The Cisco Nexus 2000 series Fabric Extenders (FEX) comprise a category of data center products designed to simplify data center access architecture and operations. The Cisco Nexus 2000 series uses the Cisco FEX-link architecture to provide a highly scalable unified server-access platform across a range of 100 Megabit Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, unified fabric, copper and fiber connectivity, rack, and blade server environments. The platform is ideal to support today's traditional Gigabit Ethernet while allowing transparent migration to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, virtual machine-aware unified fabric technologies.
The Cisco Nexus 2000 series Fabric Extenders behave as remote line cards for a parent Cisco Nexus switch. The fabric extenders are essentially extensions of the parent Cisco Nexus switch fabric, with the fabric extenders and the parent Cisco Nexus switch together forming a distributed modular system. This architecture enables physical topologies with the flexibility and benefits of both top-of-rack (ToR) and end-of-row (EoR) deployments.
The Cisco Nexus 2000 series is built for nonstop operation, with redundant hot-swappable power supplies and a hot-swappable fan tray with redundant fans. Its compact one-rack-unit (1RU) form factor takes up relatively little space, making it easy to incorporate into rack designs.
Unified server access architecture
The Cisco Nexus 2000 series offers a highly cost-effective access-layer architecture for 100 Megabit Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, mixed Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet servers, Ethernet or unified fabric, physical or virtual server, and rack or blade server environments.
Flexible physical topologies
The Cisco Nexus 2000 series architecture allows decoupling of the layer 1 and 2 topologies, therefore providing flexibility in designing physical architectures, including ToR, middle-of-row (MoR), and EoR deployments, while allowing quick expansion of network capacity and remote line-card portability across multiple parent switches. It is also space optimized for all these architectures.
Highly scalable access layer
The data centers must have massive scalability to manage the combination of an increasing number of servers and a higher demand for bandwidth from each server. The Cisco Nexus 2000 series increases the scalability of the access layer to accommodate both sets of demands without increasing management points within the network.
Single point of management
The Cisco Nexus 2000 series Fabric Extenders are remote line cards for a Cisco Nexus parent switch. All device configurations are managed on the Cisco Nexus parent switch, and configuration information is downloaded to the Cisco Nexus 2000 series Fabric Extender using in-band communication.
Switch feature consistency across a large number of servers
The Cisco Nexus 2000 series forwards all traffic to the parent Cisco Nexus switch over 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric uplinks. Passing all traffic to the parent switch allows traffic to be shaped according to policies established on the parent Cisco Nexus switch with a single point of management. Standardizing on the Cisco Nexus switches allows data centers to support the same switch features across the entire access layer with a single point of management.
Tenfold management points reduction
The number of management points is significantly less than when discrete switches are used at the top of the rack. A traditional 12-rack design using a discrete, redundant pair of Gigabit Ethernet switches at the top of each rack has 24 management points.
The Cisco Nexus 2000 series Fabric Extenders can be mixed and matched with a common parent Cisco Nexus switch. New functions can be derived from upstream Cisco Nexus switches, resulting in the capability to add the functions without the need for a major equipment upgrade.