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IoT’s Prominence at Cisco Live Milan

The Internet of Things (IoT) was a hot topic at Cisco Live last week in Milan. I got to spend a lot of time with customers, partners, and developers, and came home impressed by the tremendous focus on IoT applications. There is an enormous amount of energy directed at building on the foundation Cisco is creating.

If you weren’t able to join us in Milan, here is my list of the week’s highlights.

The opening day keynote Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – February 6, 2015

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Gary Serda kicked off this past week on the Partner Blog with his look at capitalizing on the Windows Server 2003 migration opportunity. Microsoft is ending support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14 of this year and Gary wants to make sure our partners are able to take advantage of the marketing campaign resources that are available from Cisco.

Read through Gary’s blog and let us know if you need more information. Don’t be afraid to share your feedback on how we’re doing in providing the information you need to be successful.

Partner Voices: Making the Grade

I always mention how much I enjoy our ongoing Partner Voices series. It gives me a chance to meet many of our partners, at least virtually, and to get a little more in-depth with all the great solutions being produced by Cisco partners.

This week, I posted a look at what ePlus has going on in the education space. This blog looks at how ePlus has tackled some real world problems using Cisco technology. In turn they have improved security, provided world-class technology to students and created unique, one-on-one learning opportunities for students. Read More »

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Innovation Moves Quickly; Arista Should Not Delay ITC Case

We previously committed to providing important updates on our legal action over Arista’s pervasive copying and misappropriation of Cisco intellectual property. Today, an International Trade Commission (ITC) Administrative Law Judge issued an order rejecting Arista’s request to consolidate Cisco’s two ITC complaints.

Arista’s request had itself included an acknowledgement that consolidation could cause a six month delay in the proceedings. We felt this ran counter to the language of the Commission’s own Rule 201.7(a) permitting consolidation “in order to expedite.”

We are pleased that the Administrative Law Judge promptly rejected this request, and with it the argument that Cisco was somehow looking to “game the system.” Our filing of separate complaints was consistent with ITC practices, and focused squarely on delivering a speedy and lowest cost resolution for all involved.

As highlighted in the January 22 update to our blog (Protecting Innovation: International Trade Commission Commences Investigation), Arista’s initial legal arguments had focused on attempting to avoid enforcement of Cisco’s rights by utilizing the “public interest” exemption, an approach the Commission chose not to refer for action. This latest decision is a rejection of Arista’s legal maneuvering to delay the outcome. With the discovery process now underway, we are looking forward to Arista addressing the complaints directly.

We now believe that Arista intends to file a motion seeking a delayed 22 month target date in one of the ITC cases. We hope that in light of today’s ruling, they will reconsider this motion so we can focus on the prompt resolution of the case.

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VXLAN/EVPN: Standards based Overlay with Control-Plane

Given the tremendous interest in VXLAN with MP-BGP based EVPN Control-Plane (short EVPN) at Cisco Live in Milan, I decided to write a “short” technology brief blog post on this topic.

VXLAN (IETF RFC7348) has been designed to solve specific problems faced with Classical Ethernet for a few decades now. By introducing an abstraction through encapsulation, VXLAN has become the de-facto standard overlay of choice in the industry. Chief among the advantages provided by VXLAN; extension of the todays limited VLAN space and the increase in the scalability provided for Layer-2 Domains.

Extended Namespace – The available VLAN space from the IEEE 802.1Q encapsulation perspective is limited to a 12-bit field, which provides 4096 VLANs or segments. By encapsulating the original Ethernet frame with a VXLAN header, the newly introduced addressing field offers 24-bits, thereby providing a much larger namespace with up to 16 Million Virtual Network Identifiers (VNIs) or segments.

 

 

 

While the VXLAN VNI allows unique identification of a large number of tenant segments which is especially useful in high-scale multi-tenant deployments, the problems and requirements of large Layer-2 Domains are not sufficiently addressed. However, significant improvements in the following areas have been achieved:

  • No dependency on Spanning-Tree protocol by leveraging Layer-3 routing protocols
  • Layer-3 routing with Equal Cost Multi-Path (ECMP) allows all available links to be used
  • Scalability, convergence, and resiliency of a Layer-3 network
  • Isolation of Broadcast and Failure Domains

IETF RFC7348 – VXLAN: A Framework for Overlaying Virtualized Layer 2 Networks over Layer 3 Networks

Scalable Layer-2 Domains

The abstraction by using a VXLAN-like overlay does not inherently change the Flood & Learn behavior introduced by Ethernet. In typical deployments of VXLAN, BUM (Broadcast, Unicast, Multicast) traffic is forwarded via layer-3 multicast in the underlay that in turn aids in the learning process so that subsequent traffic need not be subjected to this “flood” semantic. A control-plane is required to minimize the flood behavior and proactively distribute End-Host information to participating entities (typically called Virtual Tunnel End Points aka VTEPs) in the same segment – learning.

