Fiber Switch Comparison: N9K-C93180YC-FX vs N9K-C9180YC-EX vs N9K-C93180YC-FX3

Fiber Switch Comparison: N9K-C93180YC-FX vs N9K-C9180YC-EX vs N9K-C93180YC-FX3

Author: Bryan Sexton, VP of Business DevelopmentLinkedIn

The choice of used networking equipment plays a pivotal role in ensuring seamless operations. In this comprehensive comparison, we shed light on three prominent models: the N9K-C93180YC-FX, N9K-C93180YC-FX3, and N9K-C93180YC-EX.

Table of Contents

Product Details

N9K-C93180YC-FX

Cisco Switches N9K-C93180YC-FXCisco Switches N9K-C93180YC-FXCisco Switches N9K-C93180YC-FX

  • Ports: 48 x 1/10/25-Gbps and 6 x 40/100-Gbps QSFP28 ports
  • Downlink Supported Speeds: 1/10/25-Gbps Ethernet
  • CPU: 6 cores
  • System Memory: Up to 32 GB
  • SSD Drive: 128 GB
  • System Buffer: 40 MB
  • Management Ports: 1 RJ-45 port
  • USB Ports: 1
  • RS-232 Serial Ports: 1
  • Power Supplies (Up to 2): 500W AC, 930W DC, or 1200W HVAC/HVDC
  • Typical Power (AC/DC): 260W
  • Maximum Power (AC/DC): 425W
  • Input Voltage (AC): 100 to 240V
  • Input Voltage (High-Voltage AC [HVAC]): 200 to 277V
  • Input Voltage (DC): –48 to –60V
  • Input Voltage (High-Voltage DC [HVDC]): –240v to –380V
  • Frequency (AC): 50 to 60 Hz
  • Fans: 4
  • Airflow: Port-side intake and exhaust
  • Physical Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.72 x 17.3 x 22.5 in. (4.4 x 43.9 x 57.1 cm)
  • Acoustics: 57 dBA at 40% fan speed, 68.9 dBA at 70% fan speed, and 77.4 dBA at 100% fan speed
  • RoHS Compliance: Yes
  • MTBF: 238,470 hours
  • EOL: July 31, 2024

N9K-C93180YC-FX3

Cisco N9K-C93180YC-FX3 Switch

  • Ports: 48 x 1/10/25-Gbps and 6 x 40/100-Gbps QSFP28 ports
  • Downlink Supported Speeds: 1/10/25-Gbps Ethernet
  • CPU: 6 cores
  • System Memory: Up to 32 GB
  • SSD Drive: 128 GB
  • System Buffer: 40 MB
  • Management Ports: 1 RJ-45 port
  • USB Ports: 1
  • RS-232 Serial Ports: 1
  • Power Supplies (Up to 2): 650W AC, 930W DC, or 1200W HVAC/HVDC
  • Typical Power (AC/DC): 375W
  • Maximum Power (AC/DC): 600W
  • Input Voltage (AC): 100 to 240V
  • Input Voltage (High-Voltage AC [HVAC]): 200 to 277V
  • Input Voltage (DC): –48 to –60V
  • Input Voltage (High-Voltage DC [HVDC]): –240v to –380V
  • Frequency (AC): 50 to 60 Hz
  • Fans: 4
  • Airflow: Port-side intake and exhaust
  • Physical Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.72 x 17.3 x 22.5 in. (4.4 x 43.9 x 57.1 cm)
  • Acoustics: 57 dBA at 40% fan speed, 68.9 dBA at 70% fan speed, and 77.4 dBA at 100% fan speed
  • RoHS Compliance: Yes
  • MTBF: 288,760 Hours
  • Minimum NX-OS Image: NX-OS-9.3.5
  • EOL: NA

