Cisco Pumps Up the Edge
The Nexus 7000, introduced in January, didn't do it: That's a box aimed at data center virtualization. Neither did the ASR 1000, introduced in March: Its early incarnations are too small, and it's intended to serve enterprises as well as carriers. (See Cisco's Nexus Targets Data Center's Future and Cisco Takes Hold of the Edge.)
But the ASR 9000, being introduced today, could be the eventual replacement for the Cisco 7600, an older platform that makes up a good chunk of Cisco's installed base and which, Cisco contends, may not have enough gas in the tank as telcos start handling larger volumes of video traffic.
Even if you don't want to view it as a 7600 replacement, the ASR 9000 is at least a heck of a lot bigger. "The ASR 9000 is a blockbuster machine -- it's a 'Viking' that obliterates the 7600 predecessor in capacity and, potentially, in smarts," says Infonetics Research Inc. analyst Michael Howard, referring to the box's code name.
Some of the big numbers, such as the possiblity of more than 5 Tbit/s of switching, were revealed on Halloween when a pretty accurate description of the router leaked via Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. analyst Ittai Kidron. (See Cisco Plans Edge-Router Splash.)
Possibly the most important stat is that the ASR 9000 is built to handle 400 Gbit/s of traffic per slot. That's a huge number -- even the CRS-1 gets only 40 Gbit/s per slot.
It's going to be a while before you can use all that throughput, though, as the ASR 9000's first linecards will handle just a few 10-Gbit/s lines apiece. Bigger cards will be available when the 100-Gbit/s Ethernet standard gets finalized, says Pankaj Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s service provider technology group.
Cisco has also taken the opportunity to pile features into the box, including content delivery technology acquired from Arroyo Video Solutions in 2006. (See Cisco Snatches VOD Vendor Arroyo.)
And, to get the most obvious question out of the way: No, the ASR 9000 doesn't use yet another new operating system like the ASR 1000 and Nexus lines did. It runs on IOS XR, the same software powering the CRS-1 core router but not the same as the IOS XE variant running on the ASR 1000.
Cisco says the ASR 9000 was four years and $200 million in the making, with the Arroyo blade tacked onto the project midway. Light Reading heard about the development in October 2006. (See Cisco Lines Up 7600 Successor.)
To Page 2