I am posting this blog on behalf of Vipul Shah, Sr Manager, Product Management.

Imagine a data center network for an e-commerce business that allows for on-demand allocation of bandwidth as a result of high traffic volumes generated by large number of transactions during the holiday shopping season, or a data center network for a financial services company that can intelligently reroute critical transactions around brownouts, error prone links, and network congestion using per-application policy. Finally, imagine a content delivery network (CDN) that can logically segment the physical infrastructure to speed the delivery of web content by separating large and small traffic flows. All of these scenarios require an agile network that can provide some type of explicit forwarding path to the applications while reducing latency.  This is what Segment Routing does. It provides the most optimal path to the applications, which in some cases may not be the shortest path.

As the networking industry continues to stride towards Digitization and simplification of the data center, Cisco continues to innovate and execute on the concept of software defined networks (SDN). Segment Routing is one such innovation, whereby it provides the benefits of SDN but also adds intelligence into the network making it adaptive to the needs of the application itself.

The insatiable growth of applications has fueled a demand for network agility, security and performance guarantees. Segment Routing can address these requirements with its application optimized network transport. By encoding the path information directly at the source; i.e. either at the virtual switch or at the top-of-rack (TOR), and using per-application policies, Segment Routing puts powerful control in the hands of the network operators by empowering then to create secure, adaptive, and optimal paths based on application requirements.

SR in Data Center

As industry first, Cisco recently delivered Segment Routing for the data center with the Nexus 9000 and Nexus 3000 series switching platforms, with commitment to support additional platforms in the future. This strategic capability in the data center complements Cisco’s Application Engineered Routing that leverages Segment Routing for the wide-area network (WAN) and essentially provides the means to enable an unified end-to-end policy and application aware network architecture between the data center and the WAN. Additionally, by combining High Availability using ISSU with Segment Routing on the Nexus 9000 & Nexus 3000 provides a more powerful agility story for the Segment Routing network. The Nexus switching platforms also enhances orchestration capabilities with programmatic access using NXAPI REST support. Adding a controller can provide visibility into the performance metrics of the entire network; the learning of bandwidth consumption of all the fabric links provides the ability to create and program dynamic forwarding paths on demand. This level of granularity makes Segment Routing much more intelligent for application awareness.

Today, large content providers are looking for ways to speed up content delivery by enabling this unified forwarding paradigm with the Nexus platforms in their data centers. Similarly, large financial firms are looking to utilize Segment Routing by building a multi-plane architecture with the Nexus platforms in their data centers, allowing them to separate business transactions from non-critical applications over the same network fabric.

With a commitment to deliver on standards based technologies, Cisco has built Segment Routing in partnership with the industry. There are over 25 drafts in the IETF led by Cisco, with contributions from major customers, networking vendors and operators. Several key documents are now in working group status in the IETF.

If you are interested in learning more about Cisco’s industry leading Segment Routing solution please join us in our upcoming TechWise TV Workshop where we will discuss details about the technology and specific customer use cases. Please register here

Optimize Applications with increased Network Intelligence using Segment Routing!


Sultan Dawood

Marketing Manager

Enterprise PSM - Data Center & Cloud