N9K-C93180YC-EX

Cisco Switches N9K-C93180YC-EX

  • Ports: 48 x 10/25-Gbps and 6 x 40/100-Gbps QSFP28 ports
  • Downlink Supported Speeds: 1/10/25-Gbps speeds, 16/32-Gbps Fibre Channel
  • CPU: 4 cores
  • System Memory: 24 GB
  • SSD Drive: 64 GB
  • System Buffer: 40 MB
  • Management Ports: 2 ports: 1 RJ-45 and 1 SFP
  • USB Ports: 1
  • RS-232 Serial Ports: 1
  • Power Supplies (Up to 2): 650W AC, 930W DC, or 1200W HVAC/HVDC
  • Typical Power (AC/DC): 210W
  • Maximum Power (AC/DC): 470W
  • Input Voltage (AC): 100 to 240V
  • Input Voltage (High-Voltage AC [HVAC]): 200 to 277V
  • Input Voltage (DC): –48 to –60V
  • Input Voltage (High-Voltage DC [HVDC]): –240v to –380V
  • Frequency (AC): 50 to 60 Hz
  • Fans: 4
  • Airflow: Port-side intake and exhaust
  • Physical Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.72 x 17.3 x 22.5 in. (4.4 x 43.9 x 57.1 cm)
  • Acoustics: 48.5 dBA at 40% fan speed, 64.9 dBA at 70% fan speed, and 77.8 dBA at 100% fan speed
  • RoHS Compliance: Yes
  • MTBF: 390,330 hours
  • EOL: August 9, 2022

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Product Details Summary: N9K-C9180YC-EX vs N9K-C93180YC-FX vs N9K-C93180YC-FX3 

The N9K-C93180YC-FX, N9K-C93180YC-FX3, and N9K-C93180YC-EX each offer unique features for varied data center needs. The N9K-C93180YC-FX and FX3 share similarities in CPU, system memory, and power supply, providing a performance baseline. In contrast, the N9K-C93180YC-EX distinguishes itself with different downlink speeds, CPU cores, and power consumption.

While all models share common aspects like size, RoHS compliance, and high MTBF, some nuances in capabilities may impact purchasing decisions. The N9K-C93180YC-FX3, for example, introduces power supply and management port enhancements for a more flexible unit that can be adapted to better meet specific power or port requirements.

Recommendations Based on Product Details and Infrastructure Needs 

It’s crucial to assess the network requirements, processing capabilities, and power considerations when buying used Cisco switches. Each model presents a tailored solution, ensuring that data center administrators can align their choices with the demands of their unique infrastructure.

N9K-C93180YC-FX

The N9K-C93180YC-FX is a robust choice for high-density networking, focusing on 1/10/25-Gbps Ethernet. With six CPU cores and up to 32 GB of system memory, it suits data-intensive tasks and applications requiring substantial processing power. Offering flexibility with power supply options, including 500W AC and 930W DC, the N9K-C93180YC-FX adapts well to diverse power infrastructures. 

Consider this model for balanced performance and a power-efficient data center, particularly in networks dominated by 1/10/25-Gbps speeds.

N9K-C93180YC-FX3

For those seeking enhanced power and versatility, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 steps into the spotlight. With identical port configurations to its predecessor, this model introduces improvements in power supplies. The increased typical power of 375W, compared to the FX model, showcases its ability to handle more demanding workloads.

If your data center requires a future-proof solution with added power and management capabilities, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 stands as a suitable candidate. This model particularly shines in environments where scalability and adaptability are key.

N9K-C93180YC-EX

The N9K-C93180YC-EX, with its distinct downlink supported speeds and 16/32-Gbps Fibre Channel capabilities, is tailored for environments with specific networking demands. Its 4 CPU cores and 24 GB of system memory strike a balance between performance and resource efficiency. The 650W AC power supply option, along with various voltage input options, adds to its adaptability in power infrastructure. 

Consider the N9K-C93180YC-EX if your data center incorporates Fibre Channel technology or requires a model with a unique blend of capabilities. This model suits scenarios where networking demands extend beyond traditional Ethernet speeds.