Control-plane protocols are mostly employed in the layer-3 routing space where predominantly IP prefix information is exchanged. Over the past years, some of the well-known routing protocols have been extended to also learn and exchange Layer-2 MAC addresses. An early technology adoption with MAC addresses in a routing-protocol was Cisco’s OTV (Overlay Transport Virtualization), which employed IS-IS to significantly reduce flooding across Data Center Interconnects (DCI).

Multi-Protocol BGP (MP-BGP) introduced a new Network Layer Reachability Information (NLRI) to carry both, Layer-2 MAC and Layer-3 IP information at the same time. By having the combined set of MAC and IP information available for forwarding decisions, optimized routing and switching within a network becomes feasible and the need for flood to do learning get minimized or even eliminated. This extension that allows BGP to transport Layer-2 MAC and Layer-3 IP information is called EVPN – Ethernet Virtual Private Network.

EVPN is documented in the following IETF drafts

Integrated Route and Bridge (IRB) – VXLAN-EVPN offers significant advantages in Overlay networking by optimizing forwarding decision within the network based on Layer-2 MAC as well as Layer-3 IP information. The decision on forwarding via routing or switching can be done as close as possible to the End-Host, on any given Leaf/ToR (Top-of-Rack) Switch. The Leaf Switch provides the Distributed Anycast Gateway for routing, which acts completely stateless and does not require the exchange of protocol signalization for election or failover decision. All the reachability information available within the BGP control-plane is sufficient to provide the gateway service. The Distributed Anycast Gateway also provides integrated routing and bridging (IRB) decision at the Leaf Switch, which can be extended across a significant number of nodes. All the Leaf Switches host active default gateways for their respective configured subnets; the well known semantic of First Hop Routing Protocols (FHRP) with active/standby does not apply anymore.

Summary – The advantages provided by a VXLAN-EVPN solution are briefly summarized as follows:

  • Standards based Overlay (VXLAN) with Standards based Control-Plane (BGP)
  • Layer-2 MAC and Layer-3 IP information distribution by Control-Plane (BGP)
  • Forwarding decision based on Control-Plane (minimizes flooding)
  • Integrated Routing/Bridging (IRB) for Optimized Forwarding in the Overlay
  • Leverages Layer-3 ECMP – all links forwarding – in the Underlay
  • Significantly larger Name-Space in the Overlay (16M segments)
  • Integration of Physical and Virtual Networks with Hybrid Overlays
  • It facilitates Software-Defined-Networking (SDN)

Simply formulated, VXLAN-EVPN provides a standards-based Overlay that supports Segmentation, Host Mobility, and High Scale.

VXLAN-EVPN is available on Nexus 9300 (NX-OS 7.0) with  Nexus 7000/7700 (F3 linecards) to follow in the upcoming major release. Additional Data Center Switching platforms, like the Nexus 5600, will follow shortly after.

A detailed whitepaper on this topic is available on Cisco.com. In addition, VXLAN-EVPN was featured during the following Cisco Live! Sessions.

Do you have appetite for more? Post a comment, tweet about it and have the conversation going … Thanks for reading and Happy Networking!

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On February 12 Partners Learn How Cisco Big Data Analytics Transforms Business

In an Internet of Everything era, enterprises and public sector organizations have developed an insatiable appetite for data. Data is being gathered from an increasing number of sources, and—from an analytics perspective—the more data your customers have, the better the insights they can gain.

We recognize that analytics represent a truly transformational business opportunity for our partners. It enables enterprises to make dramatic changes in their business processes that will significantly strengthen the competitive edge.  Many strategic analytics deployments will be driven by line of business (LoB) managers representing key roles within enterprise organizations. These are things like manufacturing, product development, sales, operations, marketing, and HR—where an increasing percentage of IT spending is being initiated.

The great news is that Cisco has the ideal, end-to-end infrastructure for big data and analytics deployments, featuring Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and our robust suite of management automation and data virtualization software.

But infrastructure is only part of the equation! Engaging a range of analytics ecosystem partners to help manage data, integrate data, and finally, analyze data will be critical in delivering successful big data and analytics solutions to your customers. Read More »

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