Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A quick Nexus 5500 review

I've been working with the Nexus lineup for some  time now. Mainly on the 7004, 7010, 5010 and lately the 5548.  This review is for the 5548 with the L3 services. The 5500 supports 1 and 10gig interfaces across all of the  30 ports on the chassis supports.  Just like with the  earlier 5000 models, you have the ability to create FEX and VPC for connections to the Layer2 extenders.

The 5548 support limited L3 features due to the hardware specification for the L3 engine and it's core and memory. For example, you could not  manage  full bgp table with in the confinement of the available memory.

Per cisco website i will highlight some of the following;

• Support for up to 8000 prefixes and up to 16000 IPv4 and 8000 IPv6 host entries

And for layer2/3 forwarding numbers

• Cisco Nexus 5548P and 5548UP: Layer 2 hardware forwarding at 960 Gbps or 714.24 mpps; Layer 3 performance of up to 160 Gbps or 240 mpps
• Cisco Nexus 5596UP and 5596T: Layer 2 hardware forwarding at 1920 Gbps or 1428 mpps; Layer 3 performance of up to 160 Gbps or 240 mpps

Also the  chassis supports  1or 10GIGE interfaces across the chassis. This is a step up from the limits of the 5010 and 5020 with 8 or 16  1gige interfaces within the 1st 8/16 ports of  the 5010/5020 respectively.

The price difference between the L2 5010/5020 and the L2/L3 5548 is marginal and approx 3-7k difference. Like with all  cisco NX-OS, each feature must be enable & a valid license;

nexcsw01.chi# show feature
Feature Name          Instance  State  
--------------------  --------  --------
Flexlink              1         disabled
adapter-fex           1         disabled
bgp                   1         disabled
dhcp                  1         disabled
eigrp                 1         disabled
eigrp                 2         disabled
eigrp                 3         disabled
eigrp                 4         disabled
fcoe                  1         disabled
fcoe-npv              1         disabled
fex                   1         disabled
hsrp_engine           1         disabled
interface-vlan        1         enabled
lacp                  1         enabled
ldap                  1         disabled
lldp                  1         enabled
msdp                  1         disabled
ospf                  1         disabled
ospf                  2         disabled
ospf                  3         disabled
ospf                  4         disabled
pim                   1         disabled
poe                   1         disabled
private-vlan          1         disabled
privilege             1         disabled
rip                   1         disabled
rip                   2         disabled
rip                   3         disabled
rip                   4         disabled
sshServer             1         enabled
tacacs                1         enabled
telnetServer          1         disabled
udld                  1         enabled
vem                   1         disabled
vpc                   1         enabled
vrrp                  1         disabled
vtp                   1         disabled

Notice how all features need to be enabled? Here's a snippet of the L3 module from  the hardware inventory;

NAME: "Module 3", DESCR: "O2 Non L3 Daughter Card"
PID: N55-DL2           , VID: V01 , SN: FOC15366306

and a trunacate show version;


  BIOS:      version 3.5.0
  loader:    version N/A
  kickstart: version 5.0(3)N2(1)
  system:    version 5.0(3)N2(1)
  power-seq: Module 1: version v3.0
             Module 3: version v2.0
  uC:        version v1.2.0.1
  BIOS compile time:       02/03/2011
  kickstart image file is: bootflash:/n5000-uk9-kickstart.5.0.3.N2.1.bin
  kickstart compile time:  6/13/2011 6:00:00 [06/13/2011 08:43:33]
  system image file is:    bootflash:/n5000-uk9.5.0.3.N2.1.bin
  system compile time:     6/13/2011 6:00:00 [06/13/2011 10:33:42]

  cisco Nexus5548 Chassis ("O2 32X10GE/Modular Supervisor")
  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU         with 8299528 kB of memory.
  Processor Board ID FOC1530606V

  Device name: nexcsw01
  bootflash:    2007040 kB

Kernel uptime is 179 day(s), 13 hour(s), 37 minute(s), 12 second(s)

Last reset
  Reason: Unknown
  System version: 5.0(3)N2(1)

  Core Plugin, Ethernet Plugin

Now keep in mind the L3 services in a 5548 chassis are weak. You don't have netflow, various BGPvpnv4 or other secondary AFI, Ip-N-IP or GRE tunneling, and a host of other layer 3 features or services.

You will also need license to enable a lot of these features,  if you try to enable things that aren't in your license set you will get a error similar to this;

No available license - LAN_ENTERPRISE_SERVICES_PKG error Feature does not have an installed license

A quick show license cli cmd, will show you your license package;

 show license usage
Feature                      Ins  Lic   Status Expiry Date Comments
FCOE_NPV_PKG                  No    -   Unused             -
FM_SERVER_PKG                 No    -   Unused             -
ENTERPRISE_PKG                No    -   Unused             -
FC_FEATURES_PKG               No    -   Unused             -
LAN_BASE_SERVICES_PKG         No    -   Unused             -
LAN_ENTERPRISE_SERVICES_PKG   No    -   Unused             -

As with all of the  NEXUS platforms, it's easy to maintain, redundant power and fans. The chassis is built strong and simple.

Over all, the chassis was designed as a small DC distribution layer switch. It will not replace a Nexus7K or 6500 core. Nor can it replace a edge-backbone router nor should you use it in some heavy routed services like with multicast  routing.

I hope this posts was useful

Ken Felix
 Your freelance  Security and Network Engineer
kfelix  "a t" hyperfeed.com

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