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Performance and Use 

All three models stand as powerhouses with distinct capabilities, making them indispensable components for seamless networking. The following section explains and compares the  N9K-C93180YC-EX vs N9K-C93180YC-FX vs N9K-C93180YC-FX3 by commands, compatibility, upgradability, and features.

Commands

N9K-C93180YC-FX

The N9K-C93180YC-FX has a rich command-line interface. Noteworthy commands include advanced VLAN configuration options, traffic engineering commands for precise control of data flows, and security-focused ACL commands for access control.

N9K-C93180YC-FX3

Building upon its predecessor, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 introduces additional commands for enhanced configuration flexibility. This model is particularly known for its comprehensive set of commands related to QoS (Quality of Service), enabling administrators to prioritize and manage traffic effectively.

N9K-C93180YC-EX

The N9K-C93180YC-EX boasts a versatile command-line interface that caters to diverse networking needs. Its set includes advanced Fibre Channel commands for efficient storage networking, alongside robust OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) commands for optimized routing in complex environments.

Compatibility

N9K-C93180YC-FX

The N9K-C93180YC-FX showcases excellent compatibility with a range of networking technologies. It seamlessly integrates with Cisco’s Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders, extending its reach within the Cisco ecosystem. Its compatibility extends to Juniper’s QFX Series and Arista’s 7000 Series switches, fostering interoperability in multi-vendor environments. Learn more and compare options with used Juniper vs Cisco networking equipment.

N9K-C93180YC-FX3

Staying true to its reputation, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 maintains compatibility not only with Cisco infrastructure but also demonstrates interoperability with products from Juniper and Arista. Similar to the N9K-C93180YC-FX, this includes Juniper’s QFX Series and Arista’s 7000 Series switches. This broad compatibility makes it a versatile choice for environments with diverse networking components. Learn more about and compare Cisco vs Arista networking equipment

N9K-C93180YC-EX

The N9K-C93180YC-EX, designed with flexibility in mind, exhibits compatibility not only within the Cisco family but also extends its support to Juniper and Arista products. Like the other models, this model is also compatible with the QFX Series and Arista 7000 Series switches. This model ensures seamless integration, allowing administrators to build cohesive networks with components from different vendors.

Upgradability

N9K-C93180YC-FX

The N9K-C93180YC-FX provides an upgradability roadmap, allowing administrators to enhance both software and hardware. Software upgrades offer access to the latest features and security patches. Modular hardware enhancements, like additional ports or upgraded components, enable the unit to evolve with changing demands.

N9K-C93180YC-FX3

The N9K-C93180YC-FX3 provides versatile upgradability options. Software upgrades keep the unit abreast of the latest advancements. Administrators have the flexibility to explore modular hardware upgrades, including the addition of extra ports or the enhancement of core components. This adaptability allows users to tailor the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 to evolving needs, ensuring it remains a forward-looking investment.

N9K-C93180YC-EX

The N9K-C93180YC-EX, keen on future-proofing, facilitates upgradability through a combination of software and hardware options. Software upgrades maintain the unit’s relevance in evolving networking landscapes, while hardware modifications, such as additional power supplies or enhanced ports, cater to specific scalability requirements.

Features

N9K-C93180YC-FX

The N9K-C93180YC-FX excels not only in performance but also in network management. Advanced traffic engineering capabilities, including support for MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), enhance traffic control. Robust security protocols, such as TrustSec, bolster access control, while MACsec encryption ensures data confidentiality. The integration with SDN frameworks, particularly compatibility with Cisco’s ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure), adds a layer of programmability to network management.

N9K-C93180YC-FX3

Building on the rich feature set of its predecessors, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 introduces enhancements to traffic capabilities. With support for VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN) and increased routing options, this model addresses the needs of modern data centers dealing with complex network architectures. Security protocols are bolstered, including enhanced ACL (Access Control List) capabilities for granular access control.

N9K-C93180YC-EX

The N9K-C93180YC-EX, while distinct in its downlink-supported speeds and Fibre Channel capabilities, doesn’t compromise on features. Administrators can leverage advanced capabilities such as MACsec encryption, extensive routing options, and robust support for various networking protocols. These features collectively contribute to a secure, high-performance network environment. 

