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New product alert : Nexus 5548

All right, so this new platform was actually introduced a couple of months back, but I thought it would be good to summarize the new stuff that it enables.

The Nexus 5548P is the new member of the Nexus 5000 series, a family of switches that are typically used in datacenters for top-of-rack (ToR) deployments. If you are not familiar with the Nexus family, you can find an overview here and more specific details on the Nexus 5000 there.

There are several points that make the new Nexus 5548P shine :

  • The port density is increased to up to 48 ports in a 1RU form factor ;
  • It is capable of supporting both 1GbE and 10GbE on all its ports ;
  • It will provide Layer 3 functionality in the future ;
  • It confirms the tendency of decreasing price/port for fixed 10GbE switches.

There are a number of other enhancements in terms of scalability, performance and manageability which are detailed here. And of course, just like its baby brother Nexus 5000, it supports the Fabric Extender architecture as well as the standards-based FCoE and DCB protocols on all Ethernet ports, providing an innovative solution for Unified (or consolidated) I/O at the access layer. But the Nexus 5548P actually goes one step further : it introduces the concept of a Unified Port, combining the physical layer functionality of 1GbE, 10GbE, and Fibre Channel onto a physical port.

Wait a minute… there must be a typo, you might think : the above should read “1GbE/10GbE/FCoE“, right ? Well actually, the above is correct. The Nexus 5548P provides the capability for a physical port to be configured as 1/10G Traditional Ethernet, 10G Fibre Channel over Ethernet, or 8/4/2/1G Native Fibre Channel. This will be enabled in a 16-port expansion module that will ship in early 2011. This establishes a new landmark in the innovation which is at the heart of the Nexus family development.

The 5548P is the first model of the new Nexus 5500 family, so expect to hear more in the not-too-distant future…

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