2-DC/Nexus Switch Family.

In this post i will talk about the available Cisco Nexus switch family, as it is too important to understand the available switches and to know the different features and capabilities provided by each family so that you can determine which one you can use based on the implementation and design you want to deploy.

1-Cisco Nexus 9000 or 9K Family: The Nexus 9000 or 9K family can work in two modes: normal NX-OS mode or ACI mode, when the N9K works in the normal NX-OS mode it means that it works as normal Nexus switch, it means that it can be placed at the Core layer in the normal Access/Distribution(Aggregation)/Core layered design. When it is used in the ACI mode, it can be used as SDN-based solution and at this case it works with Spine/Leaf layered design, at which it acts as either Spine or Leaf switch. The below figure represents the normal Access/Distribution(Aggregation)/Core and Spine/Leaf layered design:

adc

Cisco-Nexus-9500-Platform-in-a-Leaf-and-Spine-Architecture

There are two types of switches belong to the Nexus 9K family: Nexus 9300 and 9500, the 9300 is a fixed switch this means that you can’t add or remove module to or from its chassis, while the 9500 is modular switch this means that you can add or remove module to or from its chassis, the modules here are Input/Output modules (I/O) or we can call it switching module or Line cards which represents the actual cards that have the physical ports, so let’s talk briefly about each type:

  • Cisco Nexus 9300 family: This series is considered as fixed switch as mentioned before, which means that you can’t add or remove module to or from its chassis, this means that the switch has certain number of I/O modules or line cards and each module or card has certain number of physical ports with certain operational speed that can’t be changed. This series can be installed at the Leaf layer (when working with ACI mode) or at access layer (when working with normal NX-OS mode), but there is only one switch that can be installed at the Spine layer (when working with ACI mode) which is 9336PQ as it has 36 port working at 40 Gbps for this reason it can be installed at a higher layer in your design, while the remaining switches are installed either at Leaf or Access layer at the different layered design. Each of the Nexus switches consists of multiple parts that we need to talk about and to know the differences among the different families we have.

The Nexus switch consists of multiple parts each with different roles:

  1. Chassis: The chassis represents the actual enclosure of the switch itself where we put all the other parts, each switch under the families has certain dimensions and this is based on its specs and its purpose, the dimensions are measured in terms of Rack Units (RU). The below figure shows the Chassis without any module inserted: chassis
  2. Supervisor engine/module: It represents the brain and the processor of the switch and it is responsible for the control plane part of the switch, this means that all the control plane protocols either Layer 2, Layer 3 protocols  or other more intelligent functions are run and handled by the supervisor engine, so it seems the more important part in the entire switch, for this reason all the nexus switches can have two supervisor engines one acting as Active and the other acting as Standby in case of failure happened to the Active one, and for sure both of them are fully redundant and working in Stateful Switchover (SSO), this means that if the active supervisor failed for any possible reason the standby one will takeover the active role without any noticeable interruptions because of the SSO behavior as the protocols states, tables and data structures are fully synchronized between the two supervisor engines. The below figure shows the supervisor engine and it shows that it consists of one Ethernet management 10/100/1000 port, two USB ports, Console port and the other internal H/W components: supervisor
  3.  Line cards, switching or I/O module: This part represents the actual card or module that has the physical ports. There are different types of modules in general either Layer 2 module (that has switched ports working only at Layer 2) or Layer 3 module (that has routed ports working at Layer 3), as well the modules have ports working at different speeds, there are modules working at 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps or 100 Gbps and for sure it requires ports with certain H/W specs, each series support different modules and this is based on its main purpose, i mean if the Nexus switches that are designed to work at access layer they for sure don’t need to support Layer 3 module as well don’t need to support the modules working at 40 or 100 Gbps because they are not designed to work at such speeds. The below figure shows the line card, switching or I/O module:
  4. line cardFabric module: It represents the backplane or the crossbar fabric of that is responsible for connecting the different line cards with each others and with the supervisor engines, this means that if the switch receive packet on one port of one line card and the forwarding decision is taken and the packet should be forwarded out another port located in another line card, so this packet should be passed over the fabric module to make an additional packet lookup and then forwarded to the other line card where the destination port is located, in order to achieve max throughput and achieve forwarding the traffic at the  line-rate that it should work at, so the switch must install multiple fabric modules to achieve this task, there are some Nexus switches support up to 6 fabric modules per chassis and those are the most powerful Nexus switches that support extremely high throughput. Each fabric module may have one or more part called by Network Forwarding Engine (NFE) which is used by the fabric module to do the packet forwarding lookup and take its decision. The below figure shows the fabric module:
  5. fabric modulePower Supply: As the name implies, it represent the power supply that is responsible for getting the power from external power source, and for sure you can install multiple power supplies at the chassis to support max redundancy in case there is failure happened to one or more power supplies at the same time, as well there are certain strategies that you can follow to determine if some of the power supplies should be working in redundant mode or should be operational and provide load balancing among the available power supplies. The below figure shows the power supply: PS
  6. Fan Trays: This represents the part where the fans are located, it is too important to have multiple fans installed on the chassis to make sure that the cooling system is working at good condition to avoid any increase in the temperature that may results in failure in the operation, so for sure we need multiple fans to be installed. If one or multiples fans failed for any possible reason the system will adjust the speed of the working fans to compensate the failed one to maintain the cooling system. The below figure shows the fan tray: fan trays

