Vivek Baveja brings more than 17 years of networking technology and management experience across enterprise and service provider verticals. He is currently a technical marketing engineer with Cisco Catalyst Series switching products with a focus on backbone, core, and distribution across Layer 2, Layer 3, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), DCN, telecommunications, and newer technologies across hardware and software, enabling the enterprise for the next generation of networks. He holds a bachelor of electronics engineering, CCIE, and management degree from the Wharton School of Business.
During this live event, Cisco subject matter expert Vivek Baveja provided an overview of the key components, design details, and operational benefits of using a Cisco Catalyst 6800 Virtual Switching System (VSS) with quad-sup SSO, along with the new campus FEX technology Cisco Catalyst Instant Access (CIA).
During the live webcast, following topics were covered:
Overview of Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Hardware
Overview of Cisco Catalyst VSS design and benefits
Overview of Cisco Calalyst CIA design and benefits
Q. Is the Catalyst 6800 Series a replacement for the Catalyst 6500 Series?
A. The Catalyst 6800 Series does not replace the Catalyst 6500 Series. There is not an end-of-life (EoL) plan for the Catalyst 6500 Enhanced (6500-E) Series platform. The focus of the Catalyst 6800 Series is to bring your backbone experience to the next level. All of the new line cards still work with the Catalyst 6500-E Series in order to provide investment protection.
Q. How different is a Catalyst 6800 Series switch from a Catalyst 6506-E switch?
A. In a Catalyst 6800 Series switch, the per-slot switching capacity is much higher than in the Catalyst 6500-E Series chassis. The Catalyst 6500-E with Supervisor Engine 2T (Sup2T) can do a maximum of 80 G per slot. The same Sup2T on the Catalyst 6807-XL can do 220 Gb/s per slot and the maximum the Catalyst 6807-XL can do is 880 Gb/s per slot with Active Supervisor. The Catalyst 6807-XL has new power supplies which are platinum efficient. It also has a more efficient redundant fan tray than the Catalyst 6500.
Q. Are there any plans for new service modules or are those days over?
A. The new Catalyst 6807-XL switch supports the current service modules: Network Analysis Module 3 (NAM3), Wireless Services Module 2 (WiSM2), Adaptive Security Appliance Security Module (ASA SM), and so on.
Q. Is there MACsec link encryption on this platform or line cards?
A. Macsec is supported on all SFP+ based 10G ports in hardware.
Q. How is the airflow in the Catalyst 6807 chassis?
A. The airflow is right to left, similar to the Catalyst 6500-E chassis.
Q. Are there any plans to release a 100 G line card to the Catalyst 6880-X?
A. To be determined. The chassis can provide additional fabric channels with the intent to support up to 4 x 40 G or 2 x 100 G ports per slot.
Q. Why did Cisco release the Catalyst 6800 Series when it has the Nexus 7000, Nexus 6000, Nexus 5000, and so on?
A. The focus of the Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series is to bring your backbone experience to the next level and the enterprise environment. The Nexus 7000 and Nexus 5000 are datacenter-oriented.
Q. Is there support for Supervisor Engine 720 (Sup720) on the Catalyst 6800-XL?
A. No, there is not support for Sup720 on the Catalyst 6807-XL chassis. Only Sup2T is supported.
Q. Can I use the supervisor slot for line cards in the Catalyst 6807-XL?
A. No. Supervisor slots are supported for use only by Subversion or Service Modules; no line cards are supported.
Q. If the Sup2T is built-in to the Catalyst 6880 chassis, does that mean it is a single supervisor only?
A. Yes, it is a single supervisor and fixed.
Q. Does the Catalyst 6880 support Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP), Network Address Translation (NAT), and Port Address Translation (PAT)?
A. Yes. It supports LISP and NAT, as well as the PAT feature.
Q. Will the Catalyst 6807-XL work with any Firewall Services Module (FWSM) that the Catalyst 6500 offered?
A. FWSM is not supported on the Catalyst 6807-XL. ASA SM is the only SM supported. The same SMs are supported on the
6807-XL chassis as those that Sup2T supports on the Catalyst 6500-E.
Q. Is there any supervisor supported apart from the Sup2T by the Catalyst 6800 Series?
A. Today it only supports Sup2T. All of the Sup2T features are supported.
Q. Why is there support for LISPm, but not Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV), FCeE, and so on?
A. The Catalyst 6800 Series targets a campus implementation, not a datacenter implementation. On the OTV side, Cisco supports Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS)/Advanced VPLS (A-VPLS) and Layer 2 over Generic Routing Encapsulation (L2oGRE), so there is an alternative option on this platform.
