Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > Data Center

ITD: Load Balancing, Traffic Steering & Clustering using Nexus 5k/6k/7k/9k

Cisco Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) is an innovative solution to bridge the performance gap between a multi-terabit switch and gigabit servers and appliances. It is a hardware based multi-terabit layer 4 load-balancing, traffic steering and clustering solution on the Nexus 5k/6k/7k/9k series of switches.

It allows customers to deploy servers and appliances from any vendor with no network or topology changes. With a few simple configuration steps on a Cisco Nexus switch, customers can create an appliance or server cluster and deploy multiple devices to scale service capacity with ease. The servers or appliances do not have to be directly connected to the Cisco Nexus switch.

ITD won the Best of Interop 2015 in Data Center Category.

With our patent pending innovative algorithms, ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) supports IP-stickiness, resiliency, consistent hash, exclude access-list, NAT (EFT), VIP, health monitoring, sophisticated failure handling policies, N+M redundancy, IPv4, IPv6, VRF, weighted load-balancing, bi-directional flow-coherency, and IPSLA probes including DNS. There is no service module or external appliance needed. ITD provides order of magnitude CAPEX and OPEX savings for the customers. ITD is much superior than legacy solutions like PBR, WCCP, ECMP, port-channel, layer-4 load-balancer appliances.

ITD provides :

  1. Hardware based multi-terabit/s L3/L4 load-balancing at wire-speed.
  2. Zero latency load-balancing.
  3. CAPEX savings : No service module or external L3/L4 load-balancer needed. Every Nexus port can be used as load-balancer.
  4. Redirect line-rate traffic to any devices, for example web cache engines, Web Accelerator Engines (WAE), video-caches, etc.
  5. Capability to create clusters of devices, for example, Firewalls, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), or Web Application Firewall (WAF), Hadoop cluster
  6. IP-stickiness
  7. Resilient (like resilient ECMP), Consistent hash
  8. VIP based L4 load-balancing
  9. NAT (available for EFT/PoC). Allows non-DSR deployments.
  10. Weighted load-balancing
  11. Load-balances to large number of devices/servers
  12. ACL along with redirection and load balancing simultaneously.
  13. Bi-directional flow-coherency. Traffic from A–>B and B–>A goes to same node.
  14. Order of magnitude OPEX savings : reduction in configuration, and ease of deployment
  15. Order of magnitude CAPEX savings : Wiring, Power, Rackspace and Cost savings
  16. The servers/appliances don’t have to be directly connected to Nexus switch
  17. Monitoring the health of servers/appliances.
  18. N + M redundancy.
  19. Automatic failure handling of servers/appliances.
  20. VRF support, vPC support, VDC support
  21. Supported on all linecards of Nexus 9k/7k/6k/5k series.
  22. Supports both IPv4 and IPv6
  23. Cisco Prime DCNM Support
  24. exclude access-list
  25. No certification, integration, or qualification needed between the devices and the Cisco NX-OS switch.
  26. The feature does not add any load to the supervisor CPU.
  27. ITD uses orders of magnitude less hardware TCAM resources than WCCP.
  28. Handles unlimited number of flows.

For example,

  • Load-balance traffic to 256 servers of 10Gbps each.
  • Load-balance to cluster of Firewalls. ITD is much superior than PBR.
  • Scale IPS, IDS and WAF by load-balancing to standalone devices.
  • Scale the NFV solution by load-balancing to low cost VM/container based NFV.
  • Scale the WAAS / WAE solution.
  • Scale the VDS-TC (video-caching) solution.
  • Scale the Layer-7 load-balancer, by distributing traffic to L7 LBs.
  • ECMP/Port-channel cause re-hashing of flows. ITD is resilient, and doesn’t cause re-hashing on node add/delete/failure.

Documentation, slides, videos:

Email Query or

Please note that ITD is not a replacement for Layer-7 load-balancer (URL, cookies, SSL, etc). Please email: for further questions.

