September 19, 2012
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has come out with its lowest-latency switch yet, targeting the financial-trading customers that Arista Networks Inc. has managed to snare.
Cisco's Nexus 3548, announced Wednesday morning, claims latency of 190 nanoseconds through the switch, compared with Arista's 350 nanoseconds. The 3548 is based on application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), in contrast to Arista's strategy of using merchant chips, as Light Reading reported in August.
The 3548 is the switch Cisco was supposedly marketing as an "Arista killer." And it got announced on the same day that Arista unveiled its 350-nanosecond latency switches, the new 7150 series. Gee, what are the odds?
Why this matters
For all the attention it garners, Arista is a small fish in the overall switching market. But anecdotal evidence has the company doing very well in the important financial sector. (We're still looking for market share data that isolates that sector.)
Financial traders are interested in the fastest network connections possible, which has made the low-latency switch an important market for some equipment vendors. (Whether high-frequency trading is a good thing is a matter of opinion.)
It's not just the financial sector; Cisco's release mentions the 3548 being useful for high-performance computing and for big-data settings. But it's the financial sector that really has the money and the urgency to pay for premium switches. It's not a bad place for a switch vendor to be -- and Cisco apparently wants its share of that market back.
Other switch/router announcements happening just today:
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