Spirent Selected to Conduct Record-Breaking Test of Cisco Data Center Core Switch

Spirent Communications announced that Network World conducted the largest port test of unicast switching capability on a Cisco Nexus 9516 core router switch.  The scale of this test at 50G used 1,024 ports and used Spirent TestCenter to fully load the switch’s control and data planes at line-rate with full stateful traffic.

“We are extremely pleased with both the performance and scalability of the Nexus 9516 powered by Cisco's CloudScale ASICS that offer predictable low latency & jitter for mission critical applications whether it is Unicast or Multicast” said Yousuf Khan, Vice President of Technical Marketing for the INSBU division of Cisco Systems Inc. “The Nexus 9516 was subjected to extreme scaling in every dimension and performed magnificently. We appreciate the collaboration between Cisco, Spirent Communications, David Newman and Network World in accomplishing this major test engagement.”

“Our goal was to describe the Cisco device’s forwarding and delay characteristics under worst-case conditions. A good benchmark must be stressful, and these tests produced the most stressful traffic conditions” David Newman notes in his Network World article. “In addition to using the most stressful traffic patterns, we also used dynamic routing protocols in both unicast and multicast tests.”

The test was conducted using Spirent’s flagship high speed Ethernet network performance test solutions. The test included Spirent’s quint-speed 100/50/40/25/10G MX3 traffic modules running at 50G speed. In the IPv4 and IPv6 unicast tests, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) was enabled and advertised more than 1 million unique routes, both in IPv4 and IPv6 tests. Using the standard RFC2544 test, throughput, latency and jitter were measured for each of eight frame sizes.  Newman writes “To get a sense of what a million routes represents, consider that the entire public Internet consists, at this writing, of around 671,000 IPv4 and 40,000 IPv6 routes.  This test broke new records for Network World, with 10,000 unique IPv4 multicast group addresses, nearly twice as many groups than in any previous Network World project.”

The switch was configured to replicate multicast traffic to 1,023 ports, setting another record. Because the Cisco switch used multicast routing to forward traffic, it had to build a routing table of 10.2 million unique entries (10,000 groups multiplied by 1,023 destination ports).

According to Abhitesh Kastuar, general manager of Cloud and IP for Spirent, “The configuration and port-density of this test is the largest-scale multicast test successfully attempted and completed at 50GbE speeds.”  Kastuar continued, “The collaboration between Network World’s David Newman, Cisco, and Spirent is without a doubt one of the premier examples of what our teams can accomplish together. Congratulations to all involved in this successful test.”