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#CiscoChampion Radio, S3|Ep. 1. Open NX-OS Enabling a Dev Ops Driven Data Center

- January 12, 2016 - 0 Comments

#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’re talking about Open NX-OS Enabling a Dev Ops Driven Data Center with Cisco Subject Matter Experts Parag Deshpande & Shane Corban.CiscoChampionbadge_announcement

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Cisco SME

  • Parag Deshpande, Software Development
  • Shane Corban, Product Manager

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Highlights (additional links & resources at the bottom)

The initiative of open NX-OS was to provide A-level flexibility to our stand alone data center customer base in terms of automation choices. These choices boil down to:

  • Dev-ops tooling integration
  • Provide a rich set of options around providing true API support

We released back in Oct 2015, off the 703 branch

Before this release we you didn’t have the ability to enable 3rd party application RPM’s.

  • Dev-ops
  • Config management
  • Tools and agents like commonly used in the industry today

Allowing you to automate using the tool of your choice

Q: Engineers tend to be fearful of software defined world. What advice would you give a network engineer to remain relevant in this software driven dev-ops world? How can we make engineers feel comfortable?

A: Driving down operation cost is the CIO’s #1 priority. So manual or error prone tasks need to be automated. Embraces the change and make sure you remain relevant. Look at dev-ops tooling as an opportunity to upscale and add true value to the Data Center.

Network engineers and dev-ops need to cooperate and work together in the world of automation and dev-ops. We need them both and they should collaborate. The organization needs to create a strategy for how you share talent and knowledge.

There is a lot of flexibility Cisco offers with this approach. Give raw access to a shall and ability to install on the top rack.

Q: Is there a Cisco supported repository?

A: Yes, there is a Cisco supportive repository we point customers to. (links is in the 7x programmability guide for the Nexus 9k). We also have a Developer landing page for Open NX-OS that provides extensive description and what we support and how you call API’s.

Q: If you add your own third party repository and customize it, how does this affect your support?

A: Tac will support it but will great power comes great responsibility. But it can be very complicated and if you are using open source agents you will need to use the open source support models.

Q: What type of container support do you have?

A: Cisco has support for “a guest shell on our box.” This provides an isolated container on the switch for potentially third party applications.

Q: Can we fire up our own containers? Monitoring tools are becoming containerized?

A: Not specifically for this release. Our architecture supports it but it’s not available right now. Cisco understands you want to do this. Is there something specific you’re talking about? More use cases will help.

Understanding use cases really help the development of the releases and changes.

Q: On the box there is Python 2.7 but a lot of people may use Python 3.5. Should network engineers doing work with NX-OS stay with Python 2.7?

A: not necessarily. You should be able to install any Python on it and use that. On our boxes we have multiple Python. You can certainly install your Pythons and use that. If you are trying to execute the Cisco modules then they might not be compatible.

People are learning and exploring what is possible and getting excited about what is possible and the customizable ability.

Q: What do Champions see more on box or off box type automation in terms of user base? Cisco sees a significant section of customer base talking about tools that are more agentless. What is the trend you are seeing?

A: Mostly scripts will be off box. When the scripts are on box you have to get them on all the switches.

Q: With any new technology or new toys how do I get hands on with this? Are there a d-cloud labs, virtual OBA, is it integrating into VIRL?

A: We should have d-cloud labs, and dev-net has some components in their sandbox today. To access virtual Nexus 9K, send an email to and specify CCO id, user will be sent an email with a download link. Support for ESX5.1/5.5, VirtualBox, Fusion, KVM.

There are a lot of options.

VIRL we are looking at adding. We haven’t commented on a plan yet, but we are looking into it.


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