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6 minute read15 Unique Terms You Need to Know about Cisco Nexus Switches

Cisco Nexus Switches

Switches are always changing and adapting. You need to know terms that are unique to Cisco Nexus Switches. Learn key features, terms, and where you can source hardware.

Information Assimilation

Because switches do learn and adapt, when you need to purchase or upgrade switches, the more information you can gather, the better chance you have of finding the best product for your requirements and budget. Information to be collected includes each piece of equipment that is needed, its compatibility, and its current and future use.


What is a Cisco Nexus Switch?

Cisco Nexus Switches

The Cisco Nexus switch is a modular fixed port network switch designed to handle modern-day data center requirements, which include multicore computing, server virtualization (to reduce the number of physical nodes on the rack), Port scalability, High Bandwidth, and Low latency switching across the servers.

The switch runs on the Cisco Nexus operating system which enables the Cisco Switch to operate modularly and with high reliability. These switches are renowned for their ability to preserve information in cases of a power outage or server failure without disruption of their activities. The switches take advantage of the Cisco unified fabric which merges data, storage, and networking services by providing servers with access to all network and storage resources while reducing the need for several computational network arrays.


Features of the Cisco Nexus Switches

The Cisco Nexus switches present a variety of features needed for a modern-day data center’s day-to-day operation. They include:

  • High Availability: The modular nature of Cisco Nexus switches allows them to function independently, which then ensures that service interruption on any of the nodes does not create downtime for the entire system.
  • Security: The Cisco Nexus switches provide exceptional data confidentiality, prevent network failure or deterioration, and preserve data integrity due to deliberate attacks on the server network or unintended malicious actions by the clients.
  • Virtualization: Virtualization increases business agility which, in turn, helps cut costs and makes data center management easier in some ways.
  • Network Connectivity: Data can be shared over a range of network protocols such as Ethernet, fiber channel, and fiber channel over Ethernet (FCoE). Other features include fast networking (100Mbps – 100Gps per port), scalability, unified data center operating system, and better multicast routing (IPv4 and IPv6).


15 Terms Unique to Cisco Nexus Switches

15 Terms Unique to Cisco Nexus Switches

Nexus Operating System
The Nexus Operating System (NX-OS) is built with modularity, resilience, and serviceability. The NX-OS is based on the industry-proven Cisco Storage Area Network Operating system software, which ensures continuous availability of data even under fault conditions while ensuring operational flexibility.
Virtual Extensible Local Area Network
Virtual Extensible Local Area Network (VXLAN) is the network virtualization technology used in Cisco Nexus switches to help tackle the scalability problems associated with large cloud computing systems. This is accomplished by stretching layer 2 connections (Ethernet connections) over a layer 3 network (Internet protocol) by tunneling the Ethernet frames in a VXLAN packet.
Application Centric Infrastructure
The Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, ACI, is a software-defined networking solution designed to allow the network infrastructure to be determined based on network protocols. ACI ensures the whole network topology is simplified and streamlined to help enhance the network architecture.
Video Communication Server
VCS, Video Communication Server, ensures smooth and optimal video communication within organizations and remote workers using unified communications and voice-over-IP, regardless of the device or location.
Virtual Device Context
Virtual Device Context (VDC) enables the separation of a physical nexus switch into multiple logical devices, with each appearing as a unique device, which allows separate access control per VDC for different administrators, fault isolation, separation of data traffic.
Unified Fabric Extender
Unified Fabric Extender (UFE) delivers architectural flexibility, scalability, and intelligence with consistent networking across physical virtual and cloud environments, as it provides connectivity, unifies storage, data, and networking services to address the ever-increasing requirements of data centers.
Virtual Port Channel
VPC, Virtual Port Channels, help link Layer 2 devices (Ethernet) to two switches at the same time, creating a situation where, if one switch fails, the other continues to function.
Fibre Channel over Ethernet
Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) network technology enables Cisco Nexus switches to run fiber channel communications over ethernet networks at high speeds while preserving existing fiber channel protocols. This technology aims to consolidate I/O and reduce switch complexity.
End Of Row Access Switch
Some versions of the Cisco Nexus switches (Nexus 9500) are considered End of Row (EOR) switches, as they deploy a centralized form of networking and management.
Overlay Transport Virtualization
Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) extends layer 2 communications between layer 3 communication networks, which helps to scale data across multiple data centers without the need to redesign the network architecture.
Software-Defined Networking
Cisco Nexus Switches make use of the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) protocol to communicate with the system’s hardware, manage data center traffic without human intervention (automated provisioning), and customize network infrastructure.
Virtual Routing and Forwarding
Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF) creates multiple routing instances (virtual) within a layer 3 device, with each being independent of the other. This enables the partitioning of network paths without using multiple devices.
In-Service Software Upgrade
In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) allows the Cisco Nexus 9000 switch to undergo an upgrade while the system continues to operate, eliminating downtime. It also enables quick implementation of new software features after a system upgrade.
Persistent Storage Device
A PSS, Persistent Storage Device, helps maintain the information state in the Nexus Cisco Switches in cases of fault or power outages. They provide reliable storage capabilities to the software architecture to checkpoint their internal state and data structures, enabling non-disruptive restarts after faults.
Open Shortest Path First
Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) uses an Internet Gateway Protocol to distribute IP routing information throughout a single autonomous system in an IP network.

Sourcing Parts and More

Reliant Technology is here when you are searching for help maintaining and servicing your data center infrastructure. As your system needs replacement parts or reaches End of Life (EOL) or End of Service Life (EOSL), the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will stop offering maintenance contracts. You can easily get more years out of your system by turning to a Third Party Support and Maintenance Provider, like Reliant Technology, when that happens.

You can continue to find

  • Replacement parts
  • Remote monitoring
  • Phone and on-site tech support
  •  On-site spare parts kits and training

Reliant Technology engineers are highly experienced with Cisco and other switches, such as those offered by Brocade. Reliant Technology will work with you and help you make the most informed and be

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

Reliant Technology Cares

Reliant Technology Cares

When you have Reliant Technology support your data center, you help us support SERV International and provide thousands of meals for starving children.

About Reliant Technology

As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.

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