Current events dramatically show how critical it is to maintain business continuity to support enterprise and consumer applications. Data Center Networking (DCN) resources are proving to be a lifeline in delivering content and supporting transformations such as the rapid shift to digital-only business, on-demand healthcare, and remote working and learning.

To deliver on the need for business continuity, DCN operators must have a solid infrastructure supported by automated activation and assurance analytics that together provide performance, ease of use, and no-compromise security. Since data center elements require a high-standard of compliance for integrity and reliable functionality, the administrator needs to have visibility into every detail of the complex network configuration, deployment, change control, visibility and real-time fault IDs from a single pane-of-glass provided by Data Center Network Management solutions.

There are multiple solutions for managing complex data center operations in the marketplace. What is the best way to cut through the clutter of claims, features, and capabilities promoted by networking vendors? Independent testing and analysis provide one clear path. Cisco worked with analysts from Miercom, an independent third-party performance testing and certification company, to define a set of use cases for testing in a lab environment to create an apples-to-apples comparison among data center management products. During the test and compare cycle, Miercom analysts personally observed the use cases being run to demonstrate capabilities as diverse as resource management, brownfield configuration import, and topology overlay views. By documenting and comparing the same capabilities across vendors the true value to data center operators can be determined.

Miercom assessed the Cisco Data Center Network Management (DCNM) 11 capabilities during a hands-on, week-long testing marathon. As a result, Miercom endorsed the Cisco DCNM solution with the “Miercom Performance Verified” certificate that covers Cisco’s best practices and advanced fabric tools for managing multi-cloud, multi-site, and on-premise data centers.

According to Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer Karishma Gupta, who contributed extensively to the testing and education processes with Miercom, Cisco gathered subject matter experts from DCNM Engineering, Technical Marketing, and Product Management to answer questions from the Miercom Team and to provide in-depth DCNM use cases for analysis. The focus was on Day 0, Day 1, and Day 2 operations that demonstrate the ease of use of DCNM’s built-in best practice templates and ability to customize them for individual customer requirements. The testing ran for four, five-hour days during which the Cisco Team went through all use cases while having thorough discussions with the Miercom Team on architecture and how DCNM is a comprehensive controller-based solution for today’s data centers.

Key Data Center Management Features Tested by Miercom

Key management and automation features of DCNM were tested by Miercom using comparable configurations of Cisco and another vendor’s network devices and respective network management package installations. The features benefit DC operations by simplifying and automating the complex processes of data center provisioning and managing policies through a centralized management solution. Miercom found that for brownfield deployments, Cisco DCNM had superior capabilities. The list in Figure 1, extracted from the Miercom report, provides an overview of the extensive use cases that were tested.

Miercom Independent Assessment of Key Featues of Cisco Data Center Network Manager vs Another Vendor
Figure 1. Miercom Independent Assessment of Key Featues of Cisco Data Center Network Manager vs Another Vendor

Cisco DCNM provides granular, scalable visibility for deep-dive troubleshooting, functionality, and maintenance operations that benefit data center operation teams.

  • The Topology View, for example, shows not only the DC network switches but also other connected entities such as virtual machines, container workloads, physical servers, multiple fabrics, inter-fabric connectivity, switch health, and search functions.
  • Ops teams can view operations metrics in real-time to identify bottlenecks to optimize resource allocation for an efficient network and application experience.
  • Deployment consistency and configuration compliance are fully supported by Cisco DCNM, which constantly checks for proper switch-to-fabric configurations with error autocorrection.
  • Day 2 functionality such as Resource Manager, Real-Time Topology Views, Virtual Machine Manager, Endpoint Locator, Network Insights and Assurance with modern Telemetry, Upgrades, RMA, SMU/RPM patching, Config Compliance, and Kubernetes Cluster Visualization.
Cisco DCNM 11 Comprehensive Management Solution for VXLAN, SAN, and IP
Figure 2: Cisco DCNM 11 Comprehensive Management Solution for VXLAN, SAN, and IP

The bottom line: Cisco DCNM makes fabric management simple and reliable. Cisco DCNM is a complete data center manager for simplifying the management of VXLAN-EVPN network fabrics while lowering operational costs. Miercom has made it the recommended management solution for data centers using Cisco Nexus, MDS, SAN, and UCS infrastructure deployments.

Register today to join the Cisco DCNM Live Webinar with Miercom analysts and Cisco subject matter experts as they discuss testing parameters and unpack key findings, Thursday, June 25, 2020, 10:00 AM Pacific Time.

To learn all the details of the assessments, get your copy of the Miercom reports at:

Miercom Summary Report: Assessment Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM 11)

Miercom Comprehensive Report: Assessment Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM 11)

Cisco Data Center Network Manager

Cisco Data Center Network Manager Release 11 At-a-Glance

Cisco Data Center Network Manager 11 Data Sheet


Lukas Krattiger

Distinguished Engineer in Technical Marketing

Intent-Based Networking Group