I am going to spend the next couple of posts digging through one of the more interesting new technologies we are working on: a standard called Locator/ID Separation Protocol (or LISP). Why should you care—well if you are looking at deploying clouds, supporting mobility of end-points or VMs or are managing a routing architecture or any meaningful size or complexity, I think it will be worth your while to check out LISP.
LISP is a new approach to routing that is designed to address the changes in how we are using our networks. Lets explore LISP through the lens of one of the biggest challenges facing network architects today: properly tackling mobility, whether its mobile endpoints like smartphones, tablets or squirrels or the mobile workloads that are at the heart of server virtualization and cloud computing. While mobility this is probably the “sexiest” use case right now, there are a number of other use cases, like routing architecture scalability and IPv6 migration, which, while less alluring to all but the biggest networking nerds, are no less important.
[Update 11/26/12: the free Nexus 1000V virtual switch is available for download from here.]
Following on the heels of the announcement of our Nexus 1000V 2.1 release last month, Cisco is today announcing a new pricing and packaging strategy for its flagship virtual switch portfolio. Starting with that new 2.1 release, which is now in beta, we will have two editions of the Nexus 1000V, an Essential Edition and an Advanced Edition. The Nexus 1000V Essential Edition will be available for free, plus a nominal annual support fee, in a move that we believe will encourage customers and our partners to proliferate what has already become the most popular virtual switch in the industry with over 6,000 customers to date.
The Nexus 1000V Essential Edition provides all the rich Layer-2 networking features to connect virtual applications to the network and integrate into VMware environments, including: VXLAN capability, Cisco vPath service insertion, integration with vCloud Director, and a plug-in for management and monitoring in VMware’s vCenter Server. This free version will enable rapid, low-risk adoption of Cisco’s virtual network technology environments.
The Advanced Edition, priced at $695 per CPU, the same price as the current 1.5 release, includes:
The Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) for Nexus 1000V, a virtual firewall with visibility to virtual machine attributes for building sophisticated compliance policies, and logical trust zones between applications (VSG was previously sold as a separate product).
The networking industry has recently developed a renewed interest in virtual overlays, often wrapped in an “SDN as the controller” context. Amidst the promise, the hope and the hype, the following questions present themselves:
What exactly is an overlay?
What distinguishes an overlay from a VPN?
How decoupled can an overlay be from the underlay network and what are the tradeoffs?
What are the advantages of overlays and will they emerge as the new networking world order? Read More »
Talking to customers is always the best part of the show, hearing what their challenges are, and positioning our technology to fit their needs. On Wednesday, I met up with Paul O’Leary, an Infrastructure Specialist with the international law firm of King & Wood Mallesons. Paul is a big fan of the Cisco Nexus 1000V and shares why his networking team loves it so much, and how it consistently saves them time in managing their network policies.
We showed Paul some of the features coming out in our next release, like the vCenter plug-in, and vTracker for viewing statistics on the virtual fabric, et al., and he was really excited. Anyway, Paul was good enough to let us share his thoughts with you rather spontaneously, so without any further ado, let’s roll the video:
It is amazing how the data centre world has changed in the last few years. A Data Centre used to be a collection of network elements to interconnect static servers (and their associated storage), with traffic patterns that were highly predictable and mostly north-south. Cloud and virtualization have changed all of this: a data centre is now a collection of compute and storage resources which can be securely sliced up into virtual networks and placed anywhere according to real time needs, interconnected by a fabric. The virtualization of servers, network services such as firewalls and load balancers, and even network devices such as switches and routers, has created a very dynamic landscape in terms of how fast you could configure a virtual network, in a way where location shouldn’t really matter, and where compute and storage resources can be added on the fly, based on demand. Multi-tenant Data Centres, such as the one to deploy Virtual Private Clouds, need to support 10000’s of these virtual networks. And every one of these virtual networks needs a lot of different service instances to stitch together the virtual network across virtual servers, virtual switches, virtual firewalls, virtual load-balancers, and virtual routers. Traffic patterns have shifted to East-West, because of the new applications which spread processing across many hosts, and because of the ‘location freedom’ that virtualization allows. Network infrastructure needs to be cost-effective to handle all this traffic, while the increased lookup-table size caused by the any to any traffic patterns often led to increased cost. Read More »