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Unified Fabric: Helping Partners Deliver Innovative Cloud and Data Center Solutions

February 5, 2013 at 7:21 am PST

As the saying goes, “Change is the only constant.” And as partners have seen, customers are constantly grappling with a love-hate relationship between applications and networking. As new applications appear, the infrastructure is required to evolve, which brings about a whole new wave of application innovation that then forces the infrastructure to evolve again and again. This endless cycle has played itself out as applications transitioned from mainframes to client/server to web and now to cloud.

Cisco is extending the capabilities of Unified Fabric to support a world of many clouds with the scalability and flexibility of the new Nexus 6000 series, the traffic insight of Nexus 7000 NAM, Nexus 1000V InterCloud and VNMC InterCloud hybrid cloud solutions and updates to the Cisco ONE portfolio including the new Cisco ONE Controller.

These upgrades will help your customers protect their investments because it can easily be extended to accommodate new applications and usage models as they emerge, allowing customers to shift from “infrastructure defining what apps can do” to “apps defining what infrastructure must do.”

Here are some highlights of the new offerings:  Read More »

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Cisco Launches Nexus 1000V InterCloud – Part 2 (VNMC InterCloud)

February 5, 2013 at 4:00 am PST

This week, as part of a major cloud launch that also introduced the Nexus 6000 series and updates to our Cisco ONE portfolio, Cisco unveiled its Nexus 1000V InterCloud solution, which provides a seamless and secure extension of virtual networks from on-premises data centers to cloud service providers. In part 1 of our introductory blog series to this new technology, we discussed the architecture and components of Nexus 1000V InterCloud for creating secure, on-demand virtual private cloud (VPC) containers in a hybrid cloud.  In a pre-launch post earlier in January, we looked at some new Forrester research data on hybrid cloud business drivers and how some organizations were looking to overcome the challenges to real hybrid cloud integration. Today, in part 2 of our InterCloud series, we are going into more depth about the hybrid cloud management component, Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC) InterCloud.

VNMC InterCloud provides a single pane view of VM and cloud resources across the on-premises resources and those at the cloud provider. It interfaces to orchestration tools and service provider management systems, as well as virtual machine managers.

VNMC InterCloud provides a single pane view of VM and cloud resources across the on-premises resources and those at the cloud provider. It interfaces to orchestration tools and service provider management systems, as well as virtual machine managers.

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Introducing Nexus 6000 Series – Industry’s Highest Density Layer 2/3 40 Gigabit Fixed Switch

The evolution of the applications environment is creating new demands on IT and in the data center. Broad adoption of scale-out application architectures (i.e. big data), workload virtualization and cloud deployments are demanding greater scalability across the fabric. The increase in east/west (i.e. server-to-server) traffic along with the higher adoption of 10GbE in the server access layer is driving higher bandwidth requirements in the upstream links.

Following up on the introduction of 40GE/100GE on the Nexus 7000 Series, today we unveil the new Nexus 6000 Series, expanding Cisco’s Unified Fabric data center switching portfolio in order to provide greater deployment flexibility through higher density and scalability in an energy efficient form factor.  

The Cisco Nexus 6000 Series is industry’s highest density full-featured Layer 2 / Layer 3 40 Gigabit data center fixed switch with Ethernet and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) – an industry first!In addition to high scalability, Nexus 6000 Series offers operational efficiency, superior visibility and agility 

Some say “Nexus 6000 Series is a red carpet platform that will turn heads”. We agree! It’s because of …

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Scaling the next frontier: Hybrid Clouds, Fabric Innovations and the Cisco Open Network Environment

First, the Internet of Things:

Consider these impressive stats shared in a keynote from Cisco’s CTO and CSO Padmasree Warrior last week at Cisco Live, London:   

  • 50 Billion “things” including trees, vehicles, traffic signals, devices and what not will be connected together by 2020 (vs. 1000 devices connected in 1984)
  • 2012 created more information than the past 5000 years combined!
  • 2/3rd of the world’s mobile data will be video by 2015.  

These statistics may seem a bit surprising, but the fact is, they cannot be ignored by CIOs and others chartered with the responsibility of managing IT infrastructure.

