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New Nexus 1000V Virtual Switch Release 3.1 Now Available

There has been some seismic activity happening in Bay Area and the epicenter for all Virtual Networking shifts is right here at Cisco HQ in San Jose. (Our sympathies go to all those affected by the real earthquake further to the north.)  At Cisco, it’s all about the applications and the shift to dynamic network virtualization. Cisco pioneered virtual networking with Nexus 1000V virtual switch and recently incorporated it in the application aware Application Virtual Switch (AVS), for Cisco ACI-enabled networks. Cisco is excited to announce the availability of  Nexus 1000 Release 3.1 of Nexus1000V for vSphere (available for download here). We are showing the upcoming generation of the virtual switch at VMworld in San Francisco this week.

Nexus1000V is the edge switch for virtual environments, bringing the network edge right up to the virtual machine, and connecting virtual ports to the physical network and beyond. The Nexus 1000V is the foundation for our virtual network overlay portfolio, including all of our virtual L4-7 application and security services, our cloud orchestration software, VXLANs and more. It is also at the heart of AVS, a purpose-built, hypervisor-resident virtual network edge switch designed for the Application Centric Infrastructure.

Release 3.1 is a new major release enabling enterprise and cloud provider customers running the vSphere hypervisor to leverage the distributed virtual firewall VSG, expand VXLAN footprint in the datacenter, improve secure isolation thru Cisco TrustSec and dramatically simplify updates through Cisco VSUM (Virtual Switch Update Manager).  Most of the new features are value add to the Advanced Edition.  New customers will need a Ver 3 specific license to use the full functionality of Ver 3.  Existing customers with support contract are automatically entitled to free upgrade to Ver 3. AVS incorporates Nexus 1000V capabilities with consistent application policy enforcement for virtual workloads and unprecedented end-to-end visibility for applications in your data center.

Features of the new Nexus 1000V Release 3.1:

  • Scale
    • Increased Scalability (Advanced Edition) – More than doubles the scale from the previous release. The virtual switch now supports 250 hosts/servers per switch with 10,000 ports per switch. In addition it supports 4094 active VLANs and  16 million VXLAN (6144 active VXLANs) per switch across 6144 port profiles.
    • VXLAN control plane: BGP based control plane across multiple virtual switches provide expanded Layer 2 domain footprint that can potentially support nearly 40,000 VMs in a single domain
    • Increased Resiliency – Supports headless Port bring up where Virtual Machines can be bought up on the host even if VEM is offline i.e. the VSM is not reachable by VEM. Both VSM headful and headless VM vMotion is supported.
  • Security
    • Cisco TrustSec 2.0 (Advanced Edition) – Continues to extended Cisco TrustSec solutions for network based segmentation of users and physical workloads, leveraging Security Group Tags (SGT) for defining security segments and SGACL support  (Enforcement) and Native(in-line) SGT tagging.
    • BPDU Guard -- Keeps virtual network safe from misconfigured VLANs and strictly enforces VLAN boundries.  It prevents Misconfigured VLAN Rogue devices from flooding the network
    • Storm Control -- Prevent network disruptions from a broadcast, multicast, or unknown-unicast traffic storm.
  • Simplification
    • Simplified Deployment, upgrade and visibility with Cisco VSUM – Cisco VSUM is a FREE virtual appliance that enables Server and Network administrators to Deploy, Upgrade and Monitor Nexus1000V and to Deploy and Upgrade Cisco AVS from within their vCenter web interface.
    • Customer Experience - Here’s what one of our Beta customers, Josh Coen says about Cisco VSUM. Josh is a Principal Cloud Architect with Varrow and has been working in the IT industry since 1999, with a heavy focus on virtualization and storage since 2008.

Nexus 1000V has already reached the 10,000 customer milestone with some customers purchasing 1000+ CPU licenses.  Nexus 1000V continues to provide the foundation for the most advanced virtual networks by supporting, 1) multiple hypervisor environments, such as VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Openstack KVM 2) the most extensive set of virtual network services, including ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, distributed zone-based virtual firewall, vWAAS WAN optimization, the Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000V, Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module (NAM) and advanced service insertion and chaining technology, vPath and 3) a true management control plane that provides greater policy and control features for richer networking functionality.

We’ll be showing a lot of these features this week. Come by our booth and check it out. If you are around #VMworld this week, give us a shout out on twitter using Cisco hash tag #ciscovmw. For those of you that can’t make it out to VMworld, listen to the review of these new features in Ver 3.1 in this webcast.

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Scaling NFV – The Performance Challenge

In the second part of my blog series I want to cover one of the main concerns that Services Providers are facing as they explore moving to NFV and that is performance and scalability. Common concerns I hear center around latency, throughput, queuing capabilities and security. These are valid concerns since SP’s have service level agreement (SLA’s) with the their customers which lead to penalties if performance drops below the SLA.  So will a virtualized network function perform at the same level as a purpose built networking device? Read More »

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Get On With It! Your Cloud is Waiting

Sound familiar? We hear that term all the time. We hear it at home, we hear it at work, we keeping saying it to our elected officials. It’s a term often used when we are frustrated with progress. It doesn’t matter what the task is, we just want it done!

