Comparing Campus and Data Center Switches

Comparing Campus and Data Center Switches
At-A-Glance
Comparing Campus and Data Center Switches
Requirements for Campus and Data
Center Switches
Campus and data center switching networks differ in their
requirements. An understanding of the two deployments
and the specific requirements of each is imperative to
choose the right Cisco switch. Each deployment type
requires that switches have certain unique features. Table
1 compares the top five requirements for campus and
data center switches.
Table 1. Top Requirements for Campus and Data Center Switches
Campus Requirements
Met by Cisco Catalyst®
Family and Cisco
IOS® Software
Data Center
Requirements Met by
Cisco Nexus® Family and
Cisco® NX-OS Software
User access control and
segmentation
Cloud security and virtual
machine awareness
Video intelligence
Virtual machine mobility
Wired and wireless
convergence
LAN and SAN convergence
Application visibility
Fabric scalability and
resilience
Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Data center consolidation
The rest of this document discusses these features.
Campus
User Access Control and Segmentation
A campus or branch office is where users connect to
network wired or wirelessly, and every connection point
is vulnerable to security breaches. Capabilities to allow
access based on business policy, prevent users from
interfering with other users and their resources, isolate
infected and malicious devices and applications, and track
users in the network are crucial features of a campus
switch. Cisco Catalyst switches support IEEE 802.1x and
security group tags (SGTs), which automate authentication
and network segmentation for user groups and provide
access based on user roles. The switches, in conjunction
with Cisco Prime™ applications, can help administrators
track and monitor every user. Additionally, Cisco Catalyst
6500 Series Switches support Easy Virtual Network
(EVN), which simplifies deployment of technologies such
as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), generic routing
encapsulation (GRE), and Virtual Routing and Forwarding
(VRF)–Lite to segment users and groups in the network.
Application Visibility
The rising number of different applications places a
huge burden on the network. Congestion and outages
can occur, and network administrators need an accurate
way to track the application traffic flowing through the
network to troubleshoot and correct the situation. Cisco
Catalyst switches provide Cisco Flexible NetFlow, Network
Analysis Modules (NAMs), and Network-Based Application
Recognition (NBAR), which comprehensively scan the
traffic and offer reports based on protocols, applications,
and users.
Video Intelligence
Globally, business web-based video conferencing
traffic is forecasted to grow six fold from 2011 to 2016,
a compounded aggregate growth rate (CAGR) of 45
percent1. Devices, such as computers, smartphones,
cameras, and dedicated Telepresence units, used to
send and receive video are proliferating. Helping ensure a
consistent experience and the capability to troubleshoot
problems are critical in all these scenarios, and the
network plays a major role. Cisco Catalyst switches have
Medianet features that enable lifecycle video solutions
to assess network readiness for video with built-in
IP service-level agreement (SLA) tools, automated
troubleshooting, and per-flow and per-hop flow metrics to
measure such factors as packet loss and network jitter.
Power over Ethernet
PoE is a technology through which power can be delivered
to end devices such as IP phones and access points from
a connected LAN switch through the LAN cable. Power
consumption can also be managed from a central location,
which helps conserve energy and reduce costs. Cisco
Catalyst switches support PoE, Enhanced PoE (PoE+),
and Cisco Universal PoE (Cisco UPOE™), which deliver 15
to 60 watts (W) per port. Cisco EnergyWise™ technology
can be used to manage energy consumption of many end
devices connected to the switches.
Wired and Wireless Convergence
Controllers to manage wireless access points are
ubiquitous in campus and branch-office networks. These
controllers can be a physical or virtual appliance or
integrated into a LAN switch. The Cisco Catalyst 6500
Series supports the integrated Cisco Wireless Services
Module 2 (WISM2). Cisco also has standalone wireless
controllers that work in conjunction with the Cisco Catalyst
switches.
Data Center
Cloud Security and Virtual Machine Awareness
As the number of virtual machines increases, so do
the challenges of configuring, administering, and
troubleshooting the networks that connect them. Because
today’s networks have both physical and virtual servers
on them, visibility and awareness into both environments
is critical. Network policies, dictating everything from
quality-of-service (QoS) parameters to access control
lists (ACLs), define the way that clients and servers, as
well as their traffic, is supposed to behave on the network.
Historically, these policies were applied to physical
switch ports with physical servers connected to them.
1. Cisco VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast, May 2012, at http://www.cisco.com/web/solutions/sp/vni/vni_forecast_highlights/index.html
© 2012 Cisco Systems, Inc. and/or its affiliates. Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. To view a list of Cisco trademarks, go to this URL: www.cisco.com/go/trademarks.