Let’s get back to Nexus 9300 family and see the different types and specs:

There are many switches belong to the Nexus 9300 family such as 9396PX 48 ports 1/10 Gbps, 9396TX 48 ports 1/10 Gbps, 93128TX 96 ports and 9336PQ 36 ports 40 Gbps.

The following is the H/W specs of the Nexus 9300 family:

1-Chassis: Some are 1 RU and others are 2 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: No supervisor engine module can be added or removed.

3-Line cards: It has one Line card but can’t be removed or add new line card.

4-Fabric module: No fabric module can be added or removed, but it has crossbar switch fabric acting as backblane in the background.

5-Power supply: It support two power supplies one working and the other is in standby and it is known by 1+1 redundancy.

6-Fan trays: It has dual Fan tray.

  • Cisco Nexus 9500 family: This series is considered as modular switch as mentioned before, which means that you add or remove module to or from its chassis, this means that the switch can install different types of modules with ports operational at different speed. This series can be installed at the Spine layer (when working with ACI mode) or Aggregation or Core layer (when working with normal NX-OS mode) at the different layered design. Let’s see the different types of switches belong to the Nexus 9500 family and their H/W specs:

a-Nexus 9504:

1-Chassis: It is 7 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at half-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy half-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 4 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 6 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 4 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 3 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 9504: 9504

b-Nexus 9508:

1-Chassis: It is 13 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at half-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy half-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 8 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 6 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 6 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 3 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 9508:  9508

b-Nexus 9516:

1-Chassis: It is 20 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at half-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy half-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 16 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 6 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 10 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 3 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 9516 (now you already know the location of each module, so no need to mention them again):  9516

2-Cisco Nexus 7000 or 7K  and 7700 Family: The Nexus 7000 or 7K and 7700 family is one of the most powerful Nexus switches that can be placed at the Core layer because of the great features offered by this family at which it supports different types of interfaces that can work at different speeds 1, 10, 40 and 100 Gbps and as well it provides very high throughout in addition to the VDC feature that i talked before in the previous post.

Let’s see the different types of switches belong to the Nexus 7000 and 7700 family and their H/W specs:

a-Nexus 7004:

1-Chassis: It is 7 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at full-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy full-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 2 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 5 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 4 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 2 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 7004: 7004

b-Nexus 7009:

1-Chassis: It is 14 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at full-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy full-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 7 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 5 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 2 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 7009:7009

c-Nexus 7010:

1-Chassis: It is 21 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines.

3-Line cards: It supports 8 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 5 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 3 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 2 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 7010:

7010

d-Nexus 7018:

1-Chassis: It is 25 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at full-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy full-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 16 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 5 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 2 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 7018:

7018

 

e-Nexus 7706:

1-Chassis: It is 9 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at half-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy half-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 4 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 6 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 4 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 3 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 7706:

7706

f-Nexus 7710:

1-Chassis: It is 14 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at half-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy half-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 8 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 6 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 4 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 3 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 7710:

7710

 

g-Nexus 7718:

1-Chassis: It is 26 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: It supports two supervisor engines installed at half-width, this means that each supervisor module occupy half-width of the chassis.

3-Line cards: It supports 16 line cards or I/O module.

4-Fabric module: It supports up to 6 fabric modules.

