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

    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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    tekweeny 12/5/2012 | 1:00:43 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers I went through the Cisco annual report for 2004, It clearly says Cisco has invested in the order of 800M US$ in Softbank. So Cisco hold investments in Softbank. ;-)


    I wonder what promopted you to do that. Anyhow, talk to your buddies at juniper about this fight. It was a hard drawn out battle and if you were any closer to this deal you would know it was unbiased.

    Do what? GIve me a break. If it was really hard for Cisco to win, after the supposed $800M infusion from Cisco mentioned above, then, that really does prove the CRS-1 sucks, especially being a Japanese company where business relationships and respect are paramount, even above family.

    Happy you still have your job for a little while longer, eh? I have heard Cisco tosses out the whole sales team when they lose a deal to Juniper. OUCH!

    The whole point of the sales cycle is to create bias so the product the sales team is selling, is selected, you idiot.

    sgamble 12/5/2012 | 1:00:42 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers I think you will have to wait for Sprint and perhaps Cogent through some kind of give-away for Cisco to announce a large SP deployment. Notice I said deployment and not purchase :)

    I am a little surprised the marketing machine didn't send a few into Cogent just to say they are deployed. And with their long relationship with Sprint I thought this would be the first announcement. Wonder how the Sprint trial is going?

    This new machine sounds awesome. I want one! Suddenly my GSRs arent so impressive ;)

    andropat 12/5/2012 | 1:00:40 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers gotman,

    you are right. bcn has some good guys.. different types of s/w engineers in differing fields in my opinion but no doubt sharp guys. procket as well.. good guys over there. but as a whole, i feel juniper has some of the overall best, proven, engineers.

    as far as ios-xr. I have not only seen it, but have tested it. i do like it. i do feel it has some great potential. it looks more like junos in my opinion.. go figure. but finally after geez 4 plus years cisco has been able to create an OS more inline with JUNOS. it will take a while yet though for the features to catch up and stability to be worked out. great job cisco.

    ChatEnChapeau 12/5/2012 | 1:00:37 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers Pat,

    You said: "you are right. bcn has some good guys.. different types of s/w engineers in differing fields in my opinion but no doubt sharp guys. procket as well.. good guys over there. but as a whole, i feel juniper has some of the overall best, proven, engineers."

    "Has" or "Had"? Are they still at Juniper? Are they still writing code? Are they still testing code (don't forget that side of the eng team)? Or have they checked out? I'm seeing some real bonehead bugs in recent JunOS.

    I was sure once, but not any more.

    let_there_be_routing 12/5/2012 | 1:00:36 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers Cisco engineers are so great that Chambers decides to spin in < 20 JNPR S/W engineers for $200 million so that they can finally build a worthwhile router. The BCN guys are cutting loose as soon as possible, and laughing all the way to the bank. Not a bad deal for a "company" founded 4 months ago, with no product.

    BTW, how many Procket engineers are really left at Cisco?
    russ4br 12/5/2012 | 1:00:35 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers The BCN guys are cutting loose as soon as possible, and laughing all the way to the bank. Not a bad deal for a "company" founded 4 months ago, with no product.

    Well, the BCN guys probably laughed their way to the bank in Juniper's case also, as most of these engineers seem to be pretty senior (see BCN's website) and assuming they indeed did some of the initial work on the M-Series.

    But we have to wonder whether they are really as brilliant, one-of-a-kind, and god-like as claimed ... If so, who's developing the embedded code in M/T now that the BCN guys are gone? Who is looking after the complex multi-chassis LC/system interactions (does Juniper trees grow engineers)? ... Certainly not the BGP/protocols or JUNOS/UNIX or ASIC guys. You need infrastructure guys to do that.

    Certainly many talented engineers will stay at Juniper working on the core products, just for the fun and challenge of it. But it is ill-advised to discount a company with as broad an engineering ranks, and proven track record, as Cisco.


    joke 12/5/2012 | 1:00:35 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers That is why we don't see Tony discusses this kind of topic anymore in lightreading.
    cyberpunk 12/5/2012 | 1:00:35 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers Just received this news from a friend at Cisco.

    Tony Li has re-joined Cisco, and is now a leading
    light in the HFR Business Unit, the one that makes
    the CRS-1. His employee number too is the same as
    the one he had before, which is 483.

    Now the interesting thing is that how does Tony
    Bates fare, now that Tony Li is back at the helm.

    ragho 12/5/2012 | 1:00:34 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers gotman,

    You do make some valid points in many of your posts, but you're heavily biased and I'd for one point out that you're acting that way because you got a flame under your ass.

    Sure, Cisco is not to be taken lightly. Only time will tell whether the core will be won performance and scale, high availability, bribery or just pure marketing muscle.

    But in the meantime, if IOS-XR is so good, share with us some technical details. And bend over, I got some KY jelly for you.


    PS. And no, I don't work for Juniper. Stop imagining things and don't assume everyone works on the other side of the fence.
    opt-out 12/5/2012 | 1:00:33 AM
    re: Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers > Well, the BCN guys probably laughed their way
    > to the bank in Juniper's case also, as most of
    > these engineers seem to be pretty senior (see
    > BCN's website) and assuming they indeed did
    > some of the initial work on the M-Series.

    There is a mixture of those who were involved with the M and those who were not. They laughed all the way to the bank on leaving Cisco once, laughed as they left Juniper, and will laugh when they leave Cisco the second time.

    Juniper will be just fine. There is still plenty of solid engineering talent there.

    It is a clear statement of just how weak the engineering talent is at Cisco has become that they cannot field 20 engineers inside who can cook up an operating system for a midrange router.
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