In today's data centers, virtualization deployments have become commonplace, and this trend is growing rapidly with the availability of 10 Gigabit Ethernet servers at attractive prices. Increased adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet servers coupled with applications using higher bandwidth is accelerating the need for dense 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet switching. Moreover, data center architectures are evolving to accommodate customers seeking to build large-scale nonblocking fabrics to support different applications, creating heavy east-west or north-south traffic. Leaf-and-spine layer designs using high-density and low-latency switches lead to flatter network architectures, allowing connections that scale from hundreds to more than 10,000 servers with large bisectional bandwidth and helping ensure low-latency fabric with a low hop count.
Cisco Nexus® 6000 Series Switches, part of the Cisco® Unified Fabric offering, increase architectural flexibility and scalability, helping enable agile virtualized and cloud deployments. The platform runs the industry-leading Cisco NX-OS Software operating system, providing customers with features and capabilities that are widely deployed throughout the world.
The new Cisco Nexus 6000 Series brings high-density 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet in energy-efficient compact form-factor switches. With a robust integrated Layer 2 and Layer 3 feature set, the Cisco Nexus 6000 Series provides a versatile platform that you can deploy in multiple scenarios - direct-attach 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet access and high-density Cisco fabric extender aggregation deployments, leaf-and-spine architectures, and compact aggregation deployments - to build scalable Cisco Unified Fabric in the data center. Cisco Nexus 6000 Series architectures can adapt to increasing bandwidth demands with low power and a compact space profile, providing capital expenditures (CapEx) and operating expenses (OpEx) savings.
Cisco Nexus 6000 Series products use the same set of Cisco application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and a single software image across the products within the family, thereby offering feature consistency and operation simplicity. Cisco Nexus 6000 Series Switches support robust Layer 2 and Layer 3 functions, industry-leading fabric extender architecture with Cisco Nexus 2200 platform fabric extenders, Cisco Nexus B22 Blade Fabric Extender, In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU), and Cisco FabricPath. Operation efficiency and programmability are enhanced on the Cisco Nexus 6000 Series through advanced analytics, PowerOn Auto Provisioning (POAP), and Python and Tool Command Language (Tcl) script.
Cisco Nexus 6004 Switch Overview
The Cisco Nexus 6004 Switch, the first switch in the Cisco Nexus 6000 Series, is a critical component of the Cisco Unified Data Center architecture, complementing the existing Cisco Nexus Family of switches. The Cisco Nexus 6004 extends the industry-leading innovations and versatility of the Cisco Nexus 5000 Series purpose-built 10 Gigabit Ethernet data center-class switches. In addition, the Cisco Nexus 6004 offers the industry's highest 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) port density in a compact energy-efficient form factor, with integrated Layer 2 and Layer 3 features at wire speed and low latency of approximately 1 microsecond for any packet size. With a choice of front-to-back or back-to-front airflow options, the switch is designed for a broad range of traditional data center and large-scale virtualized cloud deployments. It runs the industry-leading Cisco NX-OS Software operating system, offering features and capabilities that are widely deployed throughout the world.
The Cisco Nexus 6004 (Figure 1) is a four-rack-unit (4RU) 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet switch offering wire-speed performance for up to ninety-six 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports or three hundred eighty-four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports (using Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable [QSFP] breakout cables) for Ethernet and FCoE traffic with an overall throughput of 7.68 terabits per second (Tbps). The Cisco Nexus 6004 also supports 1 Gigabit connectivity using QSFP to SFP or Enhanced SFP (SFP+) adapters, offering customers additional flexibility. The Cisco Nexus 6004 offers eight line-card expansion module (LEM) slots to support a total of 96 ports of 40 Gbps throughput in a fully populated system. The Cisco Nexus 6004, through its extensible architecture, provides customers with a low-cost entry point for small-scale deployments. Each LEM supports 12 ports of 40 Gigabit Ethernet in a QSFP form factor. Each 40 Gigabit Ethernet port can also be split into four line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports using QSFP breakout cables. Thus, the Cisco Nexus 6004 chassis along with the LEMs offers incredible flexibility for scaling deployments, making it the only fully extensible fixed 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet platform in the industry.
