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Optical/IP

Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is all over the news map this morning, as it has four big routing announcements involving its flagship core router, the CRS-1. The company has revealed some CRS-1 customers, a partnership with Fujitsu, a strategic answer to Juniper Networks Inc.'s (Nasdaq: JNPR) Infranet Initiative, and its long-awaited half-sized version of the CRS-1. Here are the details on each development:
  • Cisco is finally naming some users of the CRS-1, after much speculation by analysts (see Cisco Stumps for CRS-1).

    The marquee name is Softbank, which is "going through a massive deployment of CRS-1s" for its YahooBB service, says Suraj Shetty, director of marketing for Cisco's routing technology group. Cisco won't give specifics, but Shetty says the number of chassis being used here is in the "strong double digits." The deployment has already begun and will be done in "months, not years," he says.

    That's the only solid telecom deployment Cisco is citing. The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) is another customer being announced today, noteworthy because it is using the OC768 interfaces -- which, incidentally, performed quite well in a recent test sponsored by Light Reading (see 40-Gig Router Test Results).

    Other CRS-1 customers being announced are Japan's National Institute of Informatics and Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI), the latter being just a trial customer.

  • Cisco has also set up a partnership with Fujitsu Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY; Tokyo: 6702) for high-end routing in Japan. The CRS-1 essentially becomes part of the Fujitsu roadmap, as the company will be pitching it as a next-generation cog for high-end customers. While similar to core router reseller agreements, such as the Nortel arrangement with Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7), the Fujitsu-Cisco partnership appears to be unique because Fujitsu is a router vendor itself and has been pitching a different company's routers for the core in Japan.

  • Cisco is also launching a program that sounds more than a little similar to Juniper's Infranet Initiative. But Cisco officials insist they're hunting bigger game than Juniper is.

    Cisco's "IP NGN" project -- letters standing for Internet Protocol (IP) Next-Generation Network -- is getting formally launched today. The idea is to create a network that responds to what the user is doing, in hopes of creating more loyalty among service provider customers.

    IP NGN is part of Cisco's ongoing effort to be taken more seriously in telecom circles. Most aspects of the company's CRS-1 core router, including the IOS XR modular operating system, are intended to curry favor with service providers. "Almost 50 percent of our R&D is going toward service provider development," says Cisco's Shetty.

    Identity is a key piece of IP NGN. The network would be able to recognize a user as he shifted from cell phone to PDA to office-bound LAN connection, and would likewise alter quality of service (QOS) and other parameters depending on the application being run. Voice and video traffic would receive priority over delay-insensitive data traffic, for example. "The network would provide resources to the users on demand," like a "customized tollway," Shetty says.

    Partly, the goal is to engender user loyalty. But the IP NGN would also let carriers offer premium services to customers based on their usage patterns, creating new possibilities for generating revenues.

    Cisco tipped its hand in this area with the acquisition of P-Cube, which developed deep packet inspection systems for distinguishing traffic content on the fly. In fact, Cisco is using P-Cube's Service Control Engine line of appliances as examples of what the IP NGN is trying to do (see Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M and Cisco Reroutes Traffic Management).

    It all sounds an awful lot like what Juniper is describing with its Infranet. But Cisco insists the Infranet is a subset of what the IP NGN would accomplish.

    "The way we understand it, the Infranet is about building QOS for inter-service-provider networking," Shetty says. "It doesn't talk about how a voice call is connected [when dealing with different providers' networks] or how the video is done."

    Cisco also stresses that it doesn't plan to create a forum similar to Juniper's Infranet Initiative Council; rather, Cisco intends to push its ideas through standards bodies, namely the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS).

  • Finally, as expected, Cisco is announcing a half-sized version of the CRS-1 today (Sources: Cisco Building 'Son of HFR'). The system is an eight-slot chassis, compared with the 16-slot CRS-1, for a throughput of 320 Gbit/s (that's not counting ingress and egress traffic separately). The strategy mimics what Avici and Juniper have done, offering smaller sizes of router to appeal to a wider audience (see Sources: Cisco Building 'Son of HFR', Avici's Incredible Shrinking Router, and Juniper Shrinks Its SuperCore Router).

    The half-sized CRS-1 can be connected in multichassis configurations just as the full CRS-1 can, giving Cisco more options in competing against other multichassis offerings like the Avici TSR or the recently launched Juniper TX Matrix (see Juniper Unveils the TX).

    — Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading




    SUPERWEBINAR ALERT
    On Thursday, December 9, at 12 noon New York / 9 a.m. California / 5 p.m. London time, during a free hour-long live Web seminar, representatives from Light Reading, EANTC, Agilent, and Cisco will present the results of the Light Reading CRS-1 test and answer questions about them. Telecom Italia will also be participating.

    To register for the December 9 Webinar click here.


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    routed 12/5/2012 | 1:00:55 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers Isn't this your typical execuse sequence?

    1. Cisco no way can develop a high end router. They don't know how to build one.
    2. Their annoucement of CRS-1 is a joke. That product is too big/hot and nobody knows whether it works.
    3 In any case who needs a terabit router. Our T640 is enough for the rest of the century.
    4. LR tests and verifies CRS-1 sucessfully? Common nobody in LR knows what they are talking about!
    5. Our TX is going to kick CRS-1 butt (after realizing that they do need a Terabit router).

