My organization currently has a pair of Nexus 7010's (Sup-1's) in one of our smaller data centers as our core switch (we still currently implement a Core-Dist-Access model). Long story short, this data center ended up not expanding out as was originally forecasted and the 7010's ended up being overkill, both in terms of capacity as well as rackspace/power. Due to upcoming EOL's on the 70xx architecture and the age of our current gear, we are looking at replacing these with something newer and smaller. I was initially looking at Nexus 77xx's as it is recommended upgrade path for the 70xx's, but I feel that this is still overkill. Instead I am interested in the Nexus 6004's as a smaller form factor replacement. I know from the documentation that the 6004 provides layer-2 feature parity, but I have not been able to find any information regarding its layer-3 features and capacity as it compares to the 70xx's and 77xx's.

Does anyone here have any experience implementing 6004's in a core layer-3 data center role that can provide insight on its layer-3 capabilities? Alternatively, does anyone have any documentation that compares the 6004 with either 70xx's or 77xx's on layer-3 capabilities?

Note: VDC is not a requirement for us.

  • What are you requirements? Recently we have this dicussion with a customer and we got conclusion that a pair of NX 3000 in VPC cluster was enough. Take @Ron tables in consideration and check it in your enviroment.
    – KorXo
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 8:05
  • Did any answer help you? if so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


We use the 6001 as a small core in a context which sounds fairly similar to yours, a small datacenter where a 7k is overkill.

It's turned out quite well for us in that role, however we do regret not getting the Enterprise LAN license initially, as we eventually required some more advanced routing features (BGP especially) that we did not have and adding the license after the fact turned out to be costly.

I have not had a chance to investigate its capabilities in a more "up to date" SDN-style datacenter. But for basic DC L3 duty connecting server VLANs and DMZs, mostly statically, to a DC Firewall, it works just fine.


All you really need to do is read the data sheet:

Large-Scale Fabric (Layer 2 and Layer 3): Leaf-and-Spine Architecture

Data center architecture is changing to more efficiently support multiple, high-traffic applications. New, large-scale nonblocking fabrics promote high-volume east-west or north-south traffic. The Cisco Nexus 6004EF is an excellent leaf or spine node in a Layer 2 or Layer 3 fabric design. As a high-density, low-latency switch, it flattens the network architecture to support connections that scale to more than 10,000 servers with large bisectional bandwidth. The leaf-and-spine design helps ensure low-latency fabric with a low hop count. Spine switches create a nonblocking, low-latency fabric, forwarding packets between leaves. Leaf switches provide connectivity to servers. A highly meshed architecture helps ensure high network availability with little impact on customer traffic if a failure occurs. The Cisco Nexus 6004EF can be deployed as a Layer 2 or Layer 3 spine or leaf switch (Figure 8) for design flexibility.

Buy the correct license:

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Cisco also maintains a large set of documents about its products, including the Cisco Nexus 6004 Switch.

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