Today marks an important milestone for one of our most strategic data center products and the foundation of virtual networking portfolio. Five years ago, the Nexus 1000V virtual switch was the pioneer in the virtual networking market with its launch at VMworld in 2008. Since then it has been adopted by over 8000 customers and continues to grow on other platforms, such as Microsoft Hyper-V, and soon Linux/KVM. Today, Nexus 1000V represents the largest software controller-based networking solution (aka, Software Defined Networking or SDN) in the industry.

We continue to add hundreds of paying customers every quarter, in spite of offering a fully featured no-cost essential edition.   The interest in the virtual networking space also continues to increase ever since the SDN trend started.  There are also plenty of FUD or rumors being spread about the Cisco’s virtual networking solution.  On this 5th year anniversary, let’s do some myth busting focused on Nexus 1000V based solutions.

Myth 1:  Nexus 1000V is just a virtual switch 

  • Nexus 1000V started off as a distributed vSwitch for the VMware vSphere environments. Today, Nexus 1000V has evolved to be an industry leading cloud networking and services platform to provide a large scalable multi-tenant network virtualization (via VXLAN) solution across multiple hypervisors.
  • Nexus 1000V was the FIRST platform in the industry (and the only shipping platform today) that offers service chaining, service redirection and service off-loading capabilities through vPath technology.  Nexus 1000V Advanced Edition includes a purpose built zone-based firewall (Virtual Security Gateway) with visibility to virtual machine-level attributes. The breadth of Nexus 1000V-based virtual services is growing with the addition of Cisco Cloud Services Router (CSR), Citrix NetScaler 1000V (application delivery controller), vWAAS (WAN Acceleration), ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, and Cisco Prime vNAM (Network Analysis and Monitoring).
  • Nexus 1000V also allows one to securely extend their private cloud or on-premises data center to  cloud service providers through Nexus 1000V InterCloud, providing all the policy consistency and virtual services in the public cloud.   With such a broad portfolio that includes layer-2 through 7 and hybrid cloud integration, calling Nexus 1000V as just a virtual switch is grossly misleading.

Myth 2: Nexus 1000V does not provide network virtualization

  • Cisco invented VXLAN technology and shared it with industry partners to create open IETF standard in August, 2011. L2-LISP frame format became the VXLAN  frame format. VXLAN is now widely adopted and forms the basis of market-leading network virtualization solutions today.  Nexus 1000V was the FIRST platform in the industry to ship VXLAN-based solutions in January, 2012. And now we have plans to support NVGRE-based solutions for Microsoft Hyper-V environments.
  • Nexus 1000V was the first platform to ship a VXLAN-VLAN gateway to enable interoperability between VXLAN segments and physical VLAN segments for true interoperability of physical and virtual workloads and infrastructures.
  • Nexus 1000V also was the first to provide enhancements to the IETF VXLAN standard, such as multicast-less deployment.  Nexus 1000V is being scaled to support more than 16,000 VXLAN segments and thousands of tenants with up to 32,000 VMs per Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM) pair.
  • Nexus 1000V also demonstrated VXLAN extensions across VSM pairs using Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) at Cisco Live Orlando in June, 2013, allowing scale-out to thousands of hosts.

With all these market leading milestones, Nexus 1000V is the leading network virtualization platform in the market  and this myth is dead on arrival.

Network Virtualization Solution with Nexus 1000V

Myth 3: Nexus 1000V is not designed for automation

Nexus 1000V was initially targeted at networking admins through their familiar NX-OS CLI commands and has supported XML/netconf interfaces from day one.  A number of our customers are using the CLI and XML interfaces for provisioning and managing their Nexus 1000V deployments. The platform has since evolved to include REST APIs for automation and includes support for Power Shell for the Microsoft Hyper-V platform.  Nexus 1000V also integrates into various orchestration platforms like VMware vCloud Director, Microsoft SCVMM, OpenStack and Cisco UCS Director.  In addition, Nexus 1000V is integrated with Cisco’s Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) for ease of management. So again, another myth busted.

Myth 4:  Nexus 1000V is tightly coupled to Cisco’s Hardware

Nexus 1000V is based on the world’s most widely deployed Data Center network operating system- Cisco NX-OS. This provides feature consistency and stability based on our large install base and reduces learning curves for the vast majority of networking professionals out there. But, Nexus 1000V can still be deployed independent of our physical Cisco Nexus switches or UCS servers, on any infrastructure or network from any vendor. With the recently announced Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric architectures, Nexus 1000V continues to differentiate over commodity vSwitches. This integration makes Cisco the only vendor who can provide end-to-end data center solution involving the whole network- both physical and virtual.

Now that the myths are busted, let us review why Nexus 1000V is the most desirable virtual switching and L3-7 services platform:

  1. Nexus 1000V is the only true multi-hypervisor platform.  Nexus 1000V supports consistent solutions across all major hypervisors. ESX, Hyper-V and KVM/Xen.
  2. Nexus 1000V offers the industry’s most advanced networking feature set required for enterprise and cloud provider requirements, such as enhanced VXLAN and innovative vPath  service insertion technology.
  3. It is the only cloud networking platform which provides seamless physical-virtual integration for a consistent operational model, network visibility and troubleshooting.

After reading this, If you are interested in Nexus 1000V, it is offered in two flavors.  The FREE Essential edition includes all the features like VXLAN and vPath required for a top end cloud networking deployment.  You can download it here and get support from the community. You can also choose the Advanced edition which includes additional security related features, as well as free licenses for Virtual Security Gateway and VXLAN – VLAN gateway products.

Finally if you are attending VMworld 2013, please make sure you attend our sessions – PHC6409 and NET6380.


Balaji Sivasubramanian

Director, Product Management