The Mythical Sup2T

The mythical Supervisor Engine 2T for the Catalyst 6500 is no longer a myth. Cisco has finally officially announced the product and if you just bought Sup 720’s, you might be wishing you could have waited. I haven’t seen the pricing yet, but it might make a recent Sup720 purchase more palatable. We shall see…

Here’s some of the details that I’ve discovered here at Cisco Live:

  • It will only run in the -E chassis. Older chassis lack the traces required.
  • Doubles the switch fabric speed from 20Gb to 40Gb.
  • It has a USB console (shocking, I know)
  • It has a dual 40Gb line card available. There will be an adapter¬†reminiscent¬†of the TwinGig that will allow a slot to hold 4 10Gb SFPs.
  • It is theoretically possible to support 100Gb Ethernet in the chassis, but no commitment has been made. It doesn’t help that the optics for 100Gb are $100k each and not many customers are up for that.
  • It has enough channels to the switch fabric for a 6513-E to get full performance out of every slot.
  • It uses a PFC4 and an MSFC5. I’ve no idea why the numbering is no longer in sync.
    • The MSFC5 has a Connectivity Management Processor (CMP), similar to the N7k boxes. I believe it’s essentially a LOM.
  • It will ship with 12.2SY. An IOS 15SY release will be coming. I don’t know the time frame. Sup720 will also get updated to an IOS 15 train.
  • There will be 6800 and 6900 series line cards. 6800 are apparently identical to the 6700 series, but with DFC4. 6900 will support the 80Gb fabric.
  • The 2T removes a lot of (the sometimes odd) limitations with the Sup720 platform. Particularly around IPv6 and MPLS.
  • No more Switch Processor; there is only a Route Processor.

What’s new in the PFC4:

  • Larger hardware tables (TCAM, MAC, etc)
  • A variety of IPv6 related improvements
  • VPLS without a SIP
  • Egress Netflow and Flexible Netflow
  • TrustSec
  • Lots of MPLS upgrades and new related features
  • Significantly higher performance numbers (obviously) than the PFC3C
  • The XL variant continues to up our FIB TCAM from 256k to 1M.
  • You can continue to use CFC line cards. Only DFC4(XL) cards will work with the 2T.
    • The 6708 line card will not be upgradable to a DFC4. It’s missing a critical chip.
    • Several of the 6700 series cards can be upgraded with a DFC4. There will be two part numbers for this, depending on the card. I believe the 6704, 6716, and 6748 cards were specifically mentioned, but I have no documentation. YMMV.
  • Many improvements to CoPP.

That’s the quick rundown of what seemed the highlights to me. I suspect there are MPLS people who will be extremely excited by this bit of kit, but I don’t know enough about MPLS to know which parts are really exciting. The architecture of the 2T has not changed radically from the 720-10G platform. It’s mostly the MSFC, but the architecture drawing is otherwise nearly identical. The PFC4 is a bit different, but mostly in more and different TCAM tables. Hopefully this gives you quick answers to some of the questions you had about the 2T. Let me know if you have others and I’ll try to find out the answer while I have Cisco’s ear.


Leave a Reply