Cisco Catalyst 6500 New Modules

September 19th 2011

Cisco Systems have recently announced a series of new modules available for the Catalyst 6500 series platform which has already celebrated its 10th birthday. According to a well placed source, these annoucements are intended to carry the 6500 well into its 2nd decade.

In Summary:

A new VSS capable supervisor, the Supervisor 2T is available which provides up to 2 Terabits of switching capacity per platform, with up to 80 Gbps per slot.

A new range of high density 10 Gb interface cards, and for the first time, a non oversubscribed 8 port 10 GB module.

Existing 67XX 10 GB modules are NOT supported on the Sup2T. The newer 68XX and 69XX modules are not supported on the older Supervisors including the Sup720s.

Some points on 10 GB Support:

If you stay with Sup 720, you have a choice of the following 10GB modules, each of which has a 40 GB switch fabric connection.

X6704 – 4 Port X2 Module. RRP £12.5k. No oversubscription. X2 modules additional.
X6708 – 8 Port X2 Module. RRP £24k. 2:1 oversubscription. X2 modules additional.
X6716G – 16 Port X2 Module. RRP 25k. 4:1 oversubscription. X2 modules additional
X6716T – 16 Port Copper Module. RRP £14k. 4:1 oversubscription.

If you move to the Sup2T, you have some additional options, however you can’t use any of the above modules.

X6816G – 16 Port X2 module. RRP £25k. 4:1 oversubscription. X2 modules additional
X6816T – 16 Port Copper Module. RRP £14k. 4:1 oversubscription.

X6908G – 8 Port X2 module. RRP £25k. No oversubscription.

68XX modules have a 40 GB switch fabric connection.
69XX modules have a 80 GB switch fabric connection.

Barry Hesk

Cisco Catalyst 6500 VSS Supervisor Redundancy

For┬áa few┬áyears, Cisco have been positioning the Cisco Catalyst 6500 VSS within the data centre. Whilst VSS does indeed have many positive benefits (for VSS think about stacking a pair of 6500s like you do with a pair of 3750s, it’s the same concept) – including allowing you to port channel your edge switches into both “sides” of the VSS. Spanning Tree is no longer┬ámandatory – as the edge switches are connected to a single logical switch and there are no loops.

At layer 3 again, things are simpler. No more HSRP/VRRP – as the two physical 6500s present themselves as a single logical device.

However, one of the major issues has always been the lack of support for dual supervisors within a single chassis. Initial and subsequent releases of VSS only supported a maxmium of one supervisor per chassis. Failure of that supervisor would take the whole chassis down; whilst the VSS would stay up, any device that was only attached to the failing side would lose network connectivity.

The good news: it seems that in the latest IOS version for the 6500 , this has been addressed:

Quad-Supervisor Uplink Forwarding on In-chassis Standby Supervisor Engines

As a personal opinion, I think a feature rename to “Dual Supervisor Redundancy” is required, but that’s just me! We’re in the process of testing this new feature, and we’ll let you know how we get on.