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- Software compatibility
Cisco NX-OS interoperates with Cisco products running any variant of the Cisco IOS Software operating system. It also interoperates with any networking OS that conforms to the networking standards listed as supported in this data sheet.
- Common software throughout the data center
Cisco NX-OS simplifies the data center operating environment and provides a unified OS designed to run all areas of the data center network, including storage, virtualization, and Layer 3 network protocols.
- Modular software design
Cisco NX-OS is designed to support distributed multithreaded processing on symmetric multiprocessors (SMPs), multicore CPUs, and distributed line-card processors. Computationally intensive tasks, such as hardware table programming, can be offloaded to dedicated processors distributed across the line cards. Cisco NX-OS modular processes are instantiated on demand, each in a separate protected memory space. Thus, processes are started and system resources allocated only when a feature is enabled. The modular processes are governed by a real-time preemptive scheduler that helps ensure the timely processing of critical functions.
- Virtual device contexts (VDCs)
Cisco NX-OS offers the capability to segment OS and hardware resources into virtual contexts that emulate virtual devices. Each VDC has its own software processes, dedicated hardware resources (physical interfaces, VLANs, routing table size, Virtual Route Forwarding [VRF], etc.), and independent management environment. VDCs are instrumental in the consolidation of separate networks onto a common infrastructure, maintaining the administrative boundary separation and fault-isolation characteristics of physically separate networks while providing many of the operating cost benefits of a single infrastructure. Each VDC can be restarted without affecting the control, data, or management plane of other VDCs in the system. Starting with Cisco NX-OS Software Release 6.1, administrator VDC and CPU shares are supported. Administrator VDC enables network administrators to configure systemwide settings such as Control Plane Policing (CoPP); VDC creation, suspension, and deletion; and interface allocation. CPU shares provide the capability to configure CPU access and prioritization for each VDC.
Cisco NX-OS Software is a modular multitasking and multithreaded operating system built with high availability, detailed fault management, and nondisruptive serviceability at its foundation. Cisco NX-OS helps ensure continuous operation and sets the standard for mission-critical environments. The modular design of Cisco NX-OS makes zero-impact operations a reality and enables exceptional operational flexibility.
Cisco NX-OS provides a robust and comprehensive feature set that fulfills the routing, switching, and storage networking requirements of present and future data centers. With an XML interface and a command-line interface (CLI) like that of Cisco IOS Software, Cisco NX-OS provides state-of-the-art implementations of relevant networking standards as well as a variety of true data center-class Cisco innovations.