Throwing some tentative support behind the Open Flow software-defined networking standard, Cisco Systems has just introduced its first 40-Gbit/second Fibre Channel over Ethernet switch, a 96-port system packing two novel 40-nm ASICs. It will also include a controller for supporting both the OpenFlow standard and Cisco’s proprietary interface.
Cisco’s Nexus 6000 will include up to 384 10G or 96 40G Ethernet ports with a port-to-port latency of one microsecond. Two ASICS are at the heart of the switch are two ASICs and form a three-stage Clos network.
Cisco’s fabric chip has a 192 input and 384 output serializer/deserializers running at 14 Gbits/s. They are linked on a crossbar switch with an arbiter but no buffer or storage.
A port chip makes up the first and last stages of the Clos Network and supports cut-through forwarding as well as the ability to queue up to 320 Gbits of egress Traffic. It includes forwarding tables supporting layer-3 look ups and a large memory switch.
Cisco’s software controller incorporates both the OpenFlow protocol supported by the Open Networking Foundation and its own proprietary variant called OnePK. The Cisco controller supports Rest and Java interfaces for programmers writing network applications. The controller then speaks to switches and routers through the OpenFlow or OnePK interfaces.
The controller is still in beta testing. It will probably support Version 1.3 of OpenFlow when the controller is released in the middle of the year.