At this year’s Hadoop Summit 2013, I presented on the “The Data Center and Hadoop” which built upon the past two years of testing the effects of Hadoop on the data center infrastructure. What makes Hadoop an important framework to study in the data center is that it contains a distributed system that combines both a distributed file system (HDFS) along with an execution framework (Map/Reduce). Further it builds upon itself and can provide other real-time or key/value stores(HBASE) along with many other possibilities. Each comes with its own set of infrastructure requirements that include throughput sensitive components along with latency sensitive components. Further in the Data Center, understanding how all these components work together is key to optimized deployments.
After studying many of these components and their effects, the very data we were alanyzing became a topic of a lot of our discussions. We combined application performance data, application logs, compute data AND network data to build a complete picture of what is happening in the data center.
With the advent of programmable networks (aka “Software Defined Networking”) it is not only important to make the network more application aware, but to also know where and how to analyze and make the right connections between the application and the network.
Businesses and organizations are increasingly turning to private cloud delivery models to address their most pressing business and technology challenges. Next week, at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 (WPC) in Houston, channel partners will be able to speak with Cisco executives and consult with Cisco experts, to learn how Cisco and Microsoft have teamed to provide integrated solutions for Microsoft Private Cloud. These validated solutions create opportunities for partners to: increase revenue; accelerate their customer’s journey to private cloud; and enable repeatable deployments.
From the outset, Cisco Unified Fabric has been ahead of the curve and ahead of the market in its innovation and the value that it brings to Cisco customers. Its introduction brought about a profound shift to data center fabric: unification of the IP and storage networks. Today it is foundational – a primary building block for cloud-based, virtualized data centers, providing architectural flexibility and consistent networking across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.
Customers know this too, as evidenced by Cisco’s continuous leadership in this market maintaining the #1 market share for Data Center Ethernet Switching with over 70% of the market*, and #1 in FCoE SAN Switching with 77% of the market**.
Cisco also announced the vision for our revolutionary networking architecture with Application Centric Infrastructure. Yet again, we are evolving our infrastructure to help IT departments dramatically simplify how they provision their data center resources (networking, servers, storage and services) that are critical to the performance of their applications. As we heard from Padmasree Warrior, “the Application Centric Infrastructure will give our customers the agility to deliver applications to end-users where they want, when they want, and to any device they want -- securely, rapidly, and at a lower cost.”
We continue to innovate as no other IT company does, providing the vision and technology to transform the data center. Tomorrow starts here.
*Source: Infonetics, Q1CY2013 DC Network Equipment Report **Source: Dell’Oro, SAN Switching, Q2CY2013
As the long awaited innovation in the networking space moves out of hype cycle and market interest in software defined networking (SDN) steadily rises, Cisco has been actively involved in these emerging trends, working with standards bodies and listening to the requirements of our global customer base.
As we continue to make our networks more open, programmable, and application aware, we believe we have the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio to help lead this change in an evolutionary manner.
During engagements with our global customer base, we have heard many claims about SDN. I will address these claims from a customer support point of view.
• SDN is about virtualizing the network. It is about migrating from a static, complex physical network platform to a dynamic simplified software enabled virtual platform
• SDN is about commoditizing network hardware because software can provide all functionalities in a centralized, limitless fashion.
• SDN is about reducing TCO and increasing agility. It is about reducing cost (OPEX) through simplification, virtualization, and automation, but also accelerating innovative business services for growth.
Let’s look at the implications of these.
#1: SDN is about virtualizing the network.
This is true and there are benefits. But before you think about virtualizing the network using “Software Defined Network” or “Software Defined Data Center”, let’s recap some core requirements any IT organization needs to take into account:
• Do you have an understanding of your business application environment?
• What are the key interdependencies between your application strategy and your infrastructure strategy?
• What implications would virtualizing the network layer have on your SLA’s? Are there performance penalties associated to your business if you don’t meet them?
