Cisco Unveils Massive Datacenter Switching Platform

Network equipment maker Cisco Systems on Monday launched a new switching product aimed at large datacenters and forecast strong sales despite worries of a slowdown in U.S. technology spending.

Cisco said the Nexus 7000, which combines Ethernet switching and storage capabilities into a single product, is aimed at helping large corporate datacenters handle and store increasing Internet traffic more efficiently.

The company, the top provider of routers and switches which direct Internet traffic, said consolidating Ethernet and storage, as well as improving airflow and design, resulted in a more simplified and energy-saving product.

The Nexus 7000 also features an advanced operating system called NX-OS.

An explosion of consumer-generated content and a shift to Web-based software in day-to-day business operations means these datacenters need to handle an increasing amount of Internet traffic.

Doug Gourlay, a senior director for Cisco’s datacenter business unit, said the new product would help customers, including banks and large businesses as well as phone and Internet service providers, reduce energy consumption at datacenters by around 8 percent.

That assumes datacenter-wide upgrade from conventional switching products, including Cisco’s own, he said.

“IT’s challenge is to maximize the workload within a given power budget,” he said.

While he declined to give sales forecasts for the product which is priced at $75,000 and available from the second quarter of 2008, he forecast strong demand.

“The datacenter market is growing at twice the rate of traditional core switching market,” Gourlay said.

He also said he did not expect sales to be hurt by any U.S. economic slowdown, which some analysts say could discourage companies from investing in infrastructure.

“If a budget is trimmed or curtailed, the datacenter is the last place that gets cut because it’s the area that’s most critical to keep a business running,” he said. “Nobody’s giving a reprieve on the requirement to store data, information retention. And certainly there’s a tremendous incentive right now for efficiency.”

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