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Open Networking with Cisco ACI and Open NX-OS

Over the last couple of years, Data Centers have become a key focus on networking innovations, particularly around the broad area of Software Defined Networking (SDN).  At Cisco, for nearly one year, we have been shipping our new way to build a Data Center with our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) solution. ACI relies on the vision of using a policy based methodology to enable network switches, services, and hypervisors to establish network connectivity among each other.

At the Open Networking User Group (ONUG), a survey reports that 3% of the networks run by ONUG members are built on open networking whereas 71% are not open at all.  The assessment of any system being declared “open” is a subjective term.  At Cisco we have built a foundational infrastructure in ACI, that relies on open protocols and programming constructs such as APIs, in order to provide a solution where the network becomes ‘invisible’ to the end user, and the network devices and services modules, such as firewalls, load balancers, physical and, virtual switches are automatically configured based on the end user intent. Read More »

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IT Business Leaders Open Up at ONUG

This week, May 13-14, ONUG, or the Open Networking User Group, will meet at Columbia University’s Alfred Lerner Hall in New York City, NY.


ONUG is the leading user-driven community of IT Business Leaders, CTOs, network architects, especially including those implementing SDN, who are focused on leveraging the power of their engineering and procurement to influence the pace and deployment of open networking solutions.


If you are planning on attending, I’d like to provide you with a quick overview of the activities Cisco will be participating in at the Open Networking User Group.

On conference day 1, May 13, the SD-WAN and the Virtual Network Overlay Working Groups will present their top ten findings and present their work.

Check out the SD-WAN Working Group Update with Cisco speaker, Steve Wood, Principal Engineer, Enterprise Routing, from 10:00-10:45 am.

Then during the Technology Showcase Break, meet Sumanth Kakaraparthi, Product Manager, Enterprise Routing and Bill Reilly, Technical Marketing Engineer, Enterprise Routing who will deliver an IWAN/SD-WAN Demo at the Cisco demo station.

Next, attend the Virtual Networks/Overlays Working Group Update with Cisco speaker, Mike Cohen, Director of Product Management, Insieme Networks, on May 13 from 12:00-12:45 pm.

Following these updates will be a luncheon presentation: “Faster WAN Delivery: Software Defined WAN-as-a-Service” on May 13 from 1:30-2:30 pm delivered by Cisco speaker, Jeff Reed, VP, Enterprise Infrastructure and Solutions Group.  Jeff will be joined by partner speakers: Jeff Gray, Glue Networks CEO and Matt Cook, Forsythe Sr. Director – Network & Workspace Solutions.

From 4:05-5:00pm, there will be a lively debate on “Closed vs. Open Source Software” moderated by Ernest Lefner, Bank of America, between Charles Giancarlo, Silver Lake, taking the Pro Closed position and Lew Tucker, Cisco VP/CTO for Openstack, taking the Pro Open position.  You can carry on the debates yourselves afterwards at the Cocktail Reception from 5:00-7:00.

The next day on May 14 from 2:45-3:45 pm there will be a Town Hall Meeting with leaders from Facebook, Ansible, Nuage, vArmour and our own, Mike Dvorkin, Cisco Distinguished Engineer, Insieme Networks, who will all speak on “Will the DevOps Model Deliver in the Enterprise?”.

Finally, that evening join us at a Cisco Sponsored After Party from 5:00 – 9:00 pm.

For Further Information

Cisco Intelligent WAN

ONUG Blog – VXLAN Comes of Age with BGP-EVPN

MP-BGP eVPN control plane for VXLAN – SDN is growing up

Cisco Border Gateway Protocol Control Plane for Virtual Extensible LAN

VXLAN Network with MP-BGP EVPN Control Plane

Follow ONUG

LinkedIn Groups Open-Networking-User-Group

Twitter ONUG

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Independent Report Validates that Cisco Nexus 9000 Offers the Most Comprehensive, Open Programming Environment

As IT departments move to private cloud offerings, DevOps methodologies, and continuous integration capabilities, many segments of the data center market have a strong need for more open, programmable, and application-led networks. In these fully automated environments, network automation for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or applications on demand is becoming essential. As discussed in a recent blog post by Ravi Balakrishnan, the Cisco Nexus 9000 offers the industry’s 1st open and extensible application policy model helping businesses increase agility, flexibility, and scalability and automate repetitive manual tasks, reducing the time to deployment and easing maintenance tasks.

