Cisco updates SDN lineup, targets VMware

The software defined networking product update is also notable because the networking giant is making its return on investment case with direct comparisons to VMware's NSX platform.

Cisco on Wednesday moved to round out its software defined networking lineup and strategy with a new release of its Application Centric Infrastructure, hardware and integration with Microsoft Azure.

The rollout, launched at the company's Cisco Live conference, is also notable because the networking giant is making its return on investment case with direct comparisons to VMware's NSX platform.

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For instance, Cisco is citing an IDC case study on Symantec's use of the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). In a presentation, Cisco cites a ZK Research analysis showing that its ACI design is 22 percent less expensive than VMware's NSX platform.

While IT buyers have to take vendor claims with a grain of salt, you see where Cisco is headed. And the networking giant isn't going to be shy about going after sometimes partner VMware.

As for the product announcements, Cisco said its additions would be available in the second half. Here's the breakdown:

  • Cisco is tying Microsoft Azure and System Center network automation tools into ACI with interconnect support. Microsoft and Cisco announced a partnership in March.

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  • Support for multi-data center deployments of ACI. Application dependency mapping will be provided by partner CliQr. Tools and interfaces were also revamped.
  • The company is adding its NX-OS extensibility support to Nexus 9000 switches.
  • Cisco's Nexus switch portfolio will use the NX API. Cisco also enhanced the NX-OS to support automated management and network configuration.
  • The new Nexus 3200 rack switches ranging from 10G to 100G will be available in the third quarter.

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  • Cisco's software defined networking tools support hypervisors from VMware, Microsoft and Red Hat.

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