The Cisco Nexus® 1100 Series Virtual Services Appliances (VSAs) offer dedicated hardware platforms for the deployment of network services critical to virtualized data center infrastructure (Figure 1). The appliances host a number of virtual service blades (VSBs), including the following: the Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM), the Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), the Cisco Prime™ Network Analysis Module (NAM), and the Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) for both LAN and SAN management. These VSBs provide a comprehensive solution for virtual networking services in the data center. Dedicated hardware for the Cisco Nexus 1000V VSM eases virtual access switch deployment for the network administrator, and with its support for additional VSBs, the Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSAs are crucial components of a virtualized data center.
Figure 1. Cisco Nexus 1100 Series Virtual Services Appliance
Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches
Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches are intelligent virtual machine access switches designed for hypervisor environments. Operating inside a hypervisor, the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series supports server virtualization technology to provide:
• Policy-based virtual machine connectivity
• Mobile virtual machine security and network policy
• Nondisruptive operation model for your server virtualization and networking teams
Server virtualization usually changes the deployment and management of server operating systems, leading to longer deployment times, with a greater degree of coordination among server, network, storage, and security administrators. The Cisco Nexus 1000V Series offers a consistent networking feature set and provisioning process all the way from the virtual machine access layer to the core of the data center network infrastructure. Virtual servers can use the same network configuration, security policy, diagnostic tools, and operation models as their physical server counterparts attached to dedicated physical network ports. Virtualization administrators can access predefined network policies that follow mobile virtual machines to help ensure proper connectivity, saving valuable time that administrators can use to focus on virtual machine administration. This comprehensive set of capabilities helps you deploy server virtualization faster and achieve its benefits sooner (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Architecture
The Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSAs offer dedicated hardware for the Cisco Nexus 1000V VSM and other virtual network services. Network administrators can install and configure virtual access switches similar to the way they install and configure physical switches. Dedicated VSM hardware is especially helpful during data center power up, because there is no dependency in finding server resources for the VSM. Thus, the Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSAs allow network administrators to manage the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series virtual access switch like physical switches and scale server virtualization deployments (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Cisco Nexus 1100 Series Architecture
Figure 4 shows the internal architecture of the Cisco Nexus 1100 Series. The Cisco Nexus VSA Manager, based on the Cisco® NX-OS Software, manages VSBs, installation, and blade configuration. The Cisco Nexus VSA Manager offers a familiar Cisco NX-OS interface for network administrators installing and configuring VSBs. The Cisco Nexus VSA Manager also supports Cisco NX-OS high availability, allowing a standby Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSA to become active if the primary Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSA fails.
Figure 4. Cisco Nexus 1100 Series Internal Architecture
Cisco Nexus 1100 Series High Availability (HA)
Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSAs offer high-availability features for large-scale networking. Within a single appliance, a Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSA offers process-level availability conferred by the modular nature of Cisco NX-OS, as well as VSB availability features such as restart-on-failure. Cisco Nexus 1000V VSM active-standby high availability is fully supported on the Cisco Nexus 1100 Series. With dual Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSAs deployed in a high-availability cluster, active-standby failover of Cisco Nexus VSA Manager and VSBs is also supported.
VSM on Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSA Compared to VSM as a Virtual Machine
Table 1 compares deployment of a Cisco Nexus 1000V VSM as a virtual machine and on the Cisco Nexus 1100 Series. For customers who want a complete software deployment of the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series, deployment of the VSM as a virtual machine provides flexibility in VSM placement and even mobility with VMware vMotion. However, for network administrators who want greater control over the management of the VSM, the Cisco Nexus 1100 Series provides a complete Cisco NX-OS experience while installing the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series virtual access switch. In addition, the Cisco Nexus 1100 Series offers fewer dependencies when the data center is powered on because the VSM can be initiated at the same time as the Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Ethernet Modules (VEMs).
Table 1. Comparison of VSM on Cisco Nexus 1100 Series and VSM as Virtual Machine
VSM as Virtual Machine
VSM on Cisco Nexus 1100 Series
Cisco Nexus 1000V Series features and scalability
VEM running on a hypervisor
Cisco NX-OS high availability of VSM
Software-only deployment (hypervisor specific)
Installation like that of a standard Cisco switch
Network team ownership and management of the VSM
Support for multiple-hypervisor virtual machine traffic
The Cisco Nexus 1110-S VSA maximum supported configuration (up to six VSBs total; see Table 2) is either:
• 6 Cisco Nexus 1000V VSMs, each capable of managing 64 VMware ESX or ESXi hosts for a total of 384 VMware ESX or ESXi hosts
• 6 Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) VSBs
The Cisco Nexus 1110-X VSA maximum supported configuration (up to 10 VSBs total; Table 2) is either:
• 10 Cisco Nexus 1000V VSMs, each capable of managing 64 VMware ESX or ESXi hosts for a total of 640 VMware ESX or ESXi hosts
• 10 Cisco VSG VSBs
Table 2. Weighting Matrix (to Determine Maximum Capacity of VSBs on Cisco Nexus 1100 Series VSBs)
Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM; LAN and SAN)
Cisco Nexus 1110-S Release 4.2(1)SP1(5.1)
Cisco Nexus 1110-X Release 4.2(1)SP1(5.1)
Examples of Cisco Nexus 1110-S configurations include:
• 6 VSMs
• 6 Cisco VSGs
• 3 VSMs and 3 VSGs
• 2 VSMs, 2 Cisco VSGs, and 1 NAM
• 1 Cisco DCNM and 1 NAM
• 1 Cisco DCNM, 1 VSM, and 1 Cisco VSG
Examples of Cisco Nexus 1110-X configurations include:
• 10 VSMs
• 10 Cisco VSGs
• 5 VSMs and 5 Cisco VSGs
• 4 VSMs, 4 Cisco VSGs, and 1 NAM
• 3 VSMs, 3 Cisco VSGs, and 1 Cisco DCNM
• 2 Cisco DCNMs and 1 NAM
• Stateful failover between active and standby Cisco Nexus VSA Managers
• Restart of VSMs and VSBs
• VSB export and import and VSM backup and restore
Table 8. Cisco Nexus 1110 and 1110-X Virtual Services Appliances Ordering Information
Nexus 1110-S and 1110-X Virtual Services Appliances (VSAs)
ONE Nexus 1110-S with 32x Nexus 1000V
Nexus 1110-S HA Pair without Nexus 1000V
Nexus 1110-S HA Pair with 32x Nexus 1000V
Nexus 1110-S HA Pair with 64x Nexus 1000V
ONE Nexus 1110-X with 48x Nexus 1000V
Nexus 1110-X HA Pair without Nexus1000V
Nexus 1110-X HA Pair with 48x Nexus 1000V
Nexus 1110-X HA Pair with 96x Nexus 1000V
Redundant Power Supply Available As Field Replaceable Unit (FRU)
650W Power Supply
Service and Support
Cisco offers a wide range of services programs to accelerate customer success. These innovative programs are delivered through a unique combination of people, processes, tools, and partners, resulting in high levels of customer satisfaction. Cisco Services helps you protect your network investment, optimize network operations, and prepare your network for new applications to extend network intelligence and the power of your business. For more information about Cisco Services, see Cisco Technical Support Services or Cisco Advanced Services.
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. 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.