Saturday, March 22, 2008

ASR1000 (aka the Good - Pt 2)

4 days ago i visited CiscoExpo 2008 in Athens, where my company was invited on a presentation of the ASR1000 series routers. There i had the chance to talk with the ASR1000 product manager and discuss some details about our plans of using this platform in our network.

So, what came out of this discussion?

Cisco doesn't want to replace any existing platform with ASR1000. They see a new market for this platform (logical, since their job is to sell) and they want it to have the success of the 7200 platform; but not replace it. From my side, i don't see (for now) any specific new need for this platform; it seems a much better 7200, integrating some extra features in hardware and providing other -much requested ones- in "software". It surely is a QFP test/evaluation platform and i believe as time passes by, the QFP will be used in more (old & new) platforms.

The first IOS XE is probably missing a lot of functionality we might need, at least in relationship to the 7200 as an aggregation platform. A new IOS will come out every 4 months (while providing bug fixes in-between every 2 months), so we hope after 2-3 releases we'll be able to better evaluate the platform. As usual, Cisco doesn't like to write what's not supported, but only what is supported.

There are 3 different chassis available: 1002, 1004 and 1006. 1002 is the only one that cannot be upgraded. So you're stuck with the RP1 as the RP and ESP-5G or ESP-10G as the ESP. Also you cannot upgrade the internal hard disk, neither the SIP. 1004 & 1006 can upgrade their RP (to a future RP2 maybe) , their ESP (ESP-10G to ESP-20G which might be coming shortly) and their hard disk (with SSD too?). Also 1002 and 1004 support only software redundancy, while 1006 supports only (?) hardware redundancy. Keep in mind that software redundancy requires 4 GB of DRAM on the Route Processor 1 (ASR1000-RP1) and a High Availability license (there are 13 licenses already available -regarding security, redundancy, broadband, SBC- and more are coming).

SIP/SPAs are used only for interface connectivity. Any extra/specific features, what you might be using in other platforms (6500,7600,GSR) are under-utilized. Everything is done by the ESP, so there is no need to depend on the SIP/SPA. If the SIP/SPA prices fall, then this is a welcome feature. Otherwise you'll be paying more for less. On the other hand, you don't depend on SIP/SPA "compatibility", like when you're buying them for other platforms.

A IOS XE consolidated package is composed of 7 different software sub-packages that you can download from as one consolidated package (you cannot download individual sub-packages from; you can extract them from the consolidated package using the cli.). For upgrade, you can upgrade the whole package or each of the 7 sub-packages individually.
The following are the 7 sub-packages:

RPBase: Provides the operating system software for the route processor

RPControl: Controls the control-plane processes that interface between Cisco IOS Software and the rest of the platform

RPIOS: Provides the Cisco IOS Software sub-package, which is where Cisco IOS Software features are stored and run; each software release has a different RPIOS sub-package

RPAccess: Software required for router access; 2 versions will be available: one that contains open Secure Shell (SSH) Protocol and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and one without (RPAccess and RPAccess-K9)

SIPBase: SIP operating system + Control processes

SIPSPA: SPA drivers and field-programmable device (FPD) (SPA FPGA image)

ESPBase: ESP operating system + Control processes + Cisco Packet Processor client, driver, and ucode

These are the sub-packages filename schemes:

After process IOS modularity in 6500, we get module/process IOS modularity (sorry, but i couldn't find a better description) in ASR1000. Let's hope we won't meet the still-cannot-get-safe-harbor-pass bugs of the first one.

You can find some Q&A about ASR1000 on CCO by following this link.

Last but not least, i own an apology to my account team (how the hell did Cisco find my blog???), because as it proved out i was half-wrong regarding a "prediction" statement in my previous post:

I already know the answer from our account team. "Yes, you can do whatever you like with ASR1000". But i also know the answer from TAC : "Sorry, this cannot be done due to QFP".

Well, they actually said that we should first check the features we currently use on the 10000 and 7200 routers. Then check which ones are supported in the first release of IOS XE and when the rest of them will be available. After that we can see when (and if) we can test the ASR1000. Let's hope TAC will prove me wrong too ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.