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Cisco Virtual Security Gateway for Nexus 1000V Series Switch Data Sheet

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Product Overview

Cisco ® Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) for Nexus 1000V Series Switch is a virtual appliance that provides trusted access to secure virtualized data centers in enterprise and cloud provider environments while meeting the requirements of dynamic policy-based operations, mobility-transparent enforcement, and scale-out deployment for dense multitenancy. Cisco VSG offers IT departments the benefits of workload virtualization with the security of zone-based controls and activity monitoring, enhanced compliance with corporate security policies and industry regulations, and simplified security audits. Cisco VSG helps ensure that access to trust zones is controlled and monitored through established security policies.

Main Features

Integrated with Cisco Nexus ® 1000V Series Switches and running Cisco NX-OS Software, Cisco VSG provides the features and benefits listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Features and Benefits

Feature

Description

Benefits

Trusted access

• Secure segmentation of virtualized data center virtual machines using detailed, zone-based control and monitoring with context-aware security policies (based on virtual machine identities, custom attributes, and 5-tuple network parameters)
• Controls applied across organizational zones, lines of business (LoBs), and multitenant (scale-out) environments (Figure 1)
• Security policies organized into security profiles (templates)
• Context-based access logs generated with activity details at the network and virtual machine levels
• Strengthens regulatory compliance and simplifies audits
• Simplifies management and deployment across a large number of virtual machines and virtual security gateways

Dynamic (virtualization-aware) operation

• On-demand provisioning of security templates and trust zones during virtual machine instantiation
• Mobility-transparent enforcement and monitoring as live migration of virtual machines occurs across different physical servers

Preserves security for the dynamic data center

Nondisruptive administration

• Administrative segregation across security and server teams
• Enhances collaboration
• Helps eliminate administrative errors
• Helps simplify security audits

Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) awareness

• Zone-based firewall capabilities extended to virtual machines on VXLAN

Secures application workloads on VXLAN

Layer 2 and Layer 3 deployment

• Layer 2 and Layer 3 connectivity between Cisco VSG and the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM)

Enables flexible Cisco VSG deployment

Virtual network data path (vPath) service chaining capability

• Participation in vPath service chain along with other networking services

Provides simplified deployment of Cisco VSG in the traffic path with other networking services

Figure 1. Trusted Zone-Based Access Control and Monitoring with Cisco VSG Across Data Center Segments,
Lines of Business, and Tenants

Overall, Cisco VSG provides the following benefits:

• Enhanced compliance with industry regulations

• Simplified audit processes in virtualized environments

• Reduced costs by providing security for a broader set of virtualized workloads

Product Architecture

Cisco VSG is designed using advanced networking concepts such as control-path and data-path splitting to provide efficiency, availability, and high performance while securing virtualized environments. Operating in conjunction with the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series distributed virtual switches in the VMware vSphere hypervisor and Microsoft Hyper-V, Cisco VSG uses the vPath technology embedded in the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM), as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Cisco VSG Deployment Topology

Cisco vPath technology steers traffic, whether inbound or traveling from virtual machine to virtual machine, to the designated Cisco VSGs. A split-processing model is applied in which initial packet processing occurs in the Cisco VSG for policy evaluation and enforcement. Subsequent policy enforcement for packets is offloaded directly to vPath. vPath provides:

• Intelligent traffic steering: Flow classification and redirection to associated Cisco VSGs

• Fast path offload: Policy enforcement of flows offloaded by Cisco VSG to vPath

• Service chaining: Insertion of Cisco VSG along with other network services in the traffic path

vPath is designed for multitenancy, providing traffic steering and fast path offload on a per-tenant basis.
Together, the Cisco VSG and Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VEM provide the following deployment benefits:

Efficient deployment: Each Cisco VSG can provide protection across multiple physical servers, eliminating the need to deploy one virtual appliance per physical server.

High performance: By offloading enforcement to Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VEM vPath modules, Cisco VSG architecture boosts performance.

Operation simplicity: Cisco VSG can be transparently inserted in one-arm mode without the need to create multiple switches or to temporarily migrate virtual machines to different switches or servers. Zone scaling is based on security profiles, not on virtual network interface cards (vNICs), which are limited for virtual appliances. These features simplify physical server upgrades without compromising security or incurring application outage.

High availability: Cisco VSG can be deployed in active-standby mode to help ensure a highly available operating environment, with vPath redirecting packets to the standby Cisco VSG if the active Cisco VSG becomes unavailable.

