Cisco is announcing this week a new member of the Nexus 1000V virtualization infrastructure portfolio, the Nexus 1010-X virtual services appliance. The new Nexus 1010-X is an extended version of the existing Nexus 1010 appliance, and represents a larger, more scalable and cost-efficient configuration for larger data center deployments and cloud applications. What is a virtual services appliance and why should customers use it? The Cisco Nexus 1010 and 1010-X provide improved management, scalability and visibility in environments running the Nexus 1000V virtual switch and the VMware vSphere hypervisor.
The Nexus 1000V brings the network edge directly to the virtual machine with consistent policies and features as physical network devices. Like physical switches, the Nexus 1000V consists of a data plane (the virtual Ethernet module or VEM), and a control plane (the virtual supervisor module or VSM). While the VEM runs in the hypervisor directing packets to the right VM ports, the VSM is a virtual machine that can run remotely on any server, and likely runs as at least a fault-tolerant pair controlling the VEMs.
The Nexus 1010 and 1010-X can host a variety of virtual network services besides the VSM, including the Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module (NAM), Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), and Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM). Placing the management and control path elements, such as the VSM, on Cisco Nexus 1010 allows you to manage policies separately from VMware vCenter administrators, helping you meet compliance and audit requirements and also reducing administrative errors. Offloading the VSM to a dedicated appliance delivers scalability and performance improvements to the virtualized data center infrastructure. Eliminating the dependency on VMware vCenter means that networking services no longer depend on host servers being up and running, which can be helpful during scenarios such as data center restarts.
A virtual services platform close to, but not resident within, the virtualization infrastructure permits a virtual machine–aware solution, such as Cisco Prime NAM, to gain accurate network statistics directly from data sources, including virtual ports within the hypervisor. Hosting the VSG firewall on the Nexus 1010 platform allows firewall services to be controlled across multiple servers, reducing overhead on application servers, while still allowing the enforcement of VM-specific policies on inter-VM traffic.
Based on the Cisco UCS C200 M2 High-Density Rack-Mount Server and running Cisco NX-OS Software, the Nexus 1010 and 1010-X allow for network managers to maintain control of network service VM policies and configurations, not the server administrators. The appliance is managed through an NX-OS command-line interface (CLI) and does not require the use of a vCenter console for the VSM instance.
The new 1010-X includes more memory, processor power, and nearly doubles the number of virtual service blades on a single chassis. Later this year, the Nexus 1010-X will support hierarchical deployment architectures, allowing the Nexus 1000V switch to scale to over 10,000 virtual ports on a single layer 2 mobility domain for larger cloud deployments. For more information on the new Nexus 1010-X, go to: cisco.com/go/nexus1010. There will also be a technical deep dive webinar on the Nexus 1010-X at the end of February, which you can register for here.