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Cisco ACI’s Multi-Hypervisor + BareMetal Interop with VLAN and VXLAN Routing and Bridging Demonstration

In November last year, I introduced via my blog, the powerful capabilities of the ACI Fabric and the unique hardware based VXLAN implementation in Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switching platform. In this blog, I am happy to present a powerful Video based demonstration of the ACI Fabric. The demo presents a single view of an entire spine-leaf fabric based deployment, and how the fabric allows full integration and full normalization of any encapsulation be it vlan or vxlan, with full bridging/routing capabilities across all of these including bare-metal servers. The demo also shows how data can jump in and out of physical/virtual environment within the Fabric, and how the Fabric treats everything with a consistent policy based approach to deploying apps on top of ACI. Check out the demo here:

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Improve Cloud Traffic Visibility with the New Cisco Prime Virtual NAM

March 7, 2014 at 10:22 am PST

Earlier this year Cisco announced the Cisco Prime Virtual Network Analysis Module (vNAM), an integral component of the Cisco Cloud Network Services portfolio. While a virtual NAM has been available on the Nexus 1100 Cloud Services Platform (a UCS appliance for virtual services), it has not been available in a generic VM form factor, which now provides greater deployment flexibility for NAM customers, as they look to monitor application and network performance in their virtual data centers. The result is greater visibility at more points in the network.

Cisco Prime vNAM combines application-awareness with the ability to look deeper into various network overlays, such as VXLAN, LISP, and CAPWAP, to deliver rich analytics that help assure services levels, accelerate operational decisions, and increase business agility. Its versatility permits it to be used to:

  • Monitor workloads in multi-tenant cloud deployments
  • Analyze network usage by application, host or virtual machine (VM) to identify unusual traffic patterns or bottlenecks that may affect performance and availability
  • Troubleshoot performance problems consistently across physical and virtual environments
  • Take advantage of an integrated web-based interface to remotely manage a site
  • Validate infrastructure updates such as WAN optimization, Cisco TrustSec, and quality-of-service policy changes

Prime vNAM can be deployed in the cloud to monitor hosted workloads, at remote sites to monitor the end-user experience, or almost anywhere in the network to eliminate blind spots.

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Cisco Champion Radio on ACI and Nexus 9000

March 3, 2014 at 11:07 am PST
  • How ACI lets you manage a network cohesively instead of box-by-box ?
  • What a network looks like in ACI mode vs. stand-alone mode ?
  • How ACI works with network protocols like spanning-tree and TRILL ?
  • Upgrading the Nexus 9000 Series to ACI
  • When does ACI make sense for your business ?

For this new episode of the podcast with Cisco Champion, we are fortunate to have a great technical (and casual) dialog between two active members of the data center and cloud social media sphere.

LynchOnisick2

Colin Lynch (@UCSguru) based in London is a subject matter expert for Cisco UCS, Integrated Systems, Converged Infrastructure and writes also on SDN . Colin has an independant blog at UCSguru.com He was nominated ComputaCenter Consultant of the Year in 2013 .

Colin talked with Joe Onisick (@jonisick) who works for Insieme Networks, now part of Cisco. Joe writes an independant blog at DefineTheCloud.com. He talked about ACI in multiple videos and podcasts.

After attending Cisco Live Europe in Milan, Colin was at VMware PEX to have an in-depth analysis of NSX , and wanted to “challenge ” Joe on several points, which makes this conversation even more lively !

I found this dialog extremely rich, as both participants were willing to address difficult and controversial aspects of the Data Center architecture today and tomorrow,  for instance around layer 2 and layer 3,  network programmability and management, or the future of networking certification ! You will also better understand, why Cisco is heavily investing in ACI solutions, when at the same type keeps developing other paths .
A very exciting 40 mn conversation between two great subject matter experts, really passionate by this topic, spiced  with additional questions from other Cisco Champions and…humor.

Listen now to our guests and enjoy the show hosted by @commsninja.

I also encourage you to read this very didactic explanation from Tom Edsall, Cisco Fellow and CTO of Insieme Networks, in this new blog from Shashi Kiran
ACI Design Principles : The Role of SDN Overlays in Application Centric Deployement . Shashi  will publish the second part tomorrow .

As a reminder, Cisco Champion is a community of  technical professionals who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise. They are ready to offer their time to help others to learn about Cisco and connect with Cisco in unique way
For Data Center and Cloud , we have now more than 40 members, who have been nominated by peers for one year . We invite them to give their opinion on market trends, Cisco solutions and products . We encourage also them to participate to our Cisco Live events , webcasts, podcasts , Google + HOA , blogs and tweet to share their experience and wisdom.

 

 

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ACI Design Principles: The role of SDN Overlays in Application Centric Deployments – Part 1

Tom Edsall, ACIThis is a two-part blog series developed in association with Tom Edsall, a Cisco Fellow and CTO of Insieme Networks, recently acquired by Cisco Systems. The intent is to elaborate on foundational design principles of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), a transformational approach for next-generation and cloud deployments. While the vision of ACI is an expansive one, this blog series focuses on the role of SDN overlays, their deployment considerations, as well as benefits that customers could derive from the unique implementation of overlays in an ACI solution.