At Cisco we do a lot of research. We talk to customers to understand their needs, we survey customers to predict what their needs may be and we engage with the analyst community to understand how our industry is changing. Working from this feedback we aim to make an impact on the market with great products.

Moving to the Cloud has been a hot topic for the past few years and it has been amazing to watch the progress. Just two years ago, our Cloud Connected Survey highlighted the challenges Enterprises were facing as they tried to migrate to the Cloud, with Security being one of the top concerns. The Cisco product team responded to those concerns with the Cloud Services Router 1000V aiming to help Enterprises to ‘get on with it’ and accelerate their migration to the Cloud. Read More »

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Key Annoucements at AWS Summit for the Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000V

We continue to see significant interest in the CSR 1000V as customers look for robust routing and VPN solution for securely connecting users and branch offices to the Cloud. Last week at the Amazon Web Services Summit in San Francisco Cisco announced a number of key enhancements to its Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000V for AWS that increase throughput, reduce cost and make it easier for you to get support. These enhancements are explained in more detail below:

  • Hourly billing on a pay-as-you-go basis reduce upfront costs and enable you to get started with minimal upfront costs. You can find out more at the CSR AWS Marketplace page which includes a 30-day free trial.
  • Higher throughput of 100MB gives you faster access to your applications and data.
  • Enhanced support to help you deploy and install the CSR. The new CSR AWS Community is an online community managed by Cisco TAC and CSR Product Management.
  • Testing environment. Deploy and explore the value and benefits of the CSR1000V on the AWS cloud in a lab environment using the CSR AWS Test Drive Lab. The current CSR 1000V lab includes up to 4 hours of complimentary AWS server time for you to try and evaluate a live CSR.

Don’t forget that you can still try the CSR free for 60-days in AWS with the BYOL version. Visit www.cisco.com/go/csrtrial to get started. For those of you still deciding on how to move to the Cloud, I encourage you to read my last blog post  where I talk about some of the key considerations you should take into account when making a decision. Lastly our technical marketing organization has put together a detailed video showing with 3 simple steps on how to deploy the CSR 1000V in Amazon Web Services. With all these support resources and free trials there is no excuse to not get started today!

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IWAN Wed: Faster Service Delivery with NFV

As part of our IWAN series I wanted to take a closer look into what trends are impacting the Service Providers. My previous blog talked about how Enterprises can use the CSR 1000V  to migrate to the Cloud. This week I wanted to talk about how Service Providers are using the CSR to deliver services to their customers.

Historically Service Providers deliver services like routing, firewall and VPN to customers by installing multiple hardware products at the customer site. At the customer site the location where the customer and Service Providers network meet is referred to as the customer premise equipment or CPE. The hardware installed at the CPE is often specialized for different network functions, and the architecture and associated management systems are designed by the Service Provider. This approach provides reliable network services to business customers however it can become complex as more network services are added and it is not very flexible when it comes to adding new services. As a result when businesses demand more services or capacity, Service Providers can be slow to respond and will ultimately see an increased time-to-revenue.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) aims to overcome these challenges by allowing network services to be moved, or instantiated, in various locations in the Service Provider network on demand and without the need for the installation of specialized hardware equipment.  For NFV to work it requires industry vendors like Cisco to virtualize network functions like routers just like we did with the CSR 1000V. We took our IOS XE operating system from the Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 which was already tried and tested in Service Providers networks and turned it into a virtual form factor that can be run on any off-the-shelf x86 server. Cisco has many more products that are in virtualized form factors and the list includes but is not limited to:

•    Virtual Wide Area Application Services (vWAAS)
•    Virtual Wireless LAN Controller (vWLC)
•    Virtual Mobility Service Engine (vMSE)
•    Virtual Security Gateway (VSG)
•    Virtual Network Analysis Module (VNAM)
•    Virtual Identity Services Engine (vISE)
•    Virtual Adaptive Security Appliance (vASA)
•    Nexus 1000v vSwitch (N1Kv)

The primary benefit of NFV is the ability to use the same data center equipment and management tools that Service Providers currently use for their internal networks to host and manage network functions for their customers. The new vCPE has a reduced hardware footprint, simplified infrastructure and requires less customization. Core network functionality shifts to the Service Provider network where the  pooling of resources increases flexibility allowing them to deploy services faster and scale them according to customer demand.

The benefits to of NFV are significant, however the transition will take some time due to the complexity and size of Service Provider networks. Look out for more blog posts around NFV and the vCPE as I explore in more detail the challenges of moving to this new architecture. In the mean time I encourage you to download a new CSR case study about MiroNet AG, a Swiss Cloud and Infrastructure provider that is using the CSR to deliver new differentiated services to its existing customers while simultaneously attracting new customers.

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