VMware launched NSX, its Network Virtualization platform at VMworld last week. In his keynote, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger portrayed Network Virtualization as a very natural extension to what VMware accomplished in Server Virtualization. However market fundamentals and early drivers for Server Virtualization are not quite the same as Network Virtualization. Hence any comparison and contrast between the two should be understood and weighed on in their respective contexts.
The drive for Server Virtualization fundamentally was an attempt to address the growing gulf between faster rate of technology advancement in server space relative to customer ability to utilize the excess capacity. It was a trend that was driven by the focus towards gaining efficiency in an era where cost was becoming important. Over nearly a decade now Server Virtualization has accomplished this goal of better utilization of assets: And server utilization levels have increased by a factor of 4 over the years.
Networks in the data centers today however do not suffer from this excess capacity problem. If any, the problem is the reverse – user demand for networks capacity continues to outpace what is currently available. As long as there remains a growing gulf between user expectations for capacity relative to technology advancement there will remain opportunity for vendors to innovate in this space. In other words unlike the server world, network virtualization does not shift the value away from the underlying infrastructure.
Server Virtualization is transforming IT by providing greater business agility. Goal of Network Virtualization should be to bring similar business agility for the network. However, this goal need not require complete decoupling of the virtual network from underlying physical network as some vendors may lead you to believe. Any goal of gaining agility by completely decoupling physical and virtual network can only be done with some confidence, by significant under-provisioning of the physical network. For if the bandwidth is plenty the overlays have less dependency on understanding or integrating with the underlying infrastructure. This shortsighted approach, which focuses on business agility, but ignores business assurance, will increase the network capital expenditure and operating expense spend over time. Note that even in the server world where compute efficiency was attained, the benefit did not come at any capex or opex savings. Capex savings attained on server hardware was offset by increased cost of virtualization software. And we have seen opex continues to increase over the last decade.
As IT increasingly begins to take on a service centric view, more intelligence will be needed at the edge – physical or virtual edge. Cisco’s launch of Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) last July, address this view of an optimized fabric infrastructure with a more intelligent network edge that can enable any network anywhere, supporting transparent mobility for physical servers and virtual machines. Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) takes this a step further by enabling application-driven policy automation, management and visibility of physical and virtual networks. They however also integrate the physical and the virtual network for an agile service delivery that also assures full lifecycle user experience.
The OpenStack community recently reached a major milestone and celebrated its third birthday! The flagship open-source compute, storage and networking cloud platform has come a long way since the initial draft. Cisco is proud to be part of this community including participating as Vice Chair of the OpenStack Foundation and as Core Developer for Networking (Neutron).
Back in July, we celebrated OpenStack’s birthday with cake and the release of the Cisco OpenStack Installer for Grizzly. The Cisco OpenStack Installer makes it easy for customers to install, deploy and monitor OpenStack on Cisco UCS servers with networking plugins to the Nexus product line including the Nexus 3k, Nexus 5k, Nexus 6k and Nexus 7k. Watch this demo of how the Cisco Nexus plugin for Grizzly automates the upstream Cisco Nexus Top-of-Rack (ToR) switch:
More information on the Cisco OpenStack Installer for Grizzly can be found here.
We also celebrated OpenStack’s birthday by releasing the Cisco Reference Architecture for RedHat RDO OpenStack with UCS and Nexus. The Cisco OpenStack RDO Reference Architecture can be downloaded here.
Puppet is a key component of the Cisco OpenStack Installer. Cisco will be presenting an overview of Puppet and the Cisco OpenStack Installer at PuppetConf. Cisco will also be presenting details on how Puppet and OpenStack are key components of WebEx. PuppetConf will be held at the San Francisco Fairmont on August 22-23. Check out Cisco sessions at Puppet Conf here.
We would also like to thank everyone for the great interest and support in OpenStack at Cisco Live. David Yen’s keynote featured a demo of the new Dynamic Fabric Automation spine-and-leaf integration with OpenStack. Watch for the Dynamic Fabric Automation mention starting at 30:19 on this video.
The next OpenStack Summit is just around the corner! The OpenStack Summit will be held in Hong Kong on 11/5-11/9. Registration for the OpenStack Summit here.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone at PuppetConf and the OpenStack Summit.
If you live in the US, I hope you had a good 4th of July holiday last week. It’s already been over a week since a very exciting Cisco live! If you were there in person, or you caught much of it on video, I’m sure you know about the enthusiasm and excitement from an unexpectedly large number of attendees. Crowds in the World of Solutions were amazing, especially trying to learn about our new Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) technology, as well as the new enhancements in our Nexus 1000V virtual networking portfolio, like Citrix NetScaler 1000V.
While on the Nexus 1000V topic, I would like to point out a great blog write-up by the always insightful Jason Edelman, a Solution Architect at a national solution provider, on our Nexus 1000V InterCloud hybrid cloud solution. Nexus 1000V InterCloud received a great deal of interest and attention at Cisco live and may have been the busiest pod in our virtual networking area in the World of Solutions. The concept of hybrid cloud is really gaining traction and organizations appreciate the importance of now seamlessly extending virtual overlays from the on-premises data center to public cloud providers as Nexus 1000V InterCloud now enables. Nexus 1000V InterCloud began shipping last week, as well (with vPath and the Virtual Services Gateway coming soon), so the timing of all this interest couldn’t be better. To download the Nexus 1000V InterCloud GA image for evaluation, go here.
One of the aspects of InterCloud that we were talking about in more detail at Cisco live! was the internal security. The architecture supports complete encryption of all traffic not only between the enterprise or on-premises data center and the service provider cloud, but encrypts all data-in-motion within the provider cloud, to protect traffic from exposure to the service provider and other tenants. This encrypted tunnel includes all traffic going to the virtual services residing in the cloud. And this is on top of the security provided by the virtual services (when supported in InterCloud in Q4 CY 13), such as the virtual firewalls, VSG and ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall.