Although Cisco said its marketing campaign for VSS technology will focus on its ability to support Web 2.0 and multimedia applications, CME Group is happy that the technology will improve network speed and reliability, according to Messer. "We will use VSS in a limited fashion initially," he said. "As we learn more about the technology, we will determine if there are any new ways to take advantage of this technology in our infrastructure." The CME Group has ordered 48 supervisor modules for the 6500s, which will be deployed in production, he said.
Cisco today also announced the Catalyst 4500 E-Series line of switches, which feature CenterFlex technology. This upgrade to the popular Catalyst line includes a module called the Supervisor Engine 6-E. Catalyst 4500 E-Series switches start at US$19,995 and will ship later this month.
Other Catalyst 4500 upgrades include three new 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 10/100/1000 Power over Ethernet cards that quadruple bandwidth per slot; they start at US$9,495. Cisco also announced four new 4500 E-Series chassis, starting at US$995.
Gary Landau, director of infrastructure technology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, said he has evaluated the new 4500-E Series switch and is excited about its support for 10 Gigabit Ethernet speeds, which will improve network backbone capacity. He also likes its support for Internet Protocol Version 6. A new USB port on the supervisor module will hopefully support the transfer of images across the school's network, he said.
"The extended capacity and 10 Gig modules address a timely need, as our university is adding multimedia traffic on our backbone network with streaming video, IPTV, surveillance video and VoIP," he said via e-mail. Landau didn't say how soon the college plans to upgrade, but he said the tests were successful.
The improvements to the Catalyst switches can help Cisco fend off competition in the market for technologies designed to improve network capacity and help customers avoid added costs, said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group Research.
Cisco said the new products can help customers maintain 80% to 85% of the original investment they made in the popular Catalyst 4500 and 6500 switches.