Cisco Catalyst 6500 ready to serve you another decade!

The Cisco Catalyst 6500 was born more than 12 years ago when it started its baby steps in the networking market around June 1999. In the last dozen years this platform has seen great evolutions and even caused some ‘revolutions’ in the networking industry. The first release went out and stayed in the market for about 6 years. Then the E-series chassis and SUP720 were introduced as from 2004. One year later in 2005 the SUP32 was also introduced, focusing on the Access layer. Although new chassis were launched you could still use the older chassis for the new SUP720 and SUP32. Also existing linecards could be reused with the new supervisor and in the new chassis. During its lifetime, the platform had some linecard additions, linecard revisions and supervisor enhancements. But overall the solution with SUP720 and SUP32 remained there for another 6 years.

This track record brings us twelve years later in 2012 where a lot of questions from customers arise around the future life of the Catalyst 6500. Certainly after the launch of our Datacenter centric Nexus products most of our customers started to question its future. Can the Catalyst 6500 keep up with these developments? Will the Nexus 7000 replace the Catalyst completely? Or will Cisco launch a complete new platform for the Campus?

Well, exactly at that time the next step for the Catalyst 6500 was already getting ready of being launched. A brand new Supervisor with amazing speed and without compromising on the vast amount of available features on the platform, together with a new set of linecards. The supervisor almost delivers 3x more speed and brings new in-hardware features.

Just to tease you already, it offers an amazing 2 Terabit crossbar with 80 Gbps per slot (even for the 13 slot 6513-E) and also new PFC4 and MSFC5 daughtercard on board. These 3 new components together deliver also new features like TrustSec incl MacSec, VPLS in hardware, L2/L3 MPLS in hardware and innovations in QoS, Managebility and Virtualization. And if these where not yet enough it also offers you up to 512k/1024k (for XL) of Flexible Netflow entries, up to 720Mpps* of IPv4 routing and 390Mpps* of IPv6 routing all performed in hardware as well. Like all the above was not yet enough you can of course use this in a proven Virtual Switching System (VSS) solution offering a massive 4Tbps system with all these features.

As for backward compatibility, the product has been developed with our customers as prior focus, to offer them maximum investment protection on their existing installed base. To begin with, all the existing E-chassis and power supplies are supported with this new hardware. With regards to linecards there are a few options. First of all it supports most of the existing 67xx linecards in CFC or in DFC as soon as you upgrade them to DFC4 with exception for the WS-X6708-10GE linecard which has been replaced with a new WS-X6908-10GE card. These 67xx linecards offer you the same backplane connection of 40Gbps. In case you would be ordering new linecards in this range they are available as a 68xx series where the same hardware ships with the DFC4 upgrade onboard. If you really want to take all advantages of the additional speed you can use the 69xx series linecards which offer you a 80Gbps bandwidth to the backplane. Last but not least it also supports a few of the 61xx line cards but only in a non-VSS setup.

All these new and exciting speeds and features make the Catalyst 6500 ready for again another decade. The platform provides a unique investment protection to customers, valuing the trust they have for all those years already in this great platform. This launch is only a beginning. Don’t forget to visit Cisco Live 2012 in London to discover what this platform will unleash even more in the future.

The Catalyst 6500 serves you again for another decade!

Cisco Live 2012 - London - January 30th till February 3rd

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