Lippis Report 223: An Open Approach to Network Automation

March 3rd, 2015

nick_podium2Modern day networking is labor intensive. Configuration, monitoring and change management are manual processes for the most part. In fact, at the last Open Networking User Group (ONUG) this past Fall at Credit Suisse, most IT business leaders said that one network engineer supports approximately 120 networking devices such as a router, switch, etc. Compare this to 20,000 servers that a single engineer manages at a hyper scale firm and you can see that networking needs automation. Manual networks are not helping IT business leaders who are feeling pressure from business unit managers demanding self-service IT delivery on par with cloud providers such as Amazon, Azure, etc., but without the implied loss of security, visibility and control. Case in point: at ONUG in Boston hosted by Fidelity Investments, large financial service firms showed what happens when they offer business unit managers on-demand virtual machine (VM) creation and deletion; the trend lines showed exponential growth, demand and consumption!

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Lippis Report 222: Cisco Preps ACI for General Availability: What to Expect

August 25th, 2014

nick_podium2One of the biggest networking events this August is the general availability of Cisco’s ACI or Application Centric Infrastructure. Cisco has been shipping its Nexus 9000 series of switches in what is called standalone mode, which is an ultra-fast data center Ethernet switch, since November 2013. Nexus 9000 orders tripled from 180 in Q3 to 580 at the end of Cisco’s fiscal fourth quarter. Cisco promised as part of the Nexus 9000 release that these switches can be deployed in what it calls “ACI fabric mode.” ACI fabric mode promises to reduce operational cost, increase agility and link applications to network infrastructure like never before. The manifestation of fabric mode is ACI, and it’s now entering general availability. In this Lippis Report Research Note we take a look at ACI from a point of view of what it can do for Data Center architects today.

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Transforming the Mobile Experience with Cisco Wireless Location Services

March 18th, 2014

By Cisco Systems

It’s a mobile world, with almost 7 billion mobile subscribers worldwide in 2013, the equivalent of almost one device for every person on the planet. The rapid increase in mobile devices is making Wi-Fi a preferred method of network access, with the United States having more than 1 mobile device per person and 125 million smartphones shipped every year. With this growth rate, and a predicted 10 billion mobile devices by 2016, organizations can look to mobility and the Wi-Fi network to deliver innovative user services and enhanced customer experience. At the same time, this trend presents businesses with both tremendous opportunities and unique challenges, and numerous innovative businesses are rapidly emerging to help unlock business value from this growth.

Network Technology Performance Evaluation Cisco Wireless High Availability By Syracuse University’s Center for Convergence of Emerging Networking Technologies (CCENT)

February 24th, 2014

Dramatic improvements in wireless networking combined with an increasingly important role for mobile devices are driving a trend towards Wi-Fi as the primary network access mechanism in many networks. An increasing number of enterprise networks, and especially mission critical networks like healthcare, cannot afford to have application sessions drop. These trends are driving CIO’s and network managers to demand increasing levels of service resiliency. Wireless network vendors are addressing these needs by implementing new capabilities, more intelligent wireless networks that are able to prioritize mission critical traffic and dynamically recover from component failures. Cisco approached Syracuse University’s Center for Convergence of Emerging Networking Technologies (CCENT) to perform a systematic beta test, including before/after benchmarking of several applications, of its newest Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) Software (code version 7.5), which includes a new controller failover feature called Client Stateful Switchover (Client SSO). We tested this new service offering on our wireless testbed that included Cisco 5508 Wireless LAN controllers and the Cisco AIR-2602i access point.

