Cisco is unveiling a new beefed up line of virtual services appliances this week called the Nexus 1100 series, the next generation of our Nexus 1010 appliances. These virtual service appliances are integral to the deployment of scalable virtual security and management nodes in the data center, for offloading application servers from running virtual service modules, and for empowering the networking team to retain control of network and security policies in a platform that they manage.
Cisco customers deploying Nexus 1000V virtual switches as the foundation for their virtual networks and virtual overlays typically deploy the Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM), the virtual switch’s management plane, in the Nexus 1100, along with some combination of Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) firewalls, virtual Prime Network Analysis Modules (NAM), Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) for both LAN and SAN networks, and soon, even the Imperva SecureSphere Web Application Firewall (WAF). The Nexus 1100 is a UCS-based appliance for hosting the service VM’s, but it runs the NX-OS operating system, so it can be managed like a network device and retains policy controls for the networking team.
The fact that the networking team can control networking and service policies from a single platform without going through hypervisor management tools will become exceedingly important in the future as data centers run multiple hypervisors, like Microsoft’s Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012, or KVM and Xen. The networking team can run a multi-hypervisor, multi-service, multi-cloud environment through one platform. Look for us to support additional virtual services on this platform going forward.
Meanwhile, on the security front, Cisco made some data center security announcements this week, including news on the new ASA 9.0 software, the IPS 4500 series and the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall we started shipping in August. In another post, Jonathan Gilad talks about security for multi-tenant virtual desktop environments, which includes both VSG and the ASA 1000V cloud firewall. The Nexus 1100 thus becomes an important component of these larger solutions like virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) as the host for virtual security services. The Nexus 1100 also plays a role in Cisco’s SDN strategy, including our Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE) portfolio, since the Nexus 1000V is the foundation for our programmable virtual network overlays.
The Cisco Nexus 1100 Series will initially come in 2 form factors: Nexus 1110-S and Nexus 1110-X. The Nexus 1110-X is positioned for larger environments and also ships 10 Gigabit Ethernet ready to be enabled in an upcoming NX-OS software release. More details on the specifications and capacity of each configuration can be found here.