Cisco announced a new family of what it’s calling network fabric products based on the new network processor chip – the nPower X1 – that the company announced two weeks ago.
Cisco’s Network Convergence System was built to make networks massively scalable, smarter, and more adaptable. The new NCS products will be programmable, and will have the virtualization capabilities that will be the hallmark of software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV).
Cisco anticipates that in the not too distant future, networks will have to be able to handle trillions of programmable device-driven events generated in an environment in which an increasing number of machines must communicate with each other. Typically referred to as machine to machine (M2M), Cisco refers to the situation as the Internet of Everything (IoE).
The IoE requires networks to scale not only bandwidth, but also compute and control functions to manage policies and to program responses with precise results in the expected timeframe. The NCS, based on the nPower X1, is designed to facilitate such events.
Examples provided by Cisco included wearable health monitors linking with personal information and cloud-based health portals or 4G LTE-connected automobiles signaling that a driver is almost home, prompting the home network to adjust home temperature and lighting.
The NCS family is expected to complement the Cisco Carrier Routing System (CRS) and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) families, as an element in the Cisco ONE version of service provider networks.
The Cisco NCS converges IP and optical networks and is designed to also integrate with the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) and the Dynamic Fabric Automation capabilities supported by Cisco’s data centers.
This convergence capability enables the NCS to act as a flexible foundational network fabric for an evolved programmable network, able to shift and redirect data center, core, edge and optical resources spontaneously and in real time, allowing service providers to accelerate service velocity while reducing overall complexity and operating costs, Cisco said.
Cisco said BSkyB (Sky), KDDI and Telstra are already deploying the NCS.
The Cisco NCS family consists of three key components that can be managed as a single integrated system:
The NCS 6000 is shipping today with a 1 Tbps line card and the capability of transporting up to 5 Tbps per slot and 1.2 Pbps per system, to support a converged IP and optical environment.
The NCS 4000 will be available in the first half of 2014. It will support 400 Gbps per slot and 6.4 Terabits per system and be available in single, back-to-back, and multi-chassis configurations. It will also support optical transport network (OTN), dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM), SONET and Ethernet applications.
The NCS 2000, shipping today, connects DWDM transport networks at rates of 100 Gbps and beyond and supports dynamic network configurability with 96-channel, next-generation intelligent ROADM capabilities.
Yoshiharu Shimatani, senior vice president and director, KDDI, said, “Today, video, voice, and everything are running over the IP backbone infrastructure, with mobile and fixed lines. The Internet as we know it is at a crossroads, as the impact of not only human-driven but machine-driven events changes network dynamics and imposes entirely new service requirements. Managing bandwidth alone is no longer enough, as Internet transactions communicate at machine speeds. KDDI believes the Cisco NCS is the foundation for a new generation of Internet networks that will allow us to offer our consumer and business customers the newest and most exciting Internet experiences at a very low total cost of ownership.”