Open Industry Network Performance & Power Test for Cloud Networks Evaluating 10/40 GbE Switches

February 12th, 2014

By Lippis Enterprises

Now available, the latest independent industry Lippis/Ixia tests of data center switches. In this report, the following products are tested and compared for performance and power consumption:

Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 10K
Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6900-40X
Arista 7504 Series Data Center Switch
Arista 7124SX 10G SFP Data Center Switch
Arista 7150S-24 10G SFP Data Center Switch
Arista 7050S-64 10/40G Data Center Switch
IBM RackSwitchTM G8124E
IBM RackSwitchTM G8264 upgraded
IBM RackSwitchTM G8316
Brocade VDXTM 6720-24 Data Center Switch
Brocade VDXTM 6730-32 Data Center Switch
Brocade VDXTM 6740 Data Center Switch
Brocade VDXTM 8770 Data Center Switch
Extreme Networks BlackDiamond X8
Extreme Networks Summit X670V
Dell Force10 S-Series S4810
Juniper Network EX Series EX8200 Ethernet Switch

IBM’s New, Easy-to-Deploy Flex System Communications Module

February 12th, 2014

By Clabby Analytics

Clabby Analytics published a report, “How Cisco’s UCS Compares to IBM Flex System,” in which we concluded that IBM is out-innovating Cisco when it comes to system and communications subsystem design.

In August 2013, IBM introduced yet another communications innovation with its new Flex System Fabric SI4093 Systems Interconnect Module (SI4093). This serves as a transparent network device that simplifies layer 2 connectivity and helps IT administrators avoid possible loops by eliminating spanning tree and offers the benefits of both a pass-through and a true switch. It is preconfigured and unmanaged, but also provides cable consolidation and chassis-level switching, reducing configuration and management complexity, without giving up the performance of the EN4093R. The primary competitors for the new SI4093 are Cisco and HP. In this white paper, we provide competitive analysis across Cisco, IBM and HP.

Empowering IT Innovations and Reducing Complexity with Unified Access

February 12th, 2014


Unfortunately, wired networking equipment and wireless networking equipment have traditionally operated in separate realms, with inconsistent features, policies, tools, and management. This increases the network administrator’s burden and drives up management costs and complexity. Cisco has recently released a new set of unified networking and management platforms designed to bring consistency and continuity to all aspects of the campus network, from the wiring closet to WLAN controllers — and everything in between. By implementing such an architectural approach to unifying wired and wireless networks, IT and network managers can introduce new levels of efficiency, gain greater levels of manageability, and improve user experience. Enabling greater levels of business innovation and growth while controlling costs, IT can demonstrate how it is driving innovative value-add to the business.

Cisco Launches Industry’s Broadest Networking Programming Environment with Its New Nexus® 9000 Product Line

November 6th, 2013

CiscoProgrammingEnvironmentNexus9000BradleyWongToday’s networks are restricted to configuration programming via CLI, but what if applications can call upon network resources automatically or if application developers are provided access to network state, topology, performance and other information? How might applications change and user experience improve? How may a networking programmable environment enable automated provisioning, orchestration and management? Could a programmable network enable a new era of IT and an industry of network aware applications just when the Internet of Things is starting to emerge? The Cisco Nexus® 9000 product line provides a wide range of programming options through an enhanced version of the Nexus Operating System (or NX-OS) that ranges from APIs to direct programming via its built-in Linux BASH environment, RPC, RESTful APIs, JSON, Python etc. I’m joined by Bradley Wong, Distinguished Engineer, Technical Marketing at Cisco, as we review the Cisco Nexus programming environment, its programming options provided to developers, use cases and potential industry impact.

Duration: 14 minutes 4 seconds

Cisco Nexus® 9508 Power Efficiency Test

November 6th, 2013

By Nick Lippis

Cisco launched its Nexus® 9500 series of data center modular switches, which Cisco promises offers not only the highest port density of 10/40/100GbE, and the most programmable and fastest packet forwarding modular data center switch in the industry, but the most power efficient too. To verify and measure the power efficiency claim, Cisco engaged the Lippis/Ixia team to test the new Nexus® 9508 modular data center switch for power draw at scale. We found that the Nexus® 9508 sets a new record in data center modular switch power efficiency drawing some 3.85Watts per 10GbE port at a scale of 1,152-10GbE ports populated in a single chassis.

