Nexus 7K switches and Nexus 9K switches are the 2 Cisco families apposite for Data Center environment with Nexus 9K being the new entrant of the 2 flavors and having an array of top-of-rack and chassis based switches.
The Nexus 9000 switches run NX-OS same as Nexus 7000 and banking on key features like ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) for allowing the switches to participate in the SDN framework. Though Nexus 7000 series doesn’t participate in ACI, however will function as interconnect devices, linking together multiple ACI setups.
N7K being a little high on cost, provides feature set like OTV, LISP, VDC and FCOE which latter doesn’t venture into presently, still N9K has some features and roadmap which can’t be undermined. Another benefit of Nexus 9k being that it can be deployed in a standalone mode with existing Nexus switches (If customer is still exploring) and may plan to introduce Application Centric Infrastructure in near future , then Nexus 9000 would be the recommended platform.
Comparison Table : Nexus 9K vs Nexus 7k switches
Below are some of differences between cisco Nexus 7k and Nexus 9K which help gives more insight into platforms –
|Placement in Rack||End of row (EoR), middle of row (MoR), aggregation layer, and core||Top of rack (ToR), EoR, MoR, aggregation layer, and core|
|Chip Set||Own custom built chips||Merchant silicon|
|Cost||High||Lower than N7K|
|Flexibility||Partially supports “pay as you grow” approach||Advocates “pay as you grow” approach where initially N9K models may be procured as simple switching platform and later ACI modules procured as part of customer roadmap|
|ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) Support||Not supported .can be used as interconnect that don’t participate in ACI.||Supported|
|OTV and LISP||Supported||Not Supported|
(Virtual Device Context)
|Supported||Not Supported. All switch resources are managed in the default VDC.|
|FC and FCoE for SAN||Supported||Not supported|
Download the comparison table here.