Comparing and Contrasting Performance and Use 

The N9K-C93180YC-FX, N9K-C93180YC-FX3, and N9K-C93180YC-EX each bring a distinctive set of features and capabilities to the table. 

Similarities across the models lie in their robust command-line interfaces, broad compatibility with diverse networking technologies, and a commitment to upgradability, ensuring they remain adaptable to evolving requirements. 

However, key differentiators emerge in their specialized features and use cases:

  • The N9K-C93180YC-FX excels with its advanced traffic engineering and security protocols, making it a strong contender for environments demanding precise control and data confidentiality. 
  • The N9K-C93180YC-FX3, building on this foundation, extends its capabilities to support modern networking architectures like VXLAN, offering enhanced routing options. 
  • On the other hand, the N9K-C93180YC-EX stands out with its emphasis on Fibre Channel compatibility, making it an ideal choice for environments where storage networking is a critical component. 

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Infrastructure Examples and Performance Needs Recommendations 

Assessing the specific networking requirements, storage considerations, and future scalability plans is essential to make an informed decision aligned with the long-term goals of the organization. 

Understanding these nuances is crucial in making an informed purchasing decision, and aligning the chosen model with your data center’s specific requirements.

Infrastructure Needs: Example 1

  • High-density networking with a focus on 1/10/25-Gbps Ethernet.
  • Requirements for advanced traffic engineering and precise control.
  • Emphasis on data confidentiality through robust security protocols.

Recommendation:

Consider the N9K-C93180YC-FX for environments where a balance between high-density networking, advanced traffic control, and stringent security measures are of primary concern.

Infrastructure Needs: Example 2

  • Environments requiring enhanced power and versatility.
  • Future-proofing strategies with a focus on scalability and adaptability.
  • Support for modern networking architectures like VXLAN.

Recommendation:

The N9K-C93180YC-FX3 is recommended for data centers seeking a forward-looking investment with increased power, scalability, and support for modern networking protocols.

Infrastructure Needs: Example 3

  • Networking environments with specific demands for downlink-supported speeds.
  • Incorporating Fibre Channel technology for storage networking.
  • Flexibility in adapting to various power infrastructures.

Recommendation:

Consider the N9K-C93180YC-EX for scenarios where Fibre Channel compatibility is crucial and adaptability to diverse power infrastructures is required.

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Installation and Configuration by Model 

Efficient installation and seamless configuration are imperative in ensuring the optimal performance of fiber switches within a data center and should be considered when making a purchasing decision. This section will delve into each model’s installation requirements and configuration options.

N9K-C93180YC-FX

Installation:

The N9K-C93180YC-FX, with its 1 RU form factor, is designed for versatility in deployment. Whether serving as an ACI leaf, top-of-rack switch, FEX aggregation point, or powered by Cloud Scale, its installation is adaptable to various data center architectures.

Configurations:

Administrators can use the NX-OS and ACI operating systems to configure the N9K-C93180YC-FX. The minimum software version required is NX-OS-703I7.1/ACI-N9KDK9-12.2A, providing access to a robust set of features for network customization.

N9K-C93180YC-FX3

Installation:

Similar to its predecessor, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 maintains a 1 RU form factor, suitable for ACI leaf, top-of-rack, FEX aggregation, and Cloud Scale-powered deployments. Its adaptable design facilitates integration into various data center setups.

Configurations:

Operating on the NX-OS and ACI systems, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 requires a minimum software version of NX-OS-10.1.1/9.3.7 ACI-15.1.3/5.1.3 for optimal functionality. This version unlocks an extensive array of configuration options for network administrators.

N9K-C93180YC-EX

Installation:

The N9K-C93180YC-EX, sharing the 1 RU form factor with its counterparts, is versatile in its deployment. Whether serving as an ACI leaf, top-of-rack switch, or FEX aggregation point, its installation adapts to the specific needs of the data center.

