[See Also: Follow-Up Q&A on Freemium Pricing Model]
[Update 11/26/12: the free Nexus 1000V virtual switch is available for download from here.]
Following on the heels of the announcement of our Nexus 1000V 2.1 release last month, Cisco is today announcing a new pricing and packaging strategy for its flagship virtual switch portfolio. Starting with that new 2.1 release, which is now in beta, we will have two editions of the Nexus 1000V, an Essential Edition and an Advanced Edition. The Nexus 1000V Essential Edition will be available for free, plus a nominal annual support fee, in a move that we believe will encourage customers and our partners to proliferate what has already become the most popular virtual switch in the industry with over 6,000 customers to date.
The Nexus 1000V Essential Edition provides all the rich Layer-2 networking features to connect virtual applications to the network and integrate into VMware environments, including: VXLAN capability, Cisco vPath service insertion, integration with vCloud Director, and a plug-in for management and monitoring in VMware’s vCenter Server. This free version will enable rapid, low-risk adoption of Cisco’s virtual network technology environments.
The Advanced Edition, priced at $695 per CPU, the same price as the current 1.5 release, includes:
- The Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) for Nexus 1000V, a virtual firewall with visibility to virtual machine attributes for building sophisticated compliance policies, and logical trust zones between applications (VSG was previously sold as a separate product).
- Support for advanced capabilities, such as DHCP snooping, IP Source Guard, Dynamic ARP inspection and Cisco TrustSec Security Group Access (SGA).
One can assume that over time, more Cisco specific enhancements will appear in only the Advanced Edition, whereas the Essential Edition is designed to support the existing baseline capabilities as well as all the open standards and features that allow it to interoperate in multi-vendor environments and with widely available management and orchestration tools. Technical support for both Essential Edition and Advanced Edition will be offered under standard Cisco support terms. Cisco is also creating additional pricing bundles for Nexus 1000V Advanced Edition that include UCS servers, and the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall and the Nexus 1110 Virtual Services Appliance.
There are a couple reasons for offering a tiered Nexus 1000V licensing model now, including the no-cost version:
- First, this new two-tier pricing structure nicely aligns with a common virtualization industry model of offering baseline functionality to rapidly seed the market and, for additional value add, advanced capabilities and future innovations.
- Second, customers are making architectural choices for their cloud infrastructures and many prefer end-to-end Nexus consistency for physical, virtual and cloud networks. With the Nexus 1000V Editions, Nexus customers can immediately and broadly realize the benefits of end-to-end Nexus architecture with Essential Edition while comforted by the fact that innovations will continue to occur on the Advanced Edition to which they can upgrade as and when their use cases demand. Also, these customers can leverage best-in-class Cisco TAC support for their troubleshooting needs across Nexus (and NX-OS) based physical/virtual/cloud networking environments.
- Finally, many cloud providers would like to build price-tiered public clouds, with multiple hypervisors (including open-source) and OpenStack cloud orchestration. With the Nexus 1000V’s upcoming support for multiple hypervisors (Hyper-V, KVM and Xen) as well as for OpenStack networking, the no-cost Essential Edition enables cloud providers to offer base networking services at a competitive price for broader market adoption, along with Cisco advanced networking capabilities at an additional price for higher-margin revenue generation. The multi-hypervisor Nexus 1000V simplifies and accelerates VM as well as tenant migration from one hypervisor to another while ensuring consistent policies, security, operational workflows (respecting separation of duties) and management/trouble shooting tools.
As a reminder of the new features of the Nexus 1000V 2.1 release:
- Support for Cisco TrustSec – Extends Cisco TrustSec security solutions for network-based segmentation of users and physical workloads to now virtual workloads connected to Nexus 1000V, leveraging Security Group Tag (SGT) for defining security segments. (Available only in the Advanced Edition)
- vCenter Plug-in – Provides a holistic view to server administrator of the virtual network from within VMware vCenter
- vTracker – Offers VM-level & host-level visibility to network administrator added visibility into virtual and physical networks (such as VM name and vMotion events)
- Cross Data Center High-availability – Supports split Active and Standby Nexus 1000V Virtual Supervisor Modules (VSMs) across two data centers to implement cross-DC clusters and VM mobility while ensuring high availability
- Enhanced Installer App – Simplifies the entire installation process via single pane of glass
- Simplified upgrade process – Allows flexibility to schedule upgrades on a per-host basis, thus enabling incremental upgrades even during short maintenance windows.
If you recall one of my posts during VMworld, we spoke with Cisco Nexus 1000V customer, Paul O’Leary, an infrastructure specialist at King & Wood Mallesons, an international legal firm, about the new release and how excited he was about the new features we were able to show him back then:
With this new free-mium pricing model, and all the recent Nexus 1000V portfolio announcements we’ve made, including the new Nexus 1100 series virtual services appliance, the availability of the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, the new Nexus 1000V 2.1 features, the ability to support multiple hypervisors, like Xen, KVM and Hyper-V, as well as all the VXLAN support that we were the first in the industry to provide, the momentum for Nexus 1000V couldn’t be higher. As evidenced by Paul’s video above, customers couldn’t be happier either.
And as you probably know, the Nexus 1000V continues to play an important role in Cisco’s SDN and network programmability strategy as the foundation for our virtual networking and network overlays within the Cisco ONE framework. Stay tuned to this space as we anticipate more educational materials and announcements in the weeks ahead in this area.
[See Also: Follow-Up Q&A on Freemium Pricing Model]