Monday, June 15, 2015

Cisco Advances its Application Centric Infrastructure

Cisco is rolling out a number of new Software-defined Networking (SDN) capabilities, including a major new software release for its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), new automation APIs for hyperscale data centers, and new Nexus data center switches. Cisco's pitch is that ACI provides a fully integrated SDN approach with a focus on security, centralized management, compliance, and an ability to scale quickly. The company is also working to build a deeper partner ecosystem.

Significantly, Cisco claims to be pulling away from its competitors in terms of programmable network installations.  The company now has over 2,600 Nexus 9K and ACI globally, with over 585 customers using its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). Its ecosystem has expanded to 36 partners. Cisco also said its Nexus 3000 and Nexus 9000 portfolio grew 144 percent year-over-year, with over 1 million switch ports shipped.


In terms of its SDN strategy, the flagship ACI platform is not the only story. Cisco is also supporting customers building mega-datacenters who wish to implement programmability in their networks by means of open APIs and tools such as Puppet, Chef or Ansible.  Here Cisco is supporting a common NX-API model across its N2K-N9K switches.  Cisco is also offering 3rd-party controller support in its NK-N9K switches along with VxLAN-BGP EVPN capabilities. This enables software overlays for Nexus data center switches without implementing ACI.

However, Cisco argues that customers deploying its ACI can gain a significant ROI over implementing a "two-network" approach of white boxes + VMware NSX. At last week's Cisco Live! in San Diego, the company released cost comparison studies backing up its ACI claims.

In terms of ACI improvements, the latest version of software for ACI deployments centers on cloud management integration, enhanced multi-site support and improved operations. Some highlights:

  • Cisco supports hypervisors from VMware, Microsoft and Red Hat and provides comprehensive centralized virtual network automation and visibility with Cisco ACI
  • Microsoft Azure and System Center virtual network automation and transit fabric interconnect support
  • Expanded ACI stretched fabric support for multi-site data center deployment and disaster recovery use cases for up to 150 kilometers over DWDM, Pseudo wire and 40G dark fiber
  • CliQr, a new ACI ecosystem member, provides application dependency mapping and application deployment automation on ACI networks
  • Improved operational simplicity with heat maps, capacity planning and new simplified troubleshooting tools. 
  • Cisco NX-OS operating system extensibility support on Nexus 9000 switches with: object store and model-driven NX-API enhancements
  • Built in third party DevOps automation tools
  • Secure SDK enabling third party and custom application development running natively on NX-OS
  • A common programmatic approach using NX-API across the entire Nexus switch portfolio (Nexus 2000 through Nexus 9000 switches)
  • New Nexus 3200 Top of Rack switches for next generation 10G/25G/40G/50G/100G cloud data centers are available Q3CY15.
  • Nexus 3232C  delivers 128 ports of 25Gb or 32 ports of 100Gb
  • Nexus 3264Q delivers 64 ports of 40Gb
  • Now shipping: extension of standards-based fabric support with VXLAN BGP EVPN to the modular Cisco Nexus 9500 series switches
  • New Cisco Virtual Topology System (VTS) - a data center overlay provisioning and management system for stand-alone Nexus fabric, supports overlays across the entire Cisco Nexus switch portfolio (Nexus 2000 through Nexus 9000 switches.) VTS supports the BGP EVPN control plane for managing VXLAN overlays in the programmable fabric. It also integrates with cloud management systems such as OpenStack, using plug-ins for seamless integration and overlay automation.
  • Support for BGP-EVPN VXLAN provisioning.
  • Provisioning and management for existing environments by extending the BGP-EVPN fabric via software overlay
  • Integration with cloud management systems such as OpenStack


http://www.cisco.com

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