Contrary to numerous rumors on the web about Insieme being rolled in during Cisco Live!, all we got to see was a little sneak peek at what Insieme is building. Word is that the real acquisition will happen later this year, perhaps nearer to Thanksgiving. Regardless, it’s probably not as interesting to learn when Insieme gets rolled in (that’s not really news), but more interesting as to what products are they rolling out and in what timeframe. In any case, here’s a roll up of this week’s news from SDNCentral.
#1 Cisco Announces Extensions to Nexus Core Switching Functionality and Flexibility; Insieme Takes Aim at SDN Deficiencies with New Architecture
At the Cisco Live US event in Orlando, FL, Cisco launched several new data center networking products, including the Nexus 7700 data center switch and the Nexus Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) extension to Cisco’s Unified Fabric for Cisco’s Nexus switches.
Representing the next generation of the modular Nexus 7000 data center switch, the new Nexus 7700 family scales to 83Tbps of switching capacity and supports up to 192 ports of 100 GbE, 384 ports of 40 GbE and 768 native 10-Gbps ports, making it arguably the most powerful data center switch on the market. Two configurations were announced; the Nexus 7710 features a 10-slot chassis and up to 42Tbps of switching capacity and an 18-slot 7718 that scales to 83Tbps. By way of comparison, the Nexus 7000, which Cisco first announced in 2008, supported up to 512 10 GbE connections and 15Tbps of switching capacity.
In tandem with the extension to the Nexus 7000-series switches, Cisco announced F3-Series 40/100GbE line card modules for the Nexus 7000 and F3 modules for the 7700 that give it twice the port density of the 5-year-old Nexus 7000.
Dynamic Fabric Automation
Designed to simplify fabric management, the DFA architecture automates the configuration and provisioning of Nexus physical and virtual switches, with greater visibility and control of the physical infrastructure. Cisco says it will also improve multi-tenant scalability and is capable of supporting more than 10,000 tenants and 50,000 networks. The DFA fabric works on the just announced F3-Series 40/100 GbE line card modules for the Nexus 7000 and 7700.
DFA is built to optimize spine and leaf topologies, consisting of leaf nodes at the physical network edge of the fabric (e.g., connecting to the application servers and service nodes) and spine nodes at the core of the fabric. This enables DFA to improve forwarding, distribute control, and reduce the size of failure domains. According to Cisco, no physical or virtual machine will be more than two hops from any other, providing unimpeded mobility for physical and virtual machines. Power-on provisioning is also supported; when a new network device is added to the fabric, DFA can apply a configuration from a pre-defined template.
Cisco says that DFA architecture is free from any dependencies on the hypervisor infrastructure or cloud orchestration software and offers more efficient traffic forwarding alternatives, with greater visibility and control of the physical infrastructure. But DFA is far from a stand-alone solution. In addition to the Nexus hardware noted above, Cisco’s Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) 7.0 handles fabric management and FabricPath is required for multi-pathing and loop prevention.
Insieme Application-Centric Infrastructure
While many expected Insieme Networks to unveil the programmable data center switch/fabric controller they’ve reportedly been working on, the Cisco spin-in instead revealed its vision for an application-centric SDN; one that will complement and leverage existing Cisco SDN efforts, including Cisco ONE and the open source OpenDaylight project.
According to Insieme execs, the two prevailing models to network virtualization, network overlays and controller-based architectures, fall short of what’s really needed – a common operational model for the entire infrastructure. In their view, both approaches create new operational problems, increasing network complexity while constraining performance, scale and visibility. With its Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI), Insieme plans to deliver a virtualization model that can run across the network, tying the application and network infrastructure layers together though a common policy management framework for automation across network, security and application administration.
While many SDN vendors market solutions that claim to provide the same network-level automation and scalability, Insieme SVP Soni Jiandani expressed that the Application-Centric Infrastructure comprises not only software but also innovation in hardware and ASICs, a triple-threat combination that, in her words “… will allow our customers to build-out a penalty-free overlay.“
#2 CloudStack Integration Enhances Midonet Scalability
Midokura, a network virtualization start-up, announced the availability of a CloudStack plugin for MidoNet, the company’s distributed IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) virtual network solution. MidoNet-CloudStack integration offers enhanced scalability of routing functionality to Midokura customers. The MidoNet logical topology populates automatically with the calling of CloudStack Networking API’s; when a new tenant is created in CloudStack, a Tenant Router is created in the MidoNet virtual topology.
Apache CloudStack is a leading open-source solution for the orchestration and automation of cloud IaaS that can deploy and manage large networks of virtual machines as a highly available, highly scalable IaaS cloud computing platform. In announcing the MidoNet-Apache CloudStack integration, Dan Mihai Dumitriu, co-founder and CEO of Midokura, stated “The major benefits of the joint solution will be increased scalability, functionality and management of the network layer, along with a simpler approach to network design.”
