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This is the first in a multi-part series where we cover ‘programmability’ for networking.  The idea is to fully review the programming options now available inside the Nexus switches, (3000, 9000).  This first episode covers new access with Linux tools, NX-API and more. Further shows will be diving into the details around Object Models and orchestration partners.

The primary point for any of these is to understand how Cisco Open NX-OS extensibility exposes greater programmability and automation capabilities.  It is fascinating and full of new learning opportunities.  It does not come without a few career questions of course…usually, something along the lines of: do network engineers need to become programmers now too?  

Two answers:  Yes.  It depends.

Networking knowledge and skill should not be undersold here.  Programming capabilities should be additive.  They are useful in just about any tech career and obviously affecting the networking space.  I think it’s foolish to ever quit learning but it does depend on your aspirations, your current level of satisfaction and perhaps how narrowly defined your skill set might be.

Full disclosure: I am not a programmer. I have been learning the fundamentals of python and a few others as I work on this series but I am not hire-able for this skill by any means. But the distinct feeling I get, and the feedback I hear from you guys: its not that hard.  You are probably well versed in scripting for various CLI operations…take it up a few notches and work on some of these ‘readable’ languages that will have similar syntax.  This will give you the ability to judge the appeal of what we are offering with ACI and other solutions much more credibly…and I guarantee you will find ways to get rid of redundant crap and stupid errors you may be fighting with yourself or your team.

JOIN US AT THE WORKSHOP

Live, interactive, never dull.

September 21, 2015

Programmable networks will forever change the way you manage infrastructure enabling you to dramatically accelerate configuration and deployment of your network, automate time consuming manual tasks, and allocate IT resources far more efficiently.  Are you ready for the revolution?  

Discover how to create a programmable network as we discuss and demonstrate the NX-API and NX-API REST (Object Model) in detail. Understand how Cisco Open NX-OS extensibility exposes greater programmability and automation capabilities that eliminate costly manual errors.

– You can sign up at the workshop tab when the date gets a bit closer, http://www.techwisetv.com

 

Nicolas Delecroix in the TechWiseTV Lab

Nicolas Delecroix in the TechWiseTV Lab

TechWiseTV 176: Open NX-OS: Programmability

Shownotes:

Two great experts on this episode.

Six Key Points: What OPEN means for NX-OS

Six Key Points: What OPEN means for NX-OS

Shane Corban shares Six Key Points: What OPEN means for NX-OS

Changes made across the software stack to address Extensibility, Openness, Programmability.

  1. Auto Deployment (Bootstrap and Provisioning)
    • Added support for PXE server, operationalize NX-OS software to match an existing server environment
  2. Extensibility – how we package software
    • We did not use to expose much beyond a bash shell
    • Now you can install native RPM’s, and third party applications running processes as they would on a Linux server
  3. Open Interfaces
    • We are now adding support to leverage Linux like tools for debugging, configuration and troubleshooting…manipulate those front panel ports as native Linux interfaces within our switch software stack.
  4. Application Integration (Adaptable SDK)
    • Published an SDK, a build environment that you can install on any Linux server, download the build agent, and put your source into that directory structure and build into an RPM for installation and run it natively.
    • Build your own custom automation apps, monitoring agents, and have them run natively on our platform
  5. Programmability Tool Choice
    • Sandbox
    • We have a native Python shell today that has a Native Cisco Library that you can utilize for automation
    • NX-API – the ability to embed CLI commands and structured data (JSON, XML) for execution on the switch via HTTP/HTTPS Interface to get back structured data back on show commands.
  6. Management Tools
    • Support for Chef and Puppet
    • Agents will be publicly available on the enterprise sites
    • Support for Open Stack, Neutron

NX-OS is now more modular, more open, more capable of third party integration providing a  wide variety of programmability choices ideal for Dev-Ops environments.  

Five case study examples

Five case study examples

Nicolas provides five case study examples. 

  1. Checking Software Version
  2. Using Python script with NXAPI and JSON to pull version numbers
  3. Python script to query multiple switches to check compliance against a specific version
  4. VLAN Provisioning
  5. Checking for proper VLAN provisioning

Special thanks behind the scenes to Rami Rammaha and Mark Jackson

_____

More Reading:

Cisco Nexus 9000 Programmability Guide

Matt Oswalt is a great writer. You should follow his blog: Keeping it Classless.   I enjoy his angles on things.  Read up on his blog entry: Evolution of Network Programmability, Nexus 9000 NX-API,NX-API Update.