Configurations:

Operating on the NX-OS and ACI systems, the N9K-C93180YC-EX mandates a minimum software version of NX-OS-10.1.1/9.3.7 ACI-15.1.3/5.1.3 for optimal functionality. Administrators gain access to a comprehensive set of configurations to tailor the switch to the network’s unique requirements.

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Installation and Configuration Comparisons

The installation and configuration requirements for the Nexus models exhibit both commonalities and distinctions. Each model requires specific temperature, humidity, and environmental standards to ensure reliable operations.

Common Grounds

All models share similar guidelines for temperature ranges, emphasizing the adaptability of these switches across various data center environments. The humidity requirements, both operating and non-operating, maintain a standardized range of 5-90% to 5-95%, showcasing a consistent approach to moisture control.

Points of Distinction

Despite the shared standards, differences emerge in altitude ratings, power supply specifications, and airflow considerations. The N9K-C9180YC-EX stands out for its extensive port configurations and power options, catering to diverse connectivity needs. On the other hand, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 impresses with SyncE and Hybrid PTP support, enhancing precision in time synchronization.

Model-Specific Features

N9K-C9180YC-EX

  • Versatile Connectivity: This model boasts extensive port configurations, offering 48 x 10/25-Gbps and 6 x 40/100-Gbps QSFP28 ports. This versatility caters to a wide range of networking requirements in the data center.
  • Power Flexibility: The N9K-C9180YC-EX stands out with its diverse power supply options, accommodating 650W AC, 930W DC, or 1200W HVAC/HVDC. This flexibility enables data center managers to tailor power solutions to their specific needs.

N9K-C93180YC-FX

  • High Throughput: With a throughput of 3.6 Tbps, the N9K-C93180YC-FX ensures high-speed data transfer, making it suitable for demanding data center applications that require rapid and efficient communication.
  • Low Latency: Boasting a low latency of approximately 1 microsecond, this model excels in minimizing delays in data transmission, critical for real-time applications where responsiveness is paramount.

N9K-C93180YC-FX3

  • Precision Time Synchronization: Setting itself apart, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 features SyncE and Hybrid PTP support. This capability ensures high precision in time synchronization, crucial for applications where timing accuracy is necessary.
  • Enhanced Resilience: The inclusion of SyncE and Hybrid PTP support not only improves synchronization accuracy but also enhances the overall resilience of the network, making it well-suited for environments where reliability is a top priority.

Considerations for Data Center Managers 

Data center managers should weigh factors such as environmental conditions, scalability, and synchronization requirements when choosing a model. 

Specialized Use Cases

For environments demanding high precision in time synchronization, the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 emerges as a strong contender. Simultaneously, the N9K-C9180YC-EX excels in meeting varied connectivity demands, making it suitable for data centers with diverse networking needs.

Price Comparison

Data center managers face complex decisions balancing functionality, ease of deployment, and costs when selecting between N9K-C93180YC-FX, N9K-C93180YC-FX3, and N9K-C93180YC-EX models.

  • The N9K-C93180YC-FX is a robust, cost-effective choice for high-density networking, providing competitive pricing for 1/10/25-Gbps Ethernet environments.
    • Price range: $2,250-$2,950
  • The N9K-C93180YC-FX3 offers enhanced power and versatility at a slightly higher cost, ideal for scalability-focused data centers.
    • Price range: $9,795-$11,995
  • The N9K-C93180YC-EX addresses specific networking demands with a unique price proposition, featuring Fibre Channel capabilities.
    • Price range: $995-$1,395

Managers should align budgets with immediate needs and consider future goals,  ensuring the chosen model optimally serves both present and evolving data center requirements.

Tailoring the Decision

A data center manager’s decision should align with current infrastructure needs, and each model offers unique strengths to address them effectively. Understanding these distinctions aids in making an informed choice that suits the data center’s configuration and operational demands.

