Scaling the next frontier: Hybrid Clouds, Fabric Innovations and the Cisco Open Network Environment
First, the Internet of Things:
Consider these impressive stats shared in a keynote from Cisco’s CTO and CSO Padmasree Warrior last week at Cisco Live, London:
- 50 Billion “things” including trees, vehicles, traffic signals, devices and what not will be connected together by 2020 (vs. 1000 devices connected in 1984)
- 2012 created more information than the past 5000 years combined!
- 2/3rd of the world’s mobile data will be video by 2015.
These statistics may seem a bit surprising, but the fact is, they cannot be ignored by CIOs and others chartered with the responsibility of managing IT infrastructure.
Impact on Enterprise and SP Infrastructure strategies
Further, these trends are not silo’d and are certainly not happening in a vacuum. For example, Bring-your-Own Device (BYOD) and the exponential growth of video endpoints, may be happening in the “access”, but they are causing a ripple effect upstream in the data center and cloud environments, and coupled with new application requirements, are triggering CIOs across larger Enterprise and Service Providers to rapidly evolve their IT infrastructure strategies.
It is much the same with cloud infrastructure strategies. Even as Enterprises have aggressively adopted the journey to Private Cloud, their preference for hybrid clouds, where they can enjoy the “best of both worlds” – public and private have grown as well. However, the move to hybrid clouds has been somewhat hampered by challenges as outlined in my previous blog: Lowering barriers to hybrid cloud adoption – challenges and opportunities.
The Fabric approach
To address many of these issues, Cisco has long advocated the concept of a holistic data center fabric, heart of its Unified Data Center philosophy. The fundamental premise of breaking silos, and bringing together disparate technology silos across network, compute and storage is what makes this so compelling. At the heart of it, is the Cisco Unified Fabric, serving as the glue.
As we continue to evolve this fabric, we’re making three industry-leading announcements today that help make the fabric more scalable, extensible and open.
Let’s talk about SCALING the fabric first:
- Industry’s highest density L2/L3 10G/40G switch: Building upon our previous announcement of redefining fabric scale, this time we introduces a New Nexus 6000 family with two form factors – 6004 and 6001. We expect these switches to be positioned to meet increasing bandwidth demands, for spine/leaf architectures, and for 40G aggregation in fixed switching deployments. We expect the Nexus 6000 to be complementary to the Nexus 5500 and Nexus 7000 series deployments, and is not to be confused with the Catalyst 6500 or Nexus fabric interconnects.
The Nexus 6000 is built with Cisco’s custom silicon, and 1 micro-second port to port latency. It has forward propagated some of the architectural successes of the Nexus 3548, the industry’s lowest latency switch that we introduced last year. Clearly, as in the past, Cisco’s ASICs have differentiated themselves against the lowest common denominator approach of the merchant silicon, by delivering both better performance as well as greater value due to the tight integration with the software stack.
The Nexus 5500 incidentally gets 40G expansion modules, and is accompanied by a brand new Fabric Extender – the 2248PQ, which comes with 40G uplinks as well. All of these, along with the 10G server interfaces, help pair the 10G server access with 40G server aggregation.
Also as part of the first step in making the physical Nexus switches services ready in the data center, a new Network Analysis Module (NAM) on the Nexus 7000 also brings in performance analytics, application visibility and network intelligence. This is the first services module with others to follow, and brings in parity with the new vNAM functionality as well.
- Industry’s simplest hybrid cloud solution: Over the last few years, we have introduced several technologies that help build fabric extensibility – the Fabric Extender or FEX solution is very popular extending the fabric to the server/VM, as are some of the Data Center Interconnect technologies like Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) or Location ID Separation Protocol (LISP), among others. Obviously each have their benefits.
The Nexus 1000V Intercloud takes these to the next level by allowing the data center fabric to be extended to provider cloud environments in a secure, transparent manner, while preserving L4-7 services and policies. This is meant to help lower the barriers for hybrid cloud deployments and is designed to be a multi-hypervisor, multi-cloud solution. It is expected to ship in the summer timeframe, by 1H CY13.
This video does a good job of explaining the concepts of the Intercloud solution:
Finally, about making the Fabric OPEN:
- Industry’s most extensible Network/Fabric controller architecture: Last year, at Cisco Live, San Diego we announced the Cisco Open Network Environment, as the industry’s most comprehensive approach for network programmability, open networking and application awareness. Since then, this strategy has taken strong root across all portfolios within Cisco, and started to resonate with customers who are engaged in early Proof-of-concepts as they provide feedback to help the products quickly mature.
The Cisco R&D team has been quietly executing as well. The result of their efforts is that we’re announcing the Cisco ONE controller framework, targeted for availability in 2Q CY13. It will support onePK and OpenFlow on its southbound interface, while being extensible to support additional protocols over time. Similarly it will have an extensible northbound interface with REST, Java and other protocols coming over time. In addition to the Network Slicing application that we had already announced earlier, Cisco is introducing two new applications for Network tapping and Custom forwarding. Over time, we expect more Cisco apps as well as third-party ISV apps to be built and integrated with the controller.
In addition, the team also has brought on additional support for onePK, Openflow over several platforms. The execution on the Network overlay with the Cisco Cloud Services Router 1000V (CSR 1000V) and the Nexus 1000V continue. The table below captures progress on execution, while publishing the targeted roadmap for the first half of this calendar year across the Enterprise and Service Provider portfolios.
I’ve tried to convey the essence of this significant announcement into one blog just for the sake of completeness. There will be several other blogs both from my team and myself that will provide a further deep dive into these innovations and capabilities, in addition to the media release, that contains specifics on each of these different areas.
Please do take the time out to read through these as you plan to evolve your data center and cloud infrastructures.
Finally, a plug for two webcasts:
- Register here for the webcast on “Fabric Innovations for the World of Many Clouds”. I will be hosting this session on Feb 5th and 6th, with participation from Andre Kindness (Forrester), Kerby Lyons (SunGard availability services), Greg Sanchez (Global Dynamics IT) plus Cisco’s CTO and CSO Padmasree Warrior, David Yen and Ayman Sayed.
- Register here for the webcast on “An Introduction to OpenFlow”. This follows the hugely popular webcast on an introduction to Openstack as a part of the Cisco Open Network Environment webcast series. I’ll be hosting this with Cisco’s CTO of Engineering, and current chair of ONF- David Ward. Joining me will be Matt Davy former Exec.Director of NCENTRE (at Indiana University) and Yuichi Ikejiri (Director, NTT communications)