SPARK: Cisco QSFP Bi Di

The Nexus 9000 and ACI is all the buzz at the moment and as an architect I need to look at what is out there, gain a sound understanding of it to realize business benefits. The unique part about the Nexus range is ability to leverage new optics – Cisco’s QFSP Bi Di.

Whilst nothing new, QSFP Bi Di optics allow migration to 40GbE in a non obtrusive way. By not having to replace your DC’s cable plant it is possible to achieve fast interaction between Spine and Leaf switching fabrics. This new speed and easy migration path is essential in Clos styled architectures. Currently 10GbE cabling uses 2 x MMF fiber strands and this delivers a single connection. 8 strands are required for 40GbE duplex connection. Quickly consider your existing cable plants and there immediately reduces your ability to deliver dense 40GbE.

Cisco’s QSFP Bi Di removes the limitation of an 8 strand requirement for 40GbE and leverages the ability of two strand like older 10GbE connections. As a result there is substantial reduction in CapEx and complexity when transitioning to 40GbE. I know the reallocation of CapEx for me is extremely useful as it makes investment elsewhere viable.

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  • Ron Fuller

    BiDi is very cool and will also work on the F3 module and M2 module in 6.2(6) code later this year. Very cool innovation for the entire Nexus family of products. – Ron (@ccie5851)

    • pandom

      Thanks for commenting Ron.

      It is a great feature especially with the backwards compatibility. This allows a very affordable migration path to 40GbE. The next generation DC fabrics are in reach of most customers than ever.

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  • http://etherealmind.com Etherealmind

    Worth noting that all vendors will also ship BiDi optics in the near future. For example, Arista is promoting a single mode 40G BiDi that uses a single single mode pair.

    Doing BiDir on MMF is good for existing data centres, SMF is better for new build since SMF has a 20 year future while MMF is much less likely to be useful in 20 years.