Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) upgraded its ASR 9000 router family Tuesday, announcing more capacity for the edge and aggregation network.

A new addition to the family, the 9000v, is an innocuous-looking pizza box for Ethernet aggregation. The trick is that 1,920 of them can be managed as if it were a single device; Cisco's name for this capability is network virtualization, or nV.

These can be connected via the ASR 9010 or 9006, but to add even more edge capacity, Cisco is announcing the ASR 9922, a 96Tbit/s edge system due to ship in the first half of 2012. (The 9000vs are available now.)

And because tomorrow is World IPv6 Day, Cisco is making a point of having IPv6 support on the 9000v and 9922. It would be too easy to make fun of them otherwise.

Cisco is also adding two new cards to the ASR 9000 family -- one with two ports of 100Gbit/s Ethernet, another with 24 ports of 10Gbit/s Ethernet.

Why this matters
The ASR 9000 line was introduced in 2008, so it's due for a capacity increase. "People have been waiting to see something innovative with the ASR to gain market share," says Ray Mota, an analyst with ACG Research .

Alcatel-Lucent, in particular, made big gains during 2010, growing to 25.9 percent market share in edge routing and switching in the fourth quarter, compared with 17 percent in the first quarter of 2010, according to ACG. Cisco's share shrank to 44.3 percent in the fourth quarter compared with 54.2 percent in the first quarter. (ACG's numbers show Cisco and Juniper both beat back AlcaLu a little bit in the first quarter of 2011.)

But there's also a virtualization angle. Lots is being said about making the data center look like one big switch. The 9000v appears to address a usage pattern that's more spread out, with aggregation nodes added arbitrarily around the network. In Cisco's video presentation Tuesday, Surya Panditi, senior vice president of the core technology group, likened the 9000v to a bank ATM; they can be scattered around town as a quick means of expansion.

Among the benefits: the ability to manage aggregation routers more easily. "You can manage all these devices within one system -- to me, that was the part that stood out," Mota says.

Here's evidence: On Cisco's webcast Tuesday, Jay Rolls, senior vice president of technology for Cox Communications Inc. , mentioned that his network has ASRs in 18 cities. "To the degree that this helps enable one-touch management, that's pretty exciting," he said.

For more
Cisco describes the new ASRs and nV technology as an edge-network follow-up to the core-network upgrade brought by the CRS-3.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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Charles_C 12/5/2012 | 5:02:55 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

with a 2x100G line card and 40 slots (assuming they cluster two 9922)? In my math 2x100Gx40 = 8 TBPS (16T in Cisco math).

Even at 10G they don't get there: 24x10GEx40 = 9.6 Tbps (19.2T in Cisco math).

How long will we have to wait to get this capacity?

I am still waiting to upgrade my original ASR9000 to 400G/slot or 6.4 Tbps per system. After all that is what they promised when they launched the system in 2008.

And repackaging a CPT blade as ASR9000v and announcing some virtualization software glue doesn't inspire confidence either.

Pretty desperate bunch if you ask me



photon2 12/5/2012 | 5:02:54 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

Good points Charles_C.  Maybe someone from Cisco can explain the math. 

Cause as far as I know, no electronics exist today to get 4 ports of 100G on a blade, so is this based on thin air?


Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:02:54 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

I didn't have a chance to ask, and as I thought about it later, I think 96 Tbit/s might mean the combination of a ASR9922 and the 9000v swarm it can connect to.  With all the talk of zettabytes and petabytes they'd started with, 96 T didn't seem so big at the moment!

Good point about the 400G per slot update...

Not so impressed with the virtualization side? I thought it was interesting, from the point of view of simplifying network management.

maxwell.smart 12/5/2012 | 5:02:53 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge What better technology do Alcatel or Juniper have ?
allen007 12/5/2012 | 5:02:53 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

Don't be surprised . Cisco Systems makes many empty promises and over hype their products ... this is normal to them. Its will sell because of the amount of marketing dollars pumped into it  ....not because it solves any technical issues.

