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The Next Evolution of Cisco’s Nexus 1000V Virtual Switch to be Featured at VMworld

Remote Active - Standby VSM pairs

VSM's across remote data centers

Nothing sits around and gets stale for long at Cisco (outside the break rooms anyway). On the heels of shipping our Nexus 1000V 1.5.2 release earlier this week (which you can download from here), we are ramping up to show the upcoming generation of the virtual switch next week at VMworld in San Francisco. This new major release 2.1 will be going into beta in October, and will represent a quantum leap in ease of deployment and management, as well as greater security for cloud environments.

Features of the new Nexus 1000V 2.1 Release:

  • vCenter Plug-in – Provides a holistic view of the virtual network to the server administrator from within VMware vCenter. A Nexus 1000V dashboard in vCenter shows the virtual supervisor module (VSM) and virtual ethernet module (VEM) details, such as VSM health status, license information, PNIC information, connected VM’s, et al.
  • Support for Cisco TrustSec – Extends Cisco TrustSec security solutions for network-based segmentation of users and physical workloads to virtual workloads, leveraging Security Group Tags (SGT) for defining security segments. Data center segmentation and consistent security policy enforcement can now be implemented across physical and virtual workloads.
  • Cross Data Center High-availability – Supports split Active and Standby Nexus 1000V Virtual Supervisor Modules (VSMs) across two data centers to implement cross-DC clusters and VM mobility while ensuring high availability. In addition, VSM’s in the data center can support VEM’s at remote branch offices. Read More »

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New Nexus 1000V Virtual Switch 1.5.2 Release Now Available

Nexus 1000VToday Cisco made a new version of its Nexus 1000V virtual switch available for immediate download. The newly available Nexus 1000V 1.5.2 release can be downloaded for a 60 day free trial from here. As most of you know because you’ve been reading all my blog posts over the last year, the Nexus 1000V is the edge switch for virtual environments, bringing the network edge right up to the virtual machine, by residing in the hypervisors and connecting virtual ports to the physical network and beyond. The Nexus 1000V is the foundation for our entire virtual network overlay portfolio, including all of our virtual L4-7 application and security services, our cloud orchestration software, VXLANs and more.

The new release supports the latest version of VMware’s vSphere hypervisor, and includes vPath 2.0 with service chaining between virtual services. I wrote a blog post a couple of weeks ago about the importance of vPath in inserting virtual services into data center networks, and now we also have a great new white paper available on vPath service insertion technology. The most important enhancement in vPath 2.0 is that you can now insert multiple services in the path between the source and destination addresses in your virtual network.  Read More »

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VMware’s SDN Strategy is No Threat to Cisco, says Mike Fratto

For those of you wondering about the impact to Cisco of Software Defined Networking and the combined SDN strategy of VMware and Nicira, I point you to a very rational and well-articulated article by Mike Fratto of Network Computing, that basically says Cisco doesn’t have much to worry about. (Enterprise Strategy Group had already said something similar, by the way).

Specifically, Fratto says:

Mike FrattoThe lack of programmability in existing networking hardware is certainly a problem, but VMware’s acquisition of Nicira does not mean that Cisco and its ilk will be marginalized… It does mean the role and management of the physical network is changing, and I think Cisco is further ahead than most of its competitors in creating a vision for the next phase of networking.

I couldn’t agree more. Since Cisco live! when we announced our Cisco ONE strategy for network programmability as well as the advances in our Nexus 1000V portfolio for virtual network overlays, I have been posting on many of the same points.

My take here was that the VMware-Nicira acquisition did not portend a strategic break with Cisco, and while there are some obvious overlaps in our product lines, there are still a number of areas of collaboration, cooperation and interoperability. The virtual network infrastructure is just one piece of a larger software stack and the differentiation will likely be decided in the orchestration, management and applications built on top of the newly programmable infrastructures sometime down the road. Read More »

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vPath: The Secret Sauce to Enabling Virtual Network Services

Wow, there’s been a lot of news in the SDN and virtual networking space in the last week or so! VMware acquiring Nicira, and Oracle acquiring Xsigo are testimony to how important virtual overlay networks and virtual switching infrastructure has become for data center vendors, and how integral they are to each company’s strategy. Speaking of our own Nexus 1000V-based virtual networks, last week I provided an overview and some new resources on Virtual Extensible LANs (VXLAN) for Nexus 1000V virtual switches. That turned out to be quite a popular post, so I’m following up this week on another fundamental component of Nexus 1000V-based virtual networks, vPath, the secret sauce that allows us to deploy virtual network services in the data center.

What is vPath? Well, if VXLANs can set up secure tunnels over a shared, multi-tenant virtual network, vPath is a feature of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch that can redirect traffic to virtual application services before the switch sends the packets down into the virtual machine. Very important stuff, but how does it do that? I find that my blog posts are more popular the less I type, and the more I embed cool TechWiseTV videos that illustrate the concept, so I’m dusting off this classic from the TWTV team on just how vPath does that with our Virtual Security Gateway (VSG). Take it away Robb

But wait, there’s more… Read More »

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Some Afterthoughts on Open Network Environment, SDN and Overlay Networks

After our Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE) announcement at Cisco live!, where we unveiled our strategy for network programmability, Jim Duffy at NetworkWorld had a very interesting article that asks a key question, “What are the killer apps for software defined networks?” While SDN technology is very exciting and holds a great deal of promise, the answer to that question will ultimately determine how quickly it is adopted and by who. The consensus is that network virtualization or virtual network overlays are one of the early killer apps that software defined networks can certainly enable (when coupled with other technologies), which is exactly why Cisco made virtual overlays one of the three solution pillars of its ONE announcement. As I mentioned in my TechwiseTV video on virtual overlays, the primary use case for SDN/OpenFlow research in universities is also campus network slicing or creating virtual network partitions for test and production environments, e.g., to share a physical network. As noted in Duffy’s article, virtual overlays can be done with or without OpenFlow.

Open Network EnvironmentIn the aftermath of a major launch, after reading the press and analyst coverage of the news, I always ask what we could have made clearer, what could have been highlighted better, or how could we have made the complexity of some of the details easier to understand. One such point that probably could have been clarified is just how “open” the Open Network Environment (what’s in a name anyway?). Specifically, regarding our Nexus 1000V virtual overlay framework, there were some comments and questions about how open and interoperable this overlay framework was, especially compared to other vendors touting programmable overlays. One financial analyst firm even stated that our overlay networks had some great advantages, but only worked with Cisco switches.  Read More »

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