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Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Network Services: The Next Generation

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Gustavo A. A. Santana, author of Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals: Understanding Techniques and Designs for Highly Efficient Data Centers with Cisco Nexus, UCS, MDS, and Beyond, highlights how Cisco's Nexus 1000V Layer 2 distributed virtual switch can unlock potential in server virtualization environments, boldly going where no switch has gone before.
Nexus 1000V InterCloud

Nexus 1000V InterCloud

While many customers desire the flexibility ingrained in the promises of the hybrid cloud, the complexity and security issues related to this concept have always compromised such a leap for IT departments. With Nexus 1000V InterCloud, Cisco intends to fulfill such promise with simplicity, while leveraging its ever-expanding portfolio of virtual network services.

In summary, Nexus 1000V is composed of the following elements:

  • Cisco Prime Network Service Controller (NSC). Formerly Cisco Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC), this virtual appliance provides a control cockpit for the hybrid cloud extension.
  • Nexus 1000V InterCloud Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM). Provides the control plane for the virtual switch that connects virtual machines on a server virtualization cluster and a public cloud infrastructure.
  • Nexus 1000V InterCloud Extender (ICX). Virtual machine deployed by NSC in the private virtualization cluster. It accesses local VLANs and securely extends them to a public cloud environment.
  • Nexus 1000V InterCloud Switch (ICS). Virtual instance that represents a Nexus 1000V module "in the sky." It provides secure connections to ICX and to the cloud virtual machines.

Figure 2 details how these elements relate to each other.

Figure 2 Nexus 1000V InterCloud architecture.

In Figure 2, NSC provides the orchestration between a VM manager (such as VMware vCenter) and the public cloud application programming interface (API). In this way, it can install and configure both ICX and ICS with simplicity and speed. These elements are controlled as Nexus 1000V modules and are connected with an encrypted Layer 2 extension overlay through the Internet.

With Nexus 1000V InterCloud, server virtualization administrators can move workloads between private and public domains, or "cloudburst" servers in the cloud, whenever the local resources cannot handle peak IT needs. Moreover, with the advanced capabilities of CSR 1000V, Nexus 1000V can even transform cloud VMs into a simple disaster-recovery infrastructure for its users.

The internal connectivity in the private portion of the hybrid cloud can be deployed with virtual switches other than Nexus 1000V, although the latter offers several advantages. One immediate benefit of using Nexus 1000V is the extension of vPath virtual network services (such as VSG, ASA 1000V, vWAAS) to workloads installed on the public cloud.

At the time of this writing, Nexus 1000V supports VMware vSphere 5.x server virtualization and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services. Cisco also intends to include other hypervisor and cloud provider options for its Nexus 1000V product.

Gustavo A. A. Santana, CCIE No. 8806, is a Cisco Technical Solutions Architect working in enterprise and service provider data center projects that require a greater integration among multiple technology areas such as networking, application optimization, storage, and servers. In addition to holding two CCIE certifications (Routing & Switching and Storage Networking), Gustavo is also a VMware Certified Professional (VCP) and an SNIA Certified Storage Networking Expert (SCSN-E). A frequent speaker at Cisco and data center industry events, he also blogs on data center virtualization.