The philosophy of Application Centric Infrastructure

Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure approach focuses on the most important thing in the data-center: applications.  Without applications, we would not even need a data center at all!  Everything we do in the data center ultimately is used to support those applications and the data that they work on because that is what ultimately drives business value.

The modern data center must be able to deploy applications rapidly, using any and all resources (compute, storage, network) available in the data center at any time.  It must also be possible to grow, shrink, and move applications as needed.  This will drive business agility and efficient use of resources.

The problem is that classical networking systems were developed in a world where there was less focus on any application anywhere, any time. Instead the focus was on on building large, static, IP networks.

Our solution was to create an application centric infrastructure where the emphasis is on the application rather than on the network.  In order to do this we had to change the abstraction of the network from one that is, well, network centric to one that is application centric.  In addition, we had to employ some SDN techniques to change the network from a traditional static infrastructure to a more dynamic, agile, flexible infrastructure. Let’s look into some of these techniques in detail.

Integrating SDN concepts

We employ two important concepts used in typical SDN solutions: overlays and a centralized controller.  Overlays give us network flexibility that was never possible before by separating the location of a device from its identity. The centralized controller gives us consistent network behavior wherever an application is deployed, the application centric abstraction of the network, and a single point of control.  While these benefits are important, even fundamental, to building a data center capable of supporting the business requirements of application agility, they also introduce their own set of problems in traditional SDN deployments that must be addressed. We will discuss these issues and their solutions shortly.

The SDN overlay and application abstraction is built on top of networking hardware that must move data across the data center quickly and efficiently without requiring changes to the applications, servers or storage elements attached to it.  The hardware must do this in an efficient, reliable manner and provide as much assistance as possible to the network operator when troubleshooting and monitoring those applications as they use the network.  Lastly, this hardware must be cost effective, power efficient, and space efficient.

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Introducing the Cisco Nexus 5600

What is the new Nexus 5600?

We at Cisco are really excited to introduce the new Cisco Nexus 5600 platform! It is the third generation of industry’s leading Data Center Server-Access Nexus 5000 series of switches. Cisco Nexus 5600 is the successor of industry’s most widely adopted Cisco Nexus 5500 series switches (with over 20,000 customers and 25 million ports shipped)  that maintain all the existing Nexus 5500 features such as LAN/SAN convergence, Fabric Extenders (FEX) and Fabric Path.

The new Nexus 5600 was unveiled at CiscoLive Milan in January 2014 with quite a bit of interest

:cvg3

Nuts and Bolts

We are introducing 2 models under the 5600 platform:

Cisco Nexus 5672UP – A 1 RU 10/40G Ethernet switch offering wire-speed performance for up to 48 10G Ethernet ports (16 of which are Unified Ports) and 6 true 40G ports.

Cisco Nexus 56128P – A 2 RU 10/40G Ethernet switch offering wire-speed performance for up to 96 10G Ethernet ports (48 of which are Unified Ports) and 8 true 40G ports..

In addition to the existing features of the Nexus 5000, 5600 platform brings new features such as True 40 GE support, VXLAN bridging and routing and Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) innovation. With a latency of about 1 µsec, the 5600 platform is ideal for applications which need low latency. For those of you who need network programmability, the Nexus 5600 supports Cisco OnePK and Openflow.

 Why these new features matter

 Extensibility with VXLAN support

The Cisco Nexus 5600 with its VXLAN support is very well suited for multi-tenant cloud deployments. In large scale, multi-tenant cloud deployments, there is a need for VMs to migrate across layer-3 boundaries. Traditional VLANs only support about 4000 VLANs which are insufficient in the deployments of thousands of VMs. With the migration need across layer-3 boundaries complexities of layer-3 routers are introduced. To solve the scalability as well as the migration issues VXLAN was developed. For more details on VXLAN, watch the video: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/switches/ps9441/ps9902/vidoe_fundamentals_vxlan.html

Ease of management with Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA)

 Our customers are also faced with complex, manual network configurations and have a hard time keeping up with application requirements. To solve these challenges, Cisco has developed an architecture called Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) which simplifies management and automation – such as automatic device and fabric configuration, automatic VM deployment, migration and seamless integration of bare-metal and virtualized resources in the data center. The Cisco Nexus 5600 platform with DFA implemented in the hardware as well as software is ideal for the multi-tenant and mixed (physical and virtual) cloud infrastructure.

For more information on DFA, please visit: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns945/dynamic_fabric_automation.html

True 40G support

 The difference between a 40G and True 40G port is that you can push an entire 40G flow in the True 40G port and in the normal 40G port, the port really is divided into 4 10G ports via Etherchannels, Thus in the True 40G, you get full 40G bandwidth. The Cisco Nexus 5600 platform switches has True 40G ports, which help in servicing the full 40G flows.

The Big Picture

Cisco has one of the most comprehensive portfolios for the Data Center and Cloud Networking and this Nexus 5600 platform is but one of the pieces of this portfolio. You may want to read this excellent blog,   which explains Cisco’s Data Center and Cloud Networking portfolio.

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