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XMPP: A Power Tool in Your Tool Box

February 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm PST

Extensive Message Protocol (XMPP) is an open standard protocol based on XML (Extensible Markup Language). XMPP is designed to transport instant messages (IM) between entities and to detect online presence. It supports authentication of IM application and secure transport of messages over SSL/TLS. In XMPP entities can be bots, physical users, servers, devices or components. It’s really a powerful tool that has great potential for system administrators to add to their toolbox because:

  • XMPP is powerful
  • XMPP with Python is only 12 lines of code – trust me, it’s easy!
  • XMPP only requires a single query for multiple nodes
  • Status message can be used to track host presence

The Power of XMPP

For those of you that are not familiar with XMPP, it not only supports one-to-one messaging between entities but it also supports multi-party messaging (which enables an entity to join a chat room for the exchange of messages with several participants). The messages can be text messages embedded in XML format but XML can also be used to send control messages between entities as we will see with the presence stanza in a bit.

XMPP is widely used; Google uses it (for its Hangout application -- formerly google chat) and so does Yahoo and MSN. At Cisco, we use Cisco Jabber extensively to communicate internally. The XMPP client function is now integrated in the Cisco Nexus 5000 series with the release 5.2(1)N1(7) and the Nexus 6000 series with the release of 7.0(0)N1(1). XMPP is an integral part of the single console access for Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) which is a powerful framework described in my previous blog.

The new Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) 7.0(1) is delivered as an OVA file that can be deployed quickly on an existing VMware-enabled server. Although DCNM comes with a lot of features that simplify the deployment of the Data Center fabric, we can pick and choose any service we want to use independently -- which is great since DCNM comes with Cisco Jabber XCP and is license free. If you already have a XMPP service installed (like Openfire or ejabberd), it will not be a problem because everything discussed here is valid on any standard XMPP implementation.

On NX-OS devices, the XMPP feature is activated by configuring ‘feature fabric access’ and is part of the Enhanced L2 license (ENHANCED_LAYER2_PKG). Once activated, the switch becomes a XMPP client that needs to be registered on the server. In order to register it, XMPP requires the use of fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) to identify the domain server. If the switch does not have access to a DNS service, I recommend that you use the switch management network for messaging and a static host–to–IP address mapping in the switch configuration.

The switch will use its hostname to login to the XMPP service. If your XMPP server does not support auto-registration, you will need to register the switch and the rooms in the XMPP database beforehand. The DCNM OVA requires users and groups to be created via the CLI, and example of this user and group creation is:

[root@dcnm-ova ~]# appmgr add_user xmpp -u leaf0 -p cisco123
User added.
[root@dcnm-ova ~]# appmgr add_user xmpp -u leaf1 -p cisco123
User added.

User added. Read More »

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Introducing the Cisco Nexus 5600

What is the new Nexus 5600?

We at Cisco are really excited to introduce the new Cisco Nexus 5600 platform! It is the third generation of industry’s leading Data Center Server-Access Nexus 5000 series of switches. Cisco Nexus 5600 is the successor of industry’s most widely adopted Cisco Nexus 5500 series switches (with over 20,000 customers and 25 million ports shipped)  that maintain all the existing Nexus 5500 features such as LAN/SAN convergence, Fabric Extenders (FEX) and Fabric Path.

The new Nexus 5600 was unveiled at CiscoLive Milan in January 2014 with quite a bit of interest

:cvg3

Nuts and Bolts

We are introducing 2 models under the 5600 platform:

Cisco Nexus 5672UP – A 1 RU 10/40G Ethernet switch offering wire-speed performance for up to 48 10G Ethernet ports (16 of which are Unified Ports) and 6 true 40G ports.

Cisco Nexus 56128P – A 2 RU 10/40G Ethernet switch offering wire-speed performance for up to 96 10G Ethernet ports (48 of which are Unified Ports) and 8 true 40G ports..

In addition to the existing features of the Nexus 5000, 5600 platform brings new features such as True 40 GE support, VXLAN bridging and routing and Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) innovation. With a latency of about 1 µsec, the 5600 platform is ideal for applications which need low latency. For those of you who need network programmability, the Nexus 5600 supports Cisco OnePK and Openflow.

 Why these new features matter

 Extensibility with VXLAN support

The Cisco Nexus 5600 with its VXLAN support is very well suited for multi-tenant cloud deployments. In large scale, multi-tenant cloud deployments, there is a need for VMs to migrate across layer-3 boundaries. Traditional VLANs only support about 4000 VLANs which are insufficient in the deployments of thousands of VMs. With the migration need across layer-3 boundaries complexities of layer-3 routers are introduced. To solve the scalability as well as the migration issues VXLAN was developed. For more details on VXLAN, watch the video: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/switches/ps9441/ps9902/vidoe_fundamentals_vxlan.html

Ease of management with Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA)

 Our customers are also faced with complex, manual network configurations and have a hard time keeping up with application requirements. To solve these challenges, Cisco has developed an architecture called Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) which simplifies management and automation – such as automatic device and fabric configuration, automatic VM deployment, migration and seamless integration of bare-metal and virtualized resources in the data center. The Cisco Nexus 5600 platform with DFA implemented in the hardware as well as software is ideal for the multi-tenant and mixed (physical and virtual) cloud infrastructure.

