In my many years as a network engineer I have experienced almost all of the trials and tribulations from the explosion of the internet. The increase of bandwidth, transport technology, transport media, number of routes, even the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 - over the last decades has been truly amazing. It has also, at times, been truly painful.
I am speaking specifically of the EOS and EOL lifecycle of equipment that necessitates the occasional “fork-lift” replacement of backbone hardware.
Several years ago we went through that process and installed the Cisco flagship Catalyst 6500 series at our edge and core layers in multiple data centers. With the promise of “investment protection for decades to come”, we thought we were on our way. At the very least, I thought they would still be here until after I retired. Over the years we have needed to upgrade the Sup modules to the present SUP-720-3BXL, fiber modules up to 10G, etc., etc. These upgrades were on a per slot, as needed basis. They were also exactly what we were expecting when we put the chassis in place.
Then, a few months back, when the v4 route table went over 512K, we made a painful discovery – TCAM.
The adjustment to hold more v4 routes, at the cost of holding fewer v6 routes, was put into place, and all we had to do was reboot each chassis. Not too bad. But wait, the limit is 1 million routes, total – period.
Google and I have been searching for the announcement from Cisco that the next generation supervisor cards will soon be released and all of the TCAM issues will be resolved, thus protecting my investment for at least one decade. The most interesting discovery was references to a 2009 video by John McCool, Cisco Senior Vice President/General Manager for the Data Center, Switching and Services Group.
The video is no longer available. :-/
It is not my intention to start a discussion about the different methods of getting around the limits that are now on the horizon for the 6500.
I would rather have a discussion about its future. Does it have one, or is it being abandoned by Cisco? Are there any “next generation” plans for the 6500?
Am I in for another fork-lift upgrade? Like it or not?