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Network Automation for DevOps

I am only going to say this once.

I am only going to say this once.

This is our third episode for what I have personally termed the ‘NX-OS’ exposed series.   The first two have been about programmability.  Exploring the exposed interfaces, Object Models, the NX Tool kit and more of the NX-API framework that enables DevOps teams to respond more quickly. [TWTV 176 – Open NX-OS Programmability and TWTV 180 – NX-API Rest/Object Models].


Today’s show dives into the automation piece.  That simultaneously higher level conversation covering what an organization really cares about, why IT exists and how we finally brought data center switching into the automate-able value chain.

Network automation is an integral part of the overall infrastructure automation. Yet, it has been largely left out of the DevOps movement.

Automation is central to achieving a truly agile datacenter.  DevOps has been the cultural movement working towards the realignment of disparate function involved in the IT value stream.  It is the modern, ‘digital,’ equivalent of an optimized manufacturing line.

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ACI Momentum Continues

TWTV 151 ACI Momentum

We embarked upon this episode with an agenda. Take a sample of the building momentum around Cisco ACI. The growing benefits, details and momentum behind the Application Centric Infrastructure. First announced in November 2013 and just before we start shipping.

In my estimation, we saw five areas worth highlighting from Cisco Live:

  1. Cisco is ready to ship ACI
  2. Partnerships and joint use-cases are resonating with customers
  3. Strong integrations with APIC through OpFlex
  4. Partners see strong customer demand
  5. Partner are getting ready to ship ACI-based solutions

Great Q&A with Soni Jiandani from Network World’s John Dix: Cisco describes its SDN Vision She nails Cisco’s ACI vs. SDN messaging and any confusion you may still have with the positionoing. She also puts good context around the OpFlex protocol.

Our show is a great sneak peak for this summer’s blockbuster release of ACI Fabric Mode and the APIC Controller. If you need to catch up. Be sure and review the launch details we covered for ACI in November 2013: TWTV136: Inside the Application Centric Infrastructure

The key elements for ACI in that episode were:

  • Application Awareness – top down control based on what was important
  • A new, tighter coupling between software and hardware
  • Architecture
  • Recognition that virtualization on the compute side had not been accompanied by requisite innovation on the network wide – potential for wasted opportunity.
  • East West traffic was growing gangbusters in the data center and needed assisted.

We walk through the following components of the offering:

  • APIC – Centralized cluster controller
  • Northbound API for standardized communication and control from Applications that need to interact with the Fabric
  • Southbound API for third party network services integration
  • Profiles – Application Network Profiles – the logical representation of all components of the application and its interdependencies on the application fabric
  • ACI Fabric – new stateless hardware within the Nexus portfolio, 9000 series

So what was still missing?
– APIC GUI – How would we interact?
– Migration plan – Clarity on how to leverage within existing networks
– Southbound interface – more details on network control
– Partner Plans – who would support?

And that formed much of what we wanted to cover for today’s show – filling in the blanks on the momentum…just before the big release this summer.

Shashi Kiran level on set on what has been accomplished.
TWTV 151 ACI Momentum

Ronak Desai, Director of Software Development walked Jimmy Ray through the new APIC interface.

TWTV 151 ACI Momentum

I got a chance to ask Mike Cohen about OpFlex and where it fits.

TWTV 151 ACI Momentum

And finally, Jimmy Ray weighed in with his view on partner support and the growth we are seeing for the Eco-System.

Please to enjoy!


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