The Cisco Nexus 6004 as a high-density 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE platform can be deployed in multiple scenarios - direct-attach 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet server-access and high-density fabric extender aggregation deployments, leaf-and-spine architectures, and compact aggregation deployments - to build a scalable Cisco Unified Fabric across a diverse set of physical and virtual server environments in data centers.
Figure 1. Cisco Nexus 6004 Switch
Expansion Module Options for Cisco Nexus 6004 Switches
The Cisco Nexus 6004 platform is equipped with expansion modules that you can use to offer multiple interface options with the base of the chassis.
The Cisco Nexus 6004 supports eight expansion modules that are all hot-swappable. Each expansion module provides 12 ports of 40-Gbps Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE ports using a QSFP interface. With all eight expansion modules installed, the Cisco Nexus 6004 delivers 96 ports of QSFP or 384 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (SFP+) using the breakout cables. The expansion module for the Cisco Nexus 6004 is shown in Figure 2.
Cisco 40GBASE QSFP to SFP+ and SFP adapter (QSA) for 1G (GLC-T, SX/LH) and 10G-LR connectivity
40G Line Extender for FEX
10G Line Extender for FEX (with breakout cable)
The high bandwidth of 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet poses challenges to transmissions that are met by the transceiver and cabling options supported by the Cisco Nexus 6004.
The platform supports an innovative Twinax copper cabling solution that connects to standard QSFP connectors for in-rack use, and optical cabling for longer cable runs (Table 2).
• For in-rack or adjacent-rack cabling, the Cisco Nexus 6004 supports QSFP+ direct-attach 40 Gigabit Ethernet copper cables, an innovative solution that integrates transceivers with Twinax cables into an energy-efficient, low-cost, and low-latency solution. QSFP+ direct-attach 40 Gigabit Ethernet Twinax copper cables use only 1.5 watts (W) of power per transceiver and introduce less than 0.1 microsecond of latency per link.
• For longer cable runs, the Cisco Nexus 6004 supports multimode, short-reach optical QSFP transceivers. These optical transceivers use approximately 1.5W per transceiver and have a latency of less than 0.1 microsecond.
Table 2. Cisco Nexus 6004 Support for QSFP Direct-Attach 40 Gigabit Ethernet Copper for In-Rack Cabling, and Direct-Attach Breakout Cable for Optical Solutions for Longer Connections (Ethernet Only)
Maximum Power Consumption
Transceiver Latency (Link)
QSFP CU copper
QSFP ACU copper
QSFP SR4 MMF
QSFP CSR4 MMF
Features and Benefits
The comprehensive feature set of the Cisco Nexus 6004 makes it well suited to meet the challenging demands of virtualized and cloud-based deployments. The Cisco Nexus 6004 is designed with Cisco high-performance ASICs and is an excellent switch to use to integrate and connect the virtual environment to the high-performance servers in the data center. The Cisco Nexus 6004 is an excellent platform for direct-attach 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet server-access and high-density fabric extender aggregation deployments, leaf-and-spine architectures, and compact aggregation deployments for building scalable Cisco Unified Fabric in data centers. This platform can be deployed in the middle of row or at the end of row in the data center.
The Cisco Nexus 6004, with its scalable architecture, provides investment protection by allowing deployments to scale up to 96 ports of 40 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. In 10 Gigabit Ethernet optimized environments, the Cisco Nexus 6004 can scale up to 384 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. The combination of high port density, lossless Ethernet, wire-speed performance, and very low latency makes the switch platform well suited for meeting the growing demand for 40 Gigabit Ethernet while supporting a common Ethernet-based fabric in physical and virtual data center deployments. The Cisco Nexus 6004 delivers scalable performance, intelligence, and a broad set of features to address the needs of data center networks. The primary features of the Cisco Nexus 6004 include:
• Optimization for virtualization and cloud deployments: Data centers today must meet the demanding challenges of virtualization and cloud-based computing. High-performance servers deployed in the cloud can support many more virtual machines and workloads than ever before. The requirement to deploy new servers on demand puts additional strain on the network fabric. The Cisco Nexus 6004 solves this problem by providing scalability and performance, making this platform excellent for meeting both current and future needs.
