Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > The Platform

Cisco Advancing Virtualization with AT&T

Cisco’s secret weapons are our engineers and our commitment to innovation that solves our customers’ business problems.

When we committed ourselves to being the leader in networking virtualization in the service provider industry, our team has been maniacally focused on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to enable our customers to transform their network architectures and prepare their businesses for the future.

We doubled the number of virtualized functions last year, and have done the same again this year, to reach more than 100 – a number that represents the breadth of our portfolio and the scope of the opportunity this new approach to networking brings to service providers.

Today was an important validation of our commitment to NFV and another strong proof point as to how virtualization is moving beyond “proof of concept” and into the largest networks on the globe. Together, with AT&T, we announced that our two companies are collaborating to enhance the AT&T Network on Demand platform by developing and deploying advanced virtualized technologies, including software-based customer premise equipment (CPE), that will deliver expanded benefits to business customers.


AT&T is utilizing Software Defined Networking (SDN) and NFV technologies to create dynamic, on-demand services. In March, we announced our joint efforts with virtualization to connect cars in Europe, and are pleased that we can work again with our long-standing partner, as they lead the shift to next-generation networking by providing customers more flexible and scalable services and experiences.

AT&T and other trailblazing service providers are in an enviable position, bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.

By combining Cisco’s expertise and industry-leading portfolio with AT&T’s vision and industry leadership, together we are working to capture new business opportunities that deliver on the promise of virtualization.

Tags: , , , ,

Leading the Evolution of the Mobile Packet Core

I was reading the latest ACG Research report on Mobile IP Infrastructure and reflecting how the importance of the IP Packet Core has evolved, and how the technology leaders in this area have also evolved.

Back in the “3G era” the Packet Core sat alongside the Voice Core, and was considered an adjunct to the Radio Access Network. The traditional RAN vendors would often bundle the core as part their end-to-end contract. Since initial data services where Mobile Broadband, and monetisation was just based on volume, 3G Packet Cores were all about “feeds and speeds”.

With 4G/LTE the all-IP nature makes the Packet Core the heart of Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NFV RoI: The Current Business Drivers for Mobile Virtualisation

Paul JessemanWritten by Paul Jesemann, Cisco Solution Consultant, Mobility Architecture, APJ, September 2015

If someone were to define a safe bet, it would be on the number of blogs about NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), its drivers and benefits out there, by far exceeding the actual number of Virtual Network Functions deployed. So please let me try a different perspective.

We have been talking about NFV for more than two years now. There is no shortage of studies and surveys on its drivers and potential, but what can be said about reality? Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Capitalizing on Your Evolved Programmable Network through Faster and More Efficient Cloud Services Delivery

SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) technologies are expected to help Service Providers gain new efficiencies and previously unimagined speed and agility in cloud services delivery so they can seize new business opportunities and achieve continued growth. Specifically, SDN in the data center helps you abstract services and applications from the complexities of the underlying network, making services operations drastically simpler. However, this abstraction layer, referred to as the SDN overlay, must meet very specific requirements to support today’s dynamic cloud environments.

Using a mobile device

I’d like to briefly discuss a recently released product, the Cisco Virtual Topology System (VTS), a high performance SDN overlay system designed to meet these requirements.

VTS is an important component of Cisco’s services management and orchestration software portfolio, aligned with Cisco’s Open Network Architecture and the Cisco Evolved Services Platform, a flexible and agile SP cloud service delivery platform. There are a number of capabilities of VTS Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ITD: Load Balancing, Traffic Steering & Clustering using Nexus 5k/6k/7k/9k

Cisco Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) is an innovative solution to bridge the performance gap between a multi-terabit switch and gigabit servers and appliances. It is a hardware based multi-terabit layer 4 load-balancing, traffic steering and clustering solution on the Nexus 5k/6k/7k/9k series of switches.

It allows customers to deploy servers and appliances from any vendor with no network or topology changes. With a few simple configuration steps on a Cisco Nexus switch, customers can create an appliance or server cluster and deploy multiple devices to scale service capacity with ease. The servers or appliances do not have to be directly connected to the Cisco Nexus switch.

ITD won the Best of Interop 2015 in Data Center Category.

With our patent pending innovative algorithms, ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) supports IP-stickiness, resiliency, consistent hash, exclude access-list, NAT (EFT), VIP, health monitoring, sophisticated failure handling policies, N+M redundancy, IPv4, IPv6, VRF, weighted load-balancing, bi-directional flow-coherency, and IPSLA probes including DNS. There is no service module or external appliance needed. ITD provides order of magnitude CAPEX and OPEX savings for the customers. ITD is much superior than legacy solutions like PBR, WCCP, ECMP, port-channel, layer-4 load-balancer appliances.

ITD provides :

  1. Hardware based multi-terabit/s L3/L4 load-balancing at wire-speed.
  2. Zero latency load-balancing.
  3. CAPEX savings : No service module or external L3/L4 load-balancer needed. Every Nexus port can be used as load-balancer.
  4. Redirect line-rate traffic to any devices, for example web cache engines, Web Accelerator Engines (WAE), video-caches, etc.
  5. Capability to create clusters of devices, for example, Firewalls, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), or Web Application Firewall (WAF), Hadoop cluster
  6. IP-stickiness
  7. Resilient (like resilient ECMP), Consistent hash
  8. VIP based L4 load-balancing
  9. NAT (available for EFT/PoC). Allows non-DSR deployments.
  10. Weighted load-balancing
  11. Load-balances to large number of devices/servers
  12. ACL along with redirection and load balancing simultaneously.
  13. Bi-directional flow-coherency. Traffic from A–>B and B–>A goes to same node.
  14. Order of magnitude OPEX savings : reduction in configuration, and ease of deployment
  15. Order of magnitude CAPEX savings : Wiring, Power, Rackspace and Cost savings
  16. The servers/appliances don’t have to be directly connected to Nexus switch
  17. Monitoring the health of servers/appliances.
  18. N + M redundancy.
  19. Automatic failure handling of servers/appliances.
  20. VRF support, vPC support, VDC support
  21. Supported on all linecards of Nexus 9k/7k/6k/5k series.
  22. Supports both IPv4 and IPv6
  23. Cisco Prime DCNM Support
  24. exclude access-list
  25. No certification, integration, or qualification needed between the devices and the Cisco NX-OS switch.
  26. The feature does not add any load to the supervisor CPU.
  27. ITD uses orders of magnitude less hardware TCAM resources than WCCP.
  28. Handles unlimited number of flows.

For example,

  • Load-balance traffic to 256 servers of 10Gbps each.
  • Load-balance to cluster of Firewalls. ITD is much superior than PBR.
  • Scale IPS, IDS and WAF by load-balancing to standalone devices.
  • Scale the NFV solution by load-balancing to low cost VM/container based NFV.
  • Scale the WAAS / WAE solution.
  • Scale the VDS-TC (video-caching) solution.
  • Scale the Layer-7 load-balancer, by distributing traffic to L7 LBs.
  • ECMP/Port-channel cause re-hashing of flows. ITD is resilient, and doesn’t cause re-hashing on node add/delete/failure.

Documentation, slides, videos:

Email Query or

Please note that ITD is not a replacement for Layer-7 load-balancer (URL, cookies, SSL, etc). Please email: for further questions.

Connect on twitter: @samar4

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,