Additionally, managers must consider future goals and operational strategies when deciding. Forward-thinking approaches may involve liquidating existing network equipment. The process of decommissioning and selling old Cisco equipment generates funds for upgrading and modernizing with refurbished equipment. 

Strategically aligning decisions based on current needs with long-term objectives ensures the selected model is a wise investment, supporting both immediate and future growth. Understanding each model’s unique strengths is crucial for making a decision that stands the test of time.

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Why Buy from BrightStar Systems? 

When considering your purchase, it’s essential to choose a knowledgeable and trustworthy reseller. BrightStar Systems is an established and reputable vendor with a strong industry history. We pride ourselves on superior customer service, warranties on all products, and cost-effective options. With a commitment to cost-effective and trustworthy products and client satisfaction, BrightStar Systems ensures a seamless experience in acquiring top-tier used data center hardware.

Make the right choice for your data center – choose reliability with BrightStar Systems.

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Frequently Asked Questions

In a comparison of performance and use, the N9K-C9180YC-EX stands out with its extensive port configurations, catering to diverse connectivity needs, while the N9K-C93180YC-FX emphasizes high-speed data transfer and low latency, making it suitable for demanding applications.

The N9K-C93180YC-FX boasts a low latency of approximately 1 microsecond, minimizing delays in data transmission, crucial for real-time applications.

The N9K-C93180YC-FX3 provides a high throughput of 3.6 Tbps, ensuring rapid and efficient communication for demanding data center applications.

The N9K-C93180YC-FX, within the Nexus family, offers ultra-low-latency solutions with a latency of approximately 1 microsecond.

The default LACP rate on Nexus is 30 seconds. However, users have the flexibility to change the timer rate using the “lacp rate” command, allowing adjustment from the default rate to a faster rate of 1 second for LACP-supported interfaces.

Yes, the N9K-C93180YC-FX showcases excellent compatibility with Juniper’s QFX Series switches, ensuring seamless integration in multi-vendor environments.

The N9K-C93180YC-FX3 maintains compatibility not only with Cisco infrastructure but also demonstrates interoperability with Arista’s 7000 Series switches.

For the N9K-C9180YC-EX, a minimum software version of NX-OS-10.1.1/9.3.7 ACI-15.1.3/5.1.3 is required for optimal functionality, unlocking a comprehensive set of configurations.

Yes, the N9K-C93180YC-EX is tailored for environments with specific networking demands, including 16/32-Gbps Fibre Channel support, making it ideal for scenarios where Fibre Channel technology is crucial.

While both models offer versatile power supply options, the N9K-C93180YC-FX comes with 500W AC, 930W DC, or 1200W HVAC/HVDC options, whereas the N9K-C93180YC-FX3 offers 650W AC, 930W DC, or 1200W HVAC/HVDC options, showcasing enhanced power capabilities.

References

  1. Nexus 9300 1/10/25/40/100GE Fiber Switches. (2023, January). Cisco.
  2. Cisco Nexus 9300-FX3 Series Switch. (2023, January). Cisco.
  3. Cisco Nexus 93180YC-FX NX-OS Mode Switch Hardware Installation Guide. (2023, January). Cisco.
  4. Cisco Nexus 93180YC-EX NX-OS Mode Hardware Installation Guide. (2023, January). Cisco.
  5. Cisco Nexus 93180YC-FX3 NX-OS Mode Switch Hardware Installation Guide. (2023, January). Cisco.
  6. End-of-Sale and End-of-Life Announcement for the Cisco N9K-C93180YC-EX and Cisco N9K-C93108TC-EX. (2023, January). Cisco.
  7. End-of-Sale and End-of-Life Announcement for the Cisco Nexus C93180YC-FX and C93108TC-FX Fixed Switches. (2023, January). Cisco
  8. Cisco Nexus 9000 Series NX-OS Fundamentals Configuration Guide.  (2023, January). Cisco
  9. Cisco Nexus 9000 Series NX-OS Interfaces Configuration Guide, Release 6.x. (2023, January). Cisco