Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager

Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager Release 7.0: Fabric Management for Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation

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Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) software is a foundation component of Cisco® Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA). Cisco Prime DCNM Release 7.0 provides ready-to-use, large-scale, standards-based, extensible management capabilities for Cisco DFA unified fabrics in a data center powered by Cisco Nexus® Family switches. Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 provides a central point of management that includes the infrastructure necessary to install, maintain, and expand a Cisco DFA network fabric. Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 works synchronously with Cisco Nexus switches to enable and simplify deployment of new fabrics using policy-based implementation to help reduce labor and operating expenses (OpEx). Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 facilitates multitenant cloud deployments by integrating with popular hypervisor solutions such as VMware vCloud Director and OpenStack.

New Features

Power-On Auto Provisioning for Zero-Touch Deployment

Power-On Auto Provisioning (POAP) allows new switches added to a Cisco DFA fabric to be automatically provisioned simply by attaching a new, unconfigured device to the fabric. Cisco Prime DCNM manages this POAP workflow so that a user simply assigns a device to a preconfigured template: for example, a Leaf template or a Spine template. When the device launches, it obtains the correct software release and configuration. Configurations are generated by role-based POAP templates. Cable-plan functions help manage physical device connections and ensure that devices are installed correctly, as the operator intended.

Smart Templates for POAP

Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 provides smart POAP templates for rapid deployment of new Cisco DFA fabrics (Figure 1). Thus, you can import a list of devices and parameter ranges into the template instance, avoiding repetitive data entry for each device. Decision logic, pop-up comments, and the capability to save parameters for reuse drastically reduce the effort of installing new devices and extending the fabric.

Figure 1. Cisco Prime DCNM Smart Template

Cable-Plan Management

Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 includes cable-plan management functions. Cable plans help the user effectively manage the network by indicating the intent of the device cabling and the way that each device in a leaf or spine or other arrangement is supposed to be connected. The user can import an existing cable plan for a predesigned configuration or automatically create a new cable plan from the POAP configuration or an existing, discovered fabric.

Device Autoconfiguration and Tenant Awareness

Device autoconfiguration in the Cisco DFA fabric enables the automatic network configuration of an organization’s or tenant’s workload on the switch port (Figure 2). Cisco Prime DCNM manages these configurations and exposes a northbound API that interfaces with the orchestrator. Thus, when the hypervisor manager deploys a new workload such as a virtual machine or a physical device, the system can automatically detect the action and provision the Cisco DFA fabric accordingly. When a workload such as a virtual machine moves from one host on the network to another on a different fabric switch, the system automatically provisions the workload on the new switch.

Figure 2. Cisco Prime DCNM Autoconfiguration Navigator

Ready-to-Use Extensible Open Virtual Appliance

Cisco Prime DCNM helps you rapidly deploy a new fabric by providing a preintegrated open virtual appliance (OVA). You can deploy Cisco Prime DCNM and have a complete Cisco DFA fabric management solution in less than 15 minutes.[1] The OVA includes all infrastructure necessary for a fully functioning Cisco DFA network. Thecomponents include:

Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server: Used for POAP

Secure Copy Protocol (SCP) and Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) file server: For hosting POAP files, switch images, command-line interface (CLI) templates, and cable plans

Cisco Jabber® Extensible Communications Platform (XCP) server: Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)-based publish and subscribe mechanism providing access to the entire fabric from any node

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) server: For multitenant autoconfiguration data

Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) message broker: Used for hypervisor manager synchronization and Representational State Transfer (REST) API event messaging

Enhanced Fabric Display Visualization

Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 includes an innovative fabric health display to provide insight into very large fabrics (Figure3). This highly scalable display shows link-related anomalies, including misconfiguration.

Figure 3. Cisco Prime DCNM Enhanced Fabric Display

Pop-up notifications show the intended connectivity measured against the fabric’s cable plan for rapid troubleshooting on a large fabric. The display shows the number of links that are down on a given device and indicates which connectivity is affected and whether any devices are unreachable.

Search for Organization and Tenant Networks on the Fabric

In addition to showing the link status, the fabric health display includes a unique search feature with which the user can search for networks that match a given organization or tenant (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Cisco Prime DCNM Organization or Tenant Search

The display shows which switches carry the tenant’s workload: either virtual machine or physical device traffic for that network.

REST API for Third-Party Cloud Integration and Event Bus

Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 includes a REST API for integration with hypervisor and cloud management systems such as OpenStack and VMware VCloud Director or third-party network management system (NMS) and operations support system (OSS) automation solutions. REST APIs use Java Standard Object Notation (JSON) format to make integration simple and straightforward. The AMQP event bus facilitates automation and synchronization with external agents.

Targeted Users

Cisco DFA fabric users should deploy a Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 OVA. Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 is intended for Cisco DFA customers and includes new infrastructure to support this deployment. Existing customers who want to deploy fabrics that support Cisco DFA using existing Cisco Nexus switches should deploy Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 as part of any new Cisco DFA fabric deployment.

Users not using Cisco DFA should continue to use the Cisco Prime DCNM 6.0 release train until the next minor release of Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0, targeted for 2HCY14.

Customers deploying Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 should follow the instructions provided in the installation guide for the Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 virtual appliance with regard to VMware virtual machine requirements. Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 requires VMware vSphere 5 hypervisor hosts.

Ordering Information

Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 software is offered for order at no charge. You can download software here. Baseline Cisco DFA support is included without additional per-device licensing.

Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 is available only as an OVA for VMware vSphere deployments.

For More Information

For more information about Cisco Prime DCNM, visit or contact your local account representative.

For more information about Cisco DFA, visit or contact your local account representative.

[1] Based on internal tests; additional information available on request.