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Nexus 7700 vs 9500


We are refreshing our DC Aggregation and Campus core switches. These are 6509-E switches which we purchased 7 years ago when things were a lot different. Our DC Access is 5500 with N2K FEXs (it is going to stay). We are a small to medium enterprise. We are not considering ACI as an option as we don't think we are ready for it yet and technology will take some time to mature and become more familiar. 

For the DC Aggregation we are considering 7700 or 9500 platforms. The 7700 Series obviously gives the benefit of large port bank, VDC, VXLAN, Fabric Path, FEX support etc. We can also create VDCs  on the 7700 for Campus Core and hence don't need to worry about new pair of switches for the Core. 

If we look at 9500 it has the best per port cost. It does not provide VDC option but it has support for both NX-OS or ACI mode. If we plan to implement the ACI in future we can still leverage these 9500 switches. It does not have OTV and I believe VXLAN and Fabric Path  is also not available for all I/O module. If we chose 9500 for DC Aggregation we will stil need to purchase a pair  of switches, possibly 6800 for Core. 

I was told by Cisco that we should consider all I/O modules to have VXLAN capability and Merchant ASIC support.How is VXLAN (overlay) going to affect the computing in future? 

So here I am, slightly confuse which option to chose from. I would appreciate some feedback which can possibly help me make an informed decision. Thanks & Enjoy your weekend. 


4 Replies 4

Mark Malone

Hi vxlan basically gets rid of stp using vtep tunnels which are automatically created by the ale and nfe as far as im remember and a vtep tunnel is basically a vxlan trunk , if your going spine and leaf this is what way your going to set it up in that type of design

regarding what your going to use if your not going aci for a long time then standard 7700 is probably best in my opinion, the 9500 is not a full nx-os but does operate in a stripped down version but as you said not with all features a 7700 would have , saying that I think there going 400gb on the new 9500s mods  , no mpls etc on 95s as well though

That's just a personal opinion only because your not going ACI or thinking about it , if you are go 95s or even 93s , aci 2.0 is out now and pretty stable with cli access now through the GUI too but if you go aci you will need to bridge your legacy lan to it as well

That makes me think to go for 9500/9300 in NX-OS mode but only buy hardware that is ACI ready ( I have seen there is some I/O and other parts in 9500 that is only NX-OS). So if we buy 9500 with NX-OS and decide to go for ACI mode later or our hardware will be ready for that. 

One thing I am not sure about is that whether VXLAN is required for both nx-os and ACI spine/leaf setup? And whether the spin/leaf type setup also works for NX-OS mode and this way going forward for DC. 

From speaking to other companies recently a lot are going that route , using 9500s because of the cost of them compared to 77s there a lot cheaper and then they are ready for what will eventually be ciscos future view for the lan full aci .

if your using 9500 as standalone then you don't have to use spine and leaf design its can be just used as a really high powered switch until you convert to aci mode

Im not sure if vxlan is required for both definitely for full aci mode its required and I know its there in standalone mode too as its part of the control plane for MP-BGP , whether you have to use it or not in standalone mode im not sure , were going full aci straight away in a poc currently so I wont get to see much of the standalone version

We are also thinking of going with NX-OS and possibly switch to ACI mode two to three years down the road.

 We are looking at 9508 Bundles. The issue comes with the selection of I/O. I see there are three options available for I/O modules; NX-OS only (9432PQ or similar), VXLAN and ACI Leaf ready (9564 or similar), and the new ACI Spine type (9732C-EX or similar).


I was thinking of going with 9508 chassis in NX-OS mode with 9564 type ACI leaf ready I/O cards. When we eventually switch to ACI mode we can use 9508s as Leaf switches with these ACI Leaf ready 9564 cards. For the Spine we can get 9300 series or a smaller 9504.


There could be many other options. We are not very enthusiastic about full 40G or 100G I/O modules. Considering that we are working under a budget what would be the best possible combination that works for NX-OS mode now and can be easily switches to ACI?


If either ACI leaf or Spine card is not worth going at this time we may consider just to go for NX-OS only options.


  1.              9508 NX-OS with 9432PQ NX-OS only support
  2.              9508 NX-OS with 9564 ACI Leaf ready
  3.              9508 NX-OS with 9732C ACI Spine
  4. ….   ............................


I hope it makes sense!


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