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 »
For anyone who has ventured to a tech conference, flown into an airport or even driven down CA highway 101 this past year, it’s clear that cloud is still top of mind for many technical and business decision makers. We believe this means that enterprises are no longer just talking the talk, but are looking deeper into their networking infrastructure to see if they are ready to meet the challenges of cloud, virtualization and workload mobility. At Cisco, it is our job to help build clouds that can handle elastic demand and efficiently use the networking infrastructure at both a virtual and physical level. This week, we are announcing several key upgrades to the Nexus 1000V family that bring scalability and cloud readiness to the network.
Greg Ferro and Ethan Banks from PacketPushers.net have released another in-depth podcast, this time on how to create scalable cloud networks with VXLAN. VXLAN, if you recall, is a multi-vendor effort to increase the number of logical networks that can be created within a cloud environment, and overcomes the challenges of using VLANs when separate tenants and application instances all need their own logical domains. Read More »