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Cisco at the Cloud Connect Show

LoeselMark-186258By Mark Loesel, Cloud Solutions Marketing, Cisco

I hope that you are able to join us at Cloud Connect this week in Santa Clara as we have much to share with you. Cloud Connect is a great show that attracts more than 4,000 industry decision makers, offering an ideal venue for Cisco to share the value of our cloud solutions. Cloud Connect is an opportunity to showcase how we at Cisco are at the forefront of cloud computing, enabling our customers and partners in a world of many clouds. Whether you are building your own private cloud, using services from a public cloud, offering cloud services, or enlisting a hybrid approach, we’re here to have a conversation on how we can help.

In our booth, you’ll find demos on:

  • Managing Cloud Network Services: This demo shows how a server/virtualization administrator can create a security policy once for a virtual machine and then make sure of enforcement across the network. Cisco Virtual Network Management Center will be used to show how service chaining can take place with the Cisco Nexus 1000V and virtual Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance and Cisco Virtual Security Gateway as virtual machines are turned up and move throughout the data center.
  • Cloud Automation and Orchestration: Learn how to access a service portal to create a request for virtual machine(s) and provision a bare-metal server. The demo will also show how an administrator can create a service catalogue for users to leverage.
  • Cloud Computing with Cisco UCS: This solution overview highlights the centralized management with high scalability of Cisco UCS to facilitate building-block entities (policies, resource pools, and templates) for rapid server provisioning.
  • OpenStack API for the Cisco Nexus 1000V: Exhibit on how we integrate our Cisco Nexus 1000V with open-source hypervisors to allow for the continued evolution of advanced virtual machine networking and cloud management to provide more control, visibility, and programmability for customers.

In addition to the demos, Read More »

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InterCloud Plus Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud

Cisco continues to roll out innovations that will enable the next generations of multi-cloud computing.  I’m a product manager working on Cisco’s Cloud Management software, and we’re all about the high-level, self-service, automatic provisioning of services that the end-user cares about.  The network just moves ones and zeros, and all protocols of interest (HTTP, SSH, RDP, SQL, etc.) work fine over TCP/IP.  The hypervisor takes care of putting that pesky motherboard chipset and storage bus into a black box, right?  The end-user doesn’t care about that stuff, or at least doesn’t want to have to care about it.

A common perspective, except among the engineers who manage the network, is that network infrastructure is a bunch of mysterious plumbing that “just works” and how it does what it does doesn’t matter.  Indeed, many vendors in the “cloud” arena would like to perpetuate this perspective on the network.  They would like you to believe a bunch of dumb pipes can carry traffic and that determination of the traffic (content, flow, etc.) is determined at higher levels in the stack.

In some cases, this is true, but operating this way doesn’t unlock anything new.  The model they describe would be brilliant if all of your network requirements were defined in 1998.  Few companies can afford to operate technology today like they did in 1998 and remain competitive.

Cisco is announcing a new Nexus 1000V (N1KV), and this one changes the game.  In brief, the Nexus 1000V is the foundation of the networking services that Cisco brings to virtual computing.  The N1KV can be managed using the same NX-OS commands and practices used to manage the Nexus 5K and 7K switches, and extends network control down to the VM and virtual port into which a VM is “plugged in”, even across different vendors’ hypervisors.

The N1KV is also the platform for additional L2 and L3 network services such as those provided by the vASA Firewall, vNAM, and VSG.  The new Nexus 1000V InterCloud extends this ability to cloud service providers, such as Amazon, but is “cross-provider” (in fact, it doesn’t even depend on the Cloud Service Provider).  For me, in my role as a Cloud Product Manager, this is an important new addition to basic networking capabilities, and is exactly the kind of thing that Cisco can and should do in its role as “Networking Giant” to open up the promise of hybrid or multi-cloud.

I have a mental image of what this can do, and I tried to put this into images to the right. Animation would have been better, I just don’t have the Flash skills to put it together for a quick blog post. I envision a virtual machine as a ghostly “physical” server tower with network cables plugged into it. These network connections can come from end-users in a client-server model, or any of our web-and-mobile constructs. After all, we still are end-users connecting to machines. Of course, the “client” for a compute function could be another compute function, so there is a network cable coming from another nearby ghost server. These ghost servers can today float from blade to blade thanks to most mainstream virtual machine managers (VMM) and a virtual switch like the N1KV, and the cords stay connected throughout. With the new N1KV, that VM can float right out of that VMM and into another VMM (such as across VMware datacenters, or even from VMware to Hyper-V), or out to a public or hosted provider. The cord just magically uncoils to remain connected wherever that machine goes! I love magic.

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The N1KV provides that cable that can float after its ethereal virtual machine.  It also provides the platform to maintain monitoring by the vNAM, even as the machine moves.  You simply can’t economically achieve this using basic dumb pipes. Add to this the new Virtual Network Management Console (VNMC) InterCloud management capabilities.  In order for that cord to stay connected, there do have to be network switches or routers along the way that understand how to make that network cable follow the machine.  VNMC InterCloud manages these devices, but adds another particularly important capability: actually moving the workload.

