Cisco’s Nexus 3000 line has been aimed at high-performance applications, but most of the attention in that market has gone to startup competitor Arista, which has had its 7100SX family on the market for almost a year and a half now. The story may change with today’s release of the Nexus 3548.
Latency is the key variable for high-frequency trading; all use cut-through switching to keep latency as low as possible. Arista’s switches and the Mellanox SX1036 had set the low-latency benchmark, at around 400 nanoseconds over 10 Gbps links. Cisco’s Nexus 3000 switches clocked in closer to 1,000 nanoseconds. The Nexus 3548 employs what Cisco calls Algo Boost (algorithm boost) to push latency down to 250 nanoseconds and below 200 ns in “Warp” mode. Warp mode restricts the size of the forwarding table, allowing the switch to make faster forwarding decisions. Feed replication (sending the same data out multiple ports) can incur latencies as low as 50 nsec.