Independent capacity planning: Cisco VSG can be placed on a dedicated server controlled by the security operations team so that appropriate computing capacity can be allocated to application workloads; capacity planning can occur independently across server and security teams; and operation segregation can be maintained across security, network, and server teams.

Trusted Access

Cisco VSG allows IT departments to segment their data center and cloud environments with strong security boundaries. Multiple instances of Cisco VSG can secure entire data centers or divide lines of business or tenants, allowing large-scale deployments. Security segments are isolated, and traffic cannot cross segment boundaries. Cisco VSG can be deployed at the line-of-business (LoB) or tenant level, at the virtual data center (vDC) level, or at the virtual application (vApp) level.
As virtual machines are instantiated for trust zones, their security profiles and zone memberships are assigned immediately through binding with the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series port profiles, as shown in Figure 2. A security profile contains context-aware rule sets that specify access policies for traffic entering and exiting each zone. In addition to virtual machine and network contexts, custom attributes provide a flexible and extensible way to define trust zones. Controls are applied to zone-to-zone traffic as well as to external area-to-zone (and zone-to-external area) traffic.
A VLAN often identifies a segment or tenant boundary, and zone-based enforcement also can occur within a VLAN. Cisco VSG evaluates access control rules and subsequently offloads enforcement to the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VEM vPath for performance acceleration. Enforcement can trigger a permit or deny action and optional access logs. Cisco VSG also provides policy-based traffic monitoring capabilities with access logs.
The traffic steering intelligence of vPath offers an efficient deployment model in that a Cisco VSG can protect virtual machines in a zone that spans multiple hypervisors. Overlapping (private) IP address space can be allocated per LoB or tenant, an important consideration in multitenant cloud environments. Cisco VSG management and deployment of associated security policies are performed in the Cisco Prime Network Services Controller, as described later in this document.

Dynamic (Virtualization-Aware) Operation

Virtualization can be highly dynamic, with frequent add, delete, and change operations on virtual machines. Live migration of virtual machines occurs through manual or programmed VMware vMotion and Microsoft Hyper-V Live Migration. Figure 3 shows how a structured deployment such as the one in Figure 2 can change over time as a result of this dynamic virtual machine environment.
Cisco VSG operating in conjunction with the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series (and vPath) supports dynamic virtualization. Trust zones and associated security profiles per LoB or tenant are created with the Cisco VSG, and Cisco Prime Network Services Controller Security profiles are bound to Cisco Nexus 1000V Series port profiles (authored on the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Virtual Supervisor Module [VSM]) and published to VMware vCenter and Microsoft Hyper-V System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). When a new virtual machine is instantiated, the server administrator assigns the appropriate port profile to the virtual machine's virtual Ethernet (vEth) port. The port and security profiles and the virtual machine's zone membership are immediately applied. A virtual machine can be repurposed simply by assigning different port and security profiles.
VMware vMotion and Microsoft Hyper-V Live Migration events trigger movement of virtual machines across physical servers. The Cisco Nexus 1000V Series helps ensure that port and security profiles both follow the virtual machine. Security enforcement and monitoring remain in place regardless of VMware vMotion and Microsoft Hyper-V Live Migration events.

Figure 3. Cisco VSG Provides Security Even in Dynamic Virtual Machine Environments, Including Virtual Machine Live Migration

Nondisruptive Administration

The Cisco VSG solution offers a nondisruptive administration model, allowing IT security, network, and server teams to collaborate while helping ensure administrative segregation to meet compliance and audit requirements and reduce administrative errors. The Cisco Prime Network Services Controller and Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VSM deliver a nondisruptive administration model (Figure 4).

• Security administrators can author and manage security profiles as well as manage Cisco VSG instances; security profiles are referenced in Cisco Nexus 1000V Series port profiles.

• Network administrators can author and manage port profiles as well as manage Cisco Nexus 1000V Series distributed virtual switches. Port profiles are referenced in VMware vCenter and Microsoft Hyper-V SCVMM through the programmatic interface of the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VSM.

• Server administrators can select the appropriate port profile in VMware vCenter and Microsoft Hyper-V SCVMM when instantiating a virtual machine.

Additionally, third-party management and orchestration tools can interact programmatically, through XML APIs, with Cisco Prime Network Services Controller used for automated management and provisioning of Cisco VSG.