• Density and resiliency: Built for today's data centers, the switches are designed just like the servers they support. Ports and power connections are at the rear, close to server ports, helping keep cable lengths as short and efficient as possible and delivering benefits traditionally offered on blade servers to rack servers as well. Hot-swappable power and fan modules are accessible from the front panel, where status lights offer an at-a-glance view of switch operation. Front-to-back or back-to-front cooling is consistent with server designs, supporting efficient data center hot- and cold-aisle designs. Serviceability is enhanced with all customer-replaceable units accessible from the front panel.
The use of QSFP ports increases flexibility, enabling use of a range of interconnect solutions, including copper Twinax cable for short runs and fiber for long runs.
• Energy efficiency: The Cisco Nexus 6004 helps data centers operate within their space, power, and cooling parameters while reducing their carbon footprints. The switch power supplies can maintain 90 percent efficiency at load conditions of as low as 25 percent utilization, allowing them to use power efficiently while still being appropriately sized to support full system load conditions.
• Low latency: The Cisco Nexus 6004 with cut-through switching supports approximately 1 microsecond of port-to-port latency for any packet size with features enabled.
• Intelligent Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) and Encapsulated SPAN (ERSPAN): SPAN and ERSPAN are used for troubleshooting and robust monitoring of traffic. The SPAN and ERSPAN features in the Cisco Nexus 6004 are nondisruptive because only extra bandwidth capacity is used for SPAN and ERSPAN traffic. SPAN and ERSPAN traffic is categorized as best effort, and in the event of link congestion, SPAN and ERSPAN traffic is dropped first. Enhancements include a more efficient allocation of bandwidth to SPAN and ERSPAN traffic, through which any fabric bandwidth not used for data traffic can be allocated to SPAN and ERSPAN traffic. The Cisco Nexus 6004 can support up to 31 line-rate SPAN and ERSPAN sessions.
• Flexible buffer management: The Cisco Nexus 6004 supports a 25-MB packet buffer shared by every 3 ports of 40 Gigabit Ethernet or 12 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Of the 25-MB buffer, 16 MB are used for ingress buffering, and 9 MB are used for egress buffering. The Cisco Nexus 6004 supports allocation of buffers as shared, dedicated, or shared plus dedicated. The flexible buffer management capability of the Cisco Nexus 6004 allows dynamic tuning of the shared and dedicated buffer size if congestion occurs.
• Multicast enhancements: The Cisco Nexus 6004 supports line-rate Layer 2 and Layer 3 multicast throughput for all frame sizes. It offers optimized multicast replication through the fabric and at the egress point. The large buffers allow absorption of bursty traffic. In hardware, 32,000 multicast routes and Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) snooping tables are supported. Multicast enhancements include flow-based hashing for multicast traffic over PortChannels and enhanced bidirectional Protocol Independent Multicast (BiDiR PIM) support. The Cisco Nexus 6004 also supports IP-based forwarding for IGMP snooping.
• Future support for Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA): The Cisco Nexus 6004 with support for DFA helps customers simplify, automate, and optimize their data center networks. The Cisco Nexus 6004 with DFA provides the flexibility to deploy 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet leaf-and-spine fabric, which helps reduce provisioning times and improve data center orchestration and maintenance times to help organizations manage network growth.
The Cisco Nexus 6004 supports numerous application scenarios, making the switch a versatile data center option, as explained in the following sections.
Cisco Fabric Extender Technology (FEX Technology) enables you to build a single, modular fabric that extends from Cisco Nexus switches to Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) servers to adapters (Cisco Adapter FEX) and to virtual machines (Cisco Data Center Virtual Machine FEX [VM-FEX]). Cisco FEX Technology is based on the emerging IEEE 802.1br standard. Designing the network using Cisco FEX Technology provides flexibility, reduced cabling infrastructure, and a single point of management, helping organizations scale the network. Cisco Nexus 2200 platform fabric extenders can be single or dual connected (using enhanced virtual PortChannels [EvPCs]) to two upstream Cisco Nexus 6004 Switches (Figure 3). Servers or the end host can connect to single or dual Cisco Nexus 2200 platform fabric extenders using network-interface-card (NIC) teaming when the parent Cisco Nexus 6004 is EvPC enabled.