Connect on twitter: @samar4

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ITD: Load Balancing, Traffic Steering & Clustering using Nexus 5k/6k/7k


Data traffic has grown dramatically in the recent years, leading to increased deployment of network service appliances and servers in enterprise, data center, and cloud environments. To address the corresponding business needs, network switch and router architecture has evolved to support multi-terabit capacity. However, service appliance and server capacity remained limited to a few gigabits, far below switch capacity.

Cisco Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) is an innovative solution to bridge the performance gap between a multi-terabit switch and gigabit servers and appliances. It is an hardware based multi-terabit layer 4 load-balancing, traffic steering and clustering solution on the Nexus 7000 and 7700 series of switches.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nexus 1000V InterCloud… And Now Here’s the Demo

There’s been a great deal of excitement, interest and certainly follow-on questions after we announced our new hybrid cloud integration solution, Nexus 1000V InterCloud. My earlier three-part blog consisted of Part 1 on the architecture and features, Part 2 on the hybrid cloud management specifics, and Part 3 a recap of the frequently asked questions.

And now, we have the video demonstration. At Cisco live! last month in London, TechWise TV‘s Robb Boyd caught up with Prashant Gandhi, Sr. Director of Product Management in our Server Access and Virtualization Business Unit, before the trade show floor opened and recorded a demonstration of the new hybrid cloud infrastructure.

In this demo, Prashant quickly migrates a few virtual machines from our simulated private cloud to Amazon Web Services hosting servers. Part of the ease of use is through integration of Cisco’s Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC) InterCloud to Amazon cloud management tools, and the ability to view and manage virtual machines in both the private data center as well as those hosted in the cloud. The other important point about Nexus 1000V InterCloud is not only how it provides all the seamless layer 2 connectivity and security to connect the data center to public cloud resources quickly and easily, but security and application policies can be mirrored and migrated just as easily in the public cloud through the use and deployment of Cisco Cloud Network Services, such as our Virtual Security Gateway, the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall or vWAAS. Take it away Robb and Prashant…

Tags: , , , , , ,

Primer on Cloud Confidence

We had some sneak peeks at CiscoLive in London but as you probably know by now, this stuff was just formally announced last week.  Several demos worth looking at give you the foundation for what is important. Shashi Kiran is leading this effort and you can always count on a good quote:
“Cisco takes Unified Fabric to the next level delivering compelling customer value in an evolutionary manner, we offer a switch with the industry’s highest 40GbE density per rack unit, the simplest solution for the hybrid cloud model, and the most extensible network controller.”
Interesting….tell us more…

Three areas of innovation:  How we Scale (Nexus 6000), how we enable the Hybrid deployment model (Nexus 1000v InterCloud) and how we open it all up with Cisco ONE (Open Networking Environment)
 The family expands with the Nexus 6000
The new Nexus 6004 switch offers extremely
Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cisco Launches Nexus 1000V InterCloud – Part 3

Cisco Nexus 1000V InterCloudToday we wrap up our three part introduction of Cisco’s new hybrid cloud infrastructure, Nexus 1000V InterCloud. In Part 1, we provided an overview of the architecture and the components that make up Nexus 1000V InterCloud. In Part 2, we looked a bit more closely into the single pane management of the cloud network and resources across the on-premises private cloud and the cloud service provider. In Part 3, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting from customers, analysts and the press in the early stages of this announcement.

Q:   What is Nexus 1000V InterCloud? What part of the hybrid cloud infrastructure does it comprise? Is it software, hardware, some combination of both? Is it a switch, a server or an application?

A:    Nexus 1000V InterCloud is a set of software components that run as virtual machines on a variety of servers. It forms the infrastructure that extendss your existing on-premises virtual network and virtual services to cloud providers in a seamless and secure manner. It provides all the infrastructure and protocols to support VM migration from the data center to the cloud provider. Effectively, Nexus 1000V InterCloud (with VNMC InterCloud management software) creates a secure, on-demand layer-2 virtual private cloud (VPC).

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,