Cisco Nexus License

Cisco Nexus License

Cisco Nexus License


The Cisco Nexus License product line provides a series of solutions that attempt to make it easier to connect and manage disparate data center resources with software-defined networking (SDN). Leveraging the Cisco Unified Fabric, which unifies storage, data and networking (Ethernet/IP) services, the Cisco Nexus License Switches create an open, programmable network foundation built to support a virtualized data center environment.

First announced in January 2008, the Cisco Unified Fabric of the Cisco Nexus License Switches was designed to provide all servers with access to all network and storage resources, while eliminating the need for parallel storage and computational networks. The Cisco Nexus series switches are modular and fixed port network switches designed for the data center .The first chassis in the Nexus 7000 family is a 10-slot chassis with two supervisor engine slots and eight I/O module slots at the front, as well as five crossbar switch fabric modules at the rear. Beside the Nexus 7000 there are also other models in the Nexus range.

NX-OS has some high-availability features compared to the well-known Cisco IOS. This platform is optimized for high-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

The objective was to simplify deployments and ensure consistent networking across physical, virtual, and cloud environments to deliver:

Business and IT Agility: flexible, highly available fabric that supports dynamic resource allocation, changing traffic patterns, complex workloads, and scalability within and across data centers.

Simplified Operations: consistent policies and services that are built directly into the fabric and aware of the virtualized environment simplify the delivery and management of network functions in converged, virtualized and cloud environments.

Efficiencies: consolidated, multi-protocol solutions, with a single point of management for the LANs and SANs, minimizes disruptions to existing infrastructure and operations.

Cisco Nexus License


All switches in the Nexus range run the modular NX-OS firmware and operating system. Building on Cisco’s IOS, NX-OS combines the company’s storage area network (SAN) OS from its SAN switching lines with its IOS routing code. This modular design allows for fault containment and automatic recovery, so processes can be started, stopped, and upgraded, even without human intervention.

Nexus Switches provide a quick and dependable switching infrastructure aimed at giving users the high performance needed for the virtualized environment in next-generation data centers. They offer continuous system operations and transport freedom, I/O consolidation, as well as the delivery of advanced networking capabilities, such as high availability, hitless In-Service Software Upgrades (ISSU), etc.

Cisco Nexus License

Below is a quick look at the different Cisco Nexus Switch Series and their optimal use case:


Cisco Nexus License

Cisco Nexus License

The Nexus switching range


Nexus 1000v

The 1000v is a virtual switch for use in virtual environments including both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V It is as such not a physical box but a software application that interacts with the hypervisor so you can virtualize the networking environment and be able to configure your system as if all virtual servers have connections to a physical switch and include the capabilities that a switch offers such as multiple VLANs per virtual interface, layer-3 options, security features etc. Per infrastructure/cluster you have one VM running the Nexus 1000v as virtual appliance, this is the VSM or Virtual Supervisor Module and then on each node you would have a ‘client’ or Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM) a vSwitch which replaces the standard vSwitch.

Besides offering the NX-OS interface to configure, manage and monitor the virtual switch it also supports LACP link aggregation where the standard virtual switches only support static LAGs The configuration of VEMs is done via the VSM NX-OS Command-line interface.


Cisco Nexus License

Nexus 1010 / 1010x / 1100x

The Virtual Supervisor Module or VSM would normally run as a virtual appliance in an ESX/ESXi cluster but it is possible to run the VSM on dedicated hardware: the Nexus 1010, 1010x and 1100. For organisations where there is a very strict boundary between network management and server management, network administrators can avoid the dependency on the VSM running as virtual machine within the ESX cluster. The capabilities and limitations of a VSM running on a Nexus1010 are the same as a VSM running as virtual applicance under ESX. A Nexus 1100 can host up to 14 VSMs and it also allows additional services such as a Network Analysis Module to be run.

Cisco Nexus License

Nexus 2000 series

The Nexus 2000 series are fabric extenders (FEX): ‘top of rack’ 1U high system that can be used in combination with higher end Nexus switches like the 5000, 6000 or 7000 series: the 2000 series is not a ‘stand-alone’ switch but needs to be connected to a parent and should be seen as a ‘module’ or ‘remote line card’ but then installed in a 19″ rack instead of in a main switch-enclosure. The interconnection between this ‘remote line card’ and the 5000 or 7000 parent switch uses either proprietary interfaces (CX-1 for copper or the short or long range Cisco Fabric Extender Transceiver (FET) interfaces), or standard interfaces (Cisco SFP+ SR and LR fibre interface modules or SFP+ Twinax cables). In combination with the 5000/6000/7000 mother-switch you can create a so-called Distributed Modular System.

