Updated: Cisco unveils virtual softswitch; expands NX-OS across its entire data center family

Cisco confirmed it is working with VMware to develop joint data center products, the first of which is the Cisco Nexus 1000V, a distributed virtual softswitch that Cisco says is expected to be an integrated option

 in VMware Infrastructure. The two partners are also integrating VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure with Cisco's wide-area application delivery products. Cisco also fleshed out its storage-area network family with 8Gbps Fibre Channel switch modules and the renaming of its SAN operating system to NX-OS.

A new Cisco Virtual Network Link (VN-Link) technology on the Nexus 1000V will integrate with VMware's vNetwork Distributed Switch framework for better troubleshooting efforts. VN-Link bridges the server, storage and network management domains so changes in one environment are communicated to the others, according to Cisco.

VMware will also feature heavily in Cisco education and certifications for the data center, according to the Cisco news release.

The Cisco Nexus 1000V with VN-Link capabilities supported in a VMware Infrastructure environment is expected to be generally available to customers in the first half of 2009. Cisco Wide Area Application Services and Application Control Engine for VDI are available now.

Cisco's new SAN technology includes three Cisco MDS 9000 8Gbps Fibre Channel switching modules: Cisco 24-Port 8-Gbps Fibre Channel Switching Module that delivers up to 192Gbps of full-duplex bandwidth to connect high-end storage subsystems and for Inter Switch Link (ISL) connectivity between switches; 48-Port 8-Gbps Fibre Channel Switching Module with 48 auto-sensing 1/2/4/8-Gbps ports to deliver 192Gbps of full-duplex bandwidth; 4/44-Port 8-Gbps Host-Optimized Fibre Channel Switching Module featuring four 8-Gbps ports and 44 4Gbps ports. The modules are expected to be available from Cisco partners in the fourth quarter of this calendar year.

The SAN OS will be renamed NX-OS, which according to Cisco's Doug Gourlay, writing in his blog, would be expanded across Cisco's data center portfolio. Describing this as four-years in the making, Gourlay writes:

With the 4.1 release MDS SANs and Nexus LANs come together under common operational guidelines, common software architecture, same release trains, etc.  The same AAA features you depend on for LAN security and integrity of management domains take effect on the SAN side and so on. 

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