Customers are better off going with vendors with better technology and support ...such Juniper Networks or Alcatel.  No longer  a one legged hourse race ...rather three ....

maxwell.smart 12/5/2012 | 5:02:52 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

May be useful to talk to someone who has done serious side by side testing of ASR9K with MX or 7750 recently.


allen007 12/5/2012 | 5:02:52 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

Juniper  Networks has better technology than Cisco Systems ...hands down!  JUNOS operating systems  is superior and very easy to work with.  Back in the day Cisco was the only player ...now their working with install base. Lets face it ... Cisco decline in all areas  is their price , lack of innovation , layers of  management  and their arrogance.

allen007 12/5/2012 | 5:02:51 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge


There are side by side comparision however Cisco was the sponsor.  Scientific Fraund made Juniper and Alcatel look like their technology from the 60's .  Come on people we know the Cisco game. Manipulate  data and make the competition look like liar(s).

ethermac 12/5/2012 | 5:02:49 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

Being in the network business for a long time, I always refused to become a "fanboy"

This is something that I personally don't understand. I see everyday people that denies any value to the products of a company as Cisco, and the attitude of "ABC" (Anything But Cisco) is spreading like butter in some places.

It looks like it's the ultimate fashion to dismiss products and systems from Cisco, in the basis of ... really nothing. Many people when seriously asked about their reasons for that will start talking about prices, management layers, market dominance, marketing stories. Why Juniper and Alcatel products are much better and Cisco is crap? Just because... What specific products are compared apples-to-apples to establish dominance by their competitors? Well, not one, all of them...

On a second though about the issue, we must have a serious epidemy of madness in most of our corporate networks and service providers engineers that keep investing in Cisco. Or maybe they're not in the secret, whatever it is.


Light-bulb 12/5/2012 | 5:02:47 PM
re: Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

"You keep using this word... but I do not think it means what you think it means..."


Seriously 'Allen007' who are you?  

Innovate?  Ah yes, you must mean like things like FabricPath, OTV, you know things that actually work right now?  Integrated video monitoring... yea that's done everywhere... integrated DWDM optics tied directly for IPoDWDM... yea sorry that must have been somewhere else... FCoE, I forgot the whole market said that would never work... Unified Fabric (4 years ago for Data centers)... hmm Qfabric maybe one day??? UCS servers which in less than 2 years is now the #2 Blade system in the US... clearly Cisco must not innovate...

I could keep going and going.  

Why don't you come out of lala land and touch reality.  You my friend are the very definition of fanboi.

Each vendor has their quirks, their perks, and their problems, there is NO panacea in technology because software is written by mortals.  I can tell you my T powered network is having significant code release crap with Juniper (HQoS), and my CRS powered network had it's teething problems years ago.  But right now I give the nudge to Cisco for code quality. (Currently) Features in Core routers are largely stabilized but we still need true ISSU from both vendors for all protocols, it's still not there.  

I prefer the design of Cisco routers over Juniper because I know what I get from a feature support perspective... I don't have to keep burning Tunnel/service PICS to have features.   In the MSE side, I like the simplification of ASR vs MX it's that simple.  

Talking about lack of innovation at Cisco is like saying Intel has stopped making better processors.  Let me guess you think Intel is only ahead because it has brainwashed everyone?

Then you mention support...  obviously you don't use the JTAC...  Juniper's support has been severely lacking lately.  I can tell you first hand that their onsite engineers at least whom I've dealt with are severly lacking.  The RE's are clueless most of the time, and if you actually cut them off from the outside world (closed government networks) they have been less then helpful as they can't use their internal networks to help them.

I do like JUNOS, the CLI gives me what I want and I feel like I can navigate and pull information out fairly well, however IOS-XR has certainly made great strides, and I much prefer Cisco's MQC to Juniper QoS garbage... but then again you don't need QoS on core routers right...

So while you are talking with jumbo stereotypes, with no factual data, why don't you show me where a product from Juniper is 40% less than Cisco.  Come on... I want one example can't be that hard!  I'm waiting...

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