The 2000 series consists of 4 different models. Three models offer 24 or 48 Gbit/s only or 1 Gbit/s/fastethernet copper interfaces and up to four 10 Gigabit uplink interfaces on copper or fibre. The Nexus 2232PP offers thirty-two 1/10 Gbit/s ethernet and FCoE interfaces.The Nexus 2248PQ offers forty-eight 1/10 Gbit/s ethernet and FCoE interfaces.

The Nexus B22FEX offer 16 x 10 Gbase-KR internal 10 Gbit/s link to each blade-server interface and up to 8 SFP+ ports for uplink with a Nexus 5010, 5548 or 5596 switch. The maximum distance between the FEX and the mother-switch is 3 kilometer when it is only used for TCP/IP traffic and 300 meter when carrying also FCoE traffic.

Cisco Nexus License


Nexus 3000 series

The model 3064 is currently the only Nexus switch in the 3000-series utilizing merchant silicon. The 1U rack-switch with 1, 10 and 40 Gbit/s ethernet interfaces is designed for use in colo center. Offers layer2 and layer3 capabilities at wire-speed for all 64 interfaces running in 10 Gbit/s. Layer3 routing protocols supported include static routes, RIP v2, OSPF and BGP-4. The switch-fabric can switch 2.28 Tbit/s and forward up to 950 million packets per second. The switch is capable of building a route-table with up to 16000 prefixes, 8000 host-entries and 4000 multicast routes and up to 4096 VLANs are supported. On top of that a high number of ingress or egress ACLs can be configured.

The 3064 has a single fan tray, two replaceable power-supplies on board and two separate out of band management interfaces. To connect the 3064 to the rest of the network the use of proprietary EtherChannel or Link aggregation using industry-standard LACP or IEEE 802.3ad is supported with up to 32 port-channels with each up to 16 physical interfaces.

Cisco Nexus License

Cisco Nexus License

Nexus 4000 series

The Nexus 4000 series consists of only the model 4001: a blade-switch module for IBM BladeCenter that has all 10 Gbit Fibre Channel over Ethernet or FCoE interfaces. This blade-switch had 14 server-facing downlinks running on 1 Gbit/s or 10 Gbit/s and six uplinks using 10 Gbit/s SFP+ modules. For out-of-band management three ethernet-interfaces are available: one external 10/100/1000 bit/s copper interface, one internal management interface for the AMM or Advanced Management Module and one in-band interface using the VLAN interface option. And this blade-switch also has a serial console cable for direct access to the CLI
At present only switches for the IBM blade systems are available. When the Nexus 4000 series were announced in 2009 it was expected that there would be Nexus 4001 series for IBM and Dell (and not HP) but in February 2010 it became clear that Cisco canceled the Nexus 4001d for the Dell M1000e
For the HP blade system Cisco released a Fabric Extender, which compares with the Nexus 2000 top of rack devices, but then in a blade-form factor. The FEX that was developed for the Dell blade system, which was due to be released in the summer of 2010 was dropped at the same time as the Nexus 4001d in February of that year

Cisco Nexus License

Nexus 5000 series

The Cisco Nexus License series is a range of 5 models 1U or 2U rack-switches offering 20 to 96 interfaces running on 1 or 10 Gbit/s ethernet and 10 Gbit/s FCoE interfaces. They can be used with the above-mentioned Nexus 2000 series fabric extender. The 5000-series offer carrier-grade layer2 and layer3 switching as well as the mentioned FCoE capabilities.

