Monday, August 27, 2012

Cisco and VMware Tighten Strategic Partnership

Cisco and VMware are expanding their strategic partnership to include integrated products and solutions for software defined data centers.  The companies are building dedicated engineering teams to collaborate on deeper integration across the VMware cloud infrastructure and management stacks and Cisco's Data Center Networking and Fabric Computing platforms. 

The companies said their goal is to launch a new set of solutions designed to provide customers unprecedented levels of agile compute and network services, workload and workspace mobility, end-to-end visibility, and ease of troubleshooting across their physical and virtual infrastructures.

Some highlights of the announcement at VMworld:
  • VMware will integrate the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches with the new VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 and other VMware products.
  • Cisco and VMware will develop Cisco Unified Computing Systems (UCS)-based cloud solutions, which will bundle Cisco virtual networking, virtual services and management such as the Nexus 1000V virtual switch, CSR 1000V cloud router, ASA 1000V cloud firewall, virtual WAAS for WAN optimization, and Intelligent Automation for Cloud with VMware vSphere 5.1, VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 and complementary management offerings.
  • Cisco will resell VMware vCloud Suite 5.1, which will feature enhanced interoperability with Cisco Nexus 1000V.
  • VMware and Cisco are expanding their joint solutions with Cisco VXI and VMware View to introduce new integrated solutions for SMB and ROBO customers featuring Cisco e-Series UCS servers and VMware View®.
  • Cisco and VMware will also provide Cisco Validated Designs and reference architectures to simplify and accelerate customer implementation of these joint solutions.
  • Cisco and VMware joint solutions will be made available for VCE, as well as ecosystem partners, to help drive customer adoption of its industry-leading converged infrastructure platforms. Cisco and VMware remain strongly committed, along with EMC, to the VCE partnership.
"The next-generation datacenter will enable customers to capture the value of VMware cloud infrastructure and management stacks along with the next wave of Cisco innovations in hardware, ASICs, systems and network programmability to deliver unprecedented scalability, security, diagnostics and policy management. As the leader in networking, Cisco looks forward to continuing to lead the industry in partnership with VMware," stated Rob Lloyd, Executive Vice President, Cisco.



In June 2012, Cisco outlined its vision for the Open Network Environment (ONE), promising multilayered "full-duplex" programmability across network hardware platforms and its operating systems based on application dynamics. The goal is to enable flexible, application-driven customization of network infrastructures through a rich set of platform APIs, agents and controllers, and overlay network technologies.

The ONE framework consists of three fundamental technology components: Platform Interfaces, Agents and Controllers , and Virtual Overlays. Initial deliverables of the Cisco Open Network Environment include:
  • a developer kit with platform APIs across Cisco IOS, IOS-XR, and NX-OS Software
  • Proof-of-concept controllers and SDN/OpenFlow agents allowing academic research partners to universities to partition or "slice" their campus network to enable academic research on SDN with consistent policy management.
  • Overlay network solutions that include the Cisco Nexus 1000V for scalable, multitenant cloud deployments.

Cisco said its open programmability architecture complements current approaches to software-defined networking while encompassing the entire solution stack from transport to management and orchestration. The new virtual overlay networks capability for multi-tenant cloud deployments with the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch will feature OpenStack support, programmability, multi-hypervisor capability, and VXLAN gateway functionality. The company will also provide proof-of-concept OpenFlow v1.0 agents on the Cisco Catalyst 3750-X and 3560-X Series Switches.

In July 2012, VMware agreed to acquire Nicira, a start-up focused on software-defined networking (SDN) for approximately $1.05 billion in cash plus approximately $210 million of assumed unvested equity awards. The goal of SDN is to allow enterprises and service providers to create the most flexible network topologies that seamlessly span any cloud environment.



Nicira, which is based in Palo Alto, California, has developed a software-based Network Virtualization Platform (NVP) that creates a distributed virtual network infrastructure in cloud data centers that is completely decoupled and independent from physical network hardware. The company says its technology "decouples and isolates virtual networks from the underlying network hardware, like server virtualization decouples and isolates virtual machines from the underlying server hardware."

Nicira's NVP software is implemented at the network edge and managed by distributed clustered controller architecture. The system forms a thin software layer that treats the physical network as an IP backplane. This approach allows the creation of virtual networks that have the same properties and services as physical networks, such as security and QoS policies, L2 reachability, and higher-level service capabilities such as stateful firewalling.

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