What ACI has done is backed off from all the network complexity in trying to build more and more intelligence directly in the fabric. Building the network to be externally automated can centralize the intelligence and control, while simplifying the design and operations of the fabric greatly (also a goal of SDN, by the way). But what’s really new about ACI is that the programmability and orchestration of the infrastructure (how it takes the orders) is now done in a business-relevant policy language/model.
In a pre-launch post, I looked at why application policies were an ideal model to build infrastructure automation around, and how application policies are better suited to mirror business objectives and requirements than traditional IT infrastructure policies. The fact is that applications are the brains of the business and best reflect the activity and dynamic requirements of the business. Application policies are inherently business-relevant. The key benefits for customers end up being vastly greater degrees of automation, process improvement and business agility. [Note: It will be left as an exercise for the reader to prove that OpenFlow, e.g., is not a business-oriented policy language.]
Cisco and Microsoft have a developed a powerful alliance in the data center that extends the value of the Cisco Unified Fabric, Unified Computing System, and Unified Network Services through leading-edge integrated solutions with Microsoft Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center. These integrations provide an opportunity for Channel Partners to deliver differentiated solutions that address their customer’s most pressing business and IT challenges.
The Nexus 1000V Switch for Microsoft Hyper-V stands out as an example of how Cisco and Microsoft are collaborating to offer integrated solutions to customers and partners. The Nexus 1000V extends Cisco networking benefits to Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V deployments and provides a consistent operational model across physical and virtual environments. Cisco was the first company to integrate with Hyper-V and the industry is taking notice. Nexus 1000V for Microsoft Hyper-V was recently recognized as Best of TechEd 2013 in the Virtualization category.
A couple weeks ago, we wrapped up a very successful Cisco Live event in Orlando for more than 20,000 attendees. During the conference, we announced a new name for our software product formerly known as Cisco Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC).
Over the last couple of years, Cisco Prime Network Service Controller (Prime NSC) has developed into Cisco’s primary management platform for Layer 4 through 7 network services deployment in a cloud or virtualized environment. Today the software supports multiple different use cases for network services, with several hundred customers worldwide.
Cisco Prime Network Services Controller is the control point and management software for the InterCloud solution – providing VM workload mobility between a private and public cloud while retaining the same IP address and Layer 2 connectivity. As outlined in a recent blog post by my colleague Gary Kinghorn, our new Nexus 1000V InterCloud solution for hybrid cloud was a big hit at Cisco Live. During the InterCloud demonstration at Cisco Live, we showed how this Cisco-created technology allows enterprise organizations to extend their Layer 2 network to public clouds like Amazon Web Services.
The screenshots below illustrate how InterCloud enables the secure migration of a VM to a public cloud environment:
At Cisco Live, we also announced our new fabric path technology called Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA). This new Unified Fabric technology enables simplified network automation and provisioning for both physical server and VM deployments. In the DFA architecture, Cisco Prime Network Services Controller is responsible for managing network services insertion – including firewalls and load balancers – when provisioning or moving VMs.
Our most important task now is to provide joint Cisco and Microsoft channel partners with the air cover needed to help customers simplify their IT operations, create more effective cloud deployments and realize the significant cost savings and efficiency benefits of optimized data centers. Read More »