Figure 4. Cisco Prime Network Services Controller Model for Managing Cisco VSG and Associated Security Profiles

Deployment Considerations

To support different use cases across LoBs or tenants, vDCs, and vApps, Cisco VSG provides a highly flexible and simple deployment model. Each LoB or tenant can include multiple virtual machine zones, vDCs, and vApps. A vDC can also contain multiple virtual machine zones and vApps. Figure 5 illustrates several such deployment scenarios. For example, a LoB or tenant Cisco VSG can be deployed to protect the virtual machine zones, vDCs, and vApps of segment 1; for segment 2, Cisco VSG can be deployed on a per-vDC basis; and for segment 3, Cisco VSG can be deployed on a per-vApp basis.

Figure 5. Deployment Options with Cisco VSG

Software Packaging and Installation

Table 2 describes how to obtain the software for Cisco VSG with the VMware vSphere ESX and ESXi hypervisor.

Table 2. Software Packaging and Installation for Cisco VSG with VMware vSphere ESX and ESXi Hypervisor

Package

Description

Open Virtualization Format (OVF)

• Downloadable OVF virtual appliance in the form of a single file with the .ova extension
• Deployed with OVF templates and packages

ISO format

• Downloadable ISO file that can be mounted on a virtual machine
• Cisco Nexus 1010 Virtual Services Appliance and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series Cloud Services Platforms: ISO file deployable as a virtual service blade (VSB) on Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series platforms
• Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series Release 4.2(1)SP1(5.1) or later
• Cisco VSG Release 4.2(1)VSG2(1) or later

Table 3 describes how to obtain the software for Cisco VSG with the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor.

Table 3. Software Packaging and Installation for Cisco VSG with Microsoft Hyper-V Hypervisor

Package

Description

ISO format

Cisco VSG as a virtual appliance is not supported with Microsoft Hyper-V; Cisco VSG as a service blade on the Cisco Nexus 1100 is supported

• Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series: ISO file deployable as a VSB on Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series platforms
• Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series Release 4.2(1)SP1(5.1) or later
• Cisco VSG Release 5.2(1)VSG1(4.1) or later

Solution Deployment Requirements

To secure virtualized environments using Cisco VSG, you need to deploy the products listed in Table 4.

Table 4. Cisco VSG Deployment Requirements

Product

Requirement

Cisco Virtual Security Gateway

Cisco VSG as a virtual appliance*

(Cisco VSG as a virtual appliance is not supported with Microsoft Hyper-V; Cisco VSG as a service bade on the Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series is supported)

• 1 or 2 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) at 1.5 GHz
• RAM: 2 GB
• Hard disk: 3 GB
• Small, medium, and large form factors
• Network interfaces: 3
• Data interface (Cisco VSG to Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VEM)
• Management interface
• High-availability interface

Cisco VSG with VMware vSphere ESX and ESXi hypervisor as a service blade on Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series

• Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series Release 4.2(1)SP1(5.1) or later
• Cisco VSG Release 4.2(1)VSG2(1) or later; ISO format only

Cisco VSG with Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor as a service blade on Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series

• Cisco Nexus 1010 and Cisco Nexus 1100 Series Release 4.2(1)SP1(5.1) or later
• Cisco VSG Release 5.2(1)VSG1(4.1) or later; ISO format only

Hypervisor and hypervisor management

• VMware vSphere Releases 5.0 and 5.1 with VMware ESX or ESXi
• VMware vCenter Releases 5.0 and 5.1
• Microsoft Windows Server 2012
• Microsoft SCVMM 2012 SP1(UR2)

Distributed virtual switch

VMware vSphere ESX and ESXi hypervisor

Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Software Release 4.2(1)SV2(1.1a) or later:

• VSM (deployed as a virtual appliance or hosted on the Cisco Nexus 1010 or Cisco Nexus 1100 Series platform)
• VEM (embedded in the VMware vSphere ESX and ESXi hypervisor)

Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor

Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Software Release 5.2(1)SM1(5.1) or later:

• VSM (deployed as a virtual appliance or hosted on the Cisco Nexus 1010 or Cisco Nexus 1100 platform)
• VEM (embedded in the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor)

Management

Cisco Prime Network Services Controller (deployed as a virtual appliance)

* Cisco VSG for Microsoft Hyper-V feature parity is based on Cisco VSG Release 1.4, and the features marked with " *"are not supported in Cisco VSG Release 5.2(1)VSG1(4.1).

Product Specifications

Table 5 describes the product features available in Cisco VSG.

