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A Summary of Cisco VXLAN Control Planes: Multicast, Unicast, MP-BGP EVPN

With the adoption of overlay networks as the standard deployment for multi-tenant network, Layer2 over Layer3 protocols have been the favorite among network engineers. One of the Layer2 over Layer3 (or Layer2 over UDP) protocols adopted by the industry is VXLAN. Now, as with any other overlay network protocol, its scalability is tied into how well it can handle the Broadcast, Unknown unicast and Multicast (BUM). That is where the evolution of VXLAN control plane comes into play.

The standard does not define a “standard” control plane for VXLAN. There are several drafts describing the use of different control planes. The most commonly use VXLAN control plane is multicast. It is implemented and supported by multiple vendors and it is even natively supported in server OS like the Linux Kernel.

This post tries to summarize the three (3) control planes currently supported by some of the Cisco NX-OS/IOS-XR. My focus is more towards the Nexus 7k, Nexus 9k, Nexus 1k and CSR1000v.

Each control plane may have a series of caveats in their own, but those are not covered by this blog entry. Let’s start with some VXLAN definitions:

(1) VXLAN Tunnel Endpoint (VTEP): Map tenants’ end devices to VXLAN segments. Used to perform VXLAN encapsulation/de-encapsulation.
(2) Virtual Network Identifier (VNI): identify a VXLAN segment. It hast up to 224 IDs theoretically giving us 16,777,216 segments. (Valid VNI values are from 4096 to 16777215). Each segment can transport 802.1q-encapsulated packets, theoretically giving us 212 or 4096 VLANs over a single VNI.
(3) Network Virtualization Endpoint or Network Virtualization Edge (NVE): overlay interface configured in Cisco devices to define a VTEP

VXLAN with Multicast Control Plane
VXLAN1

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Cisco UCS Management and the Microsoft Management Summit 2013: Where Imagination Rules the World

It’s late Sunday night in Las Vegas as I write this from my hotel room – Cisco’s day one MMS 2013 blog post. It has been a long day already here at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center getting set up for the show… Our Cisco booth is complete; UCS, Nexus 1000V, FlexPod, and VSPEX Engineers have their demos loaded and ready to go; the always popular Cisco t-shirts are stocked and ready to be handed out; the Event team is here and primed.

Over dinner tonight I was mulling over with my core event team what to write about in this blog. For some reason, and I forget why, we had been discussing Napoleon at the table. So, I started searching for some famous Napoleon quotes that might apply to technology, I.T. management, and Cisco’s activities at MMS 2013.

I found this quote from Napoleon Bonaparte: “Imagination rules the world”. Those four simple words are so very true when it comes to the power inherent in Cisco’s Nexus 1000V and UCS management capabilities. We’ve all learned about the powerful hardware architecture of UCS – with its modular approach to helping you deliver a modern datacenter for compute, networking, virtualization, and storage. I think at MMS 2013 though  people will see the imagination, and innovation if I can add to that, of what Cisco  UCS Manager and Nexus 1000V Engineers have delivered for Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.

MMSDayOne

Cisco’s management portfolio is focused on doing what we know best – managing the compute, network, and virtualization infrastructure layers. We partner in the most complementary way with Microsoft’s System Center management portfolio. Together we offer a true ‘better together’ model affording end to end management ranging from the hardware chassis to the business transaction.

So, if you are at MMS 2013 this week, check us out in booth #501. We’ve got a set of demos anchored by Nexus 1000V and its integration into the Hyper-V Extensible Switch as well as a strong set of Cisco UCS Manager and Cisco PowerTool for PowerShell demos. Completing our demos is kiosk’s devoted to our private cloud solutions with our strategic partners NetApp and EMC respectively FlexPod, VSPEX.

If you are not at MMS 2013, we encourage you to check out our Microsoft capabilities at www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

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Vegas!!! It’s All About Management… MMS 2013 that is…

CasinoWheelWe’ve mentioned earlier that Cisco is again a platinum sponsor at this year’s Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas. We’ll showcase UCS, UCS Manager, PowerTool for PowerShell, and many other management solutions and technologies. Two speaking sessions are dedicated to Cisco technology as well – see details below.  So, don’t gamble away your chance to learn from Cisco Product Managers and Engineers on our integration with the Hyper-V Extensible Switch and System Center! Details on our presence can be found at www.cisco.com/go/mms

Virtual Networking Solutions for Microsoft Hyper-V environments
Session ID:
WS-B201
Date: TBD
Time: TBD

Server virtualization and cloud environments provide many benefits to enterprise customers. However, the dynamic nature of these environments and IT operational practices presents additional complexities for virtual machine networking. This session covers how Cisco virtual networking solutions (Cisco Nexus 1000V and Cisco UCS VM-FEX) can help simplify virtual networking. It shows how they help to enable consistency across physical and virtual networks and provide an advanced networking feature set. The session also details Cisco integration with System Center Virtual Machine Manager to provide a non-disruptive operational model to the server team. Attend this session to learn about Cisco Nexus 1000V and Cisco UCS VM-FEX architecture. Also discover the virtual networking services they bring to Hyper-V environments, and how they can simplify network operations.

Automate Your Infrastructure Programmatic Management of Cisco UCS with Microsoft System Center and PowerShell
Session ID: WS-B337
Date: Tuesday, April 9
Time: 10:15 11:30 a.m.

Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) Manager improves process automation and policy management. This helps data center managers achieve greater agility and scale in their server operations while reducing complexity and risk. Join our Cisco Systems Management experts as they cover managing Cisco UCS with Microsoft System Center and PowerShell. The session will detail the integration of the Cisco UCS XML API with Microsoft management tools. This provides full views of Cisco UCS hardware inventory, monitoring, alerting, and automation of Cisco UCS using both Microsoft Systems Center and PowerShell. You will also see demonstrations of real-world examples showing programmatic bare-metal deployment and ongoing systems monitoring and management of Cisco UCS using Cisco UCS PowerTool and Microsoft Systems Center.

Learn more on Cisco’s technology and solutions for your Microsoft oriented datacenter at www.cisco.com/go/microsoft

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Cloud Ready WAN Optimization Solution with the New Cisco WAAS 4.3.1

Cisco WAAS Business Unit is excited to announce the general availability of WAAS 4.3.1 release!

The new Cisco WAAS 4.3.1 includes virtual WAAS (vWAAS) integrated with Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and Cisco Nexus 1000V, provides uniform WAAS central management to the WAAS Express devices and improved optimizations for Cloud (SaaS) applications like Microsoft Office 365 (BPOS – Business Productivity Online Standard Suite).

Cisco vWAAS enables the transition to public and private clouds and is a key proof point in the Cisco Unified Network Services (UNS) pillar, a central part of the Cisco Data Center Business Advantage architecture. UNS includes Virtual WAAS (vWAAS), Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and future services integrated with Nexus 1000V and UCS that differentiates Cisco’s cloud architecture while enabling a gradual transition from physical to virtualized environments.

Cisco WAAS Express extends the WAAS portfolio by offering a cost-effective IOS-based Cisco WAN optimization in the next generation Integrated Service Router – ISR G2 routers.  WAAS Express, WAAS on SRE (Service Ready Engine) on ISR G2, and WAAS appliances interoperate seamlessly as part of the Cisco Borderless Networks architecture.  Customers and/or Partners can take advantage of Year-End-Sprint offer as part of the router refresh program.

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