This document describes how Cisco has designed the Cisco Nexus 5000 Series Switches as both high-bandwidth, low-latency, access-layer switches for rack deployment and as the basis for a unified network fabric that can help simplify data center infrastructure while reducing capital and operational costs. This document provides a brief overview of the switch features and benefits and then details the series' 10 Gigabit Ethernet, I/O consolidation, and virtualization capabilities. Internally, the switches are based on only two custom application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs): a unified port controller that handles all packet-processing operations on ingress and egress, and a unified crossbar fabric that schedules and switches packets. Every design decision made in these two devices is precisely targeted to support I/O consolidation and virtualization features with the most efficient use of transistor logic, helping minimize power consumption and maximize performance.
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