It’s an exciting time to be part of the broadcast industry’s transition to IP. Why? Because, with the recent releases for the Cisco IP Fabric for Media (NX-OS 9.2.1 and Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) 11.0(1)), we have reached another significant milestone helping our customers successfully migrate from traditional SDI to IP infrastructure.

This milestone is significant because the most important capability you get with the newest IPFM release is FLEXIBILITY @SCALE.

Flexibility of the solution has been a major design consideration architected into this release. ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL. This was obvious in my first few months of working on the IP Fabric for Media solution. Customers need flexibility of deployment location, speeds, endpoints, ecosystem partners, and the list goes on. Also, our ecosystem partners need flexibility of SDN APIs at the network controller layer, APIs at the IP switching layer, support models, end-to-end validation, and this list also goes on as well.

Now, providing flexibility is one thing, but doing so @scale is what Cisco is really experienced at. It’s in our DNA. And we have successfully done this in multiple industries that we have helped digitize and transform with IP. Now, we are doing it again with the IP Fabric for Media solution in the broadcast and media industry. And we are doing this in collaboration with our ecosystem of partners that play a significant role in creating end-to-end solutions for the customers.

Are you transforming your studio with multiple rooms/floors? The IP Fabric for Media supports state-of-the-art modern spine-leaf data center design that is highly scalable and allows you to simplify your cabling by having a leaf switch in each room. Do you have a production Truck / OB Van and space is a constraint? The IP Fabric for Media offers a single modular chassis option that is dense, takes less space and requires less optics.

Do you have media endpoints of different speeds – 100M/1G/10G/25G/40G/50G/100G? Video endpoints? Audio endpoints? Fiber ports? Copper ports? Bring it on! IP Fabric for Media supports switch models that offer all types of speeds with both fiber and copper connectivity options. Do you have to use the same switch for high speed and low speed endpoints? Sure, use 100G or 40G ports for high speed endpoints and you can break out the 100G or 40G ports to 4 x 25G lanes or 4 x 10G lanes for your low speed endpoints.

Say you have multiple studios that need to be linked and you have dark fiber connectivity between them. IP Fabric for Media’s multi-site capability with border leaf can easily connect those sites together. You don’t have dark fiber, instead you have a WAN link between the sites? That is no problem as well, the same IP Fabric for Media border leaf can connect to WAN routers and inter-connect the sites together – managing the bandwidth on external facing links.

Do you have a monitoring tool (ex: Splunk, tcollector etc) that you already deployed to monitor the faults and events from your infrastructure? IP Fabric for Media switches or DCNM media controller events can be directed to the monitoring tool of your choice. You don’t have a monitoring tool? No problem. The DCNM media controller comes with network monitoring capability built-in. DCNM will not only monitor the health of your network, but also provides security policies, flow path visualization, bandwidth utilization and flow statistics.

Are you planning to use the IP fabric only for live broadcast flows? We can definitely facilitate that with the IP Fabric for Media’s non-blocking multicast network. Are you also planning to use the same network for file-based work flows? Smart move! With IP Fabric for Media, you can allocate a percentage of bandwidth for file-based work flows (unicast) and the rest for live work flows (multicast). Live traffic takes priority over file traffic as a QoS policy.

Do you have a preferred partner for your broadcast equipment? All the major players in the broadcast industry are in Cisco’s partner ecosystem offering end-to-end solutions with the Cisco IP Fabric for Media. If your broadcast vendor is not yet a Cisco partner, we are open to collaborate with them to provide you a solution. Contact me via your Cisco representative or directly.

The Cisco IP Fabric for Media IPFM can do all the above and much more at line rate forwarding and in a non-blocking mode. Whether you have a small deployment with hundreds of flows or big deployment with thousands of flows, this solution can address your case with ease in a consistent and deterministic way.

You get the idea!

Cisco Live, Orlando 2018

Case Study: Cisco Live, Orlando 2018 in Partnership with Grass Valley

We have good number of deployments doing live broadcast everyday as a proof point. But, we recently put the solution to test in one of our own events at Cisco Live, Orlando 2018. Cisco TV, our internal broadcasting house handles the event broadcast. If you attended Cisco Live, you know the event’s magnitude. Four days of live broadcast and recorded playout 24 hours/day to more than 30,000 in-person attendees and 300,000 attendees online. It’s critical to not have any disruptions. We partnered with Grass Valley and integrated the IP Fabric for Media into an end-to-end solution to successfully broadcast the entire event.

Congratulations to Cisco TV and Grass Valley teams.

Checkout this YouTube video for more details:


We are showcasing the latest and greatest innovations for the IP Fabric for Media at IBC 2018, Amsterdam.

Please visit us at the Cisco Booth September 4-18. Stand 1.A71. See you there.


Cisco IP Fabric for Media At-a-Glance

Cisco IP Fabric for Media Whitepaper



Sunil Gudurvalmiki

Senior Product Manager

Data Center Networking