5-Power supply: It support up to 16 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 3 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 7718:

7718

 

  • Cisco Nexus 5000 or 5K Family: The Nexus 5000 or 5K family is suitable and ideal to be used inside server farm, so that it can be placed at the access layer because of its support for virtualization and suitable for unified fabric environment (i.e suitable for the network where both LAN and SAN exist)

Let’s see the different types of switches belong to the Nexus 5000 family and their H/W specs:

a-Nexus 5548:

1-Chassis: It is 1 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: No supervisor engine module can be added or removed.

3-Line cards: It has one Line card but can’t be removed, but there is an expansion module that allow adding new line card.

4-Fabric module: No fabric module can be added or removed, but it has crossbar switch fabric acting as backblane in the background.

5-Power supply: It support 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports  2 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 5548:

5548

b-Nexus 5569:

1-Chassis: It is 2 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: No supervisor engine module can be added or removed.

3-Line cards : It has two Line cards but can’t be removed, but there is an expansion module that allow adding new line card.

4-Fabric module: No fabric module can be added or removed, but it has crossbar switch fabric acting as backblane in the background.

5-Power supply: It support 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports up to 4 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 5569:

5569

 

 

  • Cisco Nexus 3000 or 3K Family: The Nexus 3000 or 3K family provides high performance for switching and extremely low latency  and it is suitable and ideal to be used with environment that requires ultra low latency such as critical financial applications so this family is the perfect choice for such situation.

Let’s see the different types of switches belong to the Nexus 3000 family and their H/W specs:

a-Nexus 3016:

1-Chassis: It is 1 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: No supervisor engine module can be added or removed.

3-Line cards: It has one Line card but can’t be removed or add new line card.

4-Fabric module: No fabric module can be added or removed, but it has crossbar switch fabric acting as backblane in the background.

5-Power supply: It support 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports  1 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 3016:3016

b-Nexus 3048:

1-Chassis: It is 1 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: No supervisor engine module can be added or removed.

3-Line cards: It has one Line card but can’t be removed or add new line card.

4-Fabric module: No fabric module can be added or removed, but it has crossbar switch fabric acting as backblane in the background.

5-Power supply: It support 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports  1 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 3048:

3048

c-Nexus 3064:

1-Chassis: It is 1 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: No supervisor engine module can be added or removed.

3-Line cards: It has one Line card but can’t be removed or add new line card.

4-Fabric module: No fabric module can be added or removed, but it has crossbar switch fabric acting as backblane in the background.

5-Power supply: It support 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports  1 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 3064:

3064

c-Nexus 3548:

1-Chassis: It is 1 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: No supervisor engine module can be added or removed.

3-Line cards: It has one Line card but can’t be removed or add new line card.

4-Fabric module: No fabric module can be added or removed, but it has crossbar switch fabric acting as backblane in the background.

5-Power supply: It support 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports  1 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 3548:

3548

 

  • Cisco Nexus 2000 or 2K Fabric Extender (FEX) Family: The Nexus 2000 or 2K  FEX family is used to provide virtualization at the access layer, as i mentioned before at the previous post that this family is used as child switch when we deploy the FEX, at which it is a great feature that is used to support the growth of  number of servers needed to be connected to the access switch, for this reason the FEX is a great idea to be used for this purpose, as well when the FEX is implemented the Nexus 2K FEX ports are configurable and manageable from the parent switch CLI, so by this action it achieved the virtualization at the access layer. It is deployed at either Top of Rack (ToR) or End of Raw (EoR) as the following figure:

fex

 

Let’s see the different types of switches belong to the Nexus 2000 family and their H/W specs:

a-Nexus 2148:

1-Chassis: It is 1 RU.

2-Supervisor engine module: No supervisor engine module can be added or removed.

3-Line cards: It has one Line card but can’t be removed or add new line card.

4-Fabric module: No fabric module can be added or removed, but it has crossbar switch fabric acting as backblane in the background.

5-Power supply: It support 2 power supplies.

6-Fan trays: It supports  1 Fan trays.

The following figure shows the Nexus 2148:

2148

The remaining switches belong to the Nexus 2K FEX family have the same H/W specs except for the number of ports in each line card such as: Nexus 2224 24 ports 100/1000 Mbps, 2248 48 ports 100/1000 Mbps, 2232 32 ports 1/10 Gbps.

 

Hope that the post is helpful.

Regards

Mostafa Hamza

 

2 thoughts on “2-DC/Nexus Switch Family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s