Thousands of customers from around the globe have converged at Cisco Live in Milan to share and discover what is new, interesting and impactful in networking.  In the Data Center, several key themes are emerging, one of which involves scalability.  As business requirements continue to drive the need for more – more apps, more storage, more compute, more speed, more capacity, more of whatever – Cisco continues to innovate, helping customers scale their environments.  There are a lot of new capabilities/products being introduced across the Nexus Data Center switching portfolio, to address scalability, and much more.

One of the key things I’d like to call out is BGP control plane for VXLAN.  While there are more details and a link below, I want to highlight this because as VXLAN continues to pickup steam, and more customers deploy it, these networks are getting, and will continue to get, much larger.  When VXLAN initially came out, one of the things about it that resonated with people was the fact that it would allow a theoretical max of 16 million tenants, which is quite compelling relative to the 4096 offered by traditional VLANs.  However, the fact that the VXLAN header happens to have enough space (24 bits) to allow for a network that large does not mean you can just go out and build it.  By default, VXLAN uses a flood and learn mechanism for device discovery because there is no control plane explicitly defined.  Think about this for a minute.  Flood and learn out to 16 million tenants, umm, may not be the most optimized approach.  Is there another tried and true method to perform this type of function, that customers are already familiar with?  Yes – BGP.  So, this is the background on the rationale for BGP control plane for VXLAN and why I think it’s an exciting new innovation.

There are plenty of other interesting things to check out on the World of Solutions show floor and they are called out below.  To  those of you that are here, come by and take a look, ask questions and learn how these latest product introductions and technology innovations can help your data center scale. If you’re not here, take some time to go through the many hyperlinks below or watch Cisco Live keynotes and presentations live from Milan!

BGP VXLAN Support on the Nexus 9000 and Nexus 7000 – as cloud computing continues to momentum, enabling the creation of a highly scalable, multi-tenant environment with network segmentation, traffic separation, elasticity, and workload mobility. However, the VXLAN IETF draft does not specify a control plane, and relies on a flood-and-learn mechanism for host and endpoint discovery. The Cisco® Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Control Plane for VXLAN solution is an open, interoperable standards based approach using the proven features of BGP to provide a more scalable, flexible, alternative.

Nexus 9000 Additions to the Portfolio:

  • 100G on Nexus 9500 and Nexus 9300 – Keeping up with evolving data center bandwidth demands, Cisco is introducing 100GE modules for both the Nexus 9500 and 9300 (8 port and 4 port respectively) for  high performance spine/core connectivity and also for direct router interconnect.
  • New Nexus 93120TX a 2RU switch supporting 96 x 10GBaseT + 6 x 40GE Uplinks operating in NX-OS Mode and ACI-capable

Nexus 7702 and New Nexus 7000 F3 Series Module -For customers wanting the comprehensive DCI and services features of the Nexus 7700 in a small form factor, the wait is over! The new 3 RU Nexus 7702 is an ideal compact solution for small/medium DCI deployments (OTV, MPLS, VPLS and EVPN) and high performance RISE and ITD services. Cisco is also introducing a new 10GE F3 module for the Nexus 7000 chassis, rounding out the 10, 40 and 100GE F3 portfolio for both 7000/7700 chassis.

QSFP BiDi MonitorFollowing up on the huge success of the 40GE Bidi transceiver, Cisco is introducing a BiDi Monitor QSFP. The Monitor QSFP provides passive optical tap capabilities for Bidi links, allowing data monitoring for security and network optimization analysis.

Cisco Nexus 5648Q and new 12 Port 40G Ethernet/FCoE GEM: the Nexus 5648Q features 24 x 40G ports and can scale up to 48 x 40G ports via 2 of the 12 port 40G GEM modules. This new switch also supports FEX, offers VXLAN capabilities, and rich data analytics and FCoE support.

Nexus 3000 Family Enhancements

  • Nexus 3548-X offers lower power consumption (~ 25%), Multicast NAT:  Simplifies co-location integration and Latency Monitoring: FIFO Traffic visibility and troubleshooting
  • Nexus 3132Q-X featuring lower Power consumption (~ 15%), the option for 4 x 10GE SFP ports at a lower price

Nexus 2332TQ Fabric Extender supporting  32 x 10GBaseT + 4 x 40G Uplinks plus all of the feature set that the Nexus 2300 Series offers including larger buffers to absorb traffic bursts, support for Cisco 40G BiDi optics, and additional versatile TCAM Supporting for support of capabilities such as ACL classifications and QOS, and local flow redirect for architectures that require intra-rack traffic to reduce bandwidth.





Craig Huitema

No Longer with Cisco