Our team is still buzzing about the announcement of Cisco Nexus Cloud at Cisco Live last month. Not only does Nexus Cloud offer the easiest way to deploy, manage and operate your on-premises Nexus networks from the cloud, soon the Nexus Cloud flexibility  will extend to your public cloud resources in AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud (GCP).

With these new capabilities, the power of Nexus gets the agility of cloud. Nexus Cloud enables operational flexibility with a simple licensing structure and with always-on and always-up- to-date Software as a Service (SaaS). Let’s take a closer look at what this means for developers.

API-first Platform

Nexus Cloud is an API-first cloud management platform. As with the public clouds, Nexus Cloud is built to provide the best software developer experience possible. Nexus Cloud’s comprehensive API lets you manage different Cisco on-premises infrastructures, flagship Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture, and NXOS Nexus switches from a single place. This allows for extension to various clouds, so you can analyze and retrieve key information about how your global fabric performs, ultimately allowing you to operate it from the cloud. The Nexus Cloud API is documented using a OpenAPI-like visual and interactive user interface called APIDocs, allowing new developers to quickly learn how to use it. Developers can query the Managed Objects directly from their account and leverage a rich query language based on the OData standard for writing detailed custom queries.

Developer-first Platform

The Nexus Cloud API exposes new capabilities to developers. For example, the environmental monitoring API enables network administrators to monitor and optimize the power consumption and efficiency of their on-premise data center networking elements. Consequently, this allows for more visibility into the expense and environmental impact of an organization’s data centers.  Nexus Cloud further aggregates power usage and traffic volume data for the entire network across sites, making it a simple matter of programming to quickly identify power consumption hot-spots, higher- and lower-performing network elements, and actual power utilization over time.

The environmental API in Nexus Cloud provides access to metrics such as network device efficiency (switch utilization versus consumed power), energy mix (percentage of power from low-carbon sources), and costs (percentage of a site’s energy consumed per device).

We expect that developers will use the environmental API alongside customer-proprietary energy consumption data, as well as open data sources such as energy.gov, European Environment Agency energy statistics, Our World in Data, and many others.  This data, in conjunction with data provided by Nexus Cloud, can be used to generate correlated insights such as:

  • Total power footprint consumed by network, compared to compute, and HVAC/infrastructure.
  • On-premises data center power utilization compared to the power consumption required for Cloud-based workloads (leveraging APIs supported by Cloud providers).
  • Network contribution to business sustainability metrics such as Data Center Performance Per Energy (DPPE), Data Center Performance Efficiency (DCPE), IT Equipment Energy Efficiency (ITEE), and so on.
  • Network energy consumption versus various industry standards such as the ANSI/ASHRAE Energy Standard for Data Centers, or key performance indicators (KPIs) such as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE).

Keeping the focus on energy, we are proud that the latest generation of Nexus switching platforms in the data center provides the most efficient performance per power unit. For example, the new Nexus 9808 modular system is nearly 60 times more efficient in terms of Gbps per Watt than the first generation of Nexus 7000. The Nexus Cloud API allows granular exploration of its power use in real time, based on I/O module type, optics in use, and packets-per-second forwarding.

Open to Standards

To facilitate custom integrations with other third-party systems, a Nexus Cloud subscription will come with access to SDKs for Python and Golang, making it easy for developers to build solutions using these popular languages.

Based on our well-established success and experience with our on-premises infrastructure solutions, Nexus Cloud will be providing rich out-of-the-box integrations. This will allow the Nexus Cloud configuration to be automated with RedHat Ansible and Nexus Cloud based infrastructure to be provisioned using HashiCorp Terraform.

“The integration of Cisco Nexus Cloud with HashiCorp Terraform will provide an easy way to provision and operate infrastructure components for hybrid cloud networks, increasing visibility for joint customers in a simple, scalable cloud-delivered platform while improving time-to-value so network teams can operate with confidence.” – Meghan Liese, Sr. Director, Product Marketing, HashiCorp

We discussed the latest innovations with Cisco cloud networking, the management of data centers, and the Nexus APIs at a Cisco Live session on July 13, 2022:

This is just the first step towards more advanced integrations with other cloud-based platforms such as Terraform Cloud. I look forward to sharing more innovations leading to automation from our team in the months ahead. In the meantime, please share use cases you think we should prioritize. We welcome your input as we continue to build out our cloud networking offerings and deliver the best overall experience.

Meet Cisco Nexus Cloud to learn more and register for an upcoming webinar.

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Yousuf Khan

Vice President of Technical Marketing

Intent Based Networking Group