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Integrating ACI & Nexus 2000-7000

As the breadth and depth of the ACI solution continues to grow, so does customer interest.  Many customers who have invested in, and continue to invest in, the Nexus 2000-7000 switches find the ACI vision very compelling.  So, this leads to a logical question regarding how an existing Nexus 2000-7000 fabric will integrate with an ACI fabric.

In short, customers can leverage current Nexus products and add ACI capabilities to their data centers in an incremental manner.  Integrating ACI into an existing Nexus environment will not require replacement of existing Nexus switches.  The benefits of ACI policy can be extended to apps on both physical and virtual servers within the existing Nexus fabric.  This can be achieved as follows (double click on the graphic below to launch the 3+ minute presentation):

In this scenario, the existing Nexus fabric is serving as an optimized transport for an ACI overlay solution.  However, this solution is very different from other industry overlay solutions.   It’s different in that the ACI overlay provides integrated/embedded support for both physical and virtual servers, it allows use of existing L4-7 infrastructure, while providing the automation functionality of the ACI policy model.

If you’d like to learn more, there is a summary, as well as a white paper available.  There is also this video whiteboard session that covers a subset of the elements mentioned above.

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3 Steps for Best-in-Class Wi-Fi

If you are a professional photographer or even an amateur like me, you want to have ready access to various control dials on your camera to capture the moment perfectly. Professional cameras provide high level of control to get the best outcome. But there are times when you want to put the camera and the lens in Auto mode or wish that the camera could automate some decisions that make your workflow easier.

Likewise, Cisco Wireless LAN products provides the level of quality, functionality and control that is unmatched and hands-down the best enterprise wireless networking portfolio in the industry. But there are scenarios where it is preferable to expedite wireless configuration with best practices automatically enabled and easy access to data to simplify monitoring and troubleshooting workflow. For example, a small business owner manages his own network or in a K-12 a librarian acting like a part-time IT administrator. This not only provides operational efficiencies for the IT organization but also improves end-user and partner experience.

Cisco WLAN Express Setup is an attempt in this direction. It is now available on 2500 Series Controller (CT2504) starting with software release 7.6.120.0.

It includes three components

  • Easy-to-use setup wizard: This eliminates the need for console cable and command line setup. Instead, 3-step web-wizard is used to quickly boot strap a Controller and configure employee and Guest WLAN out of the box.
    Day0 Read More »

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The Summer Blockbuster You’ve Been Waiting For: Cisco Wireless Release 8.0

Cisco Wireless Release 8.0 is now available: Product Bulletin 

The Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2013 – 2018 revealed some stunning trends with growth projections that are sure to have a dramatic impact on wireless networks worldwide.

In 2013, globally, there were nearly 22 million wearable devices generating 1.7 petabytes of monthly traffic. There were about 7 billion mobile-ready devices and connections with mobile network connection speeds that have more than doubled, to 1.4Mbps up from 526 Kbps in 2012.

By 2018, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices and connections. The average mobile connection speed will nearly double, from 1.4 Mbps in 2013 to 2.5 Mbps and over 4.9 billion devices will be IPv6-capable. There will be more traffic offloaded from cellular networks (on to Wi-Fi) than remain on cellular networks.

white_paper_c11-520862_4 Read More »

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Love Wi-Fi? Tune in for #WFD7 this Friday

Tomorrow’s a special #WirelessWednesday, hats off to the folks working hard at Tech Field Day for kicking off the SEVENTH installment of Wireless Field Day. It’s an exciting time  for the industry to give the delegates and the world wide web of Wi-Fi enthusiasts a glimpse behind the scenes of some of the latest technologies, and we are ready to put on a show.

This year, Cisco will host Wireless Field Day 7 delegates at the Cisco Meraki San Francisco office this Friday.

We will be spending 2 hours discussing the forefront of Wireless technology with Cisco thought leaders. Here is a sneak peek of what will be covered.

  • Latest updates on the Cisco Meraki MR product line.
  • Deep dive into the Cisco Meraki traffic analytics algorithm; how it works and how it scales for large deployments.
  • Deep dives into MU-MIMO and RX-SOP; what they are and how they work
  • Discussion on 802.11ac and where it’s going.