If you have not explored these questions in details, then consider developing an “application to infrastructure” blueprint that is aligned to your business strategy. Leverage SDN as a crucial technology building block that can accelerate this process and provide solutions to any gaps identified hence simplifying your path towards network virtualization.
#2: SDN is about commoditizing network hardware because software can now provide all network functionalities.
This is not a reality today. The evolution of PaaS/SaaS and application providers support the fact that software is not “limitless.” The need for network intelligence, scale, performance, and security are still top priorities of most IT infrastructure. SDN does not promise to eliminate the importance hardware has, but simply illustrates the possibility of moving the decision intelligence from the hardware to software. What about speed and performance requirements on a software controller? Can it scale and grow as fast as the business (traffic) needs? How about the hardware that the controller software is running on — can it react fast enough to the ever-growing computing and storage demands? Can your “software only” infrastructure grow dynamically and as fast as your business application needs grow? Each organization needs to consider the implications of transferring the risk and complexity from infrastructure deployment to software (controller and agents) development.
#3: SDN is about reducing TCO and increasing Speed to Market for innovative business services.
Total Cost of Ownership calculations include both CAPEX and OPEX.In an “SDN” world, CAPEX = hardware cost + software cost which includes both development and maintenance, whether you choose to develop in-house (i.e. hiring new skills or transform your existing staff) or through a third-party software developer (i.e. licensing and upgrade costs). Is your operating model changing fast enough to utilize the benefit of SDN’s *simplified* management and operation? Have you broken down IT siloes between Security, Compute, Storage, and Operations? Is your organization ready to shift from managing infrastructure to managing software and changing the IT operation structure? Do you have the necessary tools and process to capture the rich data an “SDN” architecture now provides and turn them into new services for creating new revenue streams? In other words, is everything going to get more complicated before it can be “simplified”? Looking back to the server virtualization transition, very few IT organizations, if any, can claim that they realized the projected operating ROI within the first few years.
Now, let’s take a look at Cisco Open network Environment (ONE).
CiscoONE is more than just SDN. It offers a solution set that provides:
• A softwarecontroller that is centralized and separated from the local data planes
• Network programmability
• Network virtual overlays
We see the move to programmability and network virtualization as an evolution, not a revolution. CiscoONE creates incremental functionality that can be layered on existing infrastructure to deliver new functionality and provide SDN capabilities on top of both traditional technologies and modern business application needs. This enables you to continue leveraging value from the IT investments you’ve already made. We are working to help customers extract more value from the network by offering a broad network API, rich features, and analytics. The core value of the Cisco solution is an “Application Centric Infrastructure”, compare to the generic “Software Defined Network” term. Both software and hardware are a means for providing services business applications. And by making applications the center of everything, we take the broadest view to deliver openness, programmability and abstraction across multiple layers, to the line of business owners.
As my colleague Stephen Speirs pointed out in his blog, Services is the missing S in SDN, I would also say Strategy is the starting point for SDN. Why Strategy?
With the right strategy, you can plan, build and manage an open, programmable, “virtualized” network that reduces your OPEX and delivers the business outcomes you need with the minimum level of risk.
- Customers are at various stages of SDN adoption, as with any new technology or network paradigm. We’ve heard a lot of questions from them: How do I build a business case for SDN? How do I validate the ROI? How do I manage SDN devices? How would SDN change my operations model? What new security vulnerabilities and regulatory issues will I have? How do I build the API applications that are needed for my use case? What do I do when something goes wrong?
- Few customers have a clear understanding of their application profiles. Without a clear view of your application profiles, there are risks to deploying SDN.
- Cisco Services can help you through the SDN journey starting from identify the right strategy to execution so that your organization can transform your business agenda to maximize business value and minimize risks.
