Propelling Applications Forward with Network Visibility and Agility: Ecosystem Member for Cisco ACI

We use technology in our everyday lives without a thought of how that content is delivered.  We conduct credit card transaction over a smartphone app for taxi fare, and stream live sporting events like the World Series not just to our television sets but to our smartphones, tablets and PCs. We connect to the corporate VPN while in mid-air over the Atlantic with an expectation that it should be seamless.

Innovation in technology continues to propel us forward from the physical to the virtual world. Server, storage and network virtualization, along with the cloud, has made it easier for the workforce and applications to be agile and mobile. Keeping applications and people connected is vital for any businesses to operate and generate revenue streams.

The data center must be able to adjust to these demands of increasingly mobile applications, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and migration of virtual machines (VMs), not just across servers, but across data centers, while maintaining quality of service (QoS) and security. Every connection is evolving in complexity.  Additionally, the network must be flexible enough to support the workloads as VMs and as applications move from one host to another on short notice, and for new services to be deployed rapidly.  In any case, it requires the administrator to configure and scale the network.  Traditionally, this requires identical Layer 2 configuration of all network devices attached to clustered hosts, including virtual LANs (VLANs). Configuration of the network is a manual process, which reduces scalability, flexibility and increases administration overhead. Virtual network overlays, such as virtual extensible LAN (VXLAN) Network Virtualization, Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) and Stateless Transport Tunneling (STT), are deployed to remove of the dependence on underlying infrastructure configuration. They do so by encapsulating traffic inside IP packets, so that traffic can cross Layer 3 boundaries, removing the need for preconfigured VLANs and VLAN trunking.  However, encapsulation can come at a cost of overhead, complications with load-balancing and interoperability issues.  When layers of abstraction are introduced, visibility into what is happening is often lost. The loss in visibility hinders the ability for network and security operation teams to troubleshoot, maintain and identify vulnerabilities on the most critical piece of the data center infrastructure, the network.

Cisco has announced details on its’ latest data center architecture: Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).  ACI embraces the modern data center deployment of applications with a system approach in combined hardware and software to provide the visibility and agility required.  It does so by addressing application-specific performance requirements by application, automating the provisioning of applications and providing fine-­‐grained reporting on the health of all applications running on the infrastructure.  The benefits of the ACI approach is to better align fabric automation with application and business policies, and to extend the application policy model  to network, security, application, compute, and storage.

As a valued Cisco ecosystem member, Emulex network monitoring and recording products are aligned with the ACI vision, to provide solutions that bring network visibility back from obscurity.  With the ability to monitor 100 percent of all network traffic and NetFlows, our solutions allow network and security teams to intelligently gather the information needed to troubleshoot network and application performance issues, identify vulnerabilities in security compliance and security breaches, so that they can be addressed quickly, while determining the root cause of those issues. Combined with the new Cisco Nexus 9000 and Application-Centric Infrastructure, we can help provide customers with application-level and real-time visibility into performance and security issues, so that they can be addressed quickly, while determining the root cause of those issues.  We support Cisco’s ACI vision and look forward to collaborating together on addressing the data flow demands of the data center today, as we believe our solutions address these challenges, monitoring for performance and cyber threats with 100 percent accuracy, regardless of network speed, or traffic type.

 

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