?

December 5th, 2012

Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 series is by far the most popular switching platform in the history of computer networking. Consider that the Catalyst 6500 has generated more than $45B in cumulative revenue for Cisco, thanks to its large footprint of close to 800,000 systems, 110 million ports shipped thus far to some 45,000 customers. Some deployments are as big as 4,000 Catalyst 6500 switches large! Factor in an installed base 20 times bigger than its nearest competitor with the resources to deliver long-term service and support, and the best analogy to describe the Catalyst 6500 is that of Boeing’s airplanes. Airlines upgrade from 737 to 747 to 757 and 777 as they grow and improve their service, maintaining operational consistency, quality and investment protection of training plus supply chain. In short, Boeing builds platforms that last, creating trust between airlines and Boeing. So, too, is Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 because Cisco is investing hundreds of million of dollars on a roadmap innovation with investment protection. We predict that the Catalyst 6500 will be in operation well into 2025. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we explain why.

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The Benefits of Building Networks With Shortest Path Bridging

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July 23rd, 2012

Shortest Path Bridging or SPB was ratified in March of 2012 by the IEEE. Its an active-active link protocol that replaces the older Spanning Tree Protocols. SPB is touted as a means to simplify the creation and configuration of carrier, enterprise and cloud networks by virtually eliminating human configuration error. In short, SPB is designed to scale. Avaya, an SPB leader, has implemented it within its data center and campus networking products in a hope to drastically simply the configuration of enterprise wide virtual networks. Paul Unbehagen an SPB co-author and Avaya Director working on next generation fabric standards and implementations joins me to discuss SPB and the value it brings to enterprise and data center network design.

Which Network Services Need To Be Available In Modern Networks?

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January 16th, 2012

Modern corporate networks are under increasing pressure to support a wider variety of applications thanks to mobile and cloud computing, desktop virtualization plus video traffic having skyrocketed. Not only are bandwidth rates increasing from 1 to 10 to 40 GbE, but most importantly network services are needed to manage and support a different application portfolio mix and network access methods. Network services such as firewalls, WLANs, network diagnostics and monitoring plus application performance acceleration are needed to deliver a consistently excellent user experience. Cisco recently announced an upgrade to its popular Catalyst 6k with the availability of the Supervisor 2T that included re-vamped high performance service modules to deliver these network services. Goyal, product line manager at Cisco Systems joins me to discuss which network services need to be available in modern networks.

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

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.

Lippis Report 179: New Design Principles in Campus and Data Center Networking: In the Age of the Next Gen Catalyst 6K with Supervisor 2T

September 26th, 2011

By all counts, Cisco’s upgrade of the Catalyst 6K via its new Supervisor 2T, or Sup2T, is its most ambitious and thoughtful yet for the venerable platform. The Sup2T is a 2 Terabit (Tb) platform that triples the previous Sup720 performance. Thanks to the support of Virtual Switching System (VSS), the platform allows two 2 Tbps switches to combine into a single 4 Tbps virtual switch. The Sup2T is a major upgrade to the most widely-deployed switching platform in campus and data center networking in the industry. But while these performance numbers are impressive, it’s the new Cat6K’s network services and pricing that deliver most of the value. From a services’ point of view, the Cat6K stands alone.

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IPv6 First Hop Security: Protecting Your IPv6 Access Network

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June 14th, 2010

By Cisco Systems

This paper provides a brief introduction to common security threats on IPv6 campus access networks and will explain the value of using First Hop Security (FHS) technology in mitigating these threats. An overview of the operational principle of FHS is provided together with some examples on how to enable FHS on Catalyst® 6500, 4500, and 3750 Series Switches. The target audience for this paper are network architects and network operation engineers.

Find out about FHS by downloading this Cisco whitepaper.