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Evolution of Cisco Prime Network Services Controller

Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2 is available for download, follow this link to download the software and documentation. The 3.2.2 release incorporates a number of new features on top of 3.2.1 release. Refer to an earlier blog for the features introduced in 3.2.1 release. Following video provides a brief introduction to Prime Network Services Controller.

Following are some of the key capabilities introduced in Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2 release:

  • Prime Network Services Controller operating in OpenStack environment supporting Edge Router and Load Balancer network services
  • License automation for CSR 1000V, Citrix NetScaler VPX and Citrix NetScaler 1000V
  • Automatic instantiation of Compute Firewall, Edge Router and Load Balancer network services with Dynamic Fabric Automation

OpenStack support

The Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.1 supports Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere environments. Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2 extends multi-hypervisor capabilities by introducing the support for OpenStack (KVM) in addition to Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.

In OpenStack (KVM) environment, Cisco Prime Network Services Controller integrates with OpenStack as virtual machine manager and supports the following services:

  • Cisco CSR 1000V as Edge Router
  • Citrix NetScaler VPX as Load Balancer

OpenStack-As-VMM

When a tenant is added to Prime Network Services Controller, it queries OpenStack and learns the various tenant data networks, and maps them to different network segment roles as shown below.

OpenStack-Tenant-Networks

Cisco Prime Network Services Controller supports CSR 1000V instantiation as an Edge Router from a managed image template. In order to instantiate the CSR 1000V as Edge Router, administrator first needs to import the CSR 1000V qcow2 image into Cisco Prime Network Services Controller.

CSR-Qcow2

An Edge Router (CSR 1000V) can be instantiated for a tenant using Cisco Prime Network Services Controller GUI as well as northbound API.

PNSC-CSR-Instantiation

Networks discovered from OpenStack are used for connecting management and data interfaces. 

CSR-Network-Interfaces

During instantiation, Cisco Prime Network Services Controller allows the administrator to select the OpenStack “Availability Zone” for the placement of the Edge Router.

Availability-Zones

Citrix NetScaler VPX deployed on KVM can be registered as Load Balancer with Cisco Prime Network Services Controller.

Network services license automation

Automatic license enablement on network services is a key requirement for cloud deployments to satisfy self-service models using orchestration systems. Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2 allows automatic license enablement for CSR 1000V, Citrix NetScaler VPX and Citrix NetScaler 1000V.

ResourceMgmt-License

Prime Network Services Controller currently supports Cisco Smart Software Licensing for CSR 1000V version 3.12. Smart Software Licensing is a new tool that provides a central portal where all licenses (if supported by the device or application) per customer are shown. The portal enables you to manage license distribution and measure software usage, by dividing accounts or departments into logical license pools.

In order to enable license automation for CSR 1000V, create the Smart license account in Prime Network Services Controller. The CSR 1000V uses this account to work with the Smart License server in order to obtain the required licenses.

CSR-SmartLicense-Configuration

Similarly, Prime Network Services Controller can manage feature licenses that require installation on load balancer service nodes for instantiated load balancers. The workflow begins with importing a license bundle for Citrix NetScaler VPX and Citrix NetScaler 1000V and then installing the license during load balancer instantiation. The administrator can obtain license files from Citrix for a set of MAC addresses as load balancer hostids. Licenses obtained from Citrix must be imported into Prime Network Services Controller before the load balancer is instantiated. Prime Network Services Controller programs the MAC address in the instantiated load balancer and installs the corresponding license file.

VPX-LicenseBundle

Automatic instantiation of network services

Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2 enables you to automatically instantiate the following network services in orchestrator mode as part of Dynamic Fabric Automation when a network segment created for a tenant.

  • Compute firewall
  • Edge router
  • Load balancer

ServiceAutomation-Definitions

A service automation definition enables you to specify the profiles, image, and credentials to be used when instantiating a service. Depending on the type of service, additional options are available. You must create a definition for each service type: Compute Firewall, Edge Router, and Load Balancer to make use of this feature. Service automation definition for Edge Router service is shown below.

ER-ServiceAutomation-Definition

Other enhancements

In this release, following additional enhancements made for Edge Router and Load Balancer services.

  • CSR 1000V feature enhancements include sub-interface configuration, site-to-site VPN using IPSec tunneling configuration, DHCP server and relay configuration, and EIGRP routing configuration.
  • Add (or delete) virtual IP addresses (VIPs) to an existing load balancer (Citrix NetScaler VPX and Citrix NetScaler 1000V) that has been registered or instantiated.

In summary, this blog provided a high level overview of the new capabilities introduced in Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2. For more in-depth information, please check out the product page. You can also follow Unified Management at @CiscoUM or me at @RangaCM for up to date information on Cisco Prime Network Services Controller.

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