Fun with Cisco Nexus

Rocking with some of Cisco's newest data center gear was a pleasure.

I got to work some very nice gear in a data center deployment back in Q4.  This gear was Cisco's Nexus data center optimized switches.

In specific I got to implement a fault-tolerant cross-rack unified Layer 2 infrastructure with HSRP.  That's a mouthful.  It's also a cliche now thanks to the ease with which such a thing can be done with the Nexus.

A pair of 5548s, a pair of 2232s and a 2248 for iLO/iDRAC and you have yourself a nifty 10Gbps network.  I even got the FEXes (2232s and 2248) dual-homed and have config-sync so this thing is a dream to operate.  I can configure all racks from a single point :)

Familiarize yourself with fiber before you dive in though.  We made the newbie mistake of using single-mode fiber across racks with this and our SFP transceivers didn't support it.  That took a while to fix and surprisingly hobbled along despite the obvious media issues.  Remember to ask your data center for multi-mode fiber if you intend to use the bundled FET-10Gs.

Overall the process of implementing Nexus was seamless and I would highly recommend it if you are getting into renting racks and managing your own gear.  I could easily deploy a similar architecture in future and I will likely be building on what we put in back in Q4.

Implement Cisco Nexus in your next data center project and you will get phenomenal performance and operational simplicity in the bargain.