Cisco Nexus switches

2012-12-11 11:38:12

The Cisco Nexus Series switches are modular network switches designed for the data center. Cisco Systems introduced the Nexus Series of switches on January 28, 2008. The first chassis in the Nexus 7000 family is a 10-slot chassis with two supervisor engine slots and eight I/O module slots at the front, as well as five crossbar switch fabric modules at the rear. Beside the Nexus 7000 there are also other models in the Nexus range.
All switches in the Nexus range run the more modular NX-OS firmware/operating system on the fabric. NX-OS is a newly developed OS which has some high-availability features compared to the well-known Cisco IOS. This platform is optimized for high-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Nexus 1000v
The 1000v is a virtual switch for use in VMware environments. It is as such not a physical box but a software application that interacts with VMware products so you can virtualize the networking environment and be able to configure your VMware vSphere ESX and ESXi system as if all virtual servers have connections to a physical switch and include the capabilities that a switch offers such as multiple VLAN's per virtual interface, layer-3 options, security features etc. Per ESX infrastructure/cluster you have one VM running the Nexus 1000v as virtual appliance, this is the VSM or Virtual Supervisor Module and then on each ESX(i) node you would have a 'client' or Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM) a vSwitch which replaces the standard VMWare (distributed) vSwitch or vDS.
The VEM uses the vDS API, which was developed by VMWare and Cisco together[2] Besides offering the NX-OS interface to configure, manage and monitor the virtual switch it also supports LACP link aggregation where the standard VMWare virtual switches only support static LAG's[3] Although the configuration of the VEM's is done via the VSM NX-OS Command-line interface, and not via the vCenter GUI it does integrate: via the VSM the network administrator can create profiles which can then be applied to a virtual machine in vCenter.
The Nexus 1000v requires VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus Version 4.1 or later and is compatible with vCloud director 1.5 or later. The VSM can run as a VM and requires 3Gb disk-space, 2Gb RAM and one CPU. For the VEM you require 6,5 MB disk-space and 150MB RAM. The upstream-link towards the (physical) network infrastructure has no special requirements, but when using VXLAN the physical switch has to support multicasting or IGM.

Product limitations
A single VSM can run/manage a maximum of 64 ESX/ESXi hosts with 2048 virtual ethernet ports per distributed switch (with maximal 216 ports per host). In total 2048 active VLAN's and 2048 port-profiles can be configured on a single VSM.
A physical host can have up to 32 physical NIC's and 8 port-channels (with 256 port-channels per distributed switch).

Nexus 1010 / 1010x
The Virtual Supervisor Module or VSM would normally run as a virtual appliance in an ESX/ESXi cluster but it is possible to run the VSM on dedicated hardware: the Nexus 1010 and Nexus 1010x. For organisations where there is a very strict boundary between network management and server management, network administrators can avoid the dependency on the VSM running as virtual machine within the ESX cluster. The capabilities and limitations of a VSM running on a Nexus1010 are the same as a VSM running as virtual applicance under ESX. A Nexus 1010 can run multiple VSM's and it also allows to run additional services as a Network Analysis Module.

