& cplSiteName &

Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
3/30/2011
50%
50%

In a Webcast Wednesday, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) will try to convince the world (again) that it's already announced a game-changing data center fabric, countering the buzz that's lingered since Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) unveiled its QFabric architecture in February.

Cisco has a few new products to show off as well, including new cards for the Catalyst 6500 -- still relevant in the Data Center 3.0 era! -- and the Nexus 3000 family of switches for high-frequency financial trading and other ultra-low latency applications.

It's also adding some cloud-related capabilities, such as the ability to do switching between virtual machines without getting a hypervisor involved.

Much of Cisco's emphasis, though, will be on its claim of sticking to standards with its fabric, as opposed to the proprietary connections in QFabric. Cisco also thinks its approach is more flexible -- supporting arbitrary network topologies -- and has "greater scale than our competitors are offering," says Craig Griffin, a Cisco product manager.

It's worth noting that when asked about competitors' fabrics, Cisco executives emphasize that 10,000 customers are using NX-OS, the operating system behind the Nexus switches. Of course, that's a byproduct of having gotten to market earlier -- Brocade One from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) is new, and Juniper's QFabric isn't shipping yet.

Why this matters
It seems like Cisco had to say something in the wake of Juniper's QFabric launch. Its unified fabric was first announced in 2008, part of what Cisco termed Data Center 3.0. That message is temporarily being overshadowed by newer, glossier marketing.

Brocade, Cisco, Juniper and possibly others could spend years in a standoff over their competing data-center architectures. For now, the debate is at a big-picture level; it's going to be interesting to see how that changes as more details of other fabrics, particularly Juniper's, get revealed.

For more
Fabric wars: It's on!



— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(10)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
scottdTBR
50%
50%
scottdTBR,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:07 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


Overall I thought it was a good presentation, although I was a little surprised at how much thought and production went into it and the fact that they trotted out so many high level execs. Do you think they were caught off guard by how much attention Juniper got with QFabric?

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:07 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


Cisco does have a couple of interesting items that got announced.


LISP (Location/ID separation) is a standard going through the IETF. Cisco uses it to create separate address spaces for a physical device and its location - basically untethering the device, allowing an IP address to migrate around the cloud to where resources are available. Seems like a useful idea.


The idea of extending FEX (fabric extenders) down to the VM level seems useful too. Adds a deeper level of simple portability in the cloud.


Cisco always likes to talk about a standards-based approach, but often that's referring to Cisco-born technologies that Cisco is guiding through the standards process. I wonder how much of that is in its fabric technologies.

quicktime
50%
50%
quicktime,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:05 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


" 


Cisco always likes to talk about a standards-based approach, but often that's referring to Cisco-born technologies that Cisco is guiding through the standards process. I wonder how much of that is in its fabric technologies.


"


The problem is that other competitors just follow Cisco's approach and has no innovation. They only started the product development after Cisco shipped their box. Looks at reality, which vendor has the product on market before spreading the buzz word? The real product matters, and the buzz words are just some add-on ads in telecom/datacom market.


 


 


 

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:02 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


scottd -- i agree with you that it was long.  I didn't last through the whole thing.


I do think they were taken aback by the attention Juniper got, especially for a product that's not shipping yet (but at least it's close and does exist).  Cisco also needed to refresh several aspects of its data center story -- they had no super-low-latency switch for the data center, for instance, and that's something that competitors would have been able to really hammer on this year.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:01 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


quicktime -- I understand what you're saying, but neither Brocade nor Juniper had an Ethernet story before 2008, so by definition they'd be doing this after Cisco did.


And the flip-side analysis, according to some reports I've been reading since Wednesday, is that Cisco fell behind in the data center since 2008 -- the Nexus 7000 needed updating, and there was no ultra-low-latency switch in the story. In the latter case, in particular, when you ask which vendor has the produt on market first ... it wasn't Cisco.

schlettie
50%
50%
schlettie,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:09:00 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


Correction: LISP is advancing towards an Experimental RFC, not a Proposed Standard (a distinction that probably doesn't matter to most).