A recently-issued Lippis Report provides validation that the Cisco Nexus 9000 product line offers the most comprehensive open programming tools and functions available that can either be leveraged independently, or put to work in unison with other platform capabilities. The report found that the benefits of Cisco Nexus 9000 programming environment include investment protection and improved business agility through support of open protocols, APIs and standards that leverage customers’ existing networking, services including security, physical and virtual compute, and storage assets and accelerate network application deployment times to minutes improving business agility through centralized management.

Use Cases

Cisco 9000 programmability enables use cases across the whole IT delivery chain in terms of being able to orchestrate and automate provisioning of network infrastructure. Applications now have special, real-time access to network buffers, congestion and state information, so that they can actually make better choices and decisions on how they’re delivering services to end-users. In addition, troubleshooting can be automated through applications having much deeper visibility into the network.

The specific use cases for Cisco NX-OS API enhancements span data center network engineers and experienced DevOps personnel in cloud and large enterprise IT organization. For network engineers, NX-OS APIs can simplify and automate common network infrastructure provisioning challenges as well as offer automated troubleshooting through enhanced network visibility.

DevOps personnel may leverage NX-OS APIs and automation tools to create their own custom scripts and leverage the NX-API into other tools with which they are already familiar to customize network device data and use it in the way that’s important for them to either deliver competitive business value or to reduce OpEx through automation.

Cisco 9000 Programmability Highlights

The Cisco NX-OS enhancements for the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series supports numerous capabilities that aid automation and orchestration including providing investment protection through the support of new automation capabilities in the future.  Centralized, fine-grained access to Cisco 9000  networking resources is enabled through support for XML, JSON, representational state transfer (REST), remote procedure call (RPC), NetConf, Python scripting, Bash and Broadcom chip-level shell access, and Linux containers for development of custom applications. These APIs have full read and write access to the Cisco 9000 platform, providing programmability, automation, and system access.  Cisco-NX-OS also supports APIs enabling rapid integration with existing management and orchestration frameworks. These include OpenStack interfaces to provide Cisco policy consistency across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

The full report can be found here:

Lippis Report Nexus 9000 Programmable Network Environment

Lippis Report Nexus 9000 Programmable Network Environment








As well as further information on network programmability here:

Network Programmability with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure

Lippis Report — Nexus 9000 Programmable Network Environment video:

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ONE + ONE = 6: New Math for Enterprise Programmability

In my previous 3-part blog series I discussed the challenges in the Enterprise WAN and relevancy of SDN in overcoming these challenges and how Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture addresses these WAN challenges. In this blog post I will discuss how Cisco ONE (Open Network Environment) and ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture fit together. In a following blog, I will discuss how Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture provides six significant benefits to enterprises through programmability. ONE + ONE = 6 is the new math for Enterprise programmability!

Cisco ONE

Cisco ONE (Open Network Environment)

Cisco ONE is a comprehensive, Cisco wide solution (not just data center) approach to making networks more open, programmable, and application-aware. There are numerous blogs, and videos about Cisco ONE that can be found here. As a brief summary, Cisco ONE comprises of 3 pillars that provide a programmable approach to both physical and virtual infrastructure: Read More »

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Let’s Clear Up Some Misconceptions – Is SDN Relevant to the Enterprise WAN?

June is summer weather in the San Francisco Bay Area, but quite different from the June I was used to in Boston. A common misconception around Mark Twain and his relationship with San Francisco summer is that he never said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” But he did say: “Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we’d all have frozen to death.”

June is always exciting here and in Europe. NBA playoffs are on and the Giro d’Italia just ended with the Italian Vincenzo Nibali winning it emphatically. The San Antonio Spurs have been so good but King James brought the Heat back from a certain death in Game 6. Game 7 decides it all!

Equally exciting is the buzz in networking circles, especially in the Bay Area, around Software Defined Networking (SDN) and how it is potentially commoditizing networking infrastructure. However, just as we cleared up that misconception about Mark Twain, I’d like to clear up some points around WAN challenges with cloud migration and how SDN might be applied to overcome these challenges.

In this blog post I will discuss the challenges in the Enterprise WAN and relevancy of SDN in overcoming these challenges.  In part 2, I’ll cover how the Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture addresses these WAN challenges. Read More »

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