Q. Will the Catalyst 6800 support bidirectional optics for 40 Gb/s?
A. An adaptor will be used to convert 4 x 10 G into a 40 G.
Q. Does the Catalyst 6800 support any Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM)-Transceiver in order to connect directly to an ONS without a transponder?
A. Yes, it does support DWDM-Transceiver.
Q. Why does Cisco have two competing platforms with a central management (Nexus 5500/7000 and Catalyst 6807) core and top-of-rack (ToR) switches? Given both cores perform routing and switching, how is an enterprise customer to choose which platform is best for Enterprise Data Centers?
A. Nexus is for datacenters and Catalyst is for a campus environment. The Instant Access (IA) solution on Catalyst is not meant for ToR deployment, even though it can do that. The target is campus access as it supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), stacking, and so on.
Q. Is the Sup2T the last supervisor offered for the Catalyst 6500-E?
A. Future supervisors will also be supported, but they cannot work more than 92 G per slot switching throughput.
Q. Do the remote switches have redundant power?
A. The current switches do not support a redundant power supply. They only support one power supply with redundant power.
Q. Does the Catalyst 6800 Series have content-switching modules?
A. The Catalyst 6807-XL had switching modules, but they are not on the Catalyst 6880-X.
Q. Are there any good documents on Service Discovery Gateway?
Q. Is the 21 switch limitation due to the maximum capability of today's Catalyst 6807 supervisor and will it support more access switches later? What actually limits it to 21 switches?
A. This is just a testing limitation. We are planning to raise this limit to 2,000 ports (42 IA switches) by the end of the year.
Q. Is there a roadmap for 40 G support on the Catalyst 6800?
A. Yes, you will see more toward the end of 2014. The Catalyst 6807-XL supports 40 G with the 6904 module.
Q. How many IPv4/IPv6/MAC records does the Catalyst 6807 support?
A. It supports up to 1 million IPv4 addresses, 512,000 IPv6 addresses, and 128,000 MAC addresses.
Q. Are there plans for Software Defined Networking (SDN)/OpenFlow support on the Catalyst 6800 Series?
A. Yes, there will be one PK and OpenFlow 1.3 client in Q4CY14. Cisco currently runs a POC with selected customers and can provide an image if it is needed.
Q. Do you have any OpenFlow support images for the Catalyst 6500 Sup720 PFC3b?
A. No. There are only images for Sup2T. This is mainly because Cisco can leverage the new PFC4 functionality for matching and the bigger netflow table can be leveraged for OpenFlow. There are no plans to do this for Sup720.
Q. Can you connect the Catalyst 29XX and 3xxx Series switches to the Catalyst 6800 Series switches?
A. Yes, you can connect 29XX and 3XXX switches in the Traditional manner. These do not support Instant Access with the current release.
Q. How many fans are in the fan tray and how many individual fans can fail before the fan tray has to be replaced?
A. There are a total of nine fans in the Catalyst 6807-XL. Three can fail and you have 120 seconds to remove the faulty fan tray and insert the new one.
Q. Can you explain the Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP)-Quad SFP (QSFP) adapter and how it works?
A. It is an adapter that takes four ports of SFP+ and provides a QSFP input where you can connect any ordinary 40 G optics.
Q. What are the key limitations encountered on day one with the Catalyst 6800IA? I see the lack of next generation line cards, immature code, and so on.
A. There will be a next generation line card. The code is mature, so the only limitation might be the scale for day one. However, it is really up to you to see if that is a limitation for your deployment.
Q. Can you address Nexus versus the Catalyst 6800 Virtual Switching System (VSS)?
A. Nexus has its own implementation of VSS which is called Virtual Port Channel (vPC). It has two different boxes which are managed separately so there are two control plans, but both these plans are in sync with each other. Catalyst switches do not have two control plans. Currently only one control plan is active and is used to manage the data plan for both devices. There are two different implementation methods; one method is used for a datacenter and the other method is used for an enterprise implementation. The VSS is more suitable for an enterprise implementation in terms of a single point of management, simplicity, and feature richness. In a Fabric Extender (FEX) solution, the Catalyst 6800IA (Instant Access) works with the Nexus 6000 solution of VSS and these are not interoperable.
Q. Why is the airflow site-to-site and the fan tray use in front?
A. Typically in an enterprise space, live closets are small and the access to the unit from the back is not possible. Therefore, access from the front of the unit is the only choice. Site-to-site airflow is only the way to cool the unit. This is an enterprise solution and is customized for enterprise space.
Questions on 6800 Virtual Switching System(VSS):
Q. Can the Catalyst 6800 do Virtual Device Context (VDC)?
A. No, the Catalyst 6800 does not support VDC functionality.
Q. Can we run two control plans in the Catalyst 6800 VSS?
A. No, the current version of software only allows it to run one control plan at a time. When you club two switches with VSS technology, the control plan of the active supervisor processor and the data plan of both supervisors are used for operation.
