Specifically, Cisco announced two new Nexus 3400-S fixed switches for webscale customers, and two new Nexus 9000 switches for its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture generally used by large enterprises and service providers. All four are backwards compatible with Cisco’s 100G platforms.
The new switches support big-data and high-bandwidth apps like streaming video, as well as workloads using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. They provide four times the bandwidth and four times the scale compared to 100G switches and have smaller footprints — which is important for space-constrained edge deployments.
Cisco predicts that there will be more than 25 million 5G-capable devices in the world by 2021, and more than 80 percent of all IP traffic will be bandwidth-hungry, latency-sensitive video content.
“400G, we think, is the next frontier for cloud networking,” said Thomas Scheibe, VP of product management for Cisco Data Center Switching. “Particularly in the service provider space we do see demand for moving compute closer to the edge, triggered by the amount of content and bandwidth to be delivered. NFV and 5G will clearly drive more edge data center deployments and in a smaller footprint.”
“We also think it’s more than just bandwidth,” Scheibe said. “It’s not just a speeds and feeds game.”
To this end, the 400G switches includes support for advanced telemetry for deeper app visibility, real-time analysis, and troubleshooting, as well as smart buffering for big data and machine learning workloads. Customers can also integrate the switches with Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), Tetration analytics platform, and Network Assurance Engine software. These integrations allow users to increase app agility and improve data center security and automation, Scheibe said.
“I should be able to define what I want to do in my data center, and then I should be able to automate and orchestrate policies and configure systems in the data center, and I need to have a feedback loop to ensure what is actually happening in the data center is what I wanted it to be,” he said.
The company will begin early field trails with customers in December, and the new Nexus switches will be generally available in the first half of next year.
Arista, Juniper Roll Out 400G
Cisco’s announcement follows Arista Networks’ new 400G fixed switching line that it announced last week. Arista’s 7060X4 Series is available in two configurations supporting OSFP and QSFP-DD 400G optics modules. The OSFP configuration will be available in Q4, and the QSFP-DD configuration will be available in early 2019.
And in July, Juniper Networks said it was planning to infuse 400G innovations in its routing and switching lines. Juniper plans to start rolling out the updates in the second half of this year.