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Making it easy to deploy Cisco’s Intelligent WAN

We continue to see great interest and momentum around our Intelligent WAN solution but there is one thing we are hearing loud and clear from our customers; the need for better tools to configure and manage branch sites and associated WAN connections. For those of you familiar with Cisco’s Intelligent WAN there are four main business outcomes that the solution promises to deliver:

  • Better Application Experience for Users
  • Robust Secure Access for Applications and Users
  • Lower IT Costs
  • IT Simplicity for Increased Agility

Management falls into the IT Simplicity bucket and many times while presenting our Intelligent WAN solution customers are already thinking about how they are going to reconfigure their network into an Intelligent WAN. One of the main concerns is that the more sites you have the larger the task. Quite often there are limited or no IT resources at the branch and the thought of sending someone onsite (truck rolls) to change or reconfigure the branch router can be an expensive proposition. So what can you do to take advantage of the cost savings provided by an Intelligent WAN?

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New Cisco APIC Software allows stretched ACI Fabric across long distances

In the world of Cisco ACI, there is never a shortage of excitement and action. Today, we are pleased to bring to your attention news about the latest Cisco APIC software release. If you wonder what’s hot of the press in APIC SW release 1.0(3f) for Nexus 9000 series ACI mode, there are quite a few.

The Stretched Fabric feature captures the headlines. For quite some time now customers have been asking for an ACI Fabric that can stretch across datacenters and over long distances. The new software allows for each leaf and spine, that participate in creating a fabric, to be located up to 30 KMs apart.  It also removes the restriction for every leaf to be connected to all spines. Let us take a close peek at the stretched fabric feature.

ACI Stretched Fabric Topology

Stretched ACI fabric is a single fabric. It is a partially meshed design that connects ACI leaf and spine switches distributed in multiple locations. Typically, an ACI fabric implementation is a single site where the full mesh design connects each leaf switch to each spine switch in the fabric.  This yields the best throughput and convergence. In multi-site scenarios, full mesh connectivity may be not possible or may be too costly. Multiple sites, buildings, and rooms can span distances that are not serviceable by enough fiber connections, or are too costly to connect each leaf switch to each spine switch across the sites.  Diagram below illustrates the stretched fabric architecture.

Transit Leaf Switch Guidelines

Transit leaf refers to the leaf switches that provide connectivity between two sites. Transit leaf switches connect to spine switches on both sites. There are no special requirements and no additional configurations required for transit leaf switches

Provision Transit and Border Leaf Functions on Separate Switches

The key benefits of stretched fabric include workload portability and VM mobility.The stretched ACI fabric behaves the same way as a regular ACI fabric, supporting full VMM integration. For example, one VMWare vCenter operates across the stretched ACI fabric sites. The ESXi hosts from both sites are managed by the same vCenter and Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS).  They are stretched between the two sites.

The ACI switch and APIC  software recover from various failure scenarios. Check out the failover scenario analysis for details.

Additional resources

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/switches/datacenter/aci/apic/sw/1-x/release/notes/aci_nxos_rn_1103.html

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/switches/datacenter/aci/apic/sw/kb/b_kb-aci-stretched-fabric.html

https://www2.wwt.com/video-aci-active-active-demo/

www.cisco.com/go/aci

 

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The Executive Value of Cisco’s Data Center Day

Cisco IT is excited to be hosting its third Data Center Day in Allen, Texas this year on April 14th. Last September, Data Center Day was attended by 144 customers from 75 companies. With registration now open this event is expected to fill up fast!  Read More »

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Your Design Engineers Need Support and ‘Expertise on Tap’ Too!

If you are involved in designing, supporting or managing a data center, you will undoubtedly rely on technical support services from one or more vendors.  Running your data center, there is always the risk of a hardware failure or being impacted by a software defect.  While relatively rare, hardware does occasionally fail unfortunately.  However you undoubtedly have technical support in place to deal with such problems.  You may have invested in a few extra switches as backup, you may also have failover mechanisms in place.  Almost certainly you will have a support contract in place with your Cisco partner or with Cisco, so you have break/fix expertise on tap for when something goes wrong.   This is critical support for your business, no debate from me.

Engineer Under Stress!

Engineer Under Stress!

Now, arguably the most important resource you have in your data center is not so much individual switches, routers or servers.  It’s your engineers, those who design and support your data center.  If they have a problem, where and how do they get help?  Who helps them when they are stretched?  When business pressures are telling?  Of course, their colleagues and managers can and will help.  Where, however, can they tap into additional sources of expertise so that they can become even more productive for you?  This is where Cisco Optimization Services come in – including our award-winning Cisco Network Optimization Service (or “NOS” for short), Collaboration Optimization Service, and the one I’m involved with, Cisco Data Center Optimization Services.

 

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Announcing Cisco Nexus 1000V for VMware vSphere 6 Release

The Cisco Nexus 1000V has been supported in VMware vSphere hypervisor since 4.0 release (August 2009) up to the current vSphere release 5.5 update 2.  We are happy to announce that the Nexus 1000V will continue to be supported in the latest vSphere 6 release which VMware recently announced. Customers who are currently running Nexus 1000V will be able to upgrade to the vSphere 6 release and the new vSphere 6 customers will have the Nexus 1000V as part of their choices for virtual networking.

Cisco is fully committed to support the Nexus 1000V product for our 10,000+ Advanced Edition customers and the thousands more using the Essential Edition software in all future releases of VMware vSphere. Cisco has a significant virtual switching R&D investment with hundreds of engineers dedicated to the Nexus 1000V platform.  The Nexus 1000V has been the industry’s leading virtual switching platform with innovations on VXLAN (industry’s first shipping VXLAN platform), and distributed zone firewall (via Virtual Security Gateway released in Jan 2011).

The Nexus 1000V also continues to be the industry’s only multi-hypervisor virtual switching solution that delivers enterprise class functionality and features across vSphere, Hyper-V and KVM.

In the last major release of the Nexus 1000V for vSphere, version 3.1 (August 2014) we added significant scaling and security features and we continue to provide subsequent updates (December 2014) with the next release planned for March 2015. The recently released capabilities include:

  • Increased scale per Nexus 1000V:
    • 250 hosts
    • 10,000 virtual ports
    • 1,000 virtual ports per host
    • 6,000 VXLAN segments with ability to scale out via BGP
  • Increased security and visibility
    • Seamless security policy from campus and WAN to datacenter with Cisco TrustSec tagging/enforcement capabilities
    • Distributed port-security for scalable anti-spoofing deployment
    • Enhanced L2 security and loop prevention with BPDU Guard
    • Protection against broadcast storms and or attacks with Storm control
    • Scalable flow accounting and statistics with Distributed Netflow
  • Ease of management via Virtual Switch Update Manager (VSUM) – a vSphere web-client plug-in

One of the common questions coming from our customers is whether VMware is still re-selling and supporting the Nexus 1000V via VMware support?

VMware has decided to no longer offer Nexus 1000V through VMware sales or sell support for the Nexus 1000V through the VMware support organization as of Feb 2nd 2015.  We want to reiterate that this has NO IMPACT on the availability and associated support from Cisco for the Nexus 1000V running in a vSphere environment.  Cisco will continue to sell Nexus 1000V and offer support contracts. Cisco encourages customers who are currently using VMware support for the Nexus 1000V to migrate their support contracts to Cisco by contacting their local Cisco Sales team to aide in this transition.

For questions or help, please reach out nexus1000vinfo@cisco.com

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