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Segment Routing: Impact on Software Defined Networks

Segment routing (SR) is a concept that’s been working its way through the IETF standards process but is finally becoming ready for real world deployment. It’s a network technology that provides enhanced packet forwarding behavior while minimizing the need for maintaining awareness of mass volumes of network state. SR satisfies essential requirements for application-enabled routing in software defined networks, including the ability to provide strict network performance guarantees, efficient use of network resources and very high scalability for application-based transactions. Segment Routing relies on a small number of extensions to IS-IS and OSPF and can operate with an MPLS or an IPv6 data plane and integrates with the rich multi-service capabilities of MPLS such as L3VPN, VPWS, VPLS, E-VPN, etc.

With Read More »

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Scaling the next frontier: Hybrid Clouds, Fabric Innovations and the Cisco Open Network Environment

First, the Internet of Things:

Consider these impressive stats shared in a keynote from Cisco’s CTO and CSO Padmasree Warrior last week at Cisco Live, London:   

  • 50 Billion “things” including trees, vehicles, traffic signals, devices and what not will be connected together by 2020 (vs. 1000 devices connected in 1984)
  • 2012 created more information than the past 5000 years combined!
  • 2/3rd of the world’s mobile data will be video by 2015.  

These statistics may seem a bit surprising, but the fact is, they cannot be ignored by CIOs and others chartered with the responsibility of managing IT infrastructure.

Impact on Enterprise and SP Infrastructure strategies

Further, these trends are not silo’d and are certainly not happening in a vacuum. For example, Bring-your-Own Device (BYOD) and the exponential growth of video endpoints, may be happening in the “access”, but they are causing a ripple effect upstream in the data center and cloud environments, and coupled with new application requirements, are triggering CIOs across larger Enterprise and Service Providers to rapidly evolve their IT infrastructure strategies.   

It is much the same with cloud infrastructure strategies. Even as Enterprises have aggressively adopted the journey to Private Cloud, their preference for hybrid clouds, where they can enjoy the “best of both worlds” – public and private have grown as well. However, the move to hybrid clouds has been somewhat hampered by challenges as outlined in my previous blog: Lowering barriers to hybrid cloud adoption – challenges and opportunities.

The Fabric approach

To address many of these issues, Cisco has long advocated the concept of a holistic data center fabric, heart of its Unified Data Center philosophy. The fundamental premise of breaking silos, and bringing together disparate technology silos across network, compute and storage is what makes this so compelling. At the heart of it, is the Cisco Unified Fabric, serving as the glue.

As we continue to evolve this fabric, we’re making three industry-leading announcements today that help make the fabric more scalable, extensible and open.

Let’s talk about SCALING the fabric first:

  1. Industry’s highest density L2/L3 10G/40G switch: Building upon our previous announcement of redefining fabric scale, this time we introduces a New Nexus 6000 family with two form factors – 6004 and 6001. We expect these switches to be positioned to meet increasing bandwidth demands, for spine/leaf architectures, and for 40G aggregation in fixed switching deployments. We expect the Nexus 6000 to be complementary to the Nexus 5500  and Nexus 7000 series deployments, and is not to be confused with the Catalyst 6500 or Nexus fabric interconnects.

Nexus 6000

The Nexus 6000 is built with Cisco’s custom silicon, and 1 micro-second port to port latency. It has forward propagated some of the architectural successes of the Nexus 3548, the industry’s lowest latency switch that we introduced last year. Clearly, as in the past, Cisco’s ASICs have differentiated themselves against the lowest common denominator approach of the merchant silicon, by delivering both better performance as well as greater value due to the tight integration with the software stack.

The Nexus 5500 incidentally gets 40G expansion modules, and is accompanied by a brand new Fabric Extender – the 2248PQ, which comes with 40G uplinks as well. All of these, along with the 10G server interfaces, help pair the 10G server access with 40G server aggregation.

Also as part of the first step in making the physical Nexus switches services ready in the data center, a new Network Analysis Module (NAM) on the Nexus 7000 also brings in performance analytics, application visibility and network intelligence. This is the first services module with others to follow, and brings in parity with the new vNAM functionality as well.

Next, EXTENSIBILITY:

  1. Industry’s simplest hybrid cloud solution: Over the last few years, we have introduced several technologies that help build fabric extensibility -- the Fabric Extender or FEX solution is very popular extending the fabric to the server/VM,  as are some of the Data Center Interconnect technologies like Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) or Location ID Separation Protocol (LISP), among others. Obviously each have their benefits.

The Nexus 1000V Intercloud takes these to the next level by allowing the data center fabric to be extended to provider cloud environments in a secure, transparent manner, while preserving L4-7 services and policies. This is meant to help lower the barriers for hybrid cloud deployments and is designed to be a multi-hypervisor, multi-cloud solution. It is expected to ship in the summer timeframe, by 1H CY13.

This video does a good job of explaining the concepts of the Intercloud solution:

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Live from Cisco Live!

This blog is live from the floor of Cisco Live in London. The highlight for me this year in London has been the introduction, with our partners Ping Identity, of the Identity Cloud Connector, built on onePK, as part of the Cisco Cloud Connectors family of solutions. I’ll go into that in more detail below, but first some other highlights.

Yesterday we delivered a full day workshop on network automation, including EEM and introductions to onePK. Bruno Klauser, Joe Clarke, Jason Pfeifer, with me in a supporting role, helped  29 attendees through a series of exercises to help them get the most out of the extensive automation features on our platforms. The attendees must have liked it, as the score was 4.61/5. Well done guys!

The buzz here in the World of Solutions (WoS) is great. We have onePK demonstrations in the Data Centre and Borderless Network architecture zones, and we have been talking to customers and partners non-stop, all day. The Open Network Environment (ONE) strategy has really gripped people’s imagination, and it has been very exciting, and fun, to engage in some serious conversations about what ONE can do for our customers’ businesses. Read More »

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From Cisco Live London: Architecture updates posted here all week…

January 28, 2013 at 8:28 am PST

I am sitting and reflecting here at the start of Cisco Live London. As I walk the halls, I continue to be amazed by the size, depth, and breadth of this event. Networking continues to grow, and thousands of people are eager to come together to see the latest. Read More »

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Deploying onePK Applications

This post expands on my previous posts about what makes onePK better, and the onePK software architecture. Here I focus on the application deployment options onePK makes available.

The deployment options are summarized in the diagram below.

Deployment

Process hosting means that the onePK application is running within a container on the same hardware as the network operating system (NOS). Read More »

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