Cisco’s latest network switches promise higher bandwidth using less power to support data center sustainability


Computer networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. took the opportunity at this year’s Open Compute Project Global Summit to showcase a host of updates to its portfolio of network chips and switches for cloud operators.

The new innovations on display today promise to help “redefine the economics of the cloud,” the company said, bringing customers closer to their sustainability goals while also increasing performance and enhancing connectivity.

Those are some pretty strong claims, but Cisco promises that it’s more than possible with the introduction of a “groundbreaking new unified architecture” in its new SiliconOne G100 processors. According to the company, the G100 provides the highest bandwidth routing and switching silicon in a unified family.

It’s also the most programmable chip the company has ever made, making it efficient enough to meet all kinds of modern network traffic demands, including artificial intelligence and machine learning workloads, Cisco said. Compared with an equivalent solution built using 12.8-terabit switches, the G100 can provide up to 25.6 terabits per second while using 87% less power, saving almost 10,000 kgs of carbon emissions per year, Cisco said.

The new G100 processor sits at the heart of Cisco’s newly announced 8111-32EH router and Nexus 8000 and 9000 series network switches.

Customers can choose from the Cisco 8100 Series, which are described as one and two RU platforms that can support Cisco’s IOS XR operating system and the Linux Foundation’s Software for Open Networking in the Cloud. The Cisco 8111-32EH is able to support 32 ports of 800 gigabytes in a compact 1RU form factor, and is available from today. One step up is the Cisco 8200 Series switch, which supports up to 12.8 terabytes per second in an efficient 100G/400G chassis in a smaller form factor than legacy switches.

Then there’s the Cisco 8800 Series switches, which are said to provide breakthrough density and efficiency in a modular chassis. What’s key about this last offering is that it can support greener operations by potentially allowing the removal of entire layers of older hardware from the data center, which it does by reducing the number of routers required in each location.

As for the Nexus 9000 Series, the newest addition to this portfolio is the Nexus 9232E. It’s a powerful yet compact 1RU switch that’s capable of delivering 25.6 terabits per second of bandwidth through 32 ports of 800G. Cisco said that makes it ideally suited for the high-performance connectivity demands of modern AI and machine learning clusters, media streaming workloads, telecommunications and space-constrained edge environments where there is significant demand for speed and higher port densities.

Finally, Cisco announced the availability of its new Cisco QSFP-DD800 Optical Transceiver, which introduces a new, much higher density industry standard form factor, with double the port bandwidth of prior-generation models.

Photo: Cisco

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