Services help you address the areas of What, Why and How
The Cisco Services team is well-positioned to lead this transition for customers. Our work with enterprises, services providers and public sector organizations over past 20+ years has provided us with unique network insights and implementation experience. Cisco Services offer consulting, professional and technical services via strategy, assessment/planning (Why), design and development (What), deployment, validation and operations services (How). We have the experience to help you adopt open, programmable or virtualized networks based on where you are today and where you need to be in order to harness Network Intelligence through deep programmatic access to your networking platforms.
As part of the Cisco Open Network Environment approach, there’s a lot of news coming out of Orlando from this year’s Cisco Live US event, and a lot of it involves OpenStack. OpenStack has never been more prominent at Cisco Live – and there’s much more to come. This is significant not only because it demonstrates our continued commitment to OpenStack but also the progress of our ongoing product integration efforts.
We had multiple technical breakout sessions and technical seminars on OpenStack, delivered by Cisco OpenStack experts, throughout the event. Here are a few of them:
We’re also featuring six product demonstrations with OpenStack integration. If you are in Orlando this week, please visit the World of Solutions Expo and see them all:
OpenStack with Cisco Nexus 1000v
We’re showing an OpenStack deployment on UCS hardware that uses Nexus 1000v as the underlying host virtual switch. Nexus1000v solution on KVM hypervisor is going to be available soon. We’ve developed an OpenStack Networking (i.e. Neutron) plugin that communicates with the Nexus 1000v VSM module and also configures VEMs on the host. We have introduced network profile and port profile constructs in OpenStack Networking as well as provided enhancement to the OpenStack Horizon (GUI) for Nexus 1000v.
OpenStack Networking and Cisco Nexus plugin
Our OpenStack Networking Cisco Nexus plugin can provide isolated tenant network segments on Nexus physical hardware by provisioning and de-provisioning VLAN’s. The plugin works with Nexus 3K/5K/6K/7K line of switches. This data sheet captures more information.
OpenStack and Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud
Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC) turns OpenStack into a production-ready cloud platform – using our service catalog, orchestration, and cloud management software to complement and extend OpenStack functionality. At Cisco Live, we’re demonstrating how end users can order a virtual machine from the Cisco IAC portal, with OpenStack integration to Nova to fulfill this request.
Cisco UCS Manager and OpenStack
Cisco UCS Manager has extensive hardware provisioning and diagnostic capabilities that will soon be brought into OpenStack. What we’re showing this week is the ability of UCS Manager to detect chassis and blade hardware configurations and initiate an automated OpenStack node deployment. The UCS Manager OpenStack developer community information can be accessed here. Additionally, we also had a breakout session that walked through deploying OpenStack using our Cisco OpenStack Installer (COI): starting from bare-metal provisioning all the way through the deployment of the controller and compute nodes as well as storage, and networking. Visit here for COI setup instructions.
Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation with OpenStack
The newly announced Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation is our next generation network fabric solution that provides high performance converged networking across the data center. This week, we’re showing OpenStack Networking with Dynamic Fabric Automation to provision network overlay within the Fabric.
OpenStack integration with Cisco onePK
Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE) architecture expands the capabilities of OpenStack Networking by providing a onePK plugin. We’ll be showing how various Cisco ONE elements can be programmed through OpenStack Neutron and offer Layer 2 and Layer 3 services in an OpenStack deployment. See here for more information.
At the recent Red Hat Summit , OpenStack was also very prominent; the launch of their commercially supported distribution of OpenStack (Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform) filled one of the few remaining gaps for mainstream customer deployment. We’re continuing to work with the OpenStack community and partners like Red Hat to advance the adoption and success of this open source cloud platform. If you want to learn more about OpenStack and Red Hat on Cisco UCS, you can watch these videos from the Red Hat Summit.
This new level of project maturity as well integration with the Cisco Nexus and UCS platforms is accelerating customer adoption of OpenStack. Cisco Live is the obvious place to showcase our success and ongoing commitment to OpenStack.
Stay tuned for more from the OpenStack team at Cisco!