The MidoNet-CloudStack integration is available now. In October 2012, Midokura announced its first IaaS integration development effort, for the OpenStack cloud operating system, in conjunction with the launch of MidoNet in the U.S. market.
#3 CloudWeaver Delivers Flow Intelligence to Preempt Latency and Ensure App Performance in Cloud Networks
FlowMapper, a network monitoring sensor product from ADN solution provider Lyatiss, enables deep visibility and intuitive orchestration of cloud infrastructure resources with other services for enhanced control and performance of cloud infrastructure. Comprised of preconfigured network sensors that can be natively integrated into operating systems and transparently deployed with virtual instances or resources, FlowMapper enables real-time detection and resolution of problems with cloud-based applications. Targeting application administrators and DevOps, FlowMapper features include flexible data sampling to adjust the depth and scope of information required by the application or the analytics.
Pascale Vicat-Blanc, CEO of Lyatiss, stated that “CloudWeaver FlowMapper helps solve the complex problems of diagnosing and preventing latency and bottleneck issues that impact overall application response time. FlowMapper enables network sensors to exploit the intelligence of the transport layer, which amplifies the work of protocols and the operating system without adding extraneous processing demands or requiring data transmission that could further hamper performance.”
Rather than inspecting and controlling individual packets within the network infrastructure, ADN solutions sense and orchestrate application flows and virtual paths. Lyatiss also introduced recently introduced Discovery, a free inventory tool used to map geographically dispersed resources in an Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud infrastructure.
Available today as a free beta trial, the commercial version of FlowMapper will be available July 15, 2013.
#4 OpenDaylight VTN Proposal Clears Steering Committee As Four New Companies Join Project
OpenDaylight, an open-source project focused on the creation of an industry supported framework for building a common SDN stack, recently announced four new member companies: ADVA Optical Networking, Ciena, Guavus, and start-up Versa Networks. In addition, the organization’s Technical Steering Committee (TSC) green-lighted the Virtual Tenant Networking (VTN) proposal to move to the “Bootstrap” state.
Initially submitted as a proposal by NEC at the most recent HackFest earlier this month, OpenDaylight VTN is a set of technology components that provide a multi-tenant virtual network through the OpenDaylight controller. Addressing the cost and complexity issues associated with the configuration of silos on traditional physical networks, the VTN is a logical abstraction plane that enables its complete separation from the physical plane. Users can design and deploy any desired network as if it were a conventional L2/L3 network without knowing the physical network topology or bandwidth restrictions. As defined, the logical plane makes it possible not only to hide the complexity of the underlying network but also to better manage network resources, reducing reconfiguration time of network services and minimizing network configuration errors.
The Technical Steering Committee is chartered to oversee design and development activities within the OpenDaylight project; its decision to transition the VTN proposal from a “Proposed Contribution” to a “Bootstrap” state marks a significant increase of functionality for OpenDaylight and represents a major chunk of intellectual property that companies are collaborating on.
OpenDaylight supporting vendors include numerous networking heavyweights such as Arista Networks, Big Switch Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Ericsson, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, NEC, Nuage Networks, PLUMgrid, Red Hat, and VMware. With the addition of the four new members, OpenDaylight now has 27 companies committed to the project’s effort to accelerate the development and adoption of open source SDN.
#5 Tail-f/Metaswitch Solution to Deliver Streamlined Routing and Network Management for Satellite Communications
ND SatCom, a system integrator for satellite-based communication networks and a manufacturer of Radio Frequency (RF) equipment, has selected a joint solution from Tail-f Systems and MetaSwitch Networks to deliver routing and network management through its satellite communication applications.
The strategic partnership between Tail-f Systems, a Swedish provider of network service programmability solutions for traditional and Software-Defined Networks (SDN) and Metaswitch, a private U.K. company that designs, develops, and manufactures telecommunications hardware and software, was initially created in 2011 and is designed to offer enterprise customers a solution to reduce project development cycles. This partnership enables ND SatCom to adopt the MetaCLI Tail-Pack, which integrates Metaswitch routing protocols into Tail-f’s technology.
Tail-f’s ConfD is a market-leading solution for building on-device management applications. When integrated with Metaswitch Layer 3 routing protocols, the joint solution will enable ND SatCom to more quickly auto-render a fully transactional Cisco CLI and other northbound interfaces like NETCONF and WebUI, without the need for additional programming.
According to Michael Weixler, Director of Technology at ND SatCom, “With ConfD’s integration with Metaswitch’s IP routing solutions, we anticipate a faster time to market for products while maintaining the network management experience operators expect.”
ND SatCom is a subsidiary of Astrium Services, a provider of satellite services and a leader in the geospatial information market.