Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Inside Cisco IT

SDN 101: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Do It

Despite all the buzz about software-defined networking (SDN), many organizations don’t yet have a clear idea of how it will benefit them. In this blog, I’ll tackle the what and why of SDN, and explain the different approaches you can consider.

What: A Disruptive Approach to Network Control

For the last quarter century, network devices have performed two types of processing:

  • The data plane looks at a routing table to decide where to forward packets. This processing takes place in dedicated hardware ASICs.
  • The control plane takes care of everything else, such as spanning tree, AAA, exporting NetFlow statistics, SNMP, and more. The control plane is implemented in software, and you can think of it as the brains of the network element.

So, if your network includes 200, 2000, or 20,000 network devices, that means you’re managing 200, 2000, or 20,000 control planes and keeping all of them up to date. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

OpenStack at Cisco Live in Orlando

As part of the Cisco Open Network Environment approach, there’s a lot of news coming out of Orlando from this year’s Cisco Live US event, and a lot of it involves OpenStack. OpenStack has never been more prominent at Cisco Live – and there’s much more to come. This is significant not only because it demonstrates our continued commitment to OpenStack but also the progress of our ongoing product integration efforts.

Slide07

We had multiple technical breakout sessions and technical seminars on OpenStack, delivered by Cisco OpenStack experts, throughout the event.  Here are a few of them:

We’re also featuring six product demonstrations with OpenStack integration. If you are in Orlando this week, please visit the World of Solutions Expo and see them all:

  • OpenStack with Cisco Nexus 1000v

We’re showing an OpenStack deployment on UCS hardware that uses Nexus 1000v as the underlying host virtual switch. Nexus1000v solution on KVM hypervisor is going to be available soon. We’ve developed an OpenStack Networking (i.e. Neutron) plugin that communicates with the Nexus 1000v VSM module and also configures VEMs on the host. We have introduced network profile and port profile constructs in OpenStack Networking as well as provided enhancement to the OpenStack Horizon (GUI) for Nexus 1000v.

  • OpenStack Networking and Cisco Nexus plugin

Our OpenStack Networking Cisco Nexus plugin can provide isolated tenant network segments on Nexus physical hardware by provisioning and de-provisioning VLAN’s. The plugin works with Nexus 3K/5K/6K/7K line of switches. This data sheet captures more information.

  • OpenStack and Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC) turns OpenStack into a production-ready cloud platform – using our service catalog, orchestration, and cloud management software to complement and extend OpenStack functionality. At Cisco Live, we’re demonstrating how end users can order a virtual machine from the Cisco IAC portal, with OpenStack integration to Nova to fulfill this request.

  • Cisco UCS Manager and OpenStack

Cisco UCS Manager has extensive hardware provisioning and diagnostic capabilities that will soon be brought into OpenStack. What we’re showing this week is the ability of UCS Manager to detect chassis and blade hardware configurations and initiate an automated OpenStack node deployment. The UCS Manager OpenStack developer community information can be accessed here. Additionally, we also had a breakout session that walked through deploying OpenStack using our Cisco OpenStack Installer (COI): starting from bare-metal provisioning all the way through the deployment of the controller and compute nodes as well as storage, and networking. Visit here for COI setup instructions.

  • Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation with OpenStack

The newly announced Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation is our next generation network fabric solution that provides high performance converged networking across the data center. This week, we’re showing OpenStack Networking with Dynamic Fabric Automation to provision network overlay within the Fabric.

  • OpenStack integration with Cisco onePK

Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE) architecture expands the capabilities of OpenStack Networking by providing a onePK plugin. We’ll be showing how various Cisco ONE elements can be programmed through OpenStack Neutron and offer Layer 2 and Layer 3 services in an OpenStack deployment. See here for more information.

At the recent Red Hat Summit , OpenStack was also very prominent; the launch of their commercially supported distribution of OpenStack (Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform) filled one of the few remaining gaps for mainstream customer deployment. We’re continuing to work with the OpenStack community and partners like Red Hat to advance the adoption and success of this open source cloud platform.  If you want to learn more about OpenStack and Red Hat on Cisco UCS, you can watch these videos from the Red Hat Summit.

This new level of project maturity as well integration with the Cisco Nexus and UCS platforms is accelerating customer adoption of OpenStack. Cisco Live is the obvious place to showcase our success and ongoing commitment to OpenStack.

Stay tuned for more from the OpenStack team at Cisco!

Tags: , , ,

It’s A Great Time for Open Source and Cisco UCS Customers

Witnessing the advent and momentum of Open Source into the broader enterprise, and “the mainstream” Data Center, has been incredible.  Many will look back and recall a time when Open Source was met first with a look of confusion, and following not too far behind, a reaction of fear.  With that, consider how far we’ve evolved.

Taking a snapshot over the past few months, I reflect on some of the highlights from a Data Center and Cisco UCS perspective.

The Open Source Business Conference held not too long ago, centered the conversation around previously uncommon mates.  “Open Source” and “Business” used in the same sentence once stirred some emotion, though not today.  The notion now fuels curiosity and enablement, and both were alive and well in San Francisco with OSBC.  Leaders in the space, spanning established household Data Center vendors were well represented in breakout sessions and thought provoking topics on the show floor, alongside the “up and coming” vendors in Open Source.  Linux granddaddies Red Hat and SUSE also offered the Enterprise Linux perspective, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst taking the stage on the conference’s opening morning.  Whitehurst acknowledged the event’s commendable 10th anniversary, and touted the innovation and collaborative successes of Open Source, while reflecting on Red Hat’s significance and market leadership.  SUSE kept the Enterprise Linux subject current, presenting SUSE’s role in Big Data workloads, where attendees may have pondered “What would Big Data look like, and be today, without the success and progress of the Open Source movement?”

