Cisco 6500 vs Cisco Nexus

Nathan explains some of the differences between the Cisco 6500 and the Cisco Nexus, helping you decide which platform might work best for you.


Hello, thank you for joining us again. Today we're going to be talking about the 6500 and the Nexus, kind of compare and contrast those and see which one might be right for you. What we have up here is we have 2 lists of features for both the 6500 and the Nexus. I'm going to go back and forth between these 2. We'll talk a little bit about it. What would make either platform right for you?

We'll start on the 6500 side. If you have a 6500, a lot of these features and things are going to be familiar to you. Right at the top of the list though is the IOS. 6500 IOS is something that's tried and true. It's been around a long time. Everyone's familiar with it. If you are, you know how powerful the IOS can be.

There's a lot of different features and functions that it has that other operating systems do not. It also has some proprietary things that they don't, but at the same time, it brings a lot of the power to the table that any great switching platform will.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have the Nexus. While it has a newer operating system, the NXOS has some similar features to the IOS, but it's built off the NDS9000 architecture. While it still does have a lot of the power, a powerful switching platform that the 6500 does as well, it is lacking some of the features that the 6500 has at this point.

Moving down the line, service modules versus fabric extenders. Service modules, things like the wireless service module, firewall services module, are things that we know and love in the 6500 having that modularity and the ability to support a wide variety of architectures. The Nexus doesn't have service module support as of yet.

I do believe that's something they're looking at possibly adding or adding at least in a limited basis, but what they do have is they have fabric extenders. While not a direct correlation, does give the Nexus the ability to expand across the data center and leverage its ability to have a wide variety of interfaces at very high speeds.

Which brings us down into our third point, which is the 6500 with high speed interfaces, 10 gig and 40 gig interfaces. While it can't do loads of 10 gig, it can support 4, 8, and 16 port 10 gig modules, which is huge and 40 gig coming on the horizon. The Nexus, of course, can do lots of 10 gig. It can also support 40 gig and even 100 gig, which the 6500, at this point, cannot do and probably will not although that remains to be seen, and then, also, fiber channel.

It has a lot of really high speed data interfaces, which differentiates it. I would say when you're comparing these 2 platforms, this may be the big selling point or the big reason to perhaps move to this platform. At the bottom, I wanted to also highlight how long have these platforms been around? The 6500's been around for 14 years. That's a long time.

They've refreshed things with the 6500 E Series, just recently announcing the Sup2T as well. That's refreshed this platform, but 14 years, I don't see that as a negative. I see that as a big positive. That means 14 years of blazing a trail and coming out with a technology that's rock solid. You don't have to worry about any uncertain paths here. Everything's been fully established.

Over here, we have 5 years. 5 years is a good amount of time, but it's still new by comparison. While there are some bugs and some things they're still working out, this platform's still growing. I would consider this a growing period where they're looking at ways that they can maintain and differentiate it from the 6500. At the end of the day, you need to consider all these aspects and decide which one would be right for you.

All right, we've considered a lot of different features and functionalities of both platforms, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to choice, which is probably the best thing. That will earn us the Green Lantern smiley face for today. Thanks for joining us. Hopefully, you learned something and we'll see you next time.