VNMC InterCloud adds the ability to discover virtual machines, and convert them to a cloud-provider’s instance format, move what could possibly be a fairly large set of files, and get that machine started back up in a far-away environment, with seamless network consistency. VNMC InterCloud is like a puff of wind that pushes the ghostly VM from my corporate VMWare-based cloud to float over to my hosted private cloud. Remember, ghosts can float through walls.

This is groundbreaking.  Workload mobility is one of those hard-to-do core capabilities required for all of us to realize the promise of multi-cloud, and it requires a network that is both dynamic and very high performing.  I’ve been looking forward to this from Cisco for some time now.

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Cisco Launches Nexus 1000V InterCloud – Part 3

February 7, 2013 at 4:00 am PST

Cisco Nexus 1000V InterCloudToday we wrap up our three part introduction of Cisco’s new hybrid cloud infrastructure, Nexus 1000V InterCloud. In Part 1, we provided an overview of the architecture and the components that make up Nexus 1000V InterCloud. In Part 2, we looked a bit more closely into the single pane management of the cloud network and resources across the on-premises private cloud and the cloud service provider. In Part 3, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting from customers, analysts and the press in the early stages of this announcement.

Q:   What is Nexus 1000V InterCloud? What part of the hybrid cloud infrastructure does it comprise? Is it software, hardware, some combination of both? Is it a switch, a server or an application?

A:    Nexus 1000V InterCloud is a set of software components that run as virtual machines on a variety of servers. It forms the infrastructure that extendss your existing on-premises virtual network and virtual services to cloud providers in a seamless and secure manner. It provides all the infrastructure and protocols to support VM migration from the data center to the cloud provider. Effectively, Nexus 1000V InterCloud (with VNMC InterCloud management software) creates a secure, on-demand layer-2 virtual private cloud (VPC).

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Cisco Launches Nexus 1000V InterCloud – Part 2 (VNMC InterCloud)

February 5, 2013 at 4:00 am PST

This week, as part of a major cloud launch that also introduced the Nexus 6000 series and updates to our Cisco ONE portfolio, Cisco unveiled its Nexus 1000V InterCloud solution, which provides a seamless and secure extension of virtual networks from on-premises data centers to cloud service providers. In part 1 of our introductory blog series to this new technology, we discussed the architecture and components of Nexus 1000V InterCloud for creating secure, on-demand virtual private cloud (VPC) containers in a hybrid cloud.  In a pre-launch post earlier in January, we looked at some new Forrester research data on hybrid cloud business drivers and how some organizations were looking to overcome the challenges to real hybrid cloud integration. Today, in part 2 of our InterCloud series, we are going into more depth about the hybrid cloud management component, Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC) InterCloud.

VNMC InterCloud provides a single pane view of VM and cloud resources across the on-premises resources and those at the cloud provider. It interfaces to orchestration tools and service provider management systems, as well as virtual machine managers.

VNMC InterCloud provides a single pane view of VM and cloud resources across the on-premises resources and those at the cloud provider. It interfaces to orchestration tools and service provider management systems, as well as virtual machine managers.

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A Cloud Management Solution You Can Believe In, Or Better Yet, Bank On

Guest Blogger: Yair Dolev (@CiscoCloudY) brings extensive experience in enterprise application development and management of advanced data center virtualization technology products to Cisco’s Cloud and Systems Management Technology Group. Prior to Cisco, Yair was Director of Product Management at data center automation authority Tidal Software, and managed the groundbreaking Azul Virtual Machine products at Azul Systems, which enabled data centers to run large Java workloads on highly scalable, optimized hardware. 

In my last blog entry, I told you about some of the most fundamental new concepts in Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) v3.1 and how they help address top-of-mind issues for our customers. This time I’d like to address a matter no less significant.

At the core of every cloud initiative there always lurks a concern about the sustained viability of such a comprehensive transformation – and this applies to adoption of a new cloud operating model as well as to the deployment of the new technology required. It boils down to two things: trust and cost. Can I trust that this solution will still fit me in the future, and how much will I really have to pay for this fit?

One of the things I really like about Cisco IAC is that it’s built around a core software platform that allows for an amazing level of flexibility and extensibility. Our software can be configured and adapted to closely fit what your IT organization wants to offer to meet your unique business needs. The user portal can be made to look different and behave differently for a variety of users, and it can enforce your organization’s policies and controls. The orchestration engine is adaptable to model a wide range of customer processes, and it’s extensible to communicate with other IT operations management software, OSS/BSS tools or infrastructure systems. Our solution can be extended beyond infrastructure services, to encompass a broad range of IT and business services at the platform and application layer (more on this later). The best news is: you can protect the investment you made so that the changes persist through future product updates. Let’s review some of these key capabilities:

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