USS Cisco Captain’s Log on Networking Tech Field Day 2

November 1, 2011 - 3 Comments

Captain’s log, October 27, 2011:

The USS Cisco took off for the Gestalt IT Networking Tech Field Day 2 with Captain Omar Sultan (see picture below, courtesy of, Data Center Solutions Sr. Marketing Manager, at the helm. Tech Field Day networking industry experts gathered on the bridge, cleverly disguised as the Cisco Cloud Innovation Center (CICC) Lab, for an informal, no-holds-barred conversation on recent Nexus portfolio announcements, the continued march towards automated provisioning of cloud services and ever-evolving VM networking technologies.

Captain Omar at Cisco Networking Tech Field Day 2

For those who weren’t at the event or haven’t seen the video recording yet, please excuse my unabashed geekiness, but you’ll have to watch the first minute of the video to get the above reference. As a new member of the Data Center Solutions Marketing team, this is also my first foray into the Cisco blog-o-sphere, so I hope to share some fresh viewpoints on the day’s events.

Several things were made very apparent during the Tech Field Day session:

1) Most members of the audience were already familiar with recent 2nd generation Fabric enhancements, meaning that the Data Center Switching team has done a great job of evangelizing the Nexus line. And after a little over 3 years of shipping fabric products, the NX-OS install base is impressive; 19,000 NX-OS customers, 50K Nexus 5000 chassis, 18,000 Nexus 7000 chassis and 3 million 10 gigabit Ethernet ports shipped!

Read Shashi Kiran’s recent blog for highlights on the recent Nexus series enhancements.

2) Automated provisioning of cloud services still is and will continue to be a topic of heated debate and skepticism. Many attendees called automated provisioning a “dream”. One Tech Field Day delegate challenged Cisco to create a tool to simplify the pre-architecture review process, stating that before his team even began implementing a provisioning system, they’ve already spent 1,000+ man hours performing the pre-provisioning needs/gap analyses and defining what a standardized cloud service is.

On the bright side, Jason Schroedl of Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for the Cloud team shared some insights into how, internally, the Cisco IT team has been able to implement a self-service system in a VMware environment with chargebacks, lifecycle management and Cisco UCS and Nexus on the back-end. Cisco IT was able to cut provisioning of new environments from 6-8 weeks down to 15 minutes, cutting TCO by 60%. This is being used in a production environment today. The delegates were impressed that we  “ate our own dog-food,” so to speak, but the verdict’s still out on how self-service provisioning for the cloud actually works and how “out-of-the-box” this will be in a heterogeneous environment.

3) There are a lot of VM networking technologies out there and the people want to know what it all means! For instance, Cisco announced VXLAN in August at VMworld Las Vegas 2011. VXLAN enables LAN segments to scale and stretch beyond layer 2 in a mult-tenant data center environment, but how does it integrate with Nexus 1000V, and what about OTV and LISP?  

Cisco Nexus 1000V Product Marketing Manager Han Yang was on hand November 2 for a brown bag discussion focused on VXLAN and the Nexus 1000V. See the session below:

ProfessionalVMware BrownBag – VXLAN from ProfessionalVMware on Vimeo.

Han’s team also recorded a BrightTALK session on their excellent Virtualization Insights channel in early October 2011 that went over VXLAN. See below:

A BrightTALK Channel

If you’ve watched the Networking Tech Field Day video or participated in person, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Just wondering, doing some math – of the 3 million 10G ports shipped – how many were actually populated and in production? TOR comes with another effeciency factor not often discussed…stranded ports. Since Nexus has not traditionally supported 10Gbase-T and is limited by either the cost of fiber ports or the limited reach of twinax the price has been stranded and unused ports in many TOR switches. So, when you do the math is that 30,000 stranded ports?

    • Hi Jim – apologies for the delay in responding. I’ve been trying to identify the best experts on our Nexus team to answer your question. I’ll be contacting you offline.

  2. gr8 effort keep it up