Q. Does the Catalyst 6800 support Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)?
A. No, it does not support FCoE. FCoE is generally used in datacenter devices such as the Nexus 7000, 5000, and so on. The Catalyst 6800 is more of an enterprise device and it does not concentrate on data technologies.
Q. Will Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL)/Fabric Path be supported on Catalyst?
A. No, it is not supported today.
Q. How does the Catalyst 6800 VSS compare operationally with the Catalyst 6500 VSS and the Nexus vPC? Is the Catalyst 6500 chassis marked for EoL anytime soon?
A. First, there are no plans to end-of-sale (EoS) the Catalyst 6500-E Series. VSS works exactly the same on the Catalyst 6800 and the Catalyst 6500-E since both are powered by the same Sup2T and the same Cisco IOS®. The Catalyst 6000 Series does not support vPCs since this is a Nexus feature.
Q. Is downtime required when a software upgrade is performed on the Catalyst 6500 VSS and the Catalyst 6800 VSS?
A. If you use the In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) and the ESS mechanism there should not be any downtime. The same supervisor and Cisco IOS are used by the Catalyst 6500-E Series and the Catalyst 6807-XL chassis. Hence, there is no difference in operations.
Q. What is the convergence time for Quad VSS?
A. It takes 50 to 200 ms of convergence time for Quad VSS.
Q. Is the Catalyst 6880 VSS-capable?
A. Yes, it supports VSS.
Q. Can you implement Quad Sup VSS with two Catalyst 6500s and Catalyst 6800s with Sup2Ts?
A. No, such an implementation is not supported.
Q. Is there any disruption observed while the supervisor card is switched over from active to hot?
A. The line card and ports stay up and there is a maximum 200 ms traffic disruption.
Q. Which supervisors are active in a VSS with Quad Sup and stateful switchover (SSO)?
A. With Quad Sup there is only one supervisor which is active from the control plane perspective. All supervisors are active from the data plane. The advantage you receive with Quad Sup is that when there is a failure of one supervisor in each chassis there is no impact. The standby supervisor within that chassis takes over and convergence is less than 200 ms.
Q. Does the Catalyst 6500 support Quad Sup VSS?
A. Yes, the Catalyst 6500 supports Quad Sup VSS.
Q. Do you have any plans for the 4500 (Sup7E) to support Quad Sup VSS?
A. No, there are no plans to bring Quad Sup VSS to the 4000.
Q. Is Quad Sup VSS with all Supervisor data planes active supported on the 6500 and 4500 platforms as well?
A. Quad Sup is supported only on the 6500. It is not supported on the 4500.
Q. What line cards support VSS?
A. All line cards with Sup2T are supported in VSS.
Q. Is it possible to VSS between the Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 since the supervisor engine is the same on both, such as Sup2T?
A. No, this is not supported. You need the same model.
Q. What happens when the Virtual Switch Link (VSL) is down in Hyper VSS?
A. Both switches become active. This is called dual active, and there are techniques to detect this such as EPAGP, Fast Hellos, and BFD. Once it is detected, the active supervisor or switch moves into recovery mode and shuts down all ports except the VSL interfaces.
Q. When a switchover is completed it looks like all the Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) neighborships are reestablished. Is this really done or is it just a syslog message?
A. It is the feature with nonstop forwarding (NSF). Neighborship never goes down; it is just reestablished.
Q. What is different between ISSU and ESSU?
A. ISSU is an in-service software upgrade and ESSU is enhanced service software upgrade. ISSU is essentially replicated and the software upgrade happens hitless. ESSU is an enhanced form of that.
Q. What is the difference between VSS and vPC in the Nexus Operating System (NX-OS)?
A. In the NX-OS run on vPC, two control plans and data plans are both active. In Catalyst 6000, VSS runs with Cisco IOS. A single control plan is active at a time and controls both data plans across the chassis and provides a single point of management, simplicity, and feature richness. Additionally, the Catalyst 6800 VSS allows you to have Quad Sup redundancy in order to provide hyper-high availability.
Questions on Instant Access(IA):
Q. Is the Catalyst 6800IA switch used like a fabric extender?
A. Yes, the Catalyst 6800IA switch is like a fabric extender.
Q. Is the Catalyst 6801 similar to a FEX N22xx?
A. It is a similar concept from the management perspective (single point of management). However, the Catalyst 6800IA is targeted for a campus environment. It supports PoE+, stacking, and a downstream switch connection. Also, the optics supported to connect the Catalyst 6800IA are ordinary optics.
