How many ports are enough at the core of the data center? How does 1,024 sound?

That’s the configuration we used to assess Cisco Systems’ Nexus 9516 data center core switch. In this exclusive Clear Choice test, we assessed the Cisco data center core switch with more than 1,000 50G Ethernet ports. That makes this by far the largest 50G test, and for that matter the highest-density switch test, Network World has ever published.

As its name suggests, the Nexus 9516 accepts up to 16 N9K-X9732C-EX line cards, built around Cisco’s leaf-and-spine engine (LSE) ASICs. These multi-speed chips can run at 100G rates, for up to 512 ports per chassis; 50G rates for up to 1,024 ports; or 25G rates for up to 2,048 ports. We picked the 50G rate, and partnered with test and measurement vendor Spirent Communications to fully load the switch’s control and data planes.

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Cisco Nexus 9516 data center switch aces a grueling high-density stress test