Third party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company. (1110R)
At-A-Glance
As virtual servers move to different servers, on different
switches, perhaps in different data centers, deploying and
enforcing these policies becomes much more challenging.
These challenges spill over into other areas, such as
troubleshooting. The Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches
provide the solution to these problems by providing
visibility into the virtual machine environment while
extending the features and functions of the Cisco Nexus
portfolio. The Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and
Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) for Nexus 1000V
Series Switch work with the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series
to provide security capabilities such as firewalls, intrusion
protection systems (IPS), and VPN. These capabilities can
be used for multitenant solutions, thus providing cloud
environments with the tools they need to operate securely.
this model is evolving to a consolidated, single, networking
platform. The Cisco Nexus Family of data center switches
allows customers to build an infrastructure that allows
them to decrease their total cost of ownership (TCO)
through the simplification of data center architecture.
Through the convergence of the LAN and storage
networks, the Cisco Nexus portfolio delivers a highperformance, highly scalable, lossless solution that can
carry Ethernet, Fiber Channel, Fiber Channel over Ethernet
(FCoE), Small Computer System Interface over IP (iSCSI),
and network-attached storage (NAS) traffic. This solution
allows reduction in the number of devices managed and
maintained, reduced cabling requirements, and more
efficient resource utilization, leading to lower power and
cooling costs.
Virtual Machine Mobility
Not only does the network need awareness of virtual
machines; the network needs to enable the movement
of virtual machines: between servers, racks, or entire
data centers. Virtual machines may need to be moved for
several reasons, including providing business continuity,
resilience, and workload balancing. The techniques
for moving workloads typically do not traverse Layer 3
boundaries: that is, they require Layer 2 adjacency. The
challenge with Layer 2 is that it typically requires Spanning
Tree Protocol, which often implies stability issues as the
environment scales. Features such as Overlay Transport
Virtualization (OTV) and Locator/ID Separation Protocol
(LISP) effectively address these issues by extending the
Layer 2 domain in a way that is scalable and stable and
does not rely on spanning tree. Thus, virtual machines
can move transparently across data centers, and the
environment will remain stable as it scales.
Fabric Scale and Resilience
To build an agile, highly available infrastructure that
delivers both reduced TCO and a solution that can adapt
to future needs, you must be able to scale the data center
performance and port bandwidth while reducing costs
and complexity and to create an architecture that can
withstand planned and unplanned downtime. The Cisco
Nexus portfolio offers multidimensional scalability for
the data center network in switch performance, system
scalability, and geographic span, allowing your data center
to support more servers and more applications when
you need them. Through support for high-density 1, 10,
40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity that can be
deployed at the aggregation layer, core, top of the rack,
middle of the rack, or end of the row and as an embedded
virtual switch integrated into your server hypervisor, this
highly flexible portfolio enables customers to create the
right architecture with the right types of connectivity
speeds that they need today, with a solution that can
address evolving needs.
LAN and SAN Convergence
Traditional data centers often have separate LAN and
SAN infrastructures. However with the evolution of
virtualization, the challenges of shrinking data centers, and
the additional costs of managing two separate networks,
In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU), and self-healing
capabilities, customers can take full advantage of a highly
available architecture with no service disruption, allowing
them to quickly integrate new features, enhancements,
and problem fixes, providing a solution that makes zeroimpact operations a reality.
Data Center Consolidation
The data center is the heart of a business; any downtime
(planned or unplanned) can severely affect profitability.
Beyond network-based availability, the combination of
Cisco Nexus hardware architecture redundancy and Cisco
NX-OS process modularity and self-healing capabilities,
you can take full advantage of a highly available
architecture with no service disruption. Through the
solution’s capability to help ensure continuous uptime
for planned and unplanned maintenance, upgrades, and
software certification, and through technologies such as
Cisco’s ISSU capabilities, you can quickly integrate new
features, enhancements, and problem fixes, providing a
solution that makes zero-impact operations a reality.
Common Features
The campus and data center also require features that are
common to both of them, such as simplified management,
programmability, high-availability, and Cisco TrustSec®
capabilities.
When choosing a Cisco switch for the campus or
data center, choose the switch based on the features
discussed in this document to gain the greatest benefit
and lowest TCO.
For More Information
www.cisco.com/go/switching
When customers couple scalability technologies such as
Cisco FabricPath with Cisco Nexus hardware architecture
redundancy, Cisco NX-OS process modularity, hitless
© 2012 Cisco Systems, Inc. and/or its affiliates. Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. To view a list of Cisco trademarks, go to this URL: www.cisco.com/go/trademarks.
Third party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company. (1110R)
C45-716756-00
09/12
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