An “open cloud” panel featuring several notable figures in Open Source leadership for cloud infrastructure, including Marten Mickos of Eucalyptus Systems and Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud, shared insight on how today’s generation of Open Source leaders are shaping the future of cloud software stacks, infrastructure, and API (read: interoperability).  This proved to be a fascinating discussion on project governance, expectations of Open Source, and how customers leverage Open Source to deliver the applications of tomorrow.

Open Source @Cisco

Cisco Open Source Days provide an opportunity to share, learn and grow.  Cisco engineers and product teams descend on the San Jose campus packed with an agenda to share knowledge and best practices, new developments in the community, exchange ideas and share successes, and inspire new ways of delivering software and products.  This year featured a cornucopia of topics that would make any card-carrying Open Source geek blush.  Typically there are multiple tracks and this year included Big Data and Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Everything and a few select topics in the Networking and Data Center interest areas.  Cisco teams have an incredible opportunity to learn and collaborate, which ultimately benefit the Open Source community and our customers.  Attendees enjoyed thought provoking and engaging presentations, including appearances by Chris Wright from Red Hat, and Troy Toman from Rackspace within the Cloud track, as well, our very own OpenStack leaders within Cisco.  Overall there were great takeaways on collaboration and innovation, project participation and furthering common goals through upstream contribution, and solving market problems through emphasis on differentiation rather than upstream code nomination.  Another memorable moment, I personally enjoyed Chris Wright’s comical reference to the IFC television comedy, “Portlandia”, referring to the popularity of API’s with “Put an API on it”.  :-)

Open Source in the Cisco UCS powered Data Center

One of the most exciting aspects in my role revolves around connecting Open Source innovations with Cisco’s UCS x86 based platforms.  Software and API enable many integration use cases most people are not used to expect from server and infrastructure platforms.  “Software Defined” is used quite liberally these days, with ” Software Defined __Fill_In_The_Blank__ ” found where it probably shouldn’t be.  I digress, Open Source is at the core of these “Software Defined” possibilities, enabling vendor agnostic API structures and interfaces as an alternative to traditionally proprietary closed-configuration products.

The conversation with customers today is less “Oh, Cisco makes servers?” and more about, “Help me learn more about your software integration capability in my Data Center infrastructure.”  Once customers deploy UCS, they quickly realize the efficiencies and power derived by the Cisco UCS Service Profile, and the level of control and manageability not available with other solutions.  For Data Center management requiring a view into their systems’ availability, the UCS XML API provides that ability, where the customer’s software may retrieve, configure and automate infrastructure that previously required manual intervention.  We truly feel this enables a unique “Software Defined Infrastructure” way of managing applications, availability and user workloads through software, previously not seen without custom hardware and software integration.

It’s an exciting time for Open Source, and for computing platforms like Cisco UCS which provide an open and extensible ability to deliver on business demands of tomorrow.  Exciting times are definitely ahead as customers increasingly adopt Open Source, its flexibility, advances, and innovations, into the broader enterprise and mainstream computing spaces.

How far have we come?  Further reading: “From subversive to mainstream: Looking back on 18 years with Linux

Tags: , , , , , ,

Red Hat Summit, Nexus 1000V and All Things Open

June 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm PST

Red Hat SummitThis week kicked off with a trip to Boston and Red Hat Summit where Cisco is talking about our partnership with Red Hat on open source projects including OpenStack, and the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor. I’m here to highlight some of our Nexus 1000V virtual networking innovations that involve Red Hat open source distributions of red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), KVM and OpenStack.

Best of Tech Ed AwardAs you probably know, Cisco started shipping the Nexus 1000V virtual switch for Microsoft Hyper-V this month (and it won a Best of TechEd Show award at Microsoft’s TechEd conference). But open source virtualization and cloud infrastructure platforms continue to be an important strategy for our entire data center portfolio here at Cisco. KVM will be the next hypervisor that we’ll ship our Nexus 1000V virtual switch on, and the rest of the Red Hat open source cloud infrastructure will be an important part of our open strategy, and that includes Red Hat Linux and their Red Hat OpenStack distribution.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Building a Better Data Center with Cisco UCS Solutions, Join us at Red Hat Summit to Hear How

Maybe you’re like me, looking for any excuse to hop on a plane to Boston!  In this case, I happen to have a good one, Red Hat Summit, which kicks off on June 11th.

Red Hat Summit

 

Cisco is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for the event and we’re showing up in full force with a larger booth, more demos, a Cisco keynote, breakout, and a number of new solution areas that we plan to showcase.  We’ll have a number of product and solution experts available to share our view on how Cisco Solutions, hosted on UCS infrastructure, are building a better data center.

 

Ram AppalarajuOne presentation you should be sure not to miss is the Cisco Keynote on Wednesday, June 12th at 9:30 AM with Ram Appalaraju, Vice President of Technology, Products and Solutions Engineering at Cisco.  It’s safe to say, Ram has an important role at Cisco.  He is essentially responsible for delivering Cisco’s Unified Data Center strategy in the form of products and solutions.  This will certainly prove to be a presentation not to be missed!

 

Han YangIn addition, Han Yang, Product Manager for Cisco Nexus 1000V, will discuss the Nexus 1000V on KVM with OpenStack Integration.  Since Han was one of the original Engineers developing the Nexus 1000V, this makes him uniquely qualified to present this breakout.  This session will be held in room 312 on Thursday, June 13th at 1:20 pm.

 

Please see below for the four key solutions that Cisco is showcasing at the Partner Pavillion:

Read More »

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