Some Learning Basics:

What do you think still needs to be covered?  I would love any thoughts on how the rest of this series should be shaped.  Leave your comments below and just to make sure…tag me on twitter.  We are diving into Object Models (taping next week) and then some angle with the Orchestration Partners.   Case in point: Puppet Labs is making available today a native Puppet NX-OS agent and Cisco Puppet Module.

Let me know!

Robb

http:twitter.com/robbboyd

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Embrane

With agility and automation as persistent drivers for IT teams, the need to simplify application deployment and build the cloud is crucial for the data center.

Today, Cisco is pleased to announce its intent to acquire Embrane, a provider of a lifecycle management platform for application-centric network services.

As we continue to drive virtualization and automation, the unique skillset and talent of the Embrane team will allow us to move more quickly to meet customer demands. Together with Cisco’s engineering expertise, the Embrane team will help to expand our strategy of offering freedom of choice to our customers through the Nexus product portfolio and enhance the capabilities of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

With this acquisition, we continue our commitment to open standards through programmable APIs and multi-vendor environments. More importantly, we remain committed to the rich ecosystem of partners and customers in production through the automation of network services, cloud and system management orchestration and automation stacks.

The Embrane team will be joining the Insieme Business Unit. We expect the acquisition to be complete before the end of the current quarter.  Financial terms are not disclosed.

 

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Memoir Systems

Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire privately held Memoir Systems, a company that develops semiconductor memory intellectual property (IP) and tools that enable ASIC vendors to build programmable network switches with increasing speeds. This acquisition will enable the proliferation of affordable, fast memory for existing Cisco switch ASICs and will help advance Cisco’s ASIC innovations necessary to meet next-generation IT requirements.

Currently in the data center switching market, denser infrastructure and data-intensive workloads are driving demand for higher port density (feeds) and greater bitrates (speeds). At the same time, the accelerating growth of scale-out (non-virtualized) Big Data applications like Hadoop are driving increasing East-West data traffic – furthering the need for greater data center network density. Unfortunately, the physical memory in typical ASIC switch chips cannot cope with the design requirements for these more intense needs and as a result, can become the bottleneck that limits the density and performance of future data center switches.

To help solve the ASIC memory issue, Memoir currently licenses soft-logic IP, which speeds up memory access by up to 10 times. It also reduces the overall footprint this memory takes up in typical switch ASICs.  As a result, this technology allows the development of switch and router ASICs with speeds, feeds, and costs typically not possible with traditional physical memory design techniques. This differentiation is critically important as port densities and port speeds move from 10G to 40/100G.

The acquisition of Memoir Systems is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2015. The Memoir team will report into Cisco’s Insieme Business Unit, under Senior Vice President, Mario Mazzola.

I look forward to seeing Memoir’s technology used across Cisco’s future ASIC projects. Memoir’s technology and strong team will allow Cisco to continue to innovate at the chip level and advance our ASIC and overall networking strategies.

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#CiscoChampion Radio S1|Ep18 ACI Updates

#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists hosted by Amy Lewis (@CommsNinja). This week we’re talking about ACI Updates with Cisco Product Management Director, Thomas Scheibe.

Listen to the Podcastcisco_champions BADGE_200x200

Learn about the Cisco Champions Program HERE.
See a list of all #CiscoChampion Radio podcasts HERE. Read More »

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The Quickest Way To Get Started with ACI

By now, given all the launch and blogging activity activity over the past week or so, I am sure your understanding of and interest in Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) will have grown.   Many of you will be asking “how do I get started as quickly as possible?”, and “how can I free up some time and resources to investigate?”  You understand the “what” – now, as I blogged recently on SDN, it’s time to understand more about the “why” and take action on the “how”.   How then do you get off that start line as quickly as possible?

Get Set To Go With ACI

Get Set To Go With ACI

As with many things in life, it helps if you get help from someone who has “been there” and “done that”.  And that’s where Cisco Services comes in, as Scott Clark, the VP for our Data Center Services team, introduced  last week.  So let’s talk about why Cisco Services should be your partner in this application centric world, and what services can help you.

Read More »

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