Q. Will the Catalyst 6800 support PoE on future line cards?
A. Not on the line cards. Cisco provides PoE with the Catalyst 6800IA.
Q. Do the IA switches support backward compatibility to 1G SFP on the uplink ports?
A. Today they only support 10G.
Q. Are there plans to increase the Catalyst 6800IA stack capacity?
A. Yes. It will increase up to 5 stacks.
Q. Do the Catalyst 6800IA switches act like FEXs or like traditional switches?
A. It is like a FEX with campus-specific features: PoE, stacking, and compact switch connection.
Q. Can you have control over VLANs using FEX?
A. Yes, you can have trunk ports on an IA switch.
Q. Does IA keep the configuration when the FEX-Fabric link is disconnected?
A. Yes, it retains the configuration.
Q. Does local switching happen on the IA FEXs?
A. No local switching performs on the IA. All switching decisions happen on the parent. Since you can stack up to three switches, and each switch has two 10 G ports, there is a total of 60 G uplink.
Q. What are the options if I have more than 1000, but less than 2000, ports on the access and IA is an option that is considered?
A. You need to connect those switches to another VSS Cluster. The current software only supports 1008 ports per VSS cluster.
Q. Will the Catalyst 6880 support the future Catalyst 6800IA 10 G model?
A. The Catalyst 6880 will natively support IA with the next release.
Q. Is STP disabled in the IA design?
A. Yes, STP is disabled on the links between the parent and the IA client.
Q. Is the Catalyst 6800IA used on both the Catalyst 6880 and Catalyst 6807?
A. IA is supported on the Catalyst 6807-XL as of today, but support on the Catalyst 6880 will come in the March 2014 release.
Q. What is the maximum IA support for the Catalyst 6880 and Catalyst 6807?
A. It is the same as the Catalyst 6807-XL; 1008 ports, 21 IA switches, and three per stack. If not stacked, then 12 standalone switches.
Q. Are the FEXs and IAs interchangeable? Which means, can you replace all access layer switches and DC top-of-rack (ToR) switches with FEXs?
A. No, you cannot swap IA and Nexus 2000.
Q. Can you use Fabric Extender Transceivers (FETs) instead of expensive SFP+ modules for the uplinks?
A. No, there is no FET support on IA.
Q. Is source/destination port load balancing supported on Multichassis Etherchannel (MEC) for IA?
A. Yes, it is supported.
Q. Does the Catalyst 6800IA support Full PoE, 30 watts on all 48 ports ?
A. It supports 15 watts on all 48 ports and 30 watts on 24 ports.
Q. How many IA switches does the Catalyst 6800 support?
A. The Catalyst 6800 supports up to 1,000 access ports today.
Q. Can you share details on SDP/SRP/ICC?
A. The IA client and parent communicate over four control protocols: Satellite Discovery Protocol (SDP), Satellite Registration Protocol (SRP), Satellite Configuration Protocol (SCP), and Inter Card Communication (ICC). These are at the heart of the IA.
Q. What is the power level of powered ports to run 802.11ac AP?
A. On each IA client you can have 48 PoE ports or a maximum of 24 PoE+ ports.
Q. Are there any plans to bring IA to the 4000 series?
A. There is no such plan. It will remain with the Catalyst 6000 Series (6500/6800) as a parent.
Q. What is the first version of Cisco IOS that IA will be supported from?
A. Support for IA starts with Cisco IOS Software Release 15.1(2) SY.
Q. Are there any plans to support Universal Power over Ethernet (UPoE) on the Catalyst 6800IA?
A. No, there are no plans today to support UPoE on the Catalyst 6800IA.
Q. Is there an IP configuration on IA?
A. No. The configuration is completed on the IA unit. All of the configurations are on the parent.
Q. Do the instant switches perform local switching?
A. No, there is no local switching.
Q. How many 10 G ports must be used in IA when there are three switches stacked in connection to the Catalyst 6807?
A. This depends on the performance you require. The minimum recommended is two, but you can go up to six ports of 10 G.
Q. What happens for IA switches during an upgrade for the Catalyst 6500/6800 core switches? Do the IA switches require a reboot?
A. Yes, it requires a reboot. It is like a line card in a Catalyst 6000 Series chassis, but you can stagger the reboot. You have the option to upgrade the IA along with the parent or you can upgrade the IA at a later stage. As part of the IA upgrade process the IA is rebooted. If there is stack of three switches, all three are rebooted.
Q. How many IA FEXs are supported by the Catalyst 6807-XL and Catalyst 6880-X?
A. In Cisco IOS Software Release 15.1(2) SY, there are 21 IAs and 12 FEX-IDs. It can stack up to three switches.