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Data Center and Cloud Networking Acceleration Continues – New Products, Technologies and Partners ring in 2014!

I could not have asked for a better start to the New Year. 2014 was quick off the starting blocks with January already setting the tone for the rest of the year as momentum continues to pick up in data center and cloud networking. Here are some highlights of the state of the business, new product introductions and additions to the ACI partner ecosystem -

  •  ACI customer traction continues to get stronger; Ecosystem continues to add new members

Cisco Live! in Milan provided first-hand evidence of the strong interest from customers to learn more about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Customer briefing sessions were packed and demos in the World of Solutions had strong interest. Hundreds of customers are engaged in proof-of-concepts just in the first 30 days. Select customers have been provided the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) simulator to get them early exposure and help harden the APIC ahead of its general availability targeted for Q2 this year.

The open architecture of the APIC means that it is easier for new technology partners to come on board and integrate. New members coming on board the ACI ecosystem include A10 networks, Cloudera, MapR and Catbird.  Expect solution data sheets to be made available closer to the APIC availability.

Watch Soni Jiandani provide details of the momentum building around ACI -

Soni

The vision of ACI was also extended to Campus and WAN environments with the announcement of the APIC Enterprise module. Stay tuned for more on this space.

  • Nexus 9000 continues to break new records – Miercom and Lippis test reports available

The Nexus 9000 has been shipping since Q4 of 2013 and is already breaking new records. Miercom released a report that detailed how the Nexus 9500 is offering the highest performance and lowest latency in 40GbE competitive studies. This supplements test reports released here earlier by Lippis and Ixia that focus on performance, availability, power efficiency and programmability.

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VXLAN Taking a More Strategic Role in Cloud Networks with Support across Cisco Fabrics and Switching Platforms

February 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm PST

There’s been a lot of news and momentum surrounding VXLAN technology in the last several months, and there is no doubt that VXLAN is becoming a more strategic and pervasive technology across cloud networks as a result. When we rolled out VXLAN about two years ago with the first commercial implementation as part of our Nexus 1000V virtual switch, VXLAN was solely a virtual networking construct and had real constraints in how it could be extended to physical networks and devices. It was also restricted to overlay networks using our Nexus 1000V switch (or other virtual switches supporting the VXLAN overlay protocol).

Now, however, VXLAN is being supported broadly across Cisco networking platforms and devices, across multiple Cisco fabric architectures, and we are even seeing broader support from other vendor ecosystems and non-Cisco switching platforms. Cisco is continuing to expand its support for VXLAN onto the new Nexus 5600 Series switches, as well as Nexus 7700 Series using the F3 line card.

For those of you not fully up to speed on VXLAN, VXLAN stands for Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network, and started out as vastly more scalable Layer 2 LAN and tenant isolation construct for data center and cloud networks. Where cloud networks were running out of only 4000+ VLAN IDs to segment application networks, VXLAN gave them over 16 Million logical network segments.

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Close Peek at Cisco ACI : Network Abstraction, VXLAN, Programmability

Last week was a memorable one for me in more ways than one. First, the unveiling of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) specifics by John Chambers and his Executive Management team via a public webcast on Nov 6. The announcement was a big success and received broad endorsement and support from a big eco-system of Partners, customers, Press and Analysts.

Second, personally it is special to me, as I became part of the ACI Marketing team two weeks ago, to join life in fast lane. In this blog I want to share my excitement with you, and focus on nuances of ACI that do not overlap with blogs already posted by Shashi Kiran and Harry Petty.

The excitement started with an ACI boot-camp, I attended last week. In 2 days, I got a good overview on the architectural advantages of Cisco ACI and the Datacenter pain-points it addresses. By now, many of you would have learnt that ACI is all about Datacenter agility and automation. Sounds easy, but you may be wondering how to attain this goal. I will give examples from my career as a software engineer in the 90’s, when I worked for Sun Microsystems. Those days, I wrote code for 2 –tier and three-tier enterprise software applications that required global deployment and access by users on the company-wide WAN.

My problem started as I went from the Application Development phase to Test/QA phase. I had to run from pillar to post coordinating my application deployment needs with security, network and database/storage admins to identify the best rollout strategy. There was no collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. The alpha and beta test phases required testing on multiple subnets, across geographies, via multiple protocols like to establish proper SLA/functioning of the application. If my application had to open say, a firewall port to allow a particular traffic type (non http) it was next to impossible to get security ops to agree. Opening non-http ports were considered a security risk. In addition, tight coupling of network constructs like subnets, VLAN, security, network services, IP addresses etc with one another, further impacted the network flexibility and application deployment process. (Refer to Figure-1 below for details)

abstraction

With ACI architecture, tight coupling between network constructs can be eliminated. Figure-1 above, illustrates this approach via Abstraction.

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Introducing Cisco Nexus 3100 Top of Rack Data Center Switches

Cisco always strives to innovate while meeting customer needs. Today we are proud to unveil the  Cisco Nexus 3100 line of switches as part of our Unified Fabric Data Center portfolio. These highly scalable, power efficient, and flexible switches feature significant improvements in port density, programmability and VXLAN capable gateway functionality that are ideal for data center top-of-rack (ToR) deployment scenarios. As the second generation Nexus 3000 series, they offer a balanced mix of performance, cost, simplicity, and an innovative feature set that complements the rest of Cisco’s overall top-of-rack solutions.

A First Glimpse…

As the below graphic indicates, both switches are 1RU in height with 32 line rate 40-Gbps Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP+) ports for the Nexus 3132Q and 48 line rate 10 Gbps SFP+ with 6 fixed QSFP+ ports for the Nexus 3172PQ. All of the QSFP+ ports on the device can operate as a  native 40-Gbps port or a four independent  10-Gbps ports. The switches also have a serial console port, USB port, PPS connector and an out-of-band 10/100/1000-Mbps Ethernet management ports. From a software perspective, the rich NX-OS operating system fully supports the Cisco Open Network Environment framework with Openflow and the onePK toolkit in addition to standards based Layer 2 and Layer 3 features.

nexus3100_summary

 

What does this mean for your data center? Some examples include:  Improved workload flexibility, higher availability, and Read More »

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#EngineersUnplugged S3|Ep9: The Underlay Network (SDN w/PacketPushers)

August 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm PST

Welcome back loyal viewers--this is an episode not to be missed. Engineers Unplugged is thrilled to welcome the Packet Pushers (@packetpushers), aka Greg Ferro (@etherealmind) and Ethan Banks (@ecbanks), as they discuss the underlay network. Yes, they’re showing us the underside and future of software defined networking.

Watch and see:

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

And it wouldn’t be Engineers Unplugged without unicorns, a software defined one here.

Packet Pushers, aka Greg Ferro and Ethan Banks, plus unicorn!

Packet Pushers, aka Greg Ferro and Ethan Banks, plus unicorn!

We’ll see you next week at VMworld! Be sure to drop by the Cisco booth and try your hand at unicorn whiteboarding.

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