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Cisco ONE Revealed

So, since we made the initial set of announcements around Cisco ONE last summer, beyond a burst of M&A activity, things have been pretty quiet.  What we have been doing is spending time with customers and developers doing field trials on the various aspects of Cisco ONE (the onePK platform API the agent and controller technology, and our network overlay solutions).  The reaction has been pretty positive across customers, ISVs and service providers that have been looking at and using the technology:

onePK is unique in its ability to combine the benefits of SDN with the full feature set of Cisco’s network system software platforms, allowing creative software companies—such as ourselves- to innovate at the application layer — ISV

Collaborating with Cisco to integrate the capabilities the Cisco ONE Controller and the widely deployed [redacted] technologies is a perfect example of how …we continue to bring sate-of-the-art capabilities to the campus…advance the maturity of SDN technologies. — Major University

Cisco’s Open Network Environment holds a lot of promise for us.  It allows us to build upon our existing Cisco investments to create and deliver the innovative new solutions our customers are looking for from a market leader – Leading Service Provider

So, not to tease you too much, join us for a webcast next Tuesday and you can learn about what’s in store for Cisco ONE: what’s new with platform support, what’s changed on the controller front, new overlay network solutions…plus some other cool data center goings on.  See you there.



VDI “The Missing Questions” #1: Core Count vs. Core Speed

Choosing the right compute platform for your VDI environment requires both science and art. You have to balance CPU and memory characteristics against your expected workload profile and your desired density. At the end of the day, VDI has to meet some cost criteria in order to go from a fun science project to a funded program in your company. That means you can’t just throw the top bin CPU at the problem; you have to pick the right CPU. This is further complicated by the fact that there is not one CPU that is ideal for all VDI workloads. There is no magical bill of materials at the end of this series of blogs, but we will attempt to make your VDI decisions based more on science than art.

Strength in numbers? Or strength in speed? As Tony said in his introduction, we had several involved questions related to VDI that we honestly couldn’t answer… so we decided to start testing. This will be a series of blogs that attempts to answer practical questions like “when is processor A better than processor B?” And of course you then have to ask “when is processor B better than processer A?” In this first installment in the series, I will tackle the question of whether the number of cores or the core speed is more important when the goal is to achieve the best desktop density per host. Here is a handy guide to the other posts in this series:

The usual suspects. Throughout this series, we will focus on two processors. We picked them because they are popular and cost effective, yet quite different from each other. They are not top bin processors. Take a look at the table below for a comparison.

Note: Prices in this table are recommended prices published by Intel at and may vary from actual prices you pay for each processor. The SPEC performance numbers are an average of SPEC results published by many OEMs (at across many platforms. These are not Cisco-specific SPEC numbers.

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Cisco VXLAN Innovations Overcoming IP Multicast Challenges

At Cisco Live! in London this week, Cisco is demonstrating some enhancements to its Nexus 1000V virtual switch that greatly ease some of the challenges in deploying VXLAN in large scale cloud networks. VXLAN was designed to solve the problem of setting up traditional virtual networks (VLANs) in large multi-tenant cloud environments: the limited ID range for VLAN tags was quickly exhausted and a larger ID pool was needed for larger shared infrastructures. VXLAN thus becomes the foundation for a virtual network tunnel or virtual network overlays on top of physical networks. And unlike VLANs, VXLANs are designed to act as L2 virtual networks over L3 physical networks. For a more in-depth refresher on VXLAN, start here.

[Note: Join Cisco for a Live Announcement Webinar on Cloud Innovations on February 5: Register Here]

While VXLANs have certainly enabled a whole new level of scalability for virtual networks, one of the challenges in deploying VXLAN is its use of IP Multicast to implement the L2 over L3 network capability. Why is this? VXLAN is a MAC-in-IP encapsulation protocol in a UDP frame. The virtual switch that acts as the VXLAN termination (in Cisco’s case, the Nexus 1000V virtual switch) takes the L2 packet from the VM, wraps it in a L3 IP header, and sends it out over UDP. But the challenge is that there’s no way to determine which IP address should be used for the destination host (VXLAN termination point) at which the desired MAC address can be found. In other protocols, this can be accomplished within the network control plane and some MAC to IP mapping protocol, but the VXLAN specification indicates there should be no reliance on a control plane or a physical to virtual mapping table.

VXLAN frame

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Nexus 1000V Expands Cloud Network Services Ecosystem with vPath Integration in the Imperva Web Application Firewall

Nexus 1110 Imperva-2We are ramping up another news cycle around our Nexus 1000V and cloud network services portfolio this week at Cisco live! in London. Among the updates, business security solutions vendor Imperva is demonstrating integration of its SecureSphere Web Application Firewall (WAF) into the Nexus 1000V vPath service insertion architecture. This marks the first third party product to participate in the Cisco vPath architecture, which allows virtual services to be easily inserted and chained into Cisco virtual networks and virtual overlays.

[Note: Join Cisco for a Live Announcement Webinar on Cloud Innovations on February 5: Register Here]

Regular readers of our data center and cloud blog will probably recall the importance of vPath in enabling virtual services for virtualized multi-tenant cloud environments, and for allowing policy mobility along with VM mobility. The Cisco vPath architecture currently supports our own virtual services including Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, and virtual WAAS for WAN optimization. vPath also boosts performance of service traffic paths and orchestrates service chaining so that VM traffic is processed in a ordered chain defined by policy.

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Zero to 5000 Citrix VDI Users Logged-in and Working in Just 30 Minutes!

Making sure your users don’t go to sleep (or worse) waiting to log-on
Hi Everyone! I am the team lead Technical Marketing Engineer for Cisco Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions on UCS and Nexus. While I have done some blogging in my time – this is my first blog for Cisco. I have been in this space for over 22 years, before “virtualization” was called that, working with published applications and published desktops (MetaFrame and early RDP.)
With the Citrix and EMC teams, I have been focused for the past few months on validating what I think is a really exciting solution – even if I say so myself. So recently not much time for blogging I am afraid.
Over the last couple of years we have seen desktop virtualization, specifically Hosted Virtual Desktops (HVD,) become increasingly more mainstream – but today we are really experiencing an upsurge of deployments – and not just pilots – but full blown multi-thousand seat deployments.
As you are probably aware the worst nightmare is that you deploy the solution and the users don’t adopt it because it doesn’t provide them the user experience they need or want.
One of the key requirements for success is an infrastructure that won’t just provide the right experience for the first few hundred users – but that will scale linearly as you grow into the many thousands.
You can rely on Cisco Validated Designs to deliver for you! We use real world test scenarios to insure that you can implement our designs in your environment and be successful.
The keys to a successful deployment of a large scale HVD environment start with:

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