The show will start at 9:30am PST. We’ll be on Twitter with #WFD7 and streamed live on the TechFieldDay website. Tune in Friday to hear updates on the future of wireless networking.

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Nexus Flexibility Eases Transitions

Cisco has a broad base of data center customers with a diverse set of requirements and we meet their needs with Nexus -- the most comprehensive switching portfolio in the industry.  This week, we are making announcements for both the Nexus 9000 series and the Nexus 3000 series that provide design and deployment flexibility for our commercial, enterprise, service provider, as well as cloud customers.  Key points of the announcement include:

  • ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) is shipping this month;
  • Additional linecard and chassis options provide customer choice and flexibility;
  • 100G linecards for the Nexus 9500 will be available in Q4CY14 and will offer the highest density in the industry; and
  • New starter kits and bundles help customers ease transitions.

Nexus 9000 family

The Nexus 9000 Series

 ACI is shipping this month

 The Nexus 9000 series can operate in standard NX-OS mode or in ACI mode. In either case the Nexus 9000 portfolio delivers the value of the “5 P’s” of Power efficiency, Price, Port density, Performance, and Programmability. NX-OS mode provides customers with the value of the NX-OS operating system used by tens of thousands of customers in data centers around the world.  ACI mode adds to NX-OS capabilities by providing an application driven policy model, integration of hardware and software, and centralized visibility, among other things. ACI requires a controller and switch software.  Both are shipping this month. It is important to note that the pricing for this solution is simple and predictable.  There is a perpetual license for each leaf switch.  Other pricing approaches in the industry are monthly and are based on varying elements like number of VM’s.  Comparing the two approaches is somewhat like comparing a cell phone bill that is either flat rate or usage based.  Personally, I like the simplicity and predictability of flat rate.  See The Future of Networking, as well as SDN and Beyond  for additional details on new ACI announcements and how they can take you beyond SDN.

Additional linecard and chassis options underscore flexibility

We’ll consider how flexibility is delivered for both modular and fixed platforms.  For modular switching, the Nexus 9500 modular chassis family offers different line card options that can be mixed in the same chassis and allow customers to “dial up” or “dial down” their design based upon the price, performance, feature set, and scale they want to achieve.  There are basically 3 different ‘flavors’, all of which are now shipping:

  1. The Nexus 9500 X9400 set of 1/10G and 40G line cards are based on merchant silicon and provide industry-leading price and performance compared to other merchant silicon switches. These provide a very cost effective solution ideal for traditional modular data center designs.
  2. The Nexus 9500 X9500 set of 1/10G and 40G line cards are sometimes referred to as “merchant plus” because they have custom Cisco ASICs, in addition to merchant silicon, and are ideal for customers that need performance together with additional buffering and VXLAN routing capabilities. The X9500 line cards can be used in future ACI designs as well.
  3. The Nexus 9500 X9600 set of 40G line cards provide performance without compromise even for small packet sizes.

The Nexus 9300 series offers ACI capabilities (ala the X9500 linecards in item 2 above) in a fixed form factor.  For customers interested in a merchant only fixed form factor, we offer the Nexus 3000 family.  This week, we announced the new Nexus 3164, which provides 64 ports of 40G and is a great solution for 40G access or space constrained aggregation.

100G linecards

We are also announcing 100G linecards that we believe will deliver industry leading port density of up to 128 ports of 100G in a single chassis.  100G for both the X9400 and X9600 series will be available for the Nexus 9500 in Q4CY14.  Cisco will offer an 8 port 100G X9400 line card and a 12 port 100G X9600 line card.

New starter kits and bundles ease transitions

There are numerous packages available to ease transitions -- from 1G to 10G, 10G to 40G, or from traditional networks to ACI.  There are 2 bundles I want to quickly call out.  The first provides a smooth transition for customers with older End of Row Catalyst 6500’s in their data centers.  It occupies the same rack space and uses the same cabling as they currently have, but provides 10X the performance.  The second is basically an ACI starter kit, providing the APIC, spine switches and leaf switches, even optical cables – everything required to set up and get started with an ACI pod.

In summary, Cisco is continuing its rapid pace of innovation and execution around ACI and data center switching overall.  Ultimately, this means customers gain choice, flexibility and true innovation to support their business needs.

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