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Imperva Announces Product Plans for Web Application Firewall on Nexus 1100 Virtual Services Appliance

September 27, 2012 at 9:52 am PST

Imperva on 1110 Virtual Services ApplianceCisco partner Imperva formally announced plans this week to deploy and host their SecureSphere Web Application Firewall (WAF) on the Nexus 1010 and 1110 Virtual Service Appliances. The SecureSphere WAF will be the first third party virtual service available on the Cisco virtual service appliances, joining Cisco virtual services such as the Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, virtual Network Analysis Module (vNAM), Data Center Network Manager (DCNM), and the Nexus 1000V Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM).

In earlier posts, I have described how virtual services can be best deployed on a separate UCS-based appliance running NX-OS. The Nexus 1100 series are dedicated platforms for hosting virtual service nodes that run in a virtual machine, rather than taking up valuable resources on application servers, and allow for easier manageability by the networking and security teams (rather than the server team).  Read More »

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Cisco Announces New Nexus 1100 Series Virtual Services Appliances

September 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm PST
Nexus 1100 virtual services appliance

Nexus 1100 virtual services appliance

Cisco is unveiling a new beefed up line of virtual services appliances this week called the Nexus 1100 series, the next generation of our Nexus 1010 appliances. These virtual service appliances are integral to the deployment of scalable virtual security and management nodes in the data center, for offloading application servers from running virtual service modules, and for empowering the networking team to retain control of network and security policies in a platform that they manage.

Cisco customers deploying Nexus 1000V virtual switches as the foundation for their virtual networks and virtual overlays typically deploy the Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM), the virtual switch’s management plane, in the Nexus 1100, along with some combination of Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) firewalls, virtual Prime Network Analysis Modules (NAM), Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) for both LAN and SAN networks, and soon, even the  Imperva SecureSphere Web Application Firewall (WAF). The Nexus 1100 is a UCS-based appliance for hosting the service VM’s, but it runs the NX-OS operating system, so it can be managed like a network device and retains policy controls for the networking team.  Read More »

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Defending the Data Center

September 12, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

It’s no secret that enterprise data centers are in a state of transformation – they always are. There’s a constant need to scale data center operations to meet the seemingly insatiable demand for connection and throughput speeds, as well as the number of concurrent sessions. In fact, experts anticipate that these performance demands will increase by as much as 30X over the next few years.  While that statistic alone is remarkable enough, that’s just part of the story.  Adding to the dramatic changes is the trend toward virtualization – with over half of all workloads expected to be virtualized by next year; and the fact that employees currently use an average of more than three mobile devices to access enterprise networks.

All of these trends are fundamentally changing data center operations today. And while the obvious impact of these changes is the need for performance scalability to meet the increasing demands, they also inherently change how data centers are secured. It’s this second impact that is often overlooked. While security is certainly important to data center administrators, it isn’t their only concern.  Oftentimes their primary focus is maintaining business-IT alignment and avoiding chokepoints that can degrade performance and jeopardize their SLAs.  As a result, security is frequently put on the backburner while the entire operation continues to upscale – opening the door to the perfect storm for a major security breach.

Unfortunately, most security products are “bolted on” as an afterthought, so they’re not capable of meeting the robust and dynamically changing needs of enterprise data centers. But Cisco handles security very differently than the rest of the industry. By leveraging the SecureX Architecture, Cisco security solutions are built into the network fabric. 70 percent of the world’s Internet traffic and 35 percent of the world’s email traffic flows through Cisco networks, putting Cisco in the best position to see and proactively protect against threats before they affect customers’ networks. Cisco gains intelligence from throughout the network to enable more informed security decisions, and has used that intelligence to integrate security throughout the network infrastructure to provide comprehensive policy enforcement.

To this end, today Cisco made a series of product announcements that help provide modern data centers with what they need to remain secure, while enabling them to meet their business needs:

  • Cisco ASA Software Release 9.0, which is a major release of the core operating system which powers the entire line of ASA security appliances, adding data center-class performance and next-generation firewall capabilities
  • The Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, a new multi-tenant edge firewall that uses the same base ASA code that runs the physical ASA appliances, but is optimized for virtual and cloud environments
  • Cisco IPS 4500 Series Sensors, a new series of standalone enterprise-class IPS appliances that provide up to 10 Gbps of IPS throughput in a single blade –four times the performance density of the closest competitor
  • Cisco Security Manager 4.3, which delivers several important capabilities for up to an 80% improvement in operational efficiency, as well as northbound APIs that enable customers to more efficiently deploy comprehensive security solutions

With these new product announcements, in addition to the rest of the SecureX Architecture, Cisco makes security a deployment decision, just like the rest of your network, with consistent security that enables policies to work throughout hybrid environments – physical, virtual, and cloud.  Because we’re part of the network fabric, rather than a bolted-on point product vendor, we deliver security when, where, and how you need it to deliver a flexible, comprehensive security solution. As a result, Cisco can provide high levels of network security, while enabling enterprise data centers to maintain business-IT alignment and avoid chokepoints that can degrade performance and jeopardize SLAs.  And since we enable one layer of security policies to work throughout the hybrid environment, we provide a high level of security while significantly decreasing complexity.

For more information, please visit http://www.cisco.com/go/securedc.

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Nexus 1000V Provides Cloud Switching to New Windows Server 2012 Platform

September 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm PST

Windows Server 2012 logoToday marks the general availability of the eagerly-awaited Microsoft Windows Server 2012 platform.  According to Microsoft, “Windows Server 2012 redefines the server category, delivering hundreds of new features and enhancements spanning virtualization, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing, automation, and more.”  Earlier Cisco blog posts discussed how Cisco has collaborated with Microsoft to achieve Windows 2012 certification for our UCS servers, as well as integrating our management tools into Microsoft System Center and PowerShell.

Microsoft Build Conference 2011 - Demo of Nexus 1000V virtual switchIn this post, I’d like to highlight the integration of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch into the Windows Server 2012 platform, and particularly the Hyper-V hypervisor. We have been working closely with the Windows Server 2012 team for the past few years towards this goal, and announced Nexus 1000V and VM-FEX support for it at the Microsoft BUILD conference last year.  Read More »

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Security Policies Made Easy in New Virtual Network Management Center 2.0

August 27, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

As VMworld swings into high gear on a bright Monday morning in San Francisco (well it promises to be bright, once the sun comes up here), we continue our series on the virtualization product updates we are unveiling this week (see earlier news on the new Nexus 1000V and the ASA Cloud Firewall). One of the exciting new components of our Nexus 1000V virtualization stack is the Cisco Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC) 2.0, part of the Intelligent Automation portfolio.

VNMC 2.0 is a template-driven policy management tool that is now bundled with Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall. This new release now has expanded capabilities to configure the security of your virtual cloud environment. Because VNMC 2.0 is such a step up from prior releases, and fewer people are familiar with its functionality, this is going to be a bit longer of a post than usual (but with lots of screen shots).

Let’s take a look at some of the key VNMC features and how it works with the two virtual firewalls:

Resource Objects for ASA 1000V

Cisco VNMC abstracts the devices it manages. As part of provisioning, devices are configured to point to Cisco VNMC for policy management. Cisco VNMC discovers all devices and lists them under the Resources pane. In addition to the ASA 1000V, the Resources pane has other resources such as Cisco VSGs, VSMs, and VMs.

VNMC screen shot
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