SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) technologies are expected to help Service Providers gain new efficiencies and previously unimagined speed and agility in cloud services delivery so they can seize new business opportunities and achieve continued growth. Specifically, SDN in the data center helps you abstract services and applications from the complexities of the underlying network, making services operations drastically simpler. However, this abstraction layer, referred to as the SDN overlay, must meet very specific requirements to support today’s dynamic cloud environments.

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I’d like to briefly discuss a recently released product, the Cisco Virtual Topology System (VTS), a high performance SDN overlay system designed to meet these requirements.

VTS is an important component of Cisco’s services management and orchestration software portfolio, aligned with Cisco’s Open Network Architecture and the Cisco Evolved Services Platform, a flexible and agile SP cloud service delivery platform. There are a number of capabilities of VTS that are worth mentioning and I would like to encourage you to consider these factors when choosing a SDN solution for your data center:

  1. VTS is ideal for large scale, multi-tenant brownfield deployments. One of the key elements of Cisco VTS is the Virtual Topology Forwarder (VTF), which draws on Cisco’s groundbreaking virtual packet processing (VPP) technology and Intel’s DPDK technology. This is a winning combination for providing industry-leading performance in connecting tenant VMs, with throughput measures that are many times higher than typical virtual forwarding implementations. The bottom line is that VTS enables software-based segmentation without introducing bottlenecks into your environment. I’d like to also point out that VTF’s control plane is based on Cisco’s award winning and industry proven network operating system, the IOS XR software, which has been deployed and running in hundreds of service provider networks for well over a decade. VTS supports a wide range of data center hardware and software endpoints, including the Cisco Nexus® Family portfolio which you may have already heavily invested in.
  2. VTS provides an open and modular architecture to help you make the most of your existing investments. VTS is driven entirely by open APIs—southbound to integrate with subsystems such as domain managers or virtual infrastructure managers, and northbound to expose programmability to higher-level orchestration systems or applications. RESTful APIs can come from the subsystems, an application, or any open standards-based VMM in your environment. To support end-to-end services, for example, Virtual Managed Services, VTS is fully integrated with the Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) enabled by Tail-f product (an industry-leading orchestration product that leverages YANG service modeling). The combined solution helps you deliver a rich set of cloud service offerings over multi-tenanted environments — supporting automated orchestration, rapid provisioning and chaining of physical and virtual service elements across the evolved programmable network (EPN), and seamless interconnectivity to the WAN. If you already have existing orchestrators or other applications you want to leverage, or expect to evolve your network, VTS is designed to support your needs as well.
  3. A rich policy-based service framework helps you make secure, multi-tenant deployments much more straightforward. Policy constructs within VTS can be flexibly organized, and easily consumed and instantiated for any tenant from a single console. VTS automates network abstraction and policy constructs which can be exposed through the Rest APIs, and consumed by orchestrators and applications. Being freed from having to deal with the complexities of the underlying network infrastructure means you can shift your efforts towards other important business priorities.

If you are a Service Provider, please don’t hesitate to engage with one of our local Cisco Account representatives or technical architect to learn more about this exciting product.

Have questions or comments? Tweet us @CiscoSP360, we would love to hear from  you!


JL Valente

Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Routing and SD-WAN

Networking Experiences Team