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Easy Virtual Network (EVN): Confusion Over Simplification?

February 8, 2012 - 0 Comments

Based on the online dialog on Easy Virtual Network (EVN) that I’ve seen, it appears that some people still have questions. We thought our story was as simple to understand as EVN is to use, but there is a need for clarification. Here’s a bit more information about what EVN is and what it isn’t.

One online comment was, “It’s a Cisco proprietary version of MPLS for the enterprise.” No, we believe in MPLS. It’s supported on a number of Cisco platforms and is used by many of our customers. MPLS is the most scalable and perhaps the most capable means of network virtualization. But it’s also overkill and far too complicated for many enterprises.

Another comment was, It’s “a configuration sugar-glaze on top of VRF-Lite.” Hmmm…. Close. Not exactly, but close. Yes, EVN uses VRFs (as does MPLS) and it is fully compatible with VRF-Lite and with MPLS, but it brings more than sweetness to the configuration process. EVN adds route replication. It allows multiple logical networks to share virtualized services in a more powerful way.

Simplification is still the key word. EVN requires far, far fewer lines of code to configure than VRF-Lite. Multiply that by the number of VRFs and the number of devices in the network and you begin to see real substance under the frosting. Fewer lines of code translates into fewer man hours and less cost to deploy and manage. And that’s why EVN is part of our larger Cisco story on lower total cost of ownership.

In the end, I prefer to look at EVN as an evolution of VRF-Lite. What do you think? Those Cisco customers who have used it really appreciate the simplification it brings. For a really easy-to-understand look at the fundamentals of EVN, watch this video:

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