Figure 3. Sample Unified Access Deployment Scenario Supporting 2304 1 or 10 Gigabit Ethernet Servers with a Single Pair of Access-Layer Switches and a Single Point of Management
Following are some of the common Cisco Nexus 2200 platform and Cisco Nexus 6000 Series deployment options:
• Rack servers with 100 Megabit Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, or 10 Gigabit Ethernet NICs; the fabric extender can be physically located at the top of the rack, and the Cisco Nexus 6000 Series Switch can reside in the middle or at the end of the row, or the fabric extender and the Cisco Nexus 6000 Series Switch can both reside at the end or middle of the row
• Mixed 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet environments in which rack servers are running at either speed in the same rack or in adjacent racks
• 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE deployments, using servers with converged network adapters (CNAs) for unified fabric environments with the Cisco Nexus 2232PP 10GE Fabric Extender
• 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet BASE-T server connectivity with ease of migration from 1 to 10GBASE-T and effective reuse of structured cabling
• 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet blade servers with pass-through blades
In addition to the previously mentioned fabric extender deployment options, the Cisco Nexus 6004 with high-density 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet support provides unique value as a high-density fabric extender aggregation platform. A few sample scenarios follow:
• In conjunction with the Cisco Nexus 2248PQ 10GE Fabric Extender (Figure 4), a 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric extender with four 40 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks to the Cisco Nexus 6004 can be used as a high-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching system, consolidating more than 2304 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections in a single management plane. Moreover, this solution provides the highest 10 Gigabit Ethernet server density available, with a low oversubscription ratio.
Figure 4. Cisco Nexus 2248PQ Connected to Cisco Nexus 6004 Using QSFP Links
• In conjunction with the Cisco Nexus 2232PP 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric extender, the Cisco Nexus 6004 can be used as a high-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching system, consolidating more than 768 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections in a single management plane.
• A variety of blade fabric extender options can be aggregated into a Cisco Nexus 6004 using 10 Gigabit Ethernet, providing a single-point-of-management benefit to blade server deployments.
• In conjunction with the Cisco Nexus 2248TP Gigabit Ethernet fabric extender, the Cisco Nexus 6004 can be used as a high-density 1 Gigabit Ethernet switching system, consolidating 2304 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections in a single management plane.
Table 3 lists the fabric extenders that the Cisco Nexus 6004 supports. Please refer to the Cisco Nexus 2200 platform data sheets and release notes for more information about the products.
Table 3. Cisco Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders Supported with Cisco Nexus 6004
Cisco Nexus 2248PQ
Forty-eight 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ host interfaces and four 40 Gigabit Ethernet (sixteen 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+) network interfaces
Cisco Nexus 2224TP
Twenty-four 100/1000BASE-T host interfaces and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric interfaces (SFP+)
Cisco Nexus 2248TP
Forty-eight 100/1000BASE-T host interfaces and four 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric interfaces (SFP+)
Cisco Nexus 2248TP-E
Forty-eight 100/1000BASE-T host interfaces and four 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric interfaces (SFP+) (32-MB shared buffer)
Cisco Nexus 2232PP
Thirty-two 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE host interfaces (SFP+) and eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE fabric interfaces (SFP+)
Cisco Nexus 2232TM
Thirty-two 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet BASE-T host interfaces and eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet (SFP+) uplink modules
Cisco Nexus 2232TM-E
Thirty-two 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet BASE-T host interfaces and eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet (SFP+) uplink modules (for lower power consumption and improved bit error rate [BER])
Cisco Nexus B22HP
Sixteen 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet BASE-KR internal host interfaces and eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric (SFP+) network interfaces
Sixteen 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet BASE-KR internal host interfaces and eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric (SFP+) network interfaces
