Switching It Up: Cisco's Data Center Strategy Takes Sharp Turn toward Applications

Cisco Unveils Application-Centric Infrastructure Vision with Insieme; Cisco also announces Dynamic Fabric Automation for Easier Data Center Management and Provisioning, and new Nexus 7700 Switches.

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Johannesburg, South Africa, June 27, 2013 – This week Cisco unveiled a ground-breaking data center networking architecture at Cisco Live in Orlando. Designed to usher in the era of Application-Centric Infrastructure, Cisco's architecture aims to transform data centers to better address the demands of new and current applications in the Cloud era.

Accelerated to market by Cisco's investment in Insieme Networks*, this fundamental shift to application-centric infrastructure will provide IT with the ability to quickly deliver business applications to end-users with a simpler operational model, scalable secure infrastructure, and at optimised cost. This shift requires an open, programmable and automated infrastructure that is ready to handle the challenges of cloud deployment models and today's Big Data applications.

Cisco also announced two key innovative enhancements to its Unified Fabric portfolio. First, Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA), which automates network provisioning, simplifies fabric management and optimises fabric for greater efficiency and scale. Second, extensions to the Nexus 7000 portfolio with new Nexus 7700 Series switches and new F3 Series I/O Modules that deliver industry leading 40G/100G scalability, with the most comprehensive set of data center switching features.


Note to Editors:

Application-Centric Infrastructure

The key attributes of the new architecture will include:

  • Application Velocity (Any workload, anywhere): Application deployment time will be reduced via fully automated and programmatic network infrastructure.
  • Common open platform for physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure: The architecture will provide complete integration across physical and virtual applications normalising endpoint access while delivering flexibility of software and performance, scale and visibility of hardware across multi-vendor virtualised, bare metal, distributed scale out and cloud applications.
  • Systems Architecture: A holistic simplified approach with the integration of infrastructure, services, and security, coupled with real-time telemetry and extensibility to future services.
  • Common Policy, Management and Operations: A common policy management framework and operational model driving automation across network, security and application teams that is extensible to compute and storage in the future.
  • Open APIs, Open Source and Multivendor: Support of a broad ecosystem of partners empowered by a comprehensive published set of open APIs.
  • Leverages the Best of Custom and Merchant Silicon: A balanced approach provides a faster rate of innovation and customer adoption while enabling a future proofed migration to Application Centric Infrastructure. This approach results in optimised price, performance, density, security and power while providing investment protection for existing cabling plants through innovation in the area of optics. As customers migrate to 40G today and 100G in the future, this approach allows them to optimise both their capital and operational expenditures.

Unified Fabric

Cisco is delivering new updates to its current Nexus portfolio, evolving the Unified Fabric that ensures greater networking scale, agility, and management. These include simplified provisioning, better management, and new switches.

New Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) Innovations include:

  • Optimised Fabric Infrastructure for Enhanced Efficiency and Scale: Optimised spine-leaf topologies with enhanced forwarding, distributed control plane and integrated physical and virtual enable any network anywhere with seamless mobility for physical and virtual machines and network extensibility. It also delivers greater resiliency with smaller failure domains and multi-tenant scale of greater than 10,000 tenants/networks.
  • Simplified Fabric Management with Open APIs for ease of operations: Cisco Prime DCNM 7.0 provides centralised fabric management including automated network provisioning, common point of fabric access, and host, network and tenant visibility. Open APIs allow better integration with orchestration and automation tools, in addition to cloud platforms.
    • Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) 7.0: A single point of management automates and simplifies infrastructure deployment, enables dynamic infrastructure provisioning for virtual machine (VM) deployment and provides troubleshooting tools.
    • Cisco Prime Network Services Controller 3.6: Dynamically creates network services, communicates with VMware and Cisco Nexus 1000V, and passes relevant information to DCNM.
  • Automated Provisioning for Greater Agility: Enables network automation and provisioning for simplifying both physical servers and virtual machine deployments and moves across the fabric. Based on the network profile templates instances of Network Policies are automatically created and applied to the network leaf when a Server Admin provisions VMs/PMs. As VMs move across the fabric, the Network Policy is applied automatically to the leaf switch.

Together these provide significant benefits compared to software-only overlay approaches or physical networks alone.

New Nexus 7700 Switches and Modules

Cisco is extending the Nexus 7000 portfolio with new Nexus 7700 Series switches and new F3 Series I/O Modules, including:

  • The new Nexus 7700 Series switches, which consist of environmentally efficient Nexus 7710 (10-slot) and Nexus 7718 (18-slot) chassis.
  • The new F3 series I/O modules, which are supported on both 7000 and 7700 Series switches, deliver 40G/100G density, improve power efficiency by 60%, and support a broad set of proven Data Center Switching features.
  • With these innovations, the Nexus 7718 delivers industry's highest capacity 40G and 100G switch with up to 384 40-Gbps ports and 192 100-Gbps ports. The Nexus 7718 has been designed to deliver up to 83Tbps of overall switching capacity.

The new Nexus 7700 Series switches are scheduled to ship in July 2013 and the new F3 Series I/O modules are scheduled to be available the second half of 2013.

* Insieme is a majority owned subsidiary of Cisco and as of April 27, 2013, Cisco owned approximately 85% of Insieme.

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Learn more: Cisco Unified Fabric


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