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Cisco Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) and Cisco VIC

What is VM-FEX? VM-FEX is the consolidation of the virtual switch and physical switch into a single management point.

This sounds funny to say, but it amazes me how many people still use standard VMware vSwitches.  In the enterprise there are just too many things that can be missed on standard vSwtiches and we need consistency. This consistency is obvious when port group names need to match identically or vMotion will fail. Last time I went through the VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage class we were working on the standard vSwitch configuration, which utilizes some interesting port group failover order setting which include overrides. So, I zipped through my sheet and was waiting for the instructor to ask for answers. After a few other students I spoke up and proceed to explain my complex but accurate vSwitch configuration.

You remember this diagram from class right??

And the override settings?

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Spotlight on Nexus 1000V: Great Podcast and Learning Lab for Your Enjoyment

Today, I wanted to point out a couple of great resources to develop a deeper understanding of Cisco’s virtual switch, the Nexus 1000V.

First, we were excited to have Prashant Gandhi, our Sr. Director of Product Management for the Nexus 1000V, be invited onto the latest Packet Pushers Podcast, hosted by Greg Ferro. If you aren’t yet familiar with the PP Podcasts, they are an entertaining technical dive into a wide range of networking concepts with guests from vendors as well as large IT organizations. Greg’s expertise lies in the data center and with all things networking, including virtualization and L4-7 application services. In this podcast, all about the Nexus 1000V, Greg, Prashant and the other co-hosts talk about the architecture and deployment issues. There’s an extensive comparison of Cisco’s 802.1Qbh virtual Ethernet bridge protocol with the 802.1Qbg proposal from HP, VEPA.  Listen to the full podcast here.

Greg had made an earlier plea on his blog that he wasn’t getting enough Cisco guests. We were happy to help out and enjoyed the interaction. We talked about having Prashant back on a future show to talk about vPath and the Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), the virtual firewall running on the Nexus 1000V. We look forward to that as well.

For a deeper, hand-on dive into the Nexus 1000V, nothing beats the Cisco CloudLab (http://cloudlab.cisco.com). We’ve set up an online workbench configured with all the tools and software to play around with the virtual switch yourself. Cisco Cloudlab is available to folks outside Cisco, but you will have enter the name of a Cisco employee sponsor to approve access. There are a number of lab exercises you can walk through to get a general overview, install or upgrade the Nexus 1000V, as well as VSG.

Cisco Cloud Lab

Of course, if you are really ready to test it out on your own, you can always download a trial version for your own system at the Nexus 1000V page (http://www.cisco.com/go/nexus1000v).

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Cisco UCS & Cisco Nexus – Making M&Ms and VMs Awesome!

Based on the positive feedback I received from my Cisco UCS videos, I decided it was time to tackle a slightly more complicated set of topics. While it’s fairly easy to come up with a set of keywords that spell out C-I-S-C-O, sometimes it’s valuable to take off the training wheels and go a little broader. So in today’s video, we combine the simplicity of M&Ms with the complexity of VMs. How do we take technology that provides tremendous value to customers and explain it in a way that’s fun and easy to replicate? Well, let’s see what happens… Read More »

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UNS Spotlight on VM-ready Security Solutions with VSG

The Unified Network Services (UNS) portfolio of Layer 4-7 services (such as ACE and WAAS) also includes Cisco’s data center security solutions. A critical part of that security portfolio is our virtualization-aware firewall solution, Virtual Security Gateway (VSG). In a series of upcoming blog posts, I’ll be sharing a few use case scenarios that our customers are implementing with VSG.

For those of you new to VSG, I’ll point out that VSG’s role is to act as a virtual firewall between zones of virtual machines. Isolating traffic between VM zones has been very challenging prior to VSG because: 1) security policies have to be enforced between VMs running on the same server or same virtual switch (where there’s no place to put a firewall), 2) VMs move all around the network and the security policies (as enforced in the firewall) must follow the VM, and 3) the need to maintain segregation of duties for compliance purposes between the security and application server teams, where security is potentially enforced inside the virtual server.

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Microsoft SharePoint 2010 on FlexPod for VMware

Today we are publishing a new Microsoft SharePoint 2010 on FlexPod for VMware Cisco Validated Design. This solution highlights the key value of partner end to end integrated solutions.  This SharePoint 2010 Enterprise deployment on FlexPod for VMware design guide demonstrates how enterprises can apply best practices for VMware vSphere, VMware vCenter, Cisco Unified Computing System, Cisco Nexus family switches, NetApp FAS. Through this single package, FlexPod for VMware allows every component of a traditional SharePoint 2010 Enterprise deployment to be consolidated. 

SharePoint 2010 on FlexPod for VMware

SharePoint 2010 on FlexPod for VMware

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