For more information on DFA, please visit: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns945/dynamic_fabric_automation.html

True 40G support

 The difference between a 40G and True 40G port is that you can push an entire 40G flow in the True 40G port and in the normal 40G port, the port really is divided into 4 10G ports via Etherchannels, Thus in the True 40G, you get full 40G bandwidth. The Cisco Nexus 5600 platform switches has True 40G ports, which help in servicing the full 40G flows.

The Big Picture

Cisco has one of the most comprehensive portfolios for the Data Center and Cloud Networking and this Nexus 5600 platform is but one of the pieces of this portfolio. You may want to read this excellent blog,   which explains Cisco’s Data Center and Cloud Networking portfolio.

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…And The Momentum Continues! New Nexus Data Center Innovations AND Customer Deployments!

You probably have already heard that during CiscoLive Milan, we have unveiled the new additions to our Data Center and Cloud networking portfolio:

New Nexus Switches

  • New Nexus 7706 and a high density F3 Series 1/10G module for Nexus 7700 provide increased deployment options for data center interconnect, core or aggregation.
  • The next generation Nexus 5600 family offers VXLAN bridging and routing capability, line rate L2/L3, and 40G uplinks, to deliver high performance in a compact form factor for 10G Top of Rack, 1/10G FEX aggregation deployments.
  • New Nexus 6004 Unified Port LEM Module brings industry’s highest UP port density in a four RU form factor simplifying LAN and SAN convergence.
  • New Nexus 3172TQ top of rack 1 RU switch delivers industry-first 1/10G BaseT copper server access and superb performance combined with robust NX-OS features.
  • New Nexus 1000V on the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor brings OpenStack cloud a fully integrated network virtualization solution that can be deployed consistently across VMware, Microsoft, and Linux based software platforms.

AND THERE HAS BEEN BROAD CUSTOMER ADOPTION ACROSS THE DATA CENTER! 

Data Center Nexus Networking Momentum

From Nexus 1000V to the Nexus 9000, Cisco’s holistic approach resonates with customers because it provides increased business agility, operational efficiency, and empowers IT to rapidly evolve as business requirements change.

Here are the latest examples of why our customers chose Nexus:

Read More »

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Introducing Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2

The Cisco Prime Network Services Controller team is pleased to announce the availability of 3.2 release. This release incorporates a number of new features and functionalities to build virtual data centers (VDCs) with various network topologies. Follow this link to download the software and documentation.

Designed for multi-tenant cloud deployments, Cisco Prime Network Services Controller offers scalable, and automation-centric management for virtualized data center and cloud environments.  The Cisco Prime Network Services Controller is a virtual appliance that provides centralized device and policy management of virtual networking services. It provides a unified northbound API (XML payload over HTTPS) to allow the creation of dynamic data center that includes switching, routing, fire-walling and load-balancing functions.

Cisco Prime Network Services Controller is built on an information-model architecture in which each managed device is represented by its subcomponents (or objects), which are parametrically defined. It also uses Services profiles for model-based configuration of virtual devices policies. A service profile is a collection of device policies and configuration templates that can be predefined and applied on demand at the time of virtual appliance instantiation or later. Cisco Prime Network Services Controller enables

  • Flexible and simple mechanism to managing virtualized infrastructure using Cisco VSG, Cisco ASA 1000V, Cisco CSR 1000V virtual services as well as Citrix’s NetScaler virtual load balancers (NetScaler VPX and NetScaler 1000V)
  • Cisco InterCloud for virtual machine (VM) workload management and migration between the enterprise data center (private cloud) and public clouds
  • Cisco VSG, Cisco ASA 1000V, Cisco CSR 1000V, NetScaler VPX and NetScaler 1000V services in Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) solution

Read More »

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Introducing Cisco Unified Fabric Innovations: Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation, Nexus 7700 Switches, and F3 Modules

Cisco today introduced Application-Centric Infrastructure as the vision for Next Generation Data Center architecture, built for both today’s physical and virtual workloads as well as tomorrow’s highly dynamic Cloud-based, and performance-intensive big data application environments. Please check out Padmasree Warrior’s blog or Cisco Unified Fabric to learn more.  

What I would like to share with you is how we are evolving the Cisco Unified Fabric to deliver operational simplicity through superior integration.

Introducing Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA)

Delivering Operational Simplicity through Superior Integration

As organizations accelerate private and public cloud deployments, IT organizations and data center networks must evolve to meet rapidly changing and growing requirements.  Virtualized and cloud environments require more agility and simplicity to quickly deploy and migrate virtual machines. IT organizations, on the other hand, are challenged with operational complexity, architectural rigidity and infrastructure inefficiency with manual processes, disjointed provisioning, deficient software overlays, static resource allocations and disruptions when growth is needed.

The good news is that Cisco continues to evolve its Unified Fabric to address these needs. The new Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation delivers unsurpassed operational simplicities through superior integration. It does this by …. Read More »

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