Cisco Nexus B22IBM
Fourteen 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet BASE-KR internal host interfaces and eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric (SFP+) network interfaces
Data center designs are increasingly moving toward less oversubscription, starting from the server access layer. Moreover, growth of 10 Gigabit Ethernet server deployments is accelerating the need for top-of-rack (ToR) solutions that can provide 40 Gigabit Ethernet uplink capabilities to meet the oversubscription requirement. The Cisco Nexus 6004 with high-density 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports is well suited as a compact aggregation platform for ToR switches with 40 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Scalable Data Center Access and Aggregation Using Cisco Nexus 6000 Series
Large-Scale Fabric (Layer 2 and Layer 3): Leaf-and-Spine Architecture
Data center architectures are evolving to accommodate customers seeking to build large-scale nonblocking fabrics to support different applications, promoting heavy east-west or north-south traffic. The Cisco Nexus 6004 is well suited as a leaf or spine node in a Layer 2 or Layer 3 fabric design. Leaf-and-spine layer designs using high-density and low-latency switches lead to flatter network architectures, allowing connections that scale from hundreds to more than 10,000 servers with large bisectional bandwidth. The leaf-and-spine design helps ensure low-latency fabric with a low hop count. The spine switches create a nonblocking, low-latency fabric, forwarding packets between leaves. The leaf switches provide connectivity to servers. Use of a highly meshed architecture helps ensure the highest possible network availability with little effect on customer traffic if a failure occurs. The Cisco Nexus 6004 can be deployed as a Layer 2 or Layer 3 spine or leaf switch (Figure 6), providing high design flexibility.
Figure 6. Cisco Nexus 6004 as a Leaf or Spine Switch in a Large-Scale Layer 2 or Layer 3 Fabric
Cisco Unified Fabric combines data center and storage networks to deliver a single high-performance, highly available, and scalable network. The Cisco Nexus 6004 can support end-to-end data center convergence from server to storage by delivering multihop FCoE capability in the data center. The FCoE function complements the existing FCoE function on the Cisco Nexus 5500 platform. With this broad selection of standards-based FCoE switches, Cisco Unified Fabric supports both the access and core network layers, supporting all storage traffic (FCoE, Small Computer System Interface over IP [iSCSI], and network-attached storage [NAS]) over simplified infrastructure based on lossless 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet. The Cisco Nexus 6004 is the first switch in the industry to provide 40 Gigabit Ethernet FCoE support, surpassing the 16-Gbps Fibre Channel capability (Figure 7 and Figure 8).
Figure 7. Cisco Nexus 6004 as 40-Gbps FCoE Aggregation Device
Figure 8. Cisco Nexus 6004 in 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet FabricPath SAN
High-Performance Computing and High-Frequency Trading
The Cisco Nexus 6004 can be deployed as a high-density access-layer switch to consolidate a large number of 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet servers when the deployment calls for a small number of hops from the server to the upstream network to reduce latency (Figure 9). The Cisco Nexus 6004 has the highest density of 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports per rack unit currently available, approximately 1 microsecond of latency port to port for any packet size, integrated line-rate Layer 2 and Layer 3 features with scalability, and integrated data analytics with programmability. It also addresses the needs of high-performance computing (HPC) and high-frequency trading (HFT) environments, for which InfiniBand solutions lack management visibility and performance for bulk data transfers across traditional applications.
The capability of the Cisco Nexus 6004 to function in all these capacities helps protect investment in the data center with a deployment model in which additional features can be enabled as the need arises.
Figure 9. Cisco Nexus 6004 in HPC and HFT Deployment
The Cisco Nexus 6000 Series is built on two custom ASICs: a unified crossbar fabric and a unified port controller. Depending on the 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE port density, each Cisco Nexus 6000 Series Switch contains a single or multiple unified crossbar fabric ASICs. Multiple unified port controllers are used to support fixed ports and expansion modules within the switch.
Each unified port controller handles three 40-Gbps or twelve 10-Gbps ports and provides packet processing capabilities such as forwarding, buffering, and queuing decisions for each frame. The cut-through characteristic of the architecture provides low latency for both 10 and 40 Gbps at 1 microsecond independent of the frame size.
