Cisco Eats Its Own Virtual Networking Dogfood - Page 2

After spending the past year telling the rest of us to go virtual, Cisco is practicing what it preaches in 50 of its own data centers.

 By Drew Robb
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Aligning IT management with virtualization

Cisco also reorganized its IT management structure to align better with the virtual world.

A virtual infrastructure team manages VMware and UCS while the networking team manages the N1KVs and related network components. This has added in speed of service provisioning from Cisco IT to internal and external customers.

If a client needs a highly secure network, for instance, everything is automated based on the requirements. Networking staff can create the profile, enter it and it is automatically in place.

"In the past, we have had to deal with a whole lot of internal liaison, paperwork and running of wiring etc. before network profiles could take effect," said Schroeder.

Cisco gear is used elsewhere in the data center. At the access layer, Cisco UCS 6120XP 20-Port Fabric Interconnects are used to provide uniform access to both networks and storage. This 1U unit provides 20 fixed 10 Gigabit Ethernet and FCoE Small Form-Factor Pluggable Plus (SFP+) ports, 520 Gigabits per second (Gbps) of throughput, a single expansion module bay which can support up to eight Fibre Channel ports or up to six 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports using the SFP+ interfaces, and support for up to 160 servers or 20 chassis.

Cisco Nexus 7000 switches are utilized at the distribution layer. Designed for 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks, they enable a fabric architecture that scales beyond 15 terabits per second (Tbps). The fabric modules for the Nexus 7000 Series Chassis are separate fabric modules that provide parallel fabric channels to each I/O and supervisor module slot. Up to five simultaneously active fabric modules work together delivering up to 230 Gbps per slot. Cisco Catalyst 6000 series switches are used at the service layer.

"We have been able to put together a highly converged design with simplified management of our virtual servers, storage and networking," said Schroeder. "Our target is to achieve 80 percent virtualization or more."

This article was originally published on Dec 4, 2010
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