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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

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Cisco Live Milan 2014: Where Hi-Tech meets Fashion and Tradition

I am neither an AC Milan soccer fan nor a connoisseur of haute couture, so it will be no surprise if you wondered what I am doing in Europe’s fashion capital Milan, and that too in the middle of Milan’s wintry January.

Without further ado, I will break the suspense.  Yes, I am one of the few, chosen as Cisco Datacenter leads for the Cisco Live Milan event. You may be thinking I have the best job in Silicon Valley, as I hop from Melbourne to London to Milan to cover Cisco Live worldwide, over the years. You are right, I do have an enviable job, bringing together the best of cisco datacenter technologies that help customers achieve more value for their investment, and I also make sure to have some fun in the process. During this event, I will be bringing you real-time excerpts of the action in the show floor, via social media. In this blog, I want to provide all you Datacenter IT and Networking professionals, highlights of various activities we have on the menu.

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If like me you are fortunate to attend, I am sure you are looking forward to attend the wall-wall keynotes on Jan 28, hosted by Cisco Executives Rob Lloyd and Rob Soderbery. Rob Lloyd will discuss how Cisco and the ecosystem of Cisco’s partners are uniquely positioned to connect the unconnected with an open standard and an integrated architecture from the cloud to end devices In addition,  you’ll have the opportunity to check out the latest innovations in Cisco ACI and Data Center Networking technologies. Let us pick up action at the Cisco Campus and Datacenter area in the World of Solutions.

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Cisco ACI demos are at the center of all action in Datacenter switching. .These demos in particular highlight the growing significance of Cisco as a datacenter infrastructure provider. With the successful introduction of Cisco ACI and its seamless integration with Cisco UCS, FlexPod, vBlock, UCS Director etc, we are able to demonstrate why infrastructure matters and its relevance to applications. I strongly encourage you to check out the Cisco ACI-Open Stack demo that highlights the provisioning and orchestration of a multi-tenant cloud environment and virtual applications through Open Stack, as well as showing integration of Open Stack on top of the Cisco APIC interface. Many of you have been eagerly awaiting the integration of L4-L7 services from Citrix, F5 with Cisco APIC, and we have put together a demo that illustrates the set-up and insertion of multiple network services into an application network, and the routing of traffic to the required services and the virtual workload. Other ACI demos include those that showcase Cisco Nexus 9000 platform programmability and Cisco ACI integration with Hyper-v, but in the interest of time, I will let you discover the exciting details of these demos at your convenience. Besides ACI, we have Unified Fabric based demos focusing on Nexus 7k and Dynamic Fabric Automation, VXLAN integration with Nexus switching platforms etc, to illustrate the comprehensive portfolio of switching products from Cisco. You will not be disappointed at the demo floor as the best and brightest engineers from Cisco business units will be available to engage you in technical conversations.

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Why virtualizing the Network is not the same as virtualizing the Server?

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.

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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.

 You may want also to read on this topic

Dynamic Fabric Automation : http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns945/dynamic_fabric_automation.html

Shashi Kiran’s blog :  The Next Paradigm Shift: Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) gets ready to rumble 

Padmasree Warrior’s blog : Limitations of a Software-Only Approach to Data Center Networking 

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Cisco OpenStack Installer for Grizzly

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).

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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.

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Cisco live Redux: Nexus 1000V InterCloud, Now Available, is a Hit to Enable Hybrid Cloud

July 8, 2013 at 9:00 am PST
Cisco live party

Who doesn’t love a Cisco Live! party?

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.

InterCloud Security Architecture

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