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Cisco nPower X1 NPU, CRS-X and network convergence system (NCS) questions with answers

"nPower X1 is available in CRS-X and NCS platforms. The silicon uniquely enables us to perform to support events that span Layers 1 through 7."

Hummelstown, PA:   Tue, 9/24/13 - 1:51pm    View comments

Update Thursday, 9/26/2013:

Transcript: Cisco NCS Conference Call

Update Wednesday, 9/25/2013:

Jess LubertWells FargoJess Lubert senior equity analyst at Wells Fargo:

"We believe Cisco's NCS product family strengthens Cisco's core routing portfolio and extends the company's reach into the optical domain. To this point, the 6000 represents the industry's first 1Tbps/slot router (accomplished using a 10 port 100G module enabled by Cisco's CPAK optics), which offers system capacity and power efficiency metrics that surpass those available from competitive platforms.

"We view the 2000 to be an efficient optical transport solution, while the 4000 brings 400gig/slot capacity as well as OTN switching and Ethernet capabilities. NCS also maintains a robust set of virtualization capabilities, which we think may provide additional software and service business for Cisco. Importantly, Cisco indicated NCS won deals at several carriers (KDDI, Telstra, & SKY), and we suspect the platform may see additional interest from operators requiring the advanced throughput and service delivery capabilities the NCS offers.

"Our checks suggest Cisco's approach aligns well with the SDN/NFV objectives that are becoming increasingly important at many large carriers, as recently illustrated by AT&T's Domain 2.0 announcement."

Cisco nPower X1

What's the hashtag for this event?


Zetta = 10-?

Zettabyte = 10 to the 21st bytes.

What is the timing for nPower X1 based systems to be available?

The Cisco nPower X1 NPU is already shipping on the NCS 6000. CRS-X will also ship later this year.

Will the API be open for ISV's to develop applications that can interact with the network?

Our Cisco Evolve Programmable Network does use Open APIs across and between all layers of our Cisco Open Network environment software framework that we have opened up to the development and ISV communities.

Is this CHIP meant to primarily improve our core router product performance?

The Cisco nPower Network Processor Unit (NPU) addresses a number of things. In addition to performance and features, the integrated NPU addresses real estate challenges required for higher density as well as power and thermal.

If the IoE is really going to have such a huge impact on future network, can you share what some of those things are?

The IoE creates a significant revenue opportunity for our service provider customers. The growth of programmable machine driven events for smart home, industry, and health, etc.. will drive an incremental 2.8 trillion dollars over the next ten years.

So, NCS is completely different chassis than CRS-X right?

Yes, the NCS is a new system.

Will you be replacing more merchant silicon with your own proprietary silicon

Cisco always has a comprehensive strategy that involves proprietary, merchant, and general purpose silicon for the right fit for the right need.

Others have announced 1 Tb/s line cards. What makes the Cisco NCS 1Tb/s line card announcement unique?

While others have announced 1Tb line cards, Cisco is the first to ship 1Tb line cards. Other vendors are still waiting for certain technologies, Cisco is able to address real estate challenges and thermal with nPower and Cisco CPAK Optics technologies today.

What role does Open Daylight play in enabling these programmable capabilities?

Open Daylight is our open source software defined controller that interacts via Open APIs - eg Openflow, BGP-LS, I2RS, to our networking platforms enabling this type of programmability.

Is there a data sheet(s) on this info somewhere?

All NCS family data sheets will be available on later today.

What's the OS? IOS-XR?

Yes, NCS runs IOS-XR but with new virtualized capability.

Where does the NCS6000 fit in the network relative to the CSR-3?

The NCS product family was designed to be a fabric to interconnect and scale both existing and future network architectures. It works with our existing platforms like CRS-3 and the ASR family.

What's the advantage of NCS system than previous products?

With the NCS providers can now enable a fabric that enables rapid movement of edge, core, optical and data center functions in real time across the physical and virutal infrastructure layers of the network.

Is the new NPU going to be embedded into the ASR9000 edge router?

The nPower X1 is being used in the NCS 6000 and the CRS-X.

Alcatel-LucentJuniper NetworksWhat makes the NCS platform different from the Juniper PTX or ALU XRS-7950 announcements?

The NCS 6000 provides high density 100G (LR4). It's Virtualized IOS XR offers a wide range of features such as ISSU with Zero Packet Loss/Zero Topology loss. Virtualization will tie into our overall SDN/NFV solution.

Will this chip be used in edge router platforms?

We've announced that the nPower ASIC will be used in the CRS-X and the NCS6000 platforms.

Will nPower X1 target Layer 2 and 3 edge routing? Will it be used in future line cards in current ASR series routers? Will it be used to support Layer 4 through 7 capabilities in edge routers?

We are communicating that nPower X1 is available in CRS-X and NCS platforms. The silicon uniquely enables us to perform to support events that span Layers 1 through 7.

Why do customers need an Evolved Programmable Network? How is this different from Cisco's IP NGN?

Networking is fundamentally changing. Programmable devices (smart phones, tablets, etc), and sensor / machine-driven traffic is coming on line very rapidly. Internet of Everything needs to scale dramatically not just bandwidth but to trillions and trillions of device-driven "events". An "event" is something that creates triggers requiring actions or reactions from various policy, control and information processing functions across networks, data centers and connected resources. Events = \ Bandwidth Compute Control, hence the network needs programmability, elasticity, and intelligence to scale. Cisco can help service providers build an Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) that can help transform today's existing IP NGN to a virtualized environment that can allow applications and resources to move across the network in a flexible, programmable and scalable manner.

NCS will be replacing any Cisco's products line?

No. NCS will not replace any product lines. It is complementary.

What would you see to be your portfolio differentiators from an SDN/NFV perspective?

Key differentiators of our Cisco Open Network approach is that we embrace emerging SDN/NFV technologies to build an automated, fully virtualized, open and programmable infrastructure that enables operators to easily move any resources / applications wherever they are to accelerate time to revenue and improve business efficiency.

Is the new XR software going to support Segment Routing and BGP-LS please?

Yes, there are plans to support Segment Routing and BGP-LS. Please contact your account representative to get more information on our roadmap.

Is your new chip meant to displace EZchip Semiconductor in your edge routers or will it be used in complimentary products?

It is not meant to replace the EZ Chip and rather will co-exist and be used in complimentary products.

EPN = Cisco SDN?

The Enhanced Programmable Network has many SDN capabilities but also offers enhancements that enable fluid programmability across the infrastructure, orchestration and application layers of the network.

Does the nPower X1 is like the LC to the CRS-X or PRP?

nPower is for the LC, not the route processor.

Any nLight advantages will show?

nLight is available in ASR, CRS, and NCS as it is a feature of IOS-XR. It allows agility in unifying the IP and Optical network layers.

How will the NCS system and CRS-X platform interoperate and will there be scenarios where carriers may choose one versus the other?

NCS was designed to work with existing network architectures and developed to be a fabric to connect these new Evolved Programmable Networks. CRS-X allows us to continue to scale the large install base of CRS and provides even more investment protection and longevity to that platform while integrating new technologies like the nPower X1 chipset.

CPAK = nLight?

CPAK is the transceiver. Using silicon photonics innovations, we are able to shrink the power and space requirements for 100G optics by 1/3 of traditional CFP technology.

So is it a router please? (this NCS)

The NCS is an IP Transport Router.

Is the new nPower processor just in the CSR-X and NCS, or will it be in edge routing products as well?

Today we are communicating that nPower is available in both the CRS-X and the NCS platforms.

Will NFV and this intelligence be delivered via tradtional SDN or OnePK or both?

NFV and this intelligence are combined with emerging SDN technologies and Open APIs across all layers of our open and programmable Cisco Open Network Environment software framework. OnePK, Openflow, BGP-LS, I2RS, Netconf/Yang are some of the infrastructure APIs that enable bidirectional interaction with applications.

How does the NCS 6000 router contrast with the ASR 9000 router?

The NCS offers a new architectural addition to the Cisco portfolio that enables the aggregation of core, edge, optical and data center functions enabling real time movement of network functions. It uses a intelligent converged fabric. The ASR 9000 is our market leading edge platform.

Does it support 10x100G single LC?

Yes. This is already shipping.

What the Cisco pont of view about IP/MPLS on the access in order to save opex and capex of service providers?

IP/MPLS is being used in service provider networks in the access in conjunction with Ethernet. SPs who have made huge investments in IP/MPLS see the value in extending this technology from the Core and Edge allowing for better OPEX savings and enabling a seamless end to end architecture.

Is nPower X1, 400G simplex or 400G duplex?

The nPower X1 is 400G Simplex or 200G Full Duplex. It can handle a full 20x10GE or 2x100GE per ASIC.

When will NCS be generally available and shipping?

NCS 6000 and NCS 2000 are available and shipping now. NCS 4000 will be available in 1H CY 2014.

What is the key difference between CRS-X and NCS?

NCS compliments CRS-X. CRS-X and NCS 6000 use the same Cisco nPower X1 NPU offering feature consistencies. The 400G line card on CRS-X will help our customers expand their existing installed base. NCS 6000 offers customers with higher capacity needs long term. In addition the CRS-X investment protection is further extended thru the NCS 6000, which provides the network fabric.

Is scalability the primary advantage NCS offers versus the PTX?

Although scale is better than PTX, NCS offers much more to enable an Evolved Programmable Network to unify Data Center, Network, and user with intelligent virtualization and programmability from OS down into the silicon itself to handle the IoE.

Does NCS system have clusters like CRS series system?

NCS does indeed support Multi-Chassis technology just like CRS.

What is the competitive chip on market for this nPower X1?

There is no one that really compares. nPower offers performance in more than simple bandwidth for traffic. It offers control and compute performance, purpose built for SDN. Bandwidth, compute, and control...

How do you physically fit 10x100GE optics onto a single line card?

This 10x 100GE linecard leverages our new CPAK pluggable optics, based on CMOS Photonics to deliver the lowest size and power consumption in the industry. Because of this key innovation, we can fit 10 of these CPAK optics on a single linecard.

How can small/medium ISPs deploy NCS? Seems more reasonable for Enterprise sized SPs.

NCS was designed so that providers can deploy a system today and have that system grow with them over time. We can scale the bandwidth used and power drawn on the linecard and turn on more capacity as needed by the provider as they us more ports on the linecards.

Have the own CPAK, why still need cxp?

We like to give our customers options. Some customers preferred the CXP form factor.

Does NCS has 5 nPower X1 chip on each LC?

Yes to ship 1Tb/slot day one.

Does CPAK interoperate with existing CFP LR4?

Yes, absolutely.

What type of infra would you need on top of the NCS to allow development and deployment of apps that interconnect APIs of IoT devices? Deployment

NCS was built with SDN and NFV in mind and is thus part of our fully virtualized, programmable, and automated infrastructure. Our Cisco Open Network Environment includes cross-domain service and resource orchestration tools to interact via Open APIs to the applications for smart programmable machine driven service offerings.

When will the NCS 4000 be available?

In 1H CY 2014.

Will the NCS 6000 eventually displace new deployments of ASR 9000 since you indicated it "enables the aggregation of core, edge, optical and data center functions"?

No. Rather the opposite. The NCS fabric will unify existing ASR and CRS deployments.

Is NCS supports only 100G LC's?

Our AnyPort technology allows customers to support 10GE, 40GE, 100GE using different CPAK optics. Also, there will be a 10GE SFP.

Will the NCS only support CPAK interfaces? If not, what else?

Today we are announcing support for 10x100GE linecards with both CPAK and CXP based interfaces. We can use these technologies also to break out to 10GE as well. There will also be follow on linecards for the platform which are yet to be announced.

Does NCS support the latest techonology just like AVC and software defined network?

NCS definitely supports the full range of SDN protocols for flexible customer use and programmability.

How much will the 6000 cost?

For a system such as the NCS 6000 it's very dependent on how it's configured. Your Cisco account team would be happy to provide you with details based on your specific requirements.

Does NCS support OTN switching too?

OTN switching is supported with the NCS 4000 member of the NCS product family.

Is a same module to config for LR4 and ER4? Or different module?

LR4 and ER4 will utilize the same CPAK form factor and specification and fit into the same linecards, but are physically separate modules.

What impact will nPower have on the ASR's QuantumFlow processor? Replacement? Complement?

The ASR and NCS are complementary platforms - and so are the QuantumFlow and nPower ASICs.

Will Cisco Open up the programming for nPower series?

Not directly, however Cisco will offer Cisco One SDK for NCS and other products.

To be clear, for optical layer intergration NCS 4000 is the answer right?

Not necessarily, there is optical functionality across all members of the NCS product family. This can include direct IPoDWDM functionality, and/or native DWDM and OTN, and/or 96-channel ROADM functionality.

How programmable is nPower? Is it comparable to Intel's IXP series, EZChip's NPS?

Cisco is committed to programmability via SDN.

With the NCS sitting so centrally in the network, is the NCS being designed to primarily provide MPLS LSR functionality?

While the NCS does have LSR based cards and capabilities, with the nPower X1 we have designed a system that can do much more than just a pure LSR.

What networking circumstance will implement NCS system? Service Provider or other circumstance?

NCS is targeted at the service provider market.

Are their any increases in density for integrated long haul optics (IPoDWDM) for either CRS-X or NCS or is the main focus on CPAK LR4 for density?

There are plans for a wide range of CPAK optics. Higher density IPoDWDM is under consideration. Please consult with your account representative for roadmap.

Are SDK's available?

Cisco has published an SDK for our SDN-based OnePK open API programmability infrastructure.

Related documents:

Transcript: Cisco NCS Conference Call

Cisco NCS 2000

Cisco NCS 4000

Cisco NCS 6000

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