Cisco Nexus1000v: LASIK surgery for the network admin

November 22, 2011 - 2 Comments

I finally took a leap of faith and had LASIK surgery done recently, and without a doubt it’s been a life changing decision.  The daily hassle of glasses and contacts are gone, and my vision is now 20/15…it’s like going from regular TV to HiDef!  Of course these benefits came with a cost, requiring investments both financial and mental.  The financial cost was easy enough thanks to no interest payments, however the mental cost required a careful weighing of risk vs reward and a bit of blind faith (no pun intended).  In the end, trust in the technology and the doctor, and the belief that I could find my happy place for 15 minutes to endure the procedure was enough to take the leap.  Looking back it was one of my better life decisions.

Shortly after my procedure I was on site at a customer who was implementing a Vblock, and Cisco was engaged for UCS optimization services to follow up the install.   For those new to integrated infrastructure solutions, a Vblock is a pre-integrated and tested infrastructure stack with various components across compute, network, and storage.  My favorite component hands down is the Cisco Nexus1000 This product replaces the VMware vSwitch functionality with a feature rich Cisco switch powered by NXOS, which this particular customer had no knowledge of.   Well,  I’m a huge fan of the product, and I knew they would be too once they came to understand it’s use cases and capabilities.   I gave their network and server admins a 4 hour overview covering everything from architecture to troubleshooting.  The light bulbs went on and they were exchanging smiles about 10 minutes into the presentation when I started talking about the non disruptive operational model and VN-LINK concepts.  One of the network admins interrupted me and said “ are you telling me I can get clear vision to the VM level without the hassle of dealing with these guys” as he pointed at the closest server admin.  I immediately thought of my new eyes and chuckled at the thought that server admins apparently were as annoying as glasses or contacts to deal with on a daily basis.

Let’s just say that this customer “gets it”.  They’re a service provider that, like any company with large virtualized environments, has a few pain points regarding the disruption to their normal operations that virtualization inherently causes.  The line of demarcation between server and network admin roles blurred with the introduction of a new layer of the network and its reliance on vSwitches.  They’ve struggled not only with the role of each admin at this layer, but the lack of visibility and policy enforcement as well.  The Nexus 1000v solves these problems and many more, but like anything good it comes with a price…both financial and mental, and as with my LASIK, the mental part is the toughest.

To make the decision to roll out the Nexus 1000v in production, the risk vs reward has to make sense…which it does for any business dealing with the disruptions that virtualization causes.  There also needs to be a trust level in the product as well as the people delivering the service required to implement it.  When these factors all line up, a business can realize the life changing clarity and capabilities the Nexus 1000v delivers, such as VN-Link, policy mobility, and most importantly – the preservation of their operational model.  Cisco advanced services repeatedly delivers this amazing platform to customers, which once implemented, opens the future capabilities the product promises on the road map.  For those that decide they’d rather not have to learn NXOS, introduce new products, or risk replacing their virtual access layer, well, they can continue to fumble along with business as usual.

Start the journey to efficiency and agility by taking the first steps – check out this overview, and customer testimonial.  Also, to see a great breakdown on the non disruptive operational model benefits watch these short videos showing the challenges as seen from the server guy and the network guy, and how the Nexus1000v made their lives easier.

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  1. Very well done Joe! I like the way you mixed LASIK with n1kv. Now that I have some knowledge from you on N1kv, LASIK here I come!!!

    Great job man!

  2. And to stand procedure unpleasant enough business