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Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) announced today new edge routing interfaces for its GSR 12000 routers. Originally, the GSR 12000 was designed as a high-end core router, but as service providers demand more capacity, the GSR’s are being pushed toward the edge of the core network, where they’re used to offload aggregated traffic onto carrier Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) backbones.

Cisco first started outfitting the GSR 12000 routers for edge duty a year-and-a-half ago when it introduced the IP Services Engine (ISE). Originally, it only offered packet-over-Sonet (POS) interfaces. With today’s announcement it will also offer a four-port ATM module and a four-port Gigabit Ethernet module.

The move makes economic sense. The edge routing market is expected to grow at a rate of 18 percent every year for the next five years, according to a recent study by Yankee Group. That report predicts that by 2006 the market will be worth more than $3 billion.

Of course, the move may also leaves some folks wondering: Is this a retreat from the core, where competitor Juniper Networks Inc. Nasdaq: JNPR) recently upgraded its system with the T640? As carriers need more capacity and deploy bigger, faster boxes, they push older devices, like the GSR platform, to the edge. Unlike Juniper, Cisco hasn’t announced any plans for a new core platform. But it is rumored to have one in the works.

“Over time it will be important for Cisco to introduce a next-generation box,” says Erik Suppiger, an analyst with Pacific Growth Equities Inc. “But Cisco is in the enviable position that they don’t need to deliver products to market until there is a real market there. Right now, I’d say, that isn’t a top priority for carriers.”

Jeff Baher, senior marketing manager in the routing technology group for Cisco, argues that the GSR 12000 isn’t running out of steam as a core router. He contends that service providers are using the new edge interfaces to consolidate edge and core functions into the same box. He adds that this can save them up to 80 percent on power consumption and rack-space usage.

Baher is also careful to point out that, even though the GSR offers some edge functionality, it does not compete against traffic aggregation devices like the ERX from Juniper or the SmartEdge from Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK). Cisco has the 7600, which aggregates Ethernet traffic, and the Cisco 10000, which aggregates broadband traffic, to compete in that part of the market.

While those devices aggregate customer traffic, the GSR 12000 is used in large carrier networks to aggregate traffic from multiple networks. It can also be used for service provider peering, hooking one carrier’s network to another. Only in rare cases would it be used to connect very high-end enterprises with a provider backbone.

As for these modules in particular, Baher says the new ATM module is important because it allows carriers to integrate their ATM and Frame Relay services over a high-speed IP/MPLS backbone. Carriers like Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) are already doing this. It allows them to get rid of their separate ATM network and run all their traffic over a common MPLS backbone.

The new Ethernet interfaces offer carriers an affordable alternative to POS for high-speed interconnections within their own data centers. Baher says that both line cards deliver comprehensive IPv6 features, IP quality of service (QOS), and advanced queuing for tiered service offerings.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:16:23 AM
re: Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge
CSCO news on this site is like an ad, or like the CSCO dude wrote it himself. Hate to disagree with the analyst from Pacific Growth, he is pretty smart, but CSCO is late with the BFR. Guess what, service providers are not going to buy CSCO because the current gear cannot scale to compete with JNPR. Why buy this stuff today, so CSCO can sell you something else in 18 months?. No Cap X protection, core , or edge. Line cards, not. CSCO cannot sell a hat to a service provider, well the 1601 works great in my office. You will soon see a new generation of systems that also blow JNPR away. Finally, SP's will have 5 to 7 years of CAP X protection with software that will NOT (IOS) take the network into the lieu and OPX into the sky. How much in advertising does CSCO spend on this site.????
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:16:20 AM
re: Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge
Hey spooner...blah blah blah...Cisco...blah blah blah...next generation router....blah blah blah...nobody left to chase Cisco or the failing Juniper...cost of entry is too many years and too many dollars...I hate Cisco but who are the 'next gen' contenders...they all died...
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:16:18 AM
re: Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge

Late with the "BFR", wow you're out of touch, the "BFR" is an early name for the GSR, I think what you really mean is the 'HFR'.

Tell me please, where today is the huge market for 40G in the core, never mind a multi-terrabit distributed router?

Maybe in 12 months, maybe in 18 months but today there is little market for a 40G core router. If you had any dealing with Service Providers you would know they are being extremely cautious about spending any money, and when they do it is usually to get the most out of their existing equipment.

tspoon said "No Cap X protection, core , or edge",

you're kidding right? The same line cards that worked in your 12008 work in your 12416. You think if/when the next 40G chasis comes out you'll have to throw away you're previous cards? Well you can think that if you want, time will tell :)

tspoon said "CSCO cannot sell a hat to a service provider", wow this shows that you do not have any contact with SPs.

tspoon said "You will soon see a new generation of systems that also blow JNPR away",

Juniper have "talked-the-talk and "walked-the-walk" when it comes to developing a real competitive solution to Cisco in the core. Until you can back up you claims with real facts why don't you get back doing your 16 hour work-days, believing you will be a millionaire on options when you're startup goes IPO. This is 2003, not 1999.

Here's a personal observation for you, service providers do not trust startups and are not going to give them large amounts of critical buisness to replace the core of their networks.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:16:14 AM
re: Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge
HFR, New platform from CSCO to help SP make money? What that means? New OS and new HW? ok, I get it.... HFR = High Financial Risk!
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:16:02 AM
re: Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge
Ya, HFR. Hell, we forget all of thoses important CSCO names. Take a look at the Procket announcement when you have a chance to get off the CSCO campus. You will see scallability from small to large with software that in time will be be proven by core customers being taken from your beloved CSCO and JNPR (service providers). I think we all understand Cap X. If you work at CSCO, do you understand cutting OP X. Na, just build another CSCO network to solve the problem, Oh that is not Cap X protection.

Gee wizz
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:16:01 AM
re: Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:15:09 AM
re: Cisco GSR 12000 Sent to the Edge
Guys, Guys!! Please don't start with the poop throwing, its like I'm in a frickin Zoo. I mean honestly HFR this, BFR That, Procket whatever. You both have excellent points just a little mis-directed. Procket... hmm, think dead. Who in the hell is going to buy Brand new Core boxes from a startup, No NOW I mean Seriously! Who! You talk about OPX, Spoon do you know what OPX is? Don't even get me started about reusing line cards! No one is going to buy Procket and do you know why? Because we are not ready. You tell me "It can start out small and scale big... See the powerpoint" I say... Who the hell wants it to start small! I want it Big and I want it now! Can you deliver? NOPE. You want the truth? Procket is not ready to deliver Carrier Class for another 12 months they want to make some noise for another round (Good Luck) Tony I got nothing but love for you, you know that. But Its too little too late. Procket needs 18 to get fully stable and to be ready for core deployment. HFR? Don't care, I'm already seeing information and supposeds... Does it matter well not really except its too is 12-18 out. So here is the Pop quiz for everyone...
Do you take a chance on a Brand new unproven company to run 1+TB/s? Or do you go with a proven company like CSCO or JNPR? I'm thinking no Brainer here.
Hey Spoon can you send me your OPX savings over 5 years again? I always get a kick out of that.

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