Table 5. Cisco VSG Features

Feature

Description

Trust zones

• Zone definition: Based on IP addresses, custom attributes *, and virtual machine attributes *
• Zone membership: Virtual machine can belong to multiple zones

Security policies and security profiles

• Policy model: Consists of rules, conditions, and actions
• Policy enforcement: Intrazone, zone to zone, and external area to zone
• Admissible attributes (in conditions)
• Network attributes: Source IP address, destination IP address, source port, destination port, and protocol
• Custom attributes *: User defined
• Virtual machine attributes *: With VMware hypervisor - obtained through VMware vCenter
• Operators supported (in conditions)
• Contains
• or *
• equal_to
• greater_than
• in_range
• less_than
• member_of
• prefix
• not_equal_to
• not_in_range
• not_member_of
• Policy actions: Permit, drop, and log
• Policy logging through syslog
• Security profile: Template-based authoring and management through Cisco Prime Network Services Controller; Cisco Prime Network Services Controller integration with VMware vCenter for virtual machine attributes and with Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VSM port profile for dynamic provisioning

Policy decisions and enforcement

• Policy decisions in Cisco VSG
• Policy enforcement in Cisco VSG or offloaded to vPath (embedded in the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VEM)
• Stateful packet inspection support (for example, FTP)

Network

• Layer 2 mode *
• Layer 3 mode
• IEEE 802.1Q VLAN encapsulation
• Traffic types: Unicast, broadcast, multicast, TCP, and User Datagram Protocol (UDP)
• Jumbo frame support (up to 9216 bytes) *
• VXLAN
• Enhanced VXLAN * aware: With VMware hypervisor - Cisco VSG Release 4.2(1)VSG1(3) or later and Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Release 4.2(1)SV1(5) or later

Cisco vPath

• Cisco vPath 2.0 support
• Participation in vPath service chain along with other network services

Multitenancy (scale-out)

• Deployment of one or more Cisco VSGs per segment or tenant
• Overlapping (private) IP address space on a per-segment or per-tenant basis

High availability

Active-standby operation when deployed as a high-availability pair

Deployment

• Transparent insertion in Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switch environment using one-arm mode (traffic steered to Cisco VSG by Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VEM vPath module)
• Flexible deployment options with both Layer 2 and Layer 3 connectivity between Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VEM and Cisco VSG; Layer 3 deployment option available in Cisco VSG Release 4.2(1)VSG1(3.1) or later and Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Release 4.2(1)SV1(5.1) or later

Operating system

Cisco NX-OS Software: Data center-class operating system built with modularity, resiliency, and serviceability at its foundation

Management

• Cisco Prime Network Services Controller for GUI- and policy-based management
• Cisco NX-OS command-line interface (CLI) console
• Network Time Protocol (NTP) RFC 1305
• Syslog-compliant access logs
• Secure Shell Version 2 (SSHv2)
• Telnet
• Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) Versions 1 and 2 *

* Cisco VSG for Microsoft Hyper-V feature parity is based on Cisco VSG Release 1.4, and the features marked with " *"are not supported in Cisco VSG Release 5.2(1)VSG1(4.1).

Licensing and Ordering Information

Cisco VSG is licensed based on the number of physical server CPU sockets that are being protected. Each protected CPU also requires a Cisco Nexus 1000V Series license. Cisco VSG is bundled with the Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch Advanced Edition. For Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch Advanced Edition pricing and license information, check the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series pricing page.

Warranty

The Cisco Virtual Security Gateway for Nexus 1000V Series Switch has a 90-day limited software warranty. For more warranty information, see http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/general/warranty/English/EU1KEN_.html.

Service and Support

Cisco Software Application Support plus Upgrades (SASU) is a comprehensive support service that helps you maintain and enhance the availability, security, and performance of your business-critical applications. Cisco SASU includes the following resources:

• Software updates and upgrades: The Cisco SASU service provides timely, uninterrupted access to software updates and upgrades to help you keep existing systems stable and network release levels current. Update releases, including major upgrade releases that may include significant architectural changes and new capabilities for your licensed feature set, are available by software download from Cisco.com or by CD-ROM shipment.

• Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC): Cisco TAC engineers provide accurate, rapid diagnosis and resolution of software application problems to help you reduce outages and performance degradation. These specialized software application experts are trained to support the Cisco VSG for Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches. Their expertise is available to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by telephone, fax, email, or the Internet.

• Online support: Cisco SASU provides access to a wide range of online tools and communities to help you resolve problems quickly, support business continuity, and improve competitiveness.

For More Information

• For additional information and a free evaluation of the Cisco Virtual Security Gateway, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/vsg.

• For additional information about the Cisco Prime Network Services Controller and a free evaluation version, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/services-controller.

• For additional information about the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/nexus1000v.

• For a free evaluation of Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/1000veval.

• For additional information about Cisco NX-OS Software, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/nxos.

• For additional information about VMware vSphere, visit http://www.vmware.com/go/vsphere.