Cisco Canada Blog

Canada’s Next Leap Forward for Unified Fabric: Dynamic Fabric Automation

September 12, 2013

As more Canadian enterprises adopt public and private cloud deployment, data center networks must evolve to meet new challenges and growing requirements. I was in Orlando this summer for the announcement of Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA), which enhances our Unified Data Center Architecture. Here are some key ways this new technology delivers agility and simplicity for virtualized cloud environments:

Dynamic Fabric Automation embraces spine-and-leaf topologies.

With Dynamic Fabric Automation, Cisco