Cisco Nexus License

The Nexus 5000 has 5 models:

Nexus 5010

8 ports with 1, 2 or 4 Gbit/s Fibre Channel

6 ports with 1, 2, 4 or 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel

4 ports with 10 Gbit/s FCoE or DCB and 4 ports offering 1, 2 or 4 Gbit/s Fibre Channel

6 ports offering 10 Gbit/s FCoE or DCB

Nexus 5020

A two rack-unit high switch with 40 fixed 10 Gbit/s supporting ethernet, FCoE and DCB and two expansion ports each offering one of the modules


Nexus 5548

The 5548 comes in two sub-models: the 5548P and 5548UP



Nexus 5596

The 5596 comes in two sub-models the UP and the T:

Next to the expansion modules all three Nexus 55xx switches offer the capability to insert a 160Gbit/s layer-3 routing engine

Cisco Nexus License

Nexus 6000 series

The Cisco Nexus License 6000 range contains two models, the 6001 model and the 6004 model. They can be used as layer2 and layer3 switches and can aggregate traffic from the Fabric Extenders (FEX) for different blade-server systems. Both models support either front to back or back to front airflow and they do support Fibre Channel over Ethernet in combination with a ‘full’ FCoE switch (e.g. Nexus 5500 or Brocade 8000 switch (which is same as Dell PowerConnect 8000e or blade version PCM 8428-k)).

Cisco Nexus License

Nexus 6001

The Nexus 6001 is a fixed 1 RU switch with 48 x 10 Gbit/s and 4 x 40 Gbit/s interfaces for uplinks. It can operate as both layer2 and as layer3 switch and in combination with FEX (fabric extenders) you can aggregate up to 1152 ports at 1 Gbit/s or 10 Gbit/s. System speed is wire-speed at layer2 and 1.28 Tbit/s for layer3 operation.


Nexus 6004 & 5696Q

The 2nd model in the Nexus 6000 series is a modular chassis, 4 Rack units high. The basic chassis offers 48 fixed QSFP+ ports at 40 Gbit/s each, each can be split in 4 x 10Gbit/s SFP+ ports. Besides the 48 QSFP+ ports the chassis can hold up to 4 expansion modules – each offering 12 additional 40Gbit/s QSFP+ ports – thus in total up to 96 QSFP+ ports or 384 SFP+/10Gbit/s ports and when aggregating FEX up to 1536 (blade)server ports at 1 or 10Gbit/s. As with the 6001 layer 2/layer 3 operation is at line-rate and total switching capacity of a chassis is 7,68Tbit/s. The Nexus 6004-EF switch is a modular device which provides the same features as the 6004 but with the use of expansion modules in all slots of the switch. The base configuration of the 6004-EF must have 2 x 12 port 40GbE expansion modules, delivering 24 ports of 40GbE or 96 ports of 10GbE. Additional capacity can be provided by installing further expansion modules.

For layer3 and FCoE operation additional licences are required

Cisco released the Nexus 6004X switch and renamed it to the Nexus 5696Q. Previously, the Nexus 6000 series was meant to be focused on the Cisco 40G aggregation products, and the 5500 and 5600 series on 10G. However, these switches mostly shared common hardware components, ASICs, and the same software images, so recently the Cisco decided to merge the product portfolios.

Cisco Nexus License

Nexus 7000 series


Although the Nexus 5000 had some modular capabilities and you can attach the Nexus 2000 fabric extender to the 5500 range, the Nexus 7000 is the real modular switch in the Nexus family with six versions: one 4 slot, one 9 slot, two 10 slot and two 18 slot switches. Unlike the other Nexus models, the 7000 series switches are the modular switches for campus core and data center access, aggregation and core. Some details on the models are detailed below. As with the Nexus 5000 series the Nexus 2000 Fabric Extenders can act as a remote line card on the 7000 series. 70xx and 77xx linecards and supervisor modules are not compatible.

Cisco Nexus License

Nexus 7004

Nexus 7009

Nexus 7010

Nexus 7018

Nexus 7710

Nexus 7718


Nexus 9000 series

The Nexus 9000 series is a range of many models 2U to 21U rack-switches offering 60 to 2304 interfaces running on 100Mb, 1Gb, 10Gb, 25Gb, 40Gb, 100Gb, 400Gb Ethernet, 10/25/40 Gb FCoE interfaces. They can be used with the above-mentioned Nexus 2000 series fabric extender.

Cisco Nexus License

The Nexus 9000 has many models:

Nexus 9396PX

12 ports with 40Gb supporting ethernet, FCoE or DCB


Nexus 93128TX

8 ports with 40 Gbit/s supporting ethernet, FCoE or DCB

Nexus 9504

Nexus 9508

Nexus 9516