Modern demands in virtualization, cloud, and the Internet of Things are shifting the network landscape and require advanced solutions to manage critical network services across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with InfoBlox’s Chief Technology Officer, Alan Conley, about automating core network services – DNS, DHCP, and IP Address Management (DDI) – with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). In this video interview, Alan spoke about the common challenges InfoBlox and Cisco customers face in security and automation in their data centers.
Alan eloquently explains how ACI micro segmentation to enhance security for East-West traffic in the data center complements InfoBlox’s secure DNS server that detects and mitigates malware and botnets trying to attack customer networks.
He also shared how a number of InfoBlox customers are looking for the integration of InfoBlox DDI and Cisco ACI to deliver highly secured solutions but also ones that are operationally agile.
I really encourage you to listen to Alan Conley’s enlightening interview.
Here is a 10 minute video that shows step by step ITD deployment for Transparent mode security devices, such as Firewalls, IPS, IDS, Web application Firewalls (WAF), ASA, Cisco Sourcefire, etc:
ITD is a hardware based multi-Tbps Layer 4 load-balancing, traffic steering and clustering solution on Nexus 5k/6k/7k/9k series of switches. It supports IP-stickiness, resiliency, NAT (EFT), VIP, health monitoring, sophisticated failure handling policies, N+M redundancy, IPv4, IPv6, VRF, weighted load-balancing, bi-directional flow-coherency, and IPSLA probes including DNS. There is no service module or external appliance needed.
Watch as I provide Rich Gore, Cisco IT member of Technical Staff, an update on how Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is enabling Cisco IT to operate efficiently and effectively from the Data Center in Allen, Texas. We review the physical infrastructure along with the virtual environment that runs on top. We explore implementation costs, smaller environment deployment options, load balancing and Quality of Service (QoS) delivery systems.
This is the first in a multi-part series where we cover ‘programmability’ for networking. The idea is to fully review the programming options now available inside the Nexus switches, (3000, 9000). This first episode covers new access with Linux tools, NX-API and more. Further shows will be diving into the details around Object Models and orchestration partners.
The primary point for any of these is to understand how Cisco Open NX-OS extensibility exposes greater programmability and automation capabilities. It is fascinating and full of new learning opportunities. It does not come without a few career questions of course…usually, something along the lines of: do network engineers need to become programmers now too?
Two answers: Yes. It depends.
Networking knowledge and skill should not be undersold here. Programming capabilities should be additive. They are useful in just about any tech career and obviously affecting the networking space. I think it’s foolish to ever quit learning but it does depend on your aspirations, your current level of satisfaction and perhaps how narrowly defined your skill set might be.
Full disclosure: I am not a programmer. I have been learning the fundamentals of python and a few others as I work on this series but I am not hire-able for this skill by any means. But the distinct feeling I get, and the feedback I hear from you guys: its not that hard. You are probably well versed in scripting for various CLI operations…take it up a few notches and work on some of these ‘readable’ languages that will have similar syntax. This will give you the ability to judge the appeal of what we are offering with ACI and other solutions much more credibly…and I guarantee you will find ways to get rid of redundant crap and stupid errors you may be fighting with yourself or your team.
JOIN US AT THE WORKSHOP
Live, interactive, never dull.
September 21, 2015
Programmable networks will forever change the way you manage infrastructure enabling you to dramatically accelerate configuration and deployment of your network, automate time consuming manual tasks, and allocate IT resources far more efficiently. Are you ready for the revolution?
Discover how to create a programmable network as we discuss and demonstrate the NX-API and NX-API REST (Object Model) in detail. Understand how Cisco Open NX-OS extensibility exposes greater programmability and automation capabilities that eliminate costly manual errors.
Shane Corban shares Six Key Points: What OPEN means for NX-OS
Changes made across the software stack to address Extensibility, Openness, Programmability.
Auto Deployment (Bootstrap and Provisioning)
Added support for PXE server, operationalize NX-OS software to match an existing server environment
Extensibility – how we package software
We did not use to expose much beyond a bash shell
Now you can install native RPM’s, and third party applications running processes as they would on a Linux server
We are now adding support to leverage Linux like tools for debugging, configuration and troubleshooting…manipulate those front panel ports as native Linux interfaces within our switch software stack.
Application Integration (Adaptable SDK)
Published an SDK, a build environment that you can install on any Linux server, download the build agent, and put your source into that directory structure and build into an RPM for installation and run it natively.
Build your own custom automation apps, monitoring agents, and have them run natively on our platform
Programmability Tool Choice
We have a native Python shell today that has a Native Cisco Library that you can utilize for automation
NX-API – the ability to embed CLI commands and structured data (JSON, XML) for execution on the switch via HTTP/HTTPS Interface to get back structured data back on show commands.
Support for Chef and Puppet
Agents will be publicly available on the enterprise sites
Support for Open Stack, Neutron
NX-OS is now more modular, more open, more capable of third party integration providing a wide variety of programmability choices ideal for Dev-Ops environments.
Five case study examples
Nicolas provides five case study examples.
Checking Software Version
Using Python script with NXAPI and JSON to pull version numbers
Python script to query multiple switches to check compliance against a specific version