The unified crossbar fabric is a single-stage, nonblocking crossbar providing connectivity and arbitration between the unified port controllers to access the fabric. The Cisco Nexus 6000 Series offers superior performance by implementing quality of service (QoS)-aware buffering, queuing, and scheduling for unicast and multicast traffic.
Cisco NX-OS Software Overview
The Cisco NX-OS operating system is specifically built for the data center and is designed for performance, resiliency, scalability, manageability, and programmability at its foundation. Cisco NX-OS provides a robust and comprehensive feature set that can meet the demanding requirements of virtualization and automation in present and future data centers. Cisco's enhanced fabric solution allows smooth integration of virtual and physical devices onto a unified network. In addition to providing a robust and comprehensive feature set that meets Ethernet and storage networking requirements, Cisco provides the capability for you to harness and tap into the comprehensive feature service set of the operating system to create unique innovation that meets the needs of customized solutions. Additionally, with the MIBs, native XML interface, and a command-line interface (CLI) like that of Cisco IOS® Software, the management of Cisco NX-OS devices is dramatically simplified.
Cisco NX-OS Software Features and Benefits
• Software compatibility: Cisco NX-OS Software Release 6.0 interoperates with Cisco products running any variant of the Cisco IOS Software operating system. Cisco NX-OS 6.0 also interoperates with any networking operating system that conforms to the networking standards listed as supported in this data sheet.
• Common software throughout the data center: Cisco NX-OS simplifies the data center operating environment and provides a unified operating system designed to run all areas of the data center network, including the LAN, SAN, and Layer 4 through 7 network services.
• Modular software design: Cisco NX-OS is designed to support distributed multithreaded processing on symmetric multiprocessors (SMPs), multicore CPUs, and distributed line-card processors. You can offload computationally intensive tasks, such as hardware table programming, to dedicated processors distributed across the line cards. Cisco NX-OS modular processes are instantiated on demand, each in a separate protected memory space. Thus, processes are started and system resources allocated only when a feature is enabled. The modular processes are governed by a real-time preemptive scheduler that helps ensure the timely processing of critical functions.
• Enhanced virtual PortChannel (vPC): The vPC feature allows one end of a PortChannel to be split across a pair of Cisco Nexus 5000 Series Switches. vPC provides Layer 2 multipathing through the elimination of Spanning Tree Protocol blocked ports in dual-homed connections. vPC enables fully used bisectional bandwidth and simplified Layer 2 logical topologies without the need to change the existing management and deployment models. The vPC feature is further enhanced so that edge devices can connect to the Cisco Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders using vPC, and the Cisco Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders can connect to Cisco Nexus 5000 Series Switches using vPC at the same time.
• Cisco FabricPath: Cisco FabricPath provides the simplicity and fabric efficiency to easily deploy new virtualized services into a cloud-based environment. New virtual and physical servers can be added to the network with the simplicity and mobility of the Layer 2 network without the deficiencies of traditional Spanning Tree Protocol.
Cisco FabricPath is a set of multipath Ethernet technologies that combine the reliability and scalability benefits of Layer 3 routing with the flexibility of Layer 2 networks, enabling IT to build massively scalable data centers. Cisco FabricPath offers a topology-based Layer 2 routing mechanism that provides an equal-cost multipath (ECMP) forwarding model. Cisco FabricPath implements an enhancement that solves the MAC address table scalability problem characteristic of switched Layer 2 networks. Furthermore, Cisco FabricPath supports vPC+, a technology similar to vPC that allows redundant interconnection of the existing Ethernet infrastructure to Cisco FabricPath without using Spanning Tree Protocol. Benefits introduced by the Cisco FabricPath technology include:
– Operational simplicity: Cisco FabricPath embeds an autodiscovery mechanism that does not require any additional platform configuration. By offering Layer 2 connectivity, the "VLAN anywhere" characteristic simplifies provisioning and offers workload flexibility across the network.