Why the Nexus® 9000 Switching Series Offers the Highest Availability and Reliability Measured in MTBF

November 6th, 2013

By Nick Lippis

At the Open Networking User Group (ONUG) this past October 29th and 30th, hosted by JPMorgan Chase in New York City and attended by over 500 influential IT and industry business leaders, virtualized networking overlays and the need for high performance plus reliable underlays was top of mind. With 2014 and 2015 being the years of open networking pilots and deployments, respectively, much focus was on high-density 40GbE spine switches from Cisco’s Nexus® 9000 series, Arista’s 7500E and HP’s 11900/12900. At ONUG, IT leaders expressed multiple drivers for high-density 40GbE spine switches, including connecting thousands to hundreds of thousands of servers at 10GbE, support for IP storage and the high-growth of virtual connectivity via network overlays, all over a high-performance and highly reliable underlay. In this Lippis Report Research Note we explore the three reference designs for building 288-40GbE spine switches based upon Broadcom Dune, Broadcom Trident II and the new hybrid, custom plus merchant silicon, with an eye toward reliability and available based upon component count and measured in terms of Mean Time Between Failure.

Cisco Nexus® 9508 Switch Performance Test

November 6th, 2013

By Nick Lippis

Cisco recently launched its Nexus® 9500 series of data center switches which Cisco promises offers the highest port density of 10/40GbE and future 100GbE—the most power efficient, the
most programmable and fastest packet forwarding modular data center switch in the industry. To verify these claims, Cisco engaged the Lippis/Ixia team to test the new Nexus® 9508 modular data center switch. We found that the Nexus® 9508 sets new records in data center modular switch performance. In short, it’s the fastest modular switch under the Milky Way.

Nexus® 9000 Programmable Network Environment

November 6th, 2013

By Nick Lippis

The definition of Software-Defined Networking being the separation of data and control plane offered little to DevOps professionals or network engineers seeking a programming environment to customize their network and automate opera¬tional tasks. With the introduction of the Nexus® 9000, Cisco is offering the most compre¬hensive set of network programming options that delivers programming tools through an enhanced version of the Nexus Operating System (or NX-OS), which ranges from direct switch programming via its built-in Linux BASH environment, open RESTful APIs with JSON and XML support, direct integration with Python, etc. Most network engineers will opt to enroll in a Linux programming course versus obtaining another CCIE certification after reading this Lippis Report Research Note. In this research note, we review Cisco’s new programming environment detailing its options, use cases and industry impact.

The Industry’s Most Comprehensive Nexus® 9000 Programming Environment Demonstrated

November 6th, 2013

Nexus9000ProgrammingEnvironmentDemonstratedLillianQuanTo understand the depth of the Cisco Nexus® 9000 programming environment, Lillian Quan, Technical Marketing Engineer at Cisco, demonstrates the richness of this new platform. We start with standard CLI comments then move to the Nexus API environment that generates JSON or XMP code. We then utilize this code to demonstrate automation of repetitive network engineering task via Splunk and real-time graphic of network data via Graphite to create a NOC dashboard. After watching this video, network engineers will want to enroll in a Linux course while DevOps will finally be able to use familiar tools to access network data and information.

Duration: 20 minutes 25 seconds

Cisco Nexus® 9508 Sets New High Performance Latency Test Result Record of 1.6 to 3.5 microseconds Spine Switch Populated With 288-40GbE Ports

November 6th, 2013

CiscoNexus9508LatencyTestResultBradleyWongWhile most companies announce products long before first customer ship with long road maps of when product features are available, Cisco’s Nexus® 9508 is ready now. The independent and open industry Lippis/Ixia team test the Nexus® 9508 at 288-40GbE capacity for layer 3 unicast plus IP multicast latency and congestion management via RFC 2544, 3918 and 2889, respectively. This test is a new industry record as no other data center switch has been tested at 288 40GbE ports. What are really impressive are the results and the engineering achievement of the Cisco team. I’m joined with Bradley Wong, Distinguished Engineer, Technical Marketing, at Cisco, as we review the Cisco Nexus® 9508 test methodologies and results.

Duration: 12 minutes 9 seconds