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Cisco Nexus 400G Switches, New Performance Options For Enterprise and Cloud

by Harold Fritts

Cisco Nexus took center stage at Cisco Live in Las Vegas by introducing several new products and 400G technology with an option to migrate to 800G on the new Nexus 9800. Other new Nexus models include the 9400 and 9300, and all Nexus models support the 400G technology.

Cisco Nexus took center stage at Cisco Live in Las Vegas by introducing several new products and 400G technology with an option to migrate to 800G on the new Nexus 9800. Other new Nexus models include the 9400 and 9300, and all Nexus models support the 400G technology.

Cisco introduced the Nexus 9500 in 2013 as part of the Nexus 9000 family of data center switches. Considered innovative at the time, the Nexus 9500 was a high-performance, scalable, and programmable switch featuring the first backplane-free modular switch. The Nexus 9508 was the top-of-the-line model offering high-density aggregation layer capabilities in a chassis delivering eight slots of 40G performance.

Fast forward to Cisco Live 2022, and the performance standard for Gigabit Ethernet has increased ten-fold to 400G, with customers already planning for an 800G migration options.

The new Nexus 9000 switches aren’t just for aggregation; many new servers require these higher-bandwidth connectivity options. Advancements in PCIe technologies drive these higher speeds, while GPU adoption for modern workloads pushes server vendors to increase interface speeds. DPU-based offerings can also take advantage of faster networking.

Diversity in workload deployment models such as on-premises, virtual machines, containers, bare metal, and serverless has contributed to the explosion of traffic within and between data centers and clouds, ultimately requiring fatter pipes to carry that data. According to a survey by the Dell’Oro group, these trends are enabled by the speed and scale of bandwidth evolution, including 400G, which is expected to increase 224-fold by 2026, and 800G will see an 84-fold uptick.

New Nexus 9000 400G Performance Options

Nexus 9800

The 9800 is the new flagship modular data center switch with 14.4Tbps fully encrypted bandwidth per slot. With a highly scalable architecture and backplane, the Nexus 9800 will enable customers to migrate to 800G performance seamlessly as their performance requirements grow over time.

Nexus 9400

A compact, modular chassis offering up to 64 ports of 400G line-rate performance (or up to 128 ports of 100/200G performance). The Nexus 9400 solution is a fit for customers who want the flexibility of modular line cards in a 4U compact form factor leveraging a single 25.6Tbps Cisco ASIC. Use cases include compact spine designs and efficient multi-plane scale-out fabric designs, enabling the gradual transition from 100G to 200G to 400G links.

Nexus 9300

Cisco is adding two new high-performance fixed data center switches to its existing 400G switch lineup. The Nexus 9364D is a 2U, 64 port, 400G switch, supporting line rate 400G encryption on 16ports. The Nexus 9348D is a 2U 48 port, 400G switch supporting line rate 400G encryption on all 48 ports. These switches are a fit for both leaf and spine roles in customer fabric designs. The integrated line-rate encryption supports a broad range of multi-layer security architectures. The Nexus 9332D is shipping today. The Nexus 9348D and Nexus 9364D will be available in June 2022.

With these additions, the Nexus 9000 family now offers a full breadth of 400G options that can meet the data center and hybrid cloud needs of enterprises and service providers of all sizes. With the new additions to the Nexus 9000 family, there are models with density and form factors that fit the space-constrained edge data centers, with performance and low latency to run most data-intensive applications, including AI/ML, storage over IP, rich media, and advanced analytics.

Cisco 400G Family

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