Impact on Enterprise and SP Infrastructure strategies

Further, these trends are not silo’d and are certainly not happening in a vacuum. For example, Bring-your-Own Device (BYOD) and the exponential growth of video endpoints, may be happening in the “access”, but they are causing a ripple effect upstream in the data center and cloud environments, and coupled with new application requirements, are triggering CIOs across larger Enterprise and Service Providers to rapidly evolve their IT infrastructure strategies.   

It is much the same with cloud infrastructure strategies. Even as Enterprises have aggressively adopted the journey to Private Cloud, their preference for hybrid clouds, where they can enjoy the “best of both worlds” – public and private have grown as well. However, the move to hybrid clouds has been somewhat hampered by challenges as outlined in my previous blog: Lowering barriers to hybrid cloud adoption – challenges and opportunities.

The Fabric approach

To address many of these issues, Cisco has long advocated the concept of a holistic data center fabric, heart of its Unified Data Center philosophy. The fundamental premise of breaking silos, and bringing together disparate technology silos across network, compute and storage is what makes this so compelling. At the heart of it, is the Cisco Unified Fabric, serving as the glue.

As we continue to evolve this fabric, we’re making three industry-leading announcements today that help make the fabric more scalable, extensible and open.

Let’s talk about SCALING the fabric first:

  1. Industry’s highest density L2/L3 10G/40G switch: Building upon our previous announcement of redefining fabric scale, this time we introduces a New Nexus 6000 family with two form factors – 6004 and 6001. We expect these switches to be positioned to meet increasing bandwidth demands, for spine/leaf architectures, and for 40G aggregation in fixed switching deployments. We expect the Nexus 6000 to be complementary to the Nexus 5500  and Nexus 7000 series deployments, and is not to be confused with the Catalyst 6500 or Nexus fabric interconnects.

Nexus 6000

The Nexus 6000 is built with Cisco’s custom silicon, and 1 micro-second port to port latency. It has forward propagated some of the architectural successes of the Nexus 3548, the industry’s lowest latency switch that we introduced last year. Clearly, as in the past, Cisco’s ASICs have differentiated themselves against the lowest common denominator approach of the merchant silicon, by delivering both better performance as well as greater value due to the tight integration with the software stack.

The Nexus 5500 incidentally gets 40G expansion modules, and is accompanied by a brand new Fabric Extender – the 2248PQ, which comes with 40G uplinks as well. All of these, along with the 10G server interfaces, help pair the 10G server access with 40G server aggregation.

Also as part of the first step in making the physical Nexus switches services ready in the data center, a new Network Analysis Module (NAM) on the Nexus 7000 also brings in performance analytics, application visibility and network intelligence. This is the first services module with others to follow, and brings in parity with the new vNAM functionality as well.

Next, EXTENSIBILITY:

  1. Industry’s simplest hybrid cloud solution: Over the last few years, we have introduced several technologies that help build fabric extensibility -- the Fabric Extender or FEX solution is very popular extending the fabric to the server/VM,  as are some of the Data Center Interconnect technologies like Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) or Location ID Separation Protocol (LISP), among others. Obviously each have their benefits.

The Nexus 1000V Intercloud takes these to the next level by allowing the data center fabric to be extended to provider cloud environments in a secure, transparent manner, while preserving L4-7 services and policies. This is meant to help lower the barriers for hybrid cloud deployments and is designed to be a multi-hypervisor, multi-cloud solution. It is expected to ship in the summer timeframe, by 1H CY13.

This video does a good job of explaining the concepts of the Intercloud solution:

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Live from Cisco Live!

This blog is live from the floor of Cisco Live in London. The highlight for me this year in London has been the introduction, with our partners Ping Identity, of the Identity Cloud Connector, built on onePK, as part of the Cisco Cloud Connectors family of solutions. I’ll go into that in more detail below, but first some other highlights.

Yesterday we delivered a full day workshop on network automation, including EEM and introductions to onePK. Bruno Klauser, Joe Clarke, Jason Pfeifer, with me in a supporting role, helped  29 attendees through a series of exercises to help them get the most out of the extensive automation features on our platforms. The attendees must have liked it, as the score was 4.61/5. Well done guys!

The buzz here in the World of Solutions (WoS) is great. We have onePK demonstrations in the Data Centre and Borderless Network architecture zones, and we have been talking to customers and partners non-stop, all day. The Open Network Environment (ONE) strategy has really gripped people’s imagination, and it has been very exciting, and fun, to engage in some serious conversations about what ONE can do for our customers’ businesses. Read More »

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