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Cisco Unveils Virtual Switch for VMware

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Cisco Systems today announced its long-expected virtual software switch, the Nexus 1000V, which will become an integrated option in the VMware Infrastructure virtualization environment. The two companies made the announcement in a keynote at the VMworld 2008 show, where they also unveiled collaborations to help enterprises virtualize their desktops and train resellers in data center virtualization strategies.

The announcement is  the latest step in Cisco’s Data Center 3.0 initiative, and aligns with VMware’s vision for virtual machines to become the building blocks for the next-generation data center. It also deepens the partnership between VMware (VMW) and Cisco (CSCO) , providing each with a powerful ally in their respective ambitions in the data center.

The Nexus 1000V will extend Cisco’s security, policy enforcement, automated provisioning and diagnostics features into VMware environments that can scale to thousands of virtual machines (VMs). The new Cisco Virtual Network Link (VN-Link) technology on the Nexus 1000V will integrate with VMware’s vNetwork Distributed Switch framework to create a logical network infrastructure.

“With today’s announcement, VMware and Cisco have taken a significant step forward in enabling our customers to take advantage of an end-to-end virtual data center architecture to simplify how they deliver IT services to their clients” said Brian Byun, vice president of global partners and solutions for VMware. “We’re excited to announce the Cisco Nexus 1000V and VMware Infrastructure integration, as this is a key building block in our strategy to partner with industry leaders to deliver to customers the deep federated management of physical and virtual server, network and storage infrastructure required in a fully virtualized data center.”

The virtual software switch will enable  IT managers to apply the capabilities of Cisco physical hardware switches to each virtual machine, maing it easier to manage virtual machines as they migrate them across physical servers.

“What is cool about Cisco working together with VMware is that the service, security and operational ease of management policies in Cisco networking will be assignable across each virtual machine in VMware Infrastructure,” said Theresa Regan, director of operations and infrastructure services for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “This kind of innovation will help drive more use of virtualization in our campus.”

“Integrating the Cisco end-to-end data center networking capabilities into the VMware platform is a way for our customers to enjoy the Cisco networking, security, and storage services they have benefited from in our networking hardware,” said Soni Jiandani, vice president of the Marketing, Server Access and Virtualization business unit for Cisco.

Cisco and VMware also jointly offer virtualization consulting services to help customers create and deploy server, network and storage virtualization solutions across their data center.

Cisco and VMware are proposing a new protocol called Network Interface Virtualization, which will enable VN-Link technology to be delivered in high-performance hardware based solutions. The protocol will be submitted to the IEEE, they said.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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