Cisco Announces Nexus 4000 Switch for Blade Chassis

Cisco is announcing today the release of the Nexus 4000 switch.  It will be designed to work in “other” blade vendors’ chassis, although they aren’t announcing which blade vendors.  My gut is that Dell and IBM will OEM it, but HP will stick with their ProCurve line announced a few weeks ago.  Here’s what I know about the Nexus 4000 switch:

1) It will aggregate 1GB links to 10Gb uplink.  To me, this means that it will not be compatible with Converged Network Adapters (CNAs).  From this description, it seems to be just the Cisco Nexus 2000 in a blade form factor.  It’s simply a “fabric extender” allowing all of the traffic to flow into the Nexus 5000 Switch.

2) It will run on the Nexus O/S (NX-OS)  This is key because it allows users to have a seamless environment for their server and their Nexus switch infrastructure.

3) Cisco Nexus 4000 will provide “cost effective transition from multiple 1GbE links to a lossless 10GbE for virtualized environments”  This statement confuses me.  Does it mean that the Cisco Nexus 4000 switch will be capable of working with 1Gb NICs as well as 10Gb CNAs, or is it just stating that the traditional 1Gb NICs will be able to connect into a lossless unified fabric??

Cisco is having a live broadcast at 10 am PST today, but I just reviewed the slide deck and they talk at a VERY high level on this new announcement.  I suppose maybe they are going to let each vendor (Dell and IBM) provide details once they officially announce their switches.  When they do, I’ll post details here.

6 thoughts on “Cisco Announces Nexus 4000 Switch for Blade Chassis

  1. Chris

    Just want to clarify some things.

    1. The Nexus 4000 is 10G up and 10G down, it can autonegotiate to 1G.
    2. The Nexus 4000 is not simply a “fabric extender”. It is a full feature Unified Fabric switch which you can read more about at

  2. kevinbladeguy

    Thanks for the insider’s insight, Chris. Since neither Dell or IBM has released any information about their Nexus 4000, I only posted what limited info I have. I suppose the idea is to connect the Nexus 4000 from each blade chassis to a Nexus 7000, because the idea of connecting a Nexus 4000 to a Nexus 5000 which then links into a Nexus 7000 is WAY to complex. It’d make more sense to do a pass-thru module.

  3. Jason

    An access switch to a distribution switch is too complex? Either option is supported as it is basically a Nexus 5000 with some hardware modifications. This is NOT a FEX (Nexus 2000).

    Here is the info from IBM:

    As mentioned above there is support for legacy 1GbE and 10GbE downlinks and CNA via DBC. From what I understand DBC is only supported on x86 blades today but not for AIX (VIO).

  4. kevinbladeguy

    Thanks for the reply, Jason. I’ve added some new blog posts about the Nexus 4001I switch for IBM BladeCenter. It was announced on Oct. 20, 2009 and a lot of the “unknowns” have been cleared up. Thanks for reading.

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