Nexus 2000 series
The Nexus 2000 series are fabric extenders (FEX): 'top of rack' 1U high system that can be used in combination with higher end Nexus switches like the 5000 or 7000 series: the 2000 series is not a 'stand-alone' switch but needs to be connected to a parent and should be seen as a 'module' or 'remote line card' but then installed in a 19" rack instead of in a main switch-enclosure. The interconnection between this 'remote line card' and the 5000 or 7000 parent switch uses either proprietary interfaces (CX-1 for copper or the short or long range Cisco Fabric Extender Tranceiver (FET) interfaces), or standard interfaces (Cisco SFP+ SR and LR fibre interface modules or SFP+ Twinax cables). In combination with the 5000/7000 mother-switch you can create a so-called Distributed Modular System.
The 2000 series consists of 4 different models. Three models offer 24 or 48 gigabit only or gigabit/fastethernet copper interfaces and up to 4 10 Gigabit uplink interfaces on copper or fibre. The Nexus 2232P offers thirty-two one Gigabit and ten 10 Gbit/s ethernet and FCoE interfaces.
For the HP BladeSystem C3000 and C7000 and Fujitsu PRIMERGY BX400 and BX900 there is the Nexus B22 FEX. Originally these blade-system FEX were announced for release in the summer of 2010, but the Dell FEX was cancelled]][5] and the B22 FEX for HP came only in late 2011 to the marker.
The Nexus B22FEX offer 16 x 10 Gbase-KR internal 10 Gb link to each blade-server interface and up to 8 SFP+ ports for uplink with a Nexus 5010, 5548 or 5596 switch. The maximum distance between the FEX and the mother-switch is 3 kilometer when it is only used for TCP/IP traffic and 300 meter when carrying also FCoE traffic.

Nexus 3000 series
The model 3064 is currently the only Nexus switch in the 3000-series utilizing merchant silicon. The 1U rack-switch with 1, 10 and 40 Gb ethernet interfaces is designed for use in colo center. Offers layer2 and layer3 capabilities at wire-speed for all 64 interfaces running in 10Gbit/s. Layer3 routing protocols supported include static routes, RIP v2, OSPF and BGP-4.The switch-fabric can switch 1,28 Tbit/s and forward up to 950 million packets per second. The switch is capable of building a route-table with up to 16000 prefixes, 8000 host-entries and 4000 multicast routes and up to 4096 VLAN's are supported. On top of that a high number of ingress or egress ACL's can be configured.
The 3064 has a single fan tray, two replaceable power-supplies on board and two separate out of band management interfaces. To connect the 3064 to the rest of the network the use of proprietary EtherChannel or Link aggregation using industry-standard LACP or IEEE 802.3ad is supported with up to 32 port-channels with each up to 16 physical interfaces.
The switch holds of 48 SFP+[8] for 1Gb or 10Gb ethernet interfaces and four QSFP+[9] each handling 4 x 10Gb interfaces allowing for 40Gbit/s over a single fibre-pair.

Nexus 4000 series
The Nexus 4000 series consists of only the model 4001: a blade-switch module for IBM BladeCenter that has all 10 Gbit Fibre Channel over Ethernet or FCoE interfaces. This blade-switch had 14 server-facing downlinks running on 1Gbit/s or 10 Gbit/s and six uplinks using 10Gbit/s SFP+ modules. For out-of-band management three ethernet-interfaces are available: one external 10/100/1000 bit/s copper interface, one internal management interface for the AMM or Advanced Management Module and one in-band interface using the VLAN interface option. And this blade-switch also has a serial console cable for direct access to the CLI.
At present only switches for the IBM blade systems are available. When the Nexus 4000 series were announced in 2009 it was expected that there would be Nexus 4001 series for IBM and Dell (and not HP)[12] but in Februari 2010 it became clear that Cisco canceled the Nexus 4001d for the Dell M1000e.
For the HP blade system Cisco released a Fabric Extender, which compares with the Nexus 2000 top of rack devices, but then in a blade-form factor.[6] The FEX that was developed for the Dell blade system, which was due to be released in the summer of 2010 was dropped at the same time as the Nexus 4001d in Februari of that year.

Nexus 5000 series
The Nexus 5000 series is a range of 5 models 1U or 2U rack-switches offering 20 to 96 interfaces running on 1 or 10Gb ethernet and 10 Gb FCoE interfaces. They can be used with the above mentioned Nexus 2000 series fabric extender. The 5000-series offer carrier-grade layer2 and layer3 switching as well as the mentioned FCoE capabilities.

