Tag Archives: cisco

Cisco UCS Director: Key Concepts Illustrated In Big Pictures

During the last few months, I worked a lot with Cisco UCS Director on daily basis. As I wrote before, UCS Director is a powerful platform for you to manage and orchestrate infrastructures from VMware, Hyper-V, KVM, to the public clouds like Amazon, Azure.

Just like any other management platform, it abstracts the underlying infrastructure and operations using its own concepts and workflows. By exploring its Flex GUI, one can gradually get familiar with these concepts. It takes time to master a product, and no exception for UCS Director. Understanding key concepts and their relationships can help speed up the process significantly.

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Cisco UCS Director REST APIs: Step By Step Tutorial

As I introduced in last article, there are two sets of APIs in UCS Director: north bound APIs, and south bound APIs. The north bound APIs are REST styled, allowing other applications to invoke UCS Director functionalities, or simply retrieve information from UCS Director. We’ll go through the REST APIs in details so that you can quickly get started with it.

Preparation

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Cisco UCS Director: An Overview of APIs

I just went through a two day training course on Cisco UCS Director APIs that covers both the REST APIs and Open Automation SDK. For people who don’t know UCS Director yet, it’s the orchestration engine Cisco acquired from a start-up company Cloupia more than one year ago. If you know VMware vCenter Orchestrator, UCS Director is something very similar but with more features on various hardware components for converged infrastructure. To fit into its unified data center strategy, Cisco re-branded it as UCS Director.

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Can The Success of Server Virtualization Be Repeated in Networking?

The software-defined networking is the new buzzword for network centralization, which is also known as OpenFlow or network virtualization. The idea is to centralize the control to a server (or a cluster of servers) called controller.

With the acquisition of Nicira by VMware, the software-defined networking has caught many eyeballs from the community. From there, VMware extended it to a new vision called software-defined datacenter which includes three elements of computing: compute, network, and storage.

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Cisco Nexus 1000V Distributed Virtual Switch: Command Line Examples

I just took three day Cisco Nexus 1000V training before Christmas. It’s a pretty good experience to play with the commands in the VSM appliance although I am still not quite familiar with these commands yet. Nevertheless, I managed to run through all the 9 labs thanks to the online lab that I could access even after class. To help myself to remember what I did, I listed a few commands that often needed in managing Nexus 1000V.

Posted in Virtualization | Also tagged , , | 11 Responses

XML APIs to Manage Cisco Nexus 1000V

If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember I wrote Cisco Nexus 1000V in VMware vSphere API about half year ago. The Cisco Nexus 1000V actually has another APIs based on XML. Interestingly, it’s implemented over SSH, but not HTTP or HTTPS.

The Nexus 1000V APIs follows two ITEF standards: RFC 4741 NETCONF Configuration Protocol, and RFC 4742 Using the NETCONF Configuration Protocol over Secure SHell (SSH). The first one is pretty long with close to 100 pages, but fortunately Wikipedia has a much shorter introduction. The RFC 4742 is just 8 pages and pretty easy to browse through.

Posted in Virtualization | Also tagged | 5 Responses

What Are Cisco’s Options to VMware’s Nicira Deal?

VMware’s acquisition of Nicira posted a big risk on Cisco’s future control of networking market. The risk was in fact there from day one of VMware ESX with virtual switches and then distributed virtual switches, which reduces the need for customers to buy physical geeks from Cisco because virtual machines use “free” virtual ports. For the inter-physical server communication, customers still need Cisco and other vendors even though the volume is not as high as otherwise. That is why Cisco quickly came up with its own distributed virtual switch Nexus 1000v to stay relevant in the virtualization market.

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Cisco Nexus 1000V in VMware vSphere API

While working at VMware, I always wondered what Cisco Nexus 1000V looked like from VMware vSphere API. Because I didn’t have access to such a system, I had no way to investigate further. This remained a myth to me until I joined VCE where I found many Vblock systems with Cisco Nexus 1000V as part of standard configuration.

Within VMware vSphere API, there are two managed object types defined related to distributed virtual switch:  DistributedVirtualSwitch, and VmwareDistributedVirtualSwitch. As you can guess, the latter type is a subtype of the first one.

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Virtualization Matters Except When It Doesn’t

In my previous post “Physical is New Virtual,” I mentioned that I would talk about when you will need virtualization and when you don’t. This topic could be a little controversial as we at virtualization community all assume that virtualization is the way to go, which is true in general.

There are however use cases in which virtualization doesn’t make much sense. In the following, I will detail some of these use cases and explain why it doesn’t make much sense to use virtualization. Like everything else, virtualization doesn’t fit all.

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Physical is New Virtual

I went to EMC office at Milford, MA last week for a 5 day training class on Vblock Administration. As you may have known, VCE Vblock is the industry’s first and leading converged infrastructure with compute, network, and storage from industry leaders. For the compute, it uses Cisco UCS. If you have followed my blog, you should know that I have blogged about the UCS emulator and XML management APIs.

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Cisco UCS Management APIs

After installing the UCS emulator, I started to read and try UCS management APIs. I found the following two documents very helpful: Cisco UCS Manager API Management Information Model, and Cisco UCS Manager XML API Programmer’s Guide.

Key Concepts

The key concepts of the APIs are pretty similar to VMware vSphere API. For example, it has managed objects which represent UCS resources like chassis, blades, fabric interconnects, etc. They contain administrative states and operational state.

Posted in Software Development, Virtualization | Also tagged , | 4 Responses

Cisco UCS Emulator

Recently I started to learn Cisco UCS because VCE uses it in Vblock. I thought I would need a real server like Vblock, but to my surprise Cisco has a pretty nice emulator there, meaning anyone can play with it without a real physical server in place.

Here is the download link for the emulator. You will be asked for Cisco.com user id. Just fill an online form if you don’t have it yet. It’s fairly straightforward and quick, and I got mine within one minute.

Posted in Virtualization | Also tagged | 8 Responses

Success Story: Cisco Data Center Network Manager

Today I got an email from Louis Jia who is a Sr. Development manager at Cisco. He told me that the product his team has been working on had been rebranded as Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) and is formally released. Congratulations to Louis and team!

I don’t normally cover products from vendors, be it an established company or a startup. But this one is different

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Welcome Cisco to Open Source VI Java Community

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Cisco to our open source community. Given the brand recognition of Cisco, I don’t need to explain much about the significance of its becoming part of our community.

At the end of 2009, a development team at Cisco contacted me, and then started to use the VI Java API for integration with VMware vSphere. Like many other partners, they succeeded. Here is a paragraph I received from Andrew Levin (product manager) and Louis Jia (development manager). Thanks Andrew and Louis!

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