Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center and Cloud

Evolution of Cisco Prime Network Services Controller

Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2 is available for download, follow this link to download the software and documentation. The 3.2.2 release incorporates a number of new features on top of 3.2.1 release. Refer to an earlier blog for the features introduced in 3.2.1 release. Following video provides a brief introduction to Prime Network Services Controller.

Following are some of the key capabilities introduced in Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2 release:

  • Prime Network Services Controller operating in OpenStack environment supporting Edge Router and Load Balancer network services
  • License automation for CSR 1000V, Citrix NetScaler VPX and Citrix NetScaler 1000V
  • Automatic instantiation of Compute Firewall, Edge Router and Load Balancer network services with Dynamic Fabric Automation

OpenStack support

The Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.1 supports Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere environments. Prime Network Services Controller 3.2.2 extends multi-hypervisor capabilities by introducing the support for OpenStack (KVM) in addition to Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Summary – Network Design for Automation

There has been a lot of recent online discussion about automation of the datacenter network, how we all may (or may not) need to learn programming, the value of a CCIE, and similar topics. This blog tries to look beyond all that. Assume network configuration has been automated. How does that affect network design?

Read my full article to find out more..

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Network Design for Automation

20140519-CISCO-spine-and-leafThere has been a lot of recent online discussion about automation of the datacenter network, how we all may (or may not) need to learn programming, the value of a CCIE, and similar topics. This blog tries to look beyond all that. Assume network configuration has been automated. How does that affect network design?

Automation can greatly change the network landscape, or it may change little. It depends on what you’re presently doing for design. Why? The reason is that the programmers probably assumed you’ve built your network in a certain way. As an example, Cisco DFA (Dynamic Fabric Automation) and ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) are based on a Spine-Leaf CLOS tree topology.

Yes, some OpenFlow vendors have claimed to support arbitrary topologies. Arbitrary topologies are just not a great idea. Supporting them makes the programmers work harder to anticipate all the arbitrary things you might do. I want the programmers to focus on key functionality. Building the network in a well-defined way is a price I’m quite willing to pay. Yes, some backwards or migration compatibility is also desirable.

The programmers probably assumed you bought the right equipment and put it together in some rational way. The automated tool will have to tell you how to cable it up, or it  might check your compliance with the recommended design. Plan on this when you look to automation for sites, a datacenter, or a WAN network.

The good news here is the the Cisco automated tools are likely to align with Cisco Validated Designs. The CVD’s provide a great starting point for any network design, and they have recently been displaying some great graphics. They’re a useful resource if you don’t want to re-invent the wheel — especially a square wheel. While I disagree with a few aspects of some of them, over the years most of them have been great guidelines.

The more problematic part of this is that right now, many of us are (still!) operating in the era of hand-crafted networks. What does the machine era and the assembly line bring with it? We will have to give up one-off designs and some degree of customization. The focus will shift to repeated design elements and components. Namely, the type of design the automated tool can work with.

Some network designers are already operating in such a fashion. Their networks may not be automated, but they follow repeatable standards. Like an early factory working with inter-changeable parts. Such sites have likely created a small number of design templates and then used them repeatedly. Examples: ”small remote office”, “medium remote office”, “MPLS-only office”, or “MPLS with DMVPN backup office”.

However you carve things up, there should only be a few standard models, including “datacenter” and perhaps “HQ” or “campus”. If you know the number of users (or size range) in each such site, you can then pre-size WAN links, approximate number of APs, licenses, whatever. You can also pre-plan your addressing, with, say, a large block of  /25′s for very small offices, /23′s for medium, etc.

On the equipment side, a small office might have one router with both MPLS and DMVPN links, one core switch, and some small number of access switches. A larger office might have one router each for MPLS and one for DMPVN, two core switches, and more access switches. Add APs, WAAS, and other finishing touches as appropriate. Degree of criticality is another dimension you can add to the mix: critical sites would have more redundancy, or be more self-contained. Whatever you do, standardize the equipment models as much as possible, updating every year or two (to keep the spares inventory simple).

It takes some time to think through and document such internal standards. But probably not as much as you think! And then you win when you go to deploy, because everything becomes repeatable.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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 »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Milan

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.

CAMPUS OVERVIEW 06

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.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,