– High resiliency and performance: Because Cisco FabricPath is a Layer 2 routed protocol, it offers stability, scalability, and optimized resiliency along with network failure containment.
– Massively scalable fabric: By building a forwarding model on 16-way ECMP routing, Cisco FabricPath helps prevent bandwidth bottlenecks and allows organizations to add capacity dynamically, without network disruption.
– Multiple-topology support: Cisco FabricPath provides support for two distinct topologies, providing VLAN localization and reuse in the network.
• Automation: Cisco NX-OS provides the power-on provisioning that enables transparent autoconfiguration of devices. Custom Python scripts can be created that are specific to your environment. The software provides intelligence and flexibility to support device-aware provisioning of configurations.
• Programmatic XML interface: Based on the NETCONF industry standard, the Cisco NX-OS XML interface provides a consistent API for devices, enabling rapid development and creation of tools to enhance the network.
• Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP): Cisco NX-OS complies with SNMPv1, v2, and v3. An extensive collection of MIBs is supported.
• Role-based access control (RBAC): With RBAC, Cisco NX-OS enables administrators to limit access to switch operations by assigning roles to users. Administrators can customize access and restrict it to the users who require it.
Cisco NX-OX Software Packaging for Cisco Nexus 6004 Series
The software packaging for the Cisco Nexus 6004 offers flexibility and a comprehensive feature set while being consistent with Cisco Nexus access switches. The default system software has a comprehensive Layer 2 security and management feature set and base-level Layer 3 feature set. To enable advanced Layer 3 IP Unicast and IP Multicast routing functions, you must install additional licenses. Table 4 lists the software packaging and licensing available to enable various advanced features.
Table 4. Software Packaging and Licensing
Chassis Based or Port Based
Cisco Nexus 6004 Layer 3 Base Software License
Static routing, Routing Information Protocol Version 2 (RIPv2), Open Shortest Path First Version 2 (OSPFv2), Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP) stub, Hot-Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP), Interior Gateway Management Protocol Versions 2 and 3 (IGMPv2 and v3), Protocol-Independent Multicast Version 2 (PIMv2) (sparse mode), routed access control list (ACL), and unicast Reverse Path Forwarding (uRPF); OSPF scalability is limited to 256 dynamically learned routes
Cisco FabricPath supported on Cisco Nexus 6000 Series
Cisco Nexus 6000 VM-FEX Software License
Cisco Data Center VM-FEX supported on Cisco Nexus 6000 Series
Cisco Nexus 6004 Software Bundle
LAN, Enhanced Layer 2, Layer 3 Basic, Layer 3 Advanced, Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) LAN, Cisco Data Center VM-FEX, and Fibre Channel and FCoE storage features
Cisco Nexus 6004 Software Bundle Chassis
LAN, Enhanced Layer 2, Layer 3 Basic, Layer 3 Advanced, Cisco DCNM LAN and SAN, Cisco Data Center VM-FEX, and Fibre Channel and FCoE storage features per chassis
Cisco Nexus 6004 Storage Protocols Services License: 16 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 4 ports of 40 Gigabit Ethernet
Fibre Channel and FCoE and FCoE NPV features supported on any 16 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 4 ports of 40 Gigabit Ethernet
Cisco Nexus 6000 Storage Protocols Services License: 48 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 12 ports of 40 Gigabit Ethernet
Fibre Channel and FCoE and FCoE NPV features supported on any 48 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 12 ports of 40 Gigabit Ethernet
Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager
Cisco Prime™ Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) provides LAN and SAN management capabilities for the Cisco Nexus and Cisco MDS 9000 Families of switches. Cisco Prime DCNM provides a GUI that reduces OpEx compared to traditional CLI methods and allows efficient control, monitoring, and provisioning of operations and troubleshooting of your Cisco NX-OS-based devices. Highlights include:
• Cisco Unified Fabric visibility and topology display with VMware vSphere integration shows connectivity from the virtual machine to the VMware ESX host to the switch and storage array.
• Event aggregation and filtering avoids information overload and helps you quickly identify network problems.
• Deployment wizards and user-modifiable templates help you implement best practices.
