If you recall from my earlier posts here and here, RISE is the new protocol in the Nexus 7000 and 7000 Series switch that allows integration of a remote service appliance like NAM or an application delivery controller with the same functional capability as if it was attached to the switch backplane like an embedded services blade. Devices can actually be connected over any layer 2 network, and not necessarily directly connected to the Nexus switch ports, although that is the usual configuration. RISE-enabled ports are configured on the Nexus 7000 and up to 4 dedicated ports per appliance can be configured for maximum throughput to connected devices.
It’s a great benefit for appliance vendors to not have to develop specific network-embedded modules of their products to install inside the chassis, as well as saving valuable slots while providing the same degree of traffic visibility and optimization for the appliance. In this video, I had a chance to sit down with Praveen Chandra, Director of NAM Engineering at Cisco, to talk about the first Cisco service appliance to support RISE and what it means for Prime NAM customers:
Earlier this year Cisco announced the Cisco Prime Virtual Network Analysis Module (vNAM), an integral component of the Cisco Cloud Network Services portfolio. While a virtual NAM has been available on the Nexus 1100 Cloud Services Platform (a UCS appliance for virtual services), it has not been available in a generic VM form factor, which now provides greater deployment flexibility for NAM customers, as they look to monitor application and network performance in their virtual data centers. The result is greater visibility at more points in the network.
Cisco Prime vNAM combines application-awareness with the ability to look deeper into various network overlays, such as VXLAN, LISP, and CAPWAP, to deliver rich analytics that help assure services levels, accelerate operational decisions, and increase business agility. Its versatility permits it to be used to:
Monitor workloads in multi-tenant cloud deployments
Analyze network usage by application, host or virtual machine (VM) to identify unusual traffic patterns or bottlenecks that may affect performance and availability
Troubleshoot performance problems consistently across physical and virtual environments
Take advantage of an integrated web-based interface to remotely manage a site
Validate infrastructure updates such as WAN optimization, Cisco TrustSec, and quality-of-service policy changes
Prime vNAM can be deployed in the cloud to monitor hosted workloads, at remote sites to monitor the end-user experience, or almost anywhere in the network to eliminate blind spots.
For those who are not familiar with the Cisco Prime Security Manager, it is a management application that was introduced in 2012 to manage Cisco ASA 5500-X Series Next-Generation Firewalls. It is built on Web 2.0 technologies and supports both single-device and multi-device manager form factors to help manage various features such as Application Visibility and Control (AVC), along with web security in a simple, light-weight, and scalable manner. The AVC capability helps to block around 1200+ applications and 150,000+ micro-applications, in addition to specific users, behaviors, micro-applications, and devices. The web security service also provides URL filtering and Web reputation features to proactively restrict web application usage based on reputation of the site. Through Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO), these services provide a comprehensive view of the local and global threat intelligence landscape. This is eventually translated to actionable items such as security polices and information feeds that protect your business from near real-time zero-day threats. Read More »
The intelligence of the next generation Cisco IT network fabric (called Extended Enterprise Network or E2N) is defined as dynamic, aware, secure, programmable, agile, manageable, automated, and policy-based. The new network architecture is pervasive, non-segmented, non-fragmented, and non-location specific. Identity is becoming the new corporate perimeter, and network data is becoming big data. As the internet becomes the internet of everything, device proliferation is exploding, and work is becoming not a location, but a human function. Client server architecture has transitioned from a client–server model to an increasingly mobile and cloud based paradigm. And today video is becoming part of the baseline productivity tools - essentially the new audio. New realities are changing the nature of network management, and Cisco IT’s strategic direction is to address them by implementing the Cisco Prime Framework as the foundation of the new network.
Interop was made more fun for us this year since we got to be on stage. Most of what we usually do is on camera of course…but presenting in front of people is the best.
Since we started TechWiseTV 7 years ago, we have tried to always get better at our on-camera skills. This has involved diligent effort not just improving our own skills but also how we can make it easier for others to shine with us. In other words, hosting.
It was Cisco’s Enterprise Networking team that asked if we would like to host a few stage spots during this years Interop show. Heck yeah we said. Mainly because it was a chance to ‘work an audience.’ You can certainly work a camera but what sucks is that the camera really never gives anything back.
Even the dullest audience will provide at least one nodding head or small smile. That alone can fuel an entire presentation. So we mixed it up this time. We had our A-Team for the camera crew so we were able to divide and conquer.
All of our stage appearances were quite free-form, but they did have a structure even if it was not apparent to those present. It was built around work pioneered by Marlowe Fenne. Marlowe is actually a day one veteran with TechWiseTV who has continued on his own path building bridges between customer problems and Cisco solutions. He had put together what I called a ‘MOC NOC’ for Interop. Customers were able to see first hand how their top challenges (as determined by multiple focus groups) were mapped to Cisco technologies and solutions. Easier than it sounds, let me assure you. Marlowe is such a good presenter, we were able to leave our crew with him while we did our song and dance on stage..then all Jimmy Ray and I had to do was record an intro and a close.
Challenges in the NOC: Wired and Wireless
Four ‘success factors’ were gleaned from these focus groups:
Don’t miss Bridging the App Gap where I will interview multiple Cisco customers and even Cisco itself. Fully understand all the Application Experience has to offer.
Our first day of presenting overlapped just a bit as Jimmy Ray was previously committed to one of his popular TechWiseTV workshops that he had to give from his Mandalay Bay hotel room. He did his usual pre-presentation technology checks to make sure all was working well. This was even more important this go-round as the hotel wireless was so bad it felt purposeful..as in…why are you on the Internet? Get down to the casino! Who knows. Well try as he might, he could not get a consistent connection wired or wireless in the hotel room.
Backup plan A was a higher powered wirelesss card that he tried to use and acces wireless from the adjacent Luxor hotel…but that was not holding steady either. So fallback plan B involved something I would never have guessed: An acoustic coupler. Fancy (but accurate) term for a modem.
If you don’t know what this is, go ask your parents…this is how we all used to get on the network. (I hesitate to say Internet). Plan B goes into action at a blazing 28.8 baud and another workshop goes off without a hitch..the audience was never even aware. Anyone else out there hosting Webex on a modem? I didn’t think so.