The Nexus 5000 has 5 models:
• Nexus 5010: one rack-unit high switch with 20 fixed 10Gbit/s supporting ethernet, FCoE and DCB interfaces and one expansion port offering one of the modules
8 ports with 1, 2 or 4 Gbps Fibre Channel
6 ports with 1, 2, 4 or 8 Gbps Fibre Channel
4 ports with 10Gb FCoE or DCB and 4 ports offering 1, 2 or 4 Gbps Fibre Channel
6 ports offering 10Gb FCoE or DCB
• Nexus 5020: two rack-unit high switch with 40 fixed 10Gbit/s supporting ethernet, FCoE and DCB and two expansion ports each offering one of the modules
• 8 ports with 1, 2 or 4 Gbps Fibre Channel
• 6 ports with 1, 2, 4 or 8 Gbps Fibre Channel
• 4 ports with 10Gb FCoE or DCB and 4 ports offering 1, 2 or 4 Gbps Fibre Channel
• 6 ports offering 10Gb FCoE or DCB
• Nexus 5548P switch: 1U chassis with 32 fixed non-unified ports and up to 16 additional ports using the expansion slot. The 5548 chassis can be the main fabric for the Nexus 2000 series fabric extenders. The interfaces in the expansion slots are:
• 16 port unified offering 1-10 Gbps SFP+ slot for ethernet and FCoE OR 1,2,4 or 8 native fibre channel
• 16 port SFP+ 10Gbps ethernet and FCoE
• 8 ports SFP+ 10Gbps ethernet and FCoE plus 8 ports 1,2,4 or 8 native fibre-channel.[14]
• Nexus 5548UP: also a 1U chassis with 32 fixed unified ports and up to 16 additional ports using the expansion slot. The difference between the 5548P and 5548UP is that the 5548P's fixed (on-board) SFP+ slots are non-unified there where the same SFP+ slots on the UP chassis are unified.
• Nexus 5596UP: a two-RU chassis with 48 fixed unified ports and up to 48 additional interfaces in three expansion slots. Capabilities of the 5596UP is same as the 5548UP but this switch is two RU high and supports two expansion slots[14]
Next to the expansion modules all three Nexus 55xx switches offer the capability to insert a 160Gbit/s layer-3 routing engine.

Nexus 7000 series
The current offering of the Nexus 7000 chassis now includes 9, 10 and 18 slot chassis.

The Nexus 7000 chassis capabilities
Although the Nexus 5000 had some modular capabilities and you can attach the Nexus 2000 fabric extender to the 5500 range, the Nexus 7000 is the real modular switch in the Nexus family with three base-versions: the 9 slot, the 10 slot and 18 slot switches.[16] Unlike the other Nexus models, the 7000 series switches are the modular switches for campus core and data center access, aggregation and core. Some details on the models are detailed below. As with the Nexus 5000 series the Nexus 2000 Fabric Extenders can act as a remote line card on the 7000 series.

Nexus 7009
• 9 slots: 3-9 are line card slots, 1-2 are supervisor slots
• Supports 336 10Gbit/s and/or 1Gbit/s, all non-blocking ports
• 8.8 Tbit/s system bandwidth
• 480 Gbit/s, 720Mpps per slot
• Air flow is side to side (right to left)
• Up to 5 Crossbar Fabric Modules
• Up to 2 power supplies

Nexus 7010
• 10 slots: 1-4 and 7-10 are line card slots, 5-6 are supervisory slots
• Supports 384 10Gbit/s, and/or 1Gbit/s ports, all non-blocking ports
• 9.9 Tbit/s system bandwidth
• 480 Gbit/s, 720Mpps per slot
• Air flow is front to back, bottom to top
• Up to 5 Crossbar Fabric Modules
• Up to 3 power supplies

Nexus 7018
• 18 slots: 1-8 and 11-18 are line card slots, 9-10 are supervisory slots
• Supports 768 10Gbit/s and/or 1Gbit/s, all non-blocking ports
• 17.6 Tbit/s system bandwidth
• 480 Gbit/s, 720Mpps per slot
• Air flow is side to side (right to left)
• Up to 5 Crossbar Fabric Modules
• Up to 4 power supplies