At Cisco live last month I spent several days talking to a lot of customers about all the new enhancements to our Nexus 1000V portfolio, especially the programmable virtual network overlays that are part of the Cisco ONE framework for SDN/network programmability. While the Nexus 1000V-based virtual networks are really gaining traction (6,000+ Nexus 1000V virtual switch customers to date), I still found a lot of folks weren’t all that familiar with the concept of VXLAN, and why they are so important to building scalable cloud networks and multi-tenant data centers.
Well, not to fear, VXLAN MAN is here! Well, not really, but we have just released a great new fundamentals video on VXLAN from the creative geniuses at Techwise TV (Thanks to @JimmyRay_Purser and @robbboyd!). We’ve gotten great reviews on this so far, and I know the guys really had a fun time in creating this one.
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.
In 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 »
There’s an incredible amount of hype and excitement these days around Software Defined Networking (SDN), which promises to herald in a new age of flexibility, business agility and automation to our existing data center and campus networks. Since there are very few, if any, SDN networks in production environments today, though, we know there are a lot of implementation details to work out before the industry achieves the lofty benefits of network programmability. Cisco opened its kimono this week on its strategy around programmable networks (an even broader concept than what we believe the traditional definition of SDN is), called Cisco Open Network Environment. (Get Omar’s take on Cisco ONE).
If you are like a lot of people, you might think that SDN is synonymous with OpenFlow, the leading standards-based approach for SDN today. However, we are already seeing folks across the industry extending the SDN vision beyond what OpenFlow is currently envisioned to do, so we think the definition of SDN will probably evolve over the next year or so to include additional programming models and protocols. Cisco ONE, for example, includes three approaches to network programmability: 1) our own onePK set of API’s to Cisco network operation systems and devices, 2) a portfolio of agents and controllers that will support OpenFlow, among other things, and 3) our Nexus 1000V-based portfolio for building virtual network overlays.
Well, Interop Las Vegas 2012 has come and gone, and it was another exciting week for us. The folks at TechWiseTV caught up with Prashant Gandhi, our Senior Director of Product Marketing for network virtualization technology, to talk all about the latest innovation in the Nexus 1000V portfolio and where we are heading with what is increasingly becoming a very strategic platform for Cisco. Prashant really hits this interview out of the park, as he ties the whole architecture and recent innovations together very well.
At Cisco Live London 2012, we announced that the Nexus 1000Vdistributed virtual switch (DVS) architecture will scale to support 10K+ ports across hundreds of servers. This is a multi-fold increase over our current support of 2K ports and 64 servers. What is driving the need to scale? Two reasons: More VMs and broader VM mobility.
The number of VMs is growing leaps and bounds in data centers and cloud computing environments, which in turn is driving the need to scale virtual switch ports. Depending on who you ask, we have already reached or are about to reach the tipping point where 50% of enterprise workloads have been virtualized. In most IT environments today, you get a VM by default for computing needs; to run an app on a bare metal physical server requires special approval. And needless to say, Moore’s Law continues to drive dense multi-core CPUs with extended memory architectures – thus enabling many more virtual machines to be instantiated on a single physical server. We have seen UCS customers deploy 10 – 30 VMs per server for production workloads, and 50+ (in some cases 100+) VMs per server for non-production workloads and virtual desktops. Increased adoption of public cloud computing resources, as well as growing deployments of private clouds in enterprises is also rapidly increasing the VM count. Also, customers often assign multiple vNICs per VM, e.g. a NIC for data traffic, another for management, a third for backup and so on. These factors are contributing to increased demand for virtual Ethernet (vEth) ports on the Nexus 1000V DVS. Read More »