• RBAC secures devices and provides appropriate delegation.
• Integrated domain dashboards, health monitoring, reporting, change tracking, and user auditing provide comprehensive management capabilities.
• Trend monitoring of ports and traffic allow you to optimize your existing resources and anticipate new resource requirements.
Table 5 lists the specifications for the Cisco Nexus 6004.
Note: Please check software release notes for feature support information.
Table 5. Product Specifications
• Cisco Nexus 6004: Layer 2 and Layer 3 hardware forwarding at 7.68 Tbps
• Support for up to 256,000 MAC addresses
• Low-latency of ~1 microsecond using cut-through forwarding for predictable, consistent traffic latency regardless of packet size, traffic pattern, or features enabled on 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces
• 25-MB buffer per three 40 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP interfaces
• Line-rate traffic throughput on all ports
• Cisco Nexus 6004: Up to 96 40 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE ports through the use of 8 expansion modules
• 12-port 40 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE expansion module
• 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface through QSFP breakout cable
• 1 Gigabit Ethernet interface through a QSFP to SFP and SFP+ adapter (QSA)
• Extension through the Cisco Nexus 2200 platform
Layer 2 Features
• Layer 2 switch ports and VLAN trunks
• IEEE 802.1Q VLAN encapsulation
• Support for up to 4000 VLANs
• Support for up to 4000 ACLs
• Rapid Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVRST+; IEEE 802.1w compatible)
Table 6 lists the power supply properties of the Cisco Nexus 6004.
Table 6. Power Supply Properties
AC Power Supply Properties
Cisco Nexus 6004
Typical operating power
94 to 240 VAC
47 to 63 Hz
98% (50 to 100% load)
11260 BTU/hr (3300W)
Front-to-back air flow power supply (port-side exhaust airflow)
Back-to-front air flow power supply (port-side intake airflow)
Table 7 lists the environmental properties of the Cisco Nexus 6004.
Table 7. Environmental Properties
Cisco Nexus 6004
Physical (H x W x D)
6.97 x 17.3 x 30 in. (17.7 x 43.9 x 76.2 cm)
32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Nonoperating (storage) temperature
-40 to 158°F (-40 to 70°C)
5 to 95% (noncondensing)
0 to 10,000 ft (0 to 3000m)
Table 8 lists the weight of the Cisco Nexus 6004 Switch.
Table 8. Weight
Cisco Nexus 6004 with three 1100W power supplies, two expansion modules, and four fan modules
111 lb or 50.3 kg
Cisco Nexus 6004 with three 1100W power supplies and four fan modules
100 lb or 45.3 kg
The Cisco Nexus 6004 supports Cisco NX-OS Software Release 6.0 and later. Cisco NX-OS interoperates with any networking operating system, including Cisco IOS Software, that conforms to the networking standards mentioned in this data sheet.
Power Cord Jumper, C13-C14 Connectors, 2 Meter Length (2 meter)
Power cord, C13 to C14 (recessed receptacle), 10A (3 meter)
Nexus 6004 Chassis Accessory Kit
Nexus 6004 Chassis Accessory Kit, spare
The Cisco Nexus 6004 Switch has a 1-year limited hardware warranty. The warranty includes hardware replacement with a 10-day turnaround from receipt of a return materials authorization (RMA).
Service and Support
Cisco offers a wide range of services to help accelerate your success in deploying and optimizing the Cisco Nexus 6004 in your data center. The innovative Cisco Services offerings are delivered through a unique combination of people, processes, tools, and partners and are focused on helping you increase operation efficiency and improve your data center network. Cisco Advanced Services uses an architecture-led approach to help you align your data center infrastructure with your business goals and achieve long-term value. Cisco SMARTnet® Service helps you resolve mission-critical problems with direct access at any time to Cisco network experts and award-winning resources. With this service, you can take advantage of the Smart Call Home service capability, which offers proactive diagnostics and real-time alerts on your Cisco Nexus 6004. Spanning the entire network lifecycle, Cisco Services offerings help increase investment protection, optimize network operations, support migration operations, and strengthen your IT expertise.