& cplSiteName &

Cisco Integrates Virtual, Physical Networks

Mitch Wagner
5/16/2014
50%
50%

Cisco has unveiled tools for integrating its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) virtual networks with physical networks.

The company also said ACI isn't an attempt to crush VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW). Really. (See For Cisco, Is 'SDN' Code for 'Crush VMware?')

The new virtual-physical management software is designed to help customers make the transition to virtual networks while protecting their existing networks. "They've got this significant investment. At the same time, they see the compelling vision we laid out for ACI," says Craig Huitema, director of marketing for data center networking at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). "They want to interoperate between the two."

Integrating ACI with the physical network provides consistency between the physical and virtual, Huitema says. It lowers cost and promotes flexibility. With consistent metrics, network managers get visibility into resource consumption. "By understanding the health of the underlying infrastructure, you can put the application elements where they are best suited," on physical or virtual networks, says Huitema.

Also, integrating physical and virtual networks makes it easier to apply policies consistency across the networks, he adds.

"Maybe you've got a database server sitting on bare metal, and a web server that's virtualized. It shouldn't really matter in terms of security policies... or if it moves from one hypervisor to another," Huitema says. If a workload moves from one server to another, security policies should go with it, and follow the workload when the application is decommissioned.

Cisco is integrating its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) with Version 5 of its UCS Director, which will enable UCS Director to manage virtual and physical networks. Carriers and enterprises will be able to deploy ACI in existing data centers running Nexus 2000, 3000, 5000, 6000, and 7000 network switches, and ASR 9000 routers.

The announcement comes just ahead of the company's Cisco Live user conference in San Francisco.

Bragging about momentum
Cisco says ACI is getting significant momentum. ACI runs on Cisco's Nexus 9000, which has 1,000 customers either running or in the pipeline. These include communications service providers and enterprises.

Most of those customers aren't running ACI today; some 80% are using the server in its traditional mode, running NX-OS. "But they're all looking to go to ACI if they haven't already implemented it," claims Frank D'Agostino, Cisco senior director in tactical marketing and solutions engineering.

To what extent is ACI a maneuver for crushing VMware? That's how tech journalist Julie Bort characterized John Chambers's comments about SDN during Wednesday's earnings conference call for Cisco. (See Cisco Earnings Suffer From Carrier Weakness.)

D'Agostino says ACI isn't about crushing VMware. Rather, it's about giving customers choice of the operations model they want. "Customers want VMware for a lot of reasons and Cisco for a lot of reasons." According to D'Agostino, VMWare's SDN strategy relies on LAN emulation, which is impractical, and promotes vendor lock-in, while Cisco's approach lets network managers use multiple vendors' technologies, including VMware NSX.

[In other words: "We're not trying to crush VMware. We love VMware. They're so adorable, and they try so hard and they mean well. Bless their hearts. But we're better."]

Finally, Cisco today announced three new switches in the Nexus line: The 9336PQ is a small spine switch, with 36 40G ports in a 2RU chassis. Next is the 9396TX, a top-of-rack switch with 48 ports of 10GBaseT for server connectivity: It's a version of an existing fiber switch, with the new model supporting copper. The final product is the N9K-X9736PQ card for the 9500 modular switch, the equivalent of the 9336PQ.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.


Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.


(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/20/2014 | 1:28:42 PM
Cisco Integerates Virtual, Physical Networks
@Mitch, Interesting!  I think IBM and HP are a bigger threat!  They are each moving forward in forming more ecosystems that will pose a challenge to Cisco.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/20/2014 | 12:03:38 PM
Re: Cisco Integrates Virtual, Physical Networks
Here at CiscoLive, enemies #1 & #2 seem to be IBM and HP rather than VMware.
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/16/2014 | 4:13:26 PM
Disclosure, disclosure
Mitch,

I am sure Cisco is head-over-heels in love with VMware, but have they named names of any ACI customers? Or maybe they did, but I missed it--so much going on, phew...

 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/16/2014 | 3:56:04 PM
Cisco Integrates Virtual, Physical Networks
Mitch, this sounds like a very smart strategy that positions Cisco very well.  I believe that the companies that establish the platforms, and then provide a variety of network connection capabilities, as they are doing, will become the preferred networks.  It makes sense to the customer and makes their systems more seamless.

But I do believe that their condescension with VMWare will not mask their competitive drive to take business away (as opposed to crushing them), but with the same affect.

Sounds like Cisco is on a winning proposition.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
Pai's FCC Raises Alarms at Competitive Carriers
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Selfie Game Strong Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives