Cisco doesn’t have a lot more to say about the Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) at the moment, but it does have a bunch of other data-center products readied, including some from the recent Whiptail acquisition.
ACI itself (the Insieme software-defined networking (SDN) stuff announced Nov. 6) remains on track for second-quarter availability. That’s when the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), the crucial element of ACI, is scheduled to ship, and that schedule still stands, says Shashi Kiran, a Cisco director of marketing.
In the meantime, 300 customers are in different stages of considering ACI, with some of them using a simulator to try it out in labs, he says.
Cisco does have one bit of ACI news: the addition of five partners to the ACI ecosystem, most notable among them being security company Palo Alto Networks. The others are Catbird (security), A10 Networks (application delivery controllers), and CloudEra and MapR (big data).
The bulk of Cisco’s newest data-center announcements, expected to come out next week, deal with more conventional data-center elements: storage, network management, and the non-Insieme lines of Nexus switches.
Getting Flashy With Storage
Regarding Whiptail, acquired in October, Cisco is tying the startup’s Invicta line of storage appliances to its Unified Computing System (UCS). It’s part of Cisco’s strategy molding the data center into “maybe not a single product, but a single domain of management,” says Todd Brannon, a Cisco marketing director. “Adding another siloed technology to the data center is what they do not want.”
Cisco’s UCS racks all tie into a fabric interconnect that can manage them as one pool of resources. Invicta boxes likewise connect up to routers that treat them as a single pool of storage. Cisco is marrying the two frameworks by now having the fabric interconnect talk to those routers, giving UCS-hosted applications a view into what they think is one big flash-memory drive.
New Invicta boxes being announced Thursday provide 24 TB of storage and support 250,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS). Thirty of the appliances can be tied together into one “scaling system.
Cloupia Joins the UCS Team
Provisioning software out of Cloupia, acquired late last year, is now named UCS Director. It provisions services in a data center by letting operators drag-and-drop physical and/or virtual resources into a workflow. In a way, it’s like a practice venue before jumping to cloud computing, applying the same ideas of virtualization and provisioning but doing it all inside the enterprise’s own network.
VMware does similar stuff, but only for the virtual elements of the network, Kiran says.
The new Version 4.1 of UCS Director adds a software development kit (SDK) and support for APIC. It also increases the number of virtual machines supported, to 50,000 versus 20,000.
Finally, the Nexus collection is expanding:
- The Nexus 7706, a smaller version of the 7700: 9 rack units tall with a 21 Tb/s capacity. It could be used for core deployments in smaller data centers.
- A new 10-Gb/s module for all Nexus 7700s (Cisco had previously introduced 40-Gb/s and 100-Gb/s modules)
- A new module for the Nexus 6000, the line that was introduced last year as a high-density 40-Gb/s box. The new module adds what Cisco calls unified port capability, allowing any port to run Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or Fibre Channel over Ethernet (but not InfiniBand).
- The Nexus 5600, an upgrade to the 5500 series that includes VXLAN support.
- The Nexus 3172TQ, a top-of-rack switch that runs 10GBaseT (i.e., 10 Gb/s over copper). Based on merchant chips, it also supports VXLAN, making for what Cisco thinks is the first VXLAN support over copper rather than fiber.
The 7706 shipped in December. The other new boxes and modules are due to ship this quarter.