    6. What do you mean CRS-1 is actually sold in double dight nmumbers? Tell me its Cisco marketing machine again right?

    I mean what next? Start preparing for your next execuse. Because CRS is here.
    DocGonzo 12/5/2012 | 1:00:53 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers The CRS appears to be a nice piece of engineering; kudos to the Cisco team.

    These customer announcements however are not overly impressive. I do not see any significant interent backbone wins here. Research/Education is nice, and the Softbank install sounds impressive. But, until this thing is pervasively installed in large quantities in a major player's backbone it isn't proven. Same goes for the TX from Juniper.

    Cisco has proven they can engineer hardware that works. I believe the real question mark is how ready for prime time is IOS XR? Only time will tell. When they do get it right, it should be a good achievement for the entire industry.

    Doc

    BTW, Cisco and Softbank have a long history together.

    tsat 12/5/2012 | 1:00:53 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers
    Anyone who questions the might of Cisco
    is an idiot.

    -tsat
    beowulf888 12/5/2012 | 1:00:52 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers Doc:
    Good point. But, it does take a longer sales cycle to sell into the SP space than the Enterprise space. I suspect we won't see any major SP CRS-1 sales for at least 6 months (and probably longer). So Juniper still has (or is it had?) a chance to catch up with the CRS-1. You'd think Juniper would have been ready with a strong comeback to the CRS-1 -- since Juniper had the momentum in the SP space. Or maybe they just believed their own marketing spin that the HFR was just Cisco FUD. I'm a little surprised, though -- the TX offering looks a little tepid compared to the CRS-1.

    Disclaimer: I tend to prefer Cisco over Juniper, but I've worked with CSCO equipment a lot longer.

    PS: But I'm surprised none of the Juniper supporters have mentioned JNPR's IPv6 support. Many of my contacts within Cisco fear that more than anything else about JNPR -- Cisco still doesn't have a good response in GSR/Cat6K lines to JNPR's excellent IPv6 support -- which will hurt their Asian prospects (where IPv6 is a given).

    --Beo
    pxf 12/5/2012 | 1:00:51 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers Beowulf,

    Thats correct GSR/Cat6K have poor IPv6 support but IOX has stable IPv6 implementation. Besides that
    IOX or CRS1 have some few more scoring points

    - Performance does not degrade with features like ACL (remains flat) where as T640 degrades linear.

    - Very poor QoS support on T640s
    This is one of main reasons of Juniper's infranet initiative. Diversion and catch up.

    - Very poor Multicast support on T640s.

    But I think right now what we are seeing from Cisco is a well oiled marketting campaign to alter (read correct :)) the market perception about cisco and high end routers.
    ChatEnChapeau 12/5/2012 | 1:00:50 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers Fibre Bundle:
    "When noting a sale to a research institute or university, has Cisco disclosed the amount of any donation or grant that it has made to said university."

    I believe several T640s ended up (initially) in research networks. E.g., I think Telefonica had a T640 early, but it was really for the European research network.

    Procket's big win was ARNET.

    So fudging the lines between provider sales and research networks is not unexpected where announcements are concerned.

    C-en-C
    DSLGuy 12/5/2012 | 1:00:50 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers I see it much more likely where CSCO says, "you buy x widgets, and we'll kick down x number of CRS's". Although, is that really "sales"? I'm anxious to bang on one myself, but as a scientist first, I don't believe ANY VENDOR until I see it with my own eyes and pass traffic.

    test'em till they smoke or reset, then they're done. Kudos to any third party unaffiliated test group that publishes their results.
    Fibre Bundle 12/5/2012 | 1:00:50 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers <<research education="" is="" nice...="">>

    When noting a sale to a research institute or university, has Cisco disclosed the amount of any donation or grant that it has made to said university.

    i.e. How can we know that it is a real sale, and not a quid pro quo?

    FB</research>
    Honestly 12/5/2012 | 1:00:49 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers So the big Crash -1 got some existing customer to deploy and Telecom Italia WIRELESS DEVISION is a trial and an LR test supporter with small packets, I might add. Oh I am blown away and going to heaven, NOT. As for NGN, isn't that a conference in Boston.? It is a total rip off of the Infranet Initiative Council - see www.infranet.org. IIC has said, for over a year that it will drive its reccomendations through standards bodies. So as in everything mentioned on the CRS-1 today and in the past, Cisco is just me too. A day late and a dollar short. Cisco, any original ideas there anymore. Didn't think so. Nice validation of everything Juniper does
    gotman 12/5/2012 | 1:00:49 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers Honestly

    Unfortunately thatGÇÖs how a juniper employee would feel now.. Yes your bleeding and it hurts I know!! Time to come off that horse now... Sorry for the pain caused, CSCO turns to work with the SPs who want to be everything over IP. Juniper can't cut it. Junipers has a lot to catch up on core advances, both HW & SW, the heat is ON!
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