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Simple. Fast. Open. Cisco ACI shakes up SDN.

sfo v3

If you come to Cisco’s corporate headquarters, chances are good that (especially if you’re traveling internationally) you will fly into SFO, which is the airport code for San Francisco International Airport. This point has virtually nothing to do with the rest of what you’re about to read…other than the fact that those same 3 letters – SFO – are representative of 3 key takeaways from an outstanding Infoworld product review on Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). When you think about ACI, think about SFO:

Simple. Fast. Open.

I won’t spend much space on this, as I’d much rather you go and read Paul Venezia’s comprehensive and detailed look at ACI. But I do want to highlight a few brief comments on how ACI is Simple, Fast and Open.

Simple

“Implementing ACI is surprisingly simple, even in the case of large-scale buildouts.”

Fast

“Assuming the cabling is complete, the entire process of standing up an ACI fabric might take only a few minutes from start to finish.”

Open

“Not only is ACI an extremely open architecture…”

“Cisco is actively supporting a community gathering around ACI, and the community is already reaping the rewards of Cisco’s open stance.”

“This is only one example of ACI’s openness and easy scriptability. The upshot is it will be straightforward to integrate ACI into custom automation and management solutions, such as centralized admin tools and self-service portals.”

“This should be made abundantly clear: This isn’t an API bolted onto the supplied administration tools, or running alongside the solution. The API is the administration tool.”

Simple. Fast. Open.

Whether you’re traveling to Northern California or not, if you’re considering a better way to do networking, think about SFO and ACI.

Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org

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Cisco Live Cancun Delivers Great Conversations on Service Provider Innovations

Guest Blog by Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

Cancun is a paradise for many and thus it is known to draw crowds. Another reason for Cancun’s popularity is the addition of the Cisco Live Conference right in the center of this resort town. This event allows Cisco customers, executives, experts, and partners to share insights on new Service Provider technologies and their potential to transform the way we work, learn, and play. This year we had a successful conference showcasing service provider product and solution demonstrations as well as technical training. The demonstrations in the service provider booth and the breakout sessions that were presented to the attendees were very well aligned.

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Cisco Live is Cisco’s premier education and training destination for IT professionals worldwide. With that spirit, Cisco Live Cancun proves to be Read More »

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Validating Cisco Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI) – Part 2

Guest Blog by Ram Haridasa,  Sr. Marketing Manager

Lightreading commissioned the European Advanced Networking Test Center team evaluation of Cisco’s NFVI solution in September 2015. The first part of the resulting report, which provides an overview of Cisco’s NFVI and an in-depth, multi-page performance evaluation of Cisco’s virtual switch technology, has been published — see Validating Cisco’s NFV Infrastructure Pt. 1 and Cisco’s vSwitch Makes the Grade.

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The second part of the report is now available Read More »

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Server Load balancing with NAT, using Nexus switches: ITD

Server load balancer (SLB) has become very common in network deployments, as the data & video traffic are expanding at rapid rate. There are various modes of SLB deployments today. Application load balancing with network address translation (NAT) has become a necessity for various benefits.

Cisco Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) is a hardware based multi-terabit layer 4 load-balancing and traffic steering solution on the Nexus 5k/6k/7k/9k series of switches.

With our latest NX-OS Software 7.2(1)D1(1) (also known as Gibraltar MR), ITD supports SLB NAT on Nexus 7k series of switches.

In SLB-NAT deployment, client can send traffic to a virtual IP address, and need not know about the IP of the underlying servers. NAT provides additional security in hiding the real server IP from the outside world. In the case of Virtualized server environments, this NAT capability provides increased flexibility in moving the real servers across the different server pools with out being noticed by the their clients. With respect health monitoring and traffic reassignment, SLB NAT helps applications to work seamlessly without client being aware of any IP change.

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

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ITD provides :

  1. Zero latency load-balancing.
  2. CAPEX savings : No service module or external L3/L4 load-balancer needed. Every Nexus port can be used as load-balancer.
  3. IP-stickiness
  4. Resilient (like resilient ECMP), Consistent hash
  5. Bi-directional flow-coherency. Traffic from A–>B and B–>A goes to same node.
  6. Monitoring the health of servers/appliances.
  7. Handles unlimited number of flows.

Documentation, slides, videos:

Email Query or feedback:ask-itd@external.cisco.com

Connect on twitter: @samar4

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Halloween can be scary. Automating your network doesn’t need to be.

Some random, yet strangely connected, thoughts the night before Halloween…

  1. Zombies can be scary:

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  1. Death Metal* can be scary:

Click here to listen.

  1. Learning new skills and using new tools to automate your network can appear to be scary if you don’t have a coding background. But that doesn’t need to be the case…

In a previous blog post, I discussed Cisco’s SDN Strategy for the Data Center. I mentioned that it is built on 3 key pillars: Application Centric Infrastructure, Programmable Fabric, and Programmable Network. Regarding the 3rd pillar, I wrote that network programmability has largely been the domain of big Web SP’s, and/or those whose propellers seen to spin faster than others. However, the reality is that tools are available that are useful for networks of pretty much any size, and the tools are within reach of pretty much everybody.

Rather than rattle off a list cool features that are part of Programmable Network (some of which are summarized here), I thought it more useful to consider common things network people actually do on a daily basis, then show how we can apply programmability tools to do those things with, for lack of a better phrase, “the 3 S’s”:

  • Speed – enabling you to do things much faster;
  • Scale – enabling you to do things to a much larger group of devices; and
  • Stability – enabling you to make far fewer errors (thereby also increasing Security…oops, now that’s 4 S’s…)

In upcoming posts, we will consider use cases such as switch provisioning. For example, you need to put a bunch of VLANs on a bunch of switches. Unless you have a battalion of minions to carry out your wishes, this can be a tedious, time consuming task. There is a better way, and we’ll show you how.

What’s that? You say you’re a network geek, but you moonlight as a server admin? You’ve been using Linux tools to monitor and troubleshoot servers and want to use the same tools for the network? Okay, we can cover that too because tools like ifconfig and tcpdump are all part of the party.

If you can’t wait for the future posts and/or you want to dive deep, this recorded webinar should tide you over.

Anyhow, I need to go carve a pumpkin now…Happy Halloween!

*For music aficionados…Yeah, I know – the link was Heavy Metal not Death Metal, but I used one of my own songs…and this is about as close to Death Metal as I get. That whole guttural screaming thing never worked for me…

Photo compliments of commons.wikimedia.org

 

 

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