Virtualization and cloud create exciting business-transformation opportunities, innovative services-delivery models, and improved economics. At the same time, they introduce a new dimension of services-delivery challenges. To take advantage of the new paradigm, it is essential to have operational agility and real-time visibility that combines performance analytics, network usage data, and insights into the end-user experience to maintain effective services delivery.
Cisco Prime™ Virtual Network Analysis Module (vNAM) delivers the operational agility by permitting deployment anywhere in the network to improve services levels. You can deploy the vNAM in the cloud to monitor hosted workloads, at remote sites to characterize the end-user experience, or wherever you want in the network to eliminate blind spots. It combines comprehensive application awareness, rich performance analytics, and deeper network visibility, empowering the network administrators with actionable information to effectively manage their networks.
Cisco Prime vNAM offers the versatility that allows you to:
• Monitor workloads in the multi-tenant cloud
• Analyze network usage by application, host or virtual machine (VM), and conversation to identify bottlenecks that may affect performance and availability
• Troubleshoot performance problems combining detailed traffic flow and packet analysis, consistently across physical and virtual environments
• Take advantage of an integrated web-based interface to remotely manage a site, eliminating the need to backhaul the data to a centralized location, hence saving WAN bandwidth
• Validate infrastructure updates such as WAN optimization, Cisco Trustsec, and quality-of-service (QoS) policy changes
Cisco Prime vNAM offers a comprehensive package with extensive data-collection capabilities, rich analytics, and user experience that enable you to get actionable information quickly to accelerate operational decisions. The key features are described in Table 1.
Table 1. Cisco Prime vNAM Feature and Benefits
Meet the demand for operational agility in virtualized data center and cloud environments. You can deploy Cisco Prime vNAM in the tenant network containers, remote sites, or almost any place in the network to address specific operational needs with its rich analytics and purpose-built GUI interface.
Application performance analytics
Characterize the end-user experience for TCP-based applications and isolate application response-time problems to the network, server, or the application, to accelerate troubleshooting.
Voice Quality analytics
Gather real-time reports on mean opinion score (MOS) and other key performance indicators (KPIs) such as jitter and packet loss to understand and improve how the end user experiences the delivery of voice services. MOS is computed based on ITU-T Recommendations G.107, offering accurate characterization of voice quality.
View short- and long-term network usage by applications, hosts, conversations, differentiated-services-code-point (DSCP) groups, and various supported encapsulations. Identify top consumers of network resources and isolate network bottlenecks, thereby allowing you to optimize network resource-allocation decisions.
Cisco TrustSec® policy validation
Validate the Cisco TrustSec policy using Security Group Tags (SGT) and evaluating the endpoints or hosts, applications, and conversations participating in one or more security group.
WAN-optimized networks visibility
Obtain end-to-end proof points demonstrating how Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) has improved application delivery (for example, decreased application transaction times or improved WAN bandwidth usage). Accelerate your return on investment (ROI) by assessing the best site and application candidates for optimization as part of the phased rollout plan.
Deep, insightful packet analysis
Solve complex performance problems with trigger-based captures, filters, decodes, and error scan features. Packet captures can be triggered based on performance thresholds, allowing you to focus on specific performance problems. In addition, use external storage to collect extensive packet captures for offline analysis.
Preserve investment in existing management assets through integration based on a standards-based REST/XML) application programming interface (API).
Anytime, anywhere access
Access the web interface from any desktop, eliminating the need to send personnel to remote sites or send large amounts of data over WAN links to the central site.
Example of Deployment Scenarios
Monitor Workload in Multitenant Cloud
Deployed in the tenant network container (Figure 1), Cisco Prime vNAM analyzes the TCP-based interactions for the hosted workload to monitor performance in terms of metrics such as transaction time, server response time, and application delay. Setting performance thresholds helps to proactively detect performance problems, troubleshoot application response time concerns, and minimize the risks of violating service-level objectives. Cisco Prime vNAM also provides insight into network usage by applications, top talkers, and conversations to help optimize use of cloud infrastructure.
Figure 1. Track Application Performance and Resource Usage with Cisco Prime vNAM
Simplify Remote-Site Manageability
When deployed at a remote site, Cisco Prime vNAM can help network administrators characterize end-user experience (Figure 2), profile application traffic, and troubleshoot performance problems to cost-effectively deliver services across Cisco® Borderless Networks. An integrated web-based interface allows administrators to access vNAM remotely at any time and from anywhere to get a glimpse into the health of the network and applications. It eliminates the need to bring the data to a centralized location for analysis. The vNAM provides the ability to monitor all traffic entering and leaving the remote site, understanding what applications are consuming the most bandwidth, proactively identifying when application performance is being affected, assessing whether the control and optimization techniques are effectively implemented, and contextually troubleshooting the performance problems.
