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Wishful Thinking: The Nexus 1000V Edition

February 11, 2009
at 12:00 pm PST

imageSo, here we are again with another”Wishful Thinking” post because, yet again, someone would rather hurry to TGI Fridays for their appletini fix, than take the time to do some due diligence. Or, perhaps they can’t come up with anything useful to say about their own products and decided to make stuff up about ours.Anyway, lets tackle some of the rumors, whispers and innuendo our customers are hearing around the Cisco Nexus 1000V. The most popular assertion seems to be something along the lines of:

  • The 1000V only works with Nexus switches, so you have to upgrade your network
  • The 1000V requires you to use that new-fangled FCoE
  • The 1000V requires you to replace your server’s network adaptors
  • The 1000V can only be configured while wearing special slippers (OK, I made this one up, but its about as valid as the other things I have heard)

So let’s be clear: if your infrastructure can run ESX+vSwitch, it can run ESX+1000V without changes. The switch will run over GbE or 10GbE. The switch will run with your existing network interface (assuming it is on the ESX HCL--and if its not, you have larger problems). The Nexus 1000V will happily work with whatever upstream switch you have in place now--Catalyst, Nexus, whatever. Finally, the Nexus 1000V does not require FCoE, and, of course, your choice of footwear is your own. I’d say the Nexus 1000V is one of the most agnostic products we have every shipped.In fact, I’ll take this a step further on the issue of openness and compatibility. The Nexus 1000V will concurrently work across multiple server vendors and multiple form factors (blade, rack, multi-RU), which is something that not everyone can say. In short, if your infrastructure supports the next version of VMware ESX, it will support the Nexus 1000V.The second assertion is that there really isn’t any problem for the Nexus 1000V to solve, which is kinda funny, since we created the switch in partnership with VMware. In reality, I think anyone that has any kind of sizable VM deployment or has aspirations for a sizable deployment sees the immediate need for the Nexus 1000V both in terms of the VN-Link features it offers (VM-level config and troubleshooting, policy portability, etc) as well the streamlining of operations and coordination between server and network teams…or at least that has been my consistent experience talking to dozens of customers over the last year or so. I’d love to be able to wrap with some firm details on availability, pricing, etc, but, alas, we are not quite there yet. We are chugging along through the beta and we are currently on target to hit our goal of first half of this year.Stay tuned for details.

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6 Comments.


  1. Well, it may make you happy that:1) I’ve not encountered anyone I’ve spoken to since VMworld that didn’t understand that points #1-3 were not true…you guys did a good enough job explaining that. We wanted more detail, but you made these points over and over again…2) You know #4 is, actually, true, except for the following: (a) The slippers are green, (b) The Nexus 1000v is free but (c) the slippers are $14,000 plus maintenance. HA!You’re not the only one who can be funny…However, I really, really, really can’t wait for the 1000v and what VN-Link will bring. I think there are some much needed extensions that can make VN-Link even more powerful as a unifying force for security in the datacenter, but those are secret……you’ll have to send me my slippers first./Hoff

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  2. I can tell you for sure that #1 – 3 are true although I’ve heard confusion over them. Just for an example I have 3 ESX hosts in my basement that I built with parts from Frys for under $500 each. All of them are running the next version of VMware. All of them have Cisco 1000V running. They’re all connected to a Dell workgroup GigE switch. It all runs just great.Of course in the official lab I maintain at the EMC/VMware office here in Atlanta we have a much better setup with servers connected to both a Cisco 2950 and a Nexus 5000. Some have GigE ports and some have CNA cards. Without a doubt the more you’re willing to change and either connect to existing Cisco Cat switches or the new Nexus switches the better things get. My ideal setup is the server with 2 CNA cards connected to the Nexus 5000 in top of rack going off to the 7000 or Cat 6k. There are so many great things about that setup that it would take a much longer comment box.

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  3. Would Cisco like to acquire VM?

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  4. Omar, you’re absolutely right: there is a lot of confusion over the Nexus 1000v.Being somewhat familiar with the platform (it’s in my lab right now) I can corroborate your denial of the most common incorrect assertions. In fact I wear several different pairs of shoes depending on the weather, meeting agenda, and mood. I especially like wearing a recently acquired pair of customized white Converse while in the lab. ;)But I can also understand why the majority of folks are confused. There isn’t exactly a lot of detail available on what the 1000v does and/or will do. For instance cisco.com doesn’t have any tech specs or configuration guides that I can find. (Maybe my search skills are inadequate?)And the second assertion that you deny above, that the 1000v doesn’t solve any real-world problems, would be easier to discuss if you could expose some details about the feature set. I’m not asking for pricing etc, just for a more solid product description than exists publicly today. For instance, I like the benefits Nexus 1000v theoretically brings to network management but I don’t yet see why the 1000v approach is better than others. More importantly, I’m excited about VN-link and the way that it could revolutionize VM network management, behavior and performance. But this is a far-away concept, from several perspectives… Perhaps you could say something about how VN-link is implemented (controlled, etc) and its time-line for availability?Cheers,-Benson

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  5. Omar Sultan

    Benson:Thanks for you comments. I agree that there is some scarcity of documentation for the N1KV right now. What we have is found at http://www.cisco.com/go/1000v, where, under featured content”” there is a basic design guide. Unfortunately, the secret squirrel aspects of working with VMware’s cool new offerings restricts what we have been able to publicly discuss/release, but, rest assured, as we get closer to release, you will see a richer set of collateral made available by both Cisco and VMware.Omar”

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  6. Omar Sultan

    I’ll tell ya what, when it ships, I’ll send you a pair of bunny slippers, so you are all set

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