[c-nsp] Cisco NCS VxLAN Experience

Mark Tinka mark.tinka at seacom.mu
Fri Jan 10 06:38:09 EST 2020

On 10/Jan/20 13:09, Sigurbjörn Birkir Lárusson wrote:

> Additionally The NCS line, both the DC and SP products, are based on Broadcom chipsets which are heavily limited in their capabilities, particularly egress TCAM capabilities are limited in such a way that it makes it almost unusable in a service-provider environment.

This is actually a very important point that has been on mind, but I've
neglected to eloquently share with my peers.

Broadcom levels the playing field amongst traditional and new vendors.
If Cisco and Juniper have the same access to Broadcom chips as do newer
market entrants such as Arista and Arrcus, what are we really paying the
traditional, expensive vendors for when ordering boxes shipping with the
same chips across the board?

Established code in routing protocols from the traditional vendors would
be quite mature, granted. However, if the limitations in Broadcom chips
apply to all vendors that use them, no amount of software hackery will
fix that. So if both Arista and Cisco are struggling to deliver the same
features due to a limitation in the Broadcom chip, do you want to spend
5 times the amount of money to figure that out, or 5 times less?

The way I see it, new vendors who are investing in off-the-shelf chips
provide a better commercial option to network operators who don't mind
such silicon in the short-to-medium (and, perhaps, even long) term
because those vendors are not encumbered by the days when they made
their own silicon.

I don't, in all honesty, see any real benefit in using traditional,
expensive vendors that are pushing out boxes based on merchant silicon
for a sales and pricing process steeped in their in-house silicon
history, when their "superior" software will be as broken as that from a
newer vendor due to the merchant silicon limitations, i.e., if I don't
want to spend real money, I won't do it with a  traditional vendor.

Which brings me back to - if a Juniper MX480 appears everywhere
(peering, transit, edge, data centre, metro, enterprise, security,
analytics, e.t.c.), why should I expend any energy being told you need
an ASR9000 for this, but a Nexus 7000 for that?


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