Don't hold your breathe waiting for Juniper to implement LISP.

quicktime
50%
50%
quicktime,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:56 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


Check their MX series router.


 

Bob Saccamano
50%
50%
Bob Saccamano,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:56 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


Foundry having been around for years doesn't count for Brocade in terms of having an Ethernet heritage before 2008?  Did Brocade fire everyone from Foundry?

ethermac
50%
50%
ethermac,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:50 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


Hmmm? MX an "Ethernet Product" ? Sure, in the same way as an M320, or a CRS, it has Ethernet ports. But don't tell me you would be proposing your customer to use an MX in the datacenter in the same way as a Nexus or a BigIron.


 


 

scottdTBR
50%
50%
scottdTBR,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:50 PM
re: Cisco Counters Fabric Challengers


True, although the MX was originally focused purely on carriers and JNPR was somewhat late to the party on that one (although they made up ground quickly). Still, I think that experience and their routing heritage has played a key role in the company establishing itself as a top player in the data center. Bringing the same design principles they learned in the service provider space into their enterprise products allows them to tell a good story around TCO and keeps them out of the price-per-port discussion.


Unfortunately for Brocade I think many customers still view them as more of a Layer 2/commodity player (like Extreme).

From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    LRTV Interviews
    Unified Comms Finds Its Voice

    4|25|16   |   03:44   |   (0) comments


    Peter Quinlan, VP of UCC Product Management at Tata Communications, talks about the evolution of the unified communications and collaboration services sector and how voice is now a big part of current developments.
    LRTV Documentaries
    So... What Do We Do Now?

    4|25|16   |   03:24   |   (0) comments


    After a long hiatus, Max Dingman, the CEO of a GeeGhiz, returns for a motivational board room pep talk.
    LRTV Documentaries
    NAB 2016 Highlights

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Light Reading's Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick climbs down from the slots to tell us about the latest news in broadcast technology at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Deepfield's Craig Labovitz

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Shades of Ray
    Leading Lights 2016: Shortlists Announced

    4|20|16   |   0:53   |   (0) comments


    The judging is over and the Leading Lights 2016 shortlists have been published -- you can see who made the cut by clicking on this link.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Introducing MulteFire – Qualcomm at MWC 2016

    4|18|16   |   3.29   |   (0) comments


    MulteFire is the latest option for using LTE in unlicensed spectrum. As oppose to its close 'siblings', LAA and LTE-U, MulteFire operates solely in unlicensed spectrum, which enables it to offer the best of two worlds – LTE-like performance with WiFi-like deployment simplicity. In this interview, Sanjeev Athalye, Sr. Director, Product Management at Qualcomm ...
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Grant Van Rooyen of Cologix

    4|18|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    ONS 2016 – Demonstration of Huawei's NetMatrix Multi-Vendor SDN Orchestrator

    4|15|16   |     |   (0) comments


    This demonstration shows how Huawei's NetMatrix SDN Orchestrator (SDN-O) addresses an operator's core service agility needs for services spanning multi-domain, multivendor networks: it includes a demonstration of:
    - Rapid New Service Design: using YANG to model a complex example of multi-domain, multivendor L3VPN network connectivity service that ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    AT&T Wants to Own North Carolina

    4|15|16   |     |   (1) comment


    Venessa Harrison, president of North Carolina for AT&T, tells how the company will expand its GigaPower service beyond the seven N.C. cities it already serves.

  • This blog, sponsored by AT&T, is the second part of a ten-part series examining next-generation broadband technologies titled "Behind the Speeds."
  • Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    Ultra-Broadband Summit, Hong Kong
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/27/2016
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Amazon AWS Reports $2.6B Quarterly Revenue, Up a Colossal 64%
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/28/2016
    FCC Poised to Re-Regulate Wholesale Access
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2016
    Mitel Asks: What Time of Day Do You Shower?
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/25/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.