Figure 2. Manage Remote Sites with Cisco Prime vNAM
Cisco Prime vNAM licensing is tied to the traffic monitoring throughput. The vNAM licenses will be available to monitor up to 1-Gbps traffic. The licensing is based on Cisco Software Licensing, for which additional information is available at http://www.cisco.com/go/clm. The Cisco Prime vNAM includes a 60-day evaluation license. When generally available, you can also download the Cisco Prime vNAM at Cisco Software Center.
Table 2 provides the specifications for the Cisco Prime vNAM.
Table 2. Product Specifications
Supported virtualization platforms
Cisco Prime vNAM us supported on ESXi, and KVM. The supported version numbers will be published closer to the general availability.
Cisco Prime vNAM is targeted for monitoring performance up to 1-Gbps traffic. The performance benchmarks will be published closer to the general availability of the product.
Supported topologies and data sources
• LAN: Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN), Remote SPAN (RSPAN), encapsulated remote SPAN (ERSPAN), VLAN access control list (VACL)-based captures, NetFlow (Versions 5 and 9), Cisco WAAS, and Cisco Performance Agent
• WAN: NetFlow (Versions 5 and 9) from local and remote devices, VACL-based captures, and Cisco WAAS Flow Agent
Supported communication protocols
• HTTP/Secure HTTP (HTTPS) with embedded web-based user interface
• Simple Network Management Protocol Version 1 (SNMPv1) and Version 2c, with standards-based applications
Cisco Prime NAM Software
• Cisco Prime NAM Software version 6.0
• Requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0+ or Firefox ESR 10.0+
• Support for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security with up to 256-bit encryption
• Role-based user authorization and authentication locally or using TACACS+
The Cisco NAMs are standards-compliant, and they support the following major MIB groups:
• MIB-II (RFC 1213): All groups except Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP) and transmission
• Remote Monitoring (RMON; RFC 2819): Alarm and Event groups only
• RMON2 (RFC 2021): trapDestTable only
• Cisco Discovery Protocol
• EntityMIB (RFC 2737)
Applications and protocols
Cisco Prime vNAM identifies hundreds of unique protocols (Layer 2-4) and automatically detects unknown protocols. It also supports URL-based application definition.
Supported protocols include, but not limited to:
• TCP and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) over IP including IPv6
• HTTP and HTTPS
• Voice over IP (VoIP) including Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP), Real-Time Transport Protocol/Real-Time Control Protocol (RTP/RTCP), Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
• SigTran protocols
• Mobile IP protocols including GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP)
• Storage-area network protocols
• Database protocols
• Peer-to-peer protocols
• Switch and router protocols
• Cisco proprietary protocols
• Unknown protocols by TCP/UDP ports and remote-procedure call (RPC) program numbers
It allows customization of the protocol engine by defining protocols based on a single port or a range of ports. The custom application definition can be augmented by including the IP address in addition to port and port range.
Cisco Prime vNAM is expected to be orderable in Q4CY13. Once orderable, Cisco Prime vNAM can be purchased through regular Cisco sales and distribution channels worldwide. You can place orders using Cisco Ordering Homepage. The software can be downloaded from Cisco Software Center.
Network centric software applications are the core of your most critical business operations, enabling continuous communication and collaboration with colleagues, customers, and business partners. Cisco and our authorized partners offer software application support services that can help customers maximize the availability, security, and performance of important business applications. Adding application support to traditional service offerings such as Cisco SMARTnet creates a more complete technical support solution. It provides new opportunities for increased revenue, higher profit margins, and more frequent customer interactions.
For information about Cisco Services, go to http://www.cisco.com/go/services. Table 4 shows the technical support service recommended for the Virtual NAM Module and Table 5 shows the product upgrade subscription available.
Table 3. Cisco Technical Services
Cisco Essential Operate Service (ESW)
Cisco Essential Operate Service provides the support you need to help reduce downtime, improve performance, and lead to higher productivity through:
• Application maintenance and minor release updates
• Global 24 hour access to Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC)
• Access to online knowledge base, communities and tools
• Collaborative learning providing additional knowledge and training opportunities
Table 4. Cisco Prime Assured Software Subscription
Cisco Prime Assured Software Subscription (PASS)
Prime Assured Software Subscription (PASS) entitles you to major software version upgrades of Cisco Prime products when linked to an active Cisco Essential Operate Service contract. For more details on PASS, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/pass.