Advanced Geography of Cisco Nexus 1000V

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Author: James Allen

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Cisco has lately released a new member of the Nexus family of switches, the Nexus 1000V. Interestingly, this may be defined as the first switch to utilize VMware - opening up their ESX and ESXi platforms for outside network device manufacturers. This switch certainly eases some of the hiccups pertaining to current virtualization implementations.

It is common knowledge that the responsibilities of server team and network team responsibilities have become indistinct. Cisco is solving this issue by launching a switch that can be managed through the same methods known to other network devices inside the ESX cluster. This switch runs the same code that has become standard on Cisco's Nexus series of Data Center switches NX-OS.

Before adoption of virtualization, there was indeed a connectivity problem with a host and it was standard practice for the network team to verify functionality down to the switch port. The server team would do likewise as well. This enabled each team to concentrate on areas that fulfilled their core competencies. Once the shift from a real switch port to a dumb bridge inside ESX took place, lots of blame game ensued.

Now, with a Nexus 1000V occupying space within the ESX clusters, the boundary between network and systems teams has been redefined. Assuming there is trouble with a host inside an ESX cluster, the network team can straightaway employ the same day to day troubleshooting tools available to them to solve issues without much blame game.

One thing can be said the security controls have been taken further away from the hosts. This may not be well appreciated by many. Experts will opine that ideal method for applying security policy is to apply controls as near the source as possible.

The best practice understandably will be to apply security policies such as VLAN ACL's and TrustSec policies directly to the switch ports that host the switches. However, prior to Nexus 1000V, this was absolutely not feasible to do in ESX. Thus, there was a compulsion to shift security controls further up into the distribution layer. The Nexus 1000V is introducing port policies to address this.

It needs to be conceded that provisioning and integrating the networks of VMware ESX clusters with classic networks can be quite intimidating. The essence of this issue is that the network integration portions of VMware ESX clusters is not truly designed for server teams or even network teams. In fact, you need adroit handling with both portions to successfully integrate VMware clusters into the network.

With a Cisco switch running literally within your clusters, network teams can pursue standard core / distribution / access models with the access layer now residing inside the ESX clusters. The Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches may be described as virtual machine access switches for the VMware vSphere environments running the Cisco NX-OS operating system.

Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches provide a comprehensive and extensible architectural platform for virtual machine (VM) and Cloud networking. The switches are designed to speed up server virtualization and multitenant Cloud deployments in a safe and transparent manner. The Cisco Nexus 1000V Series offers advanced virtual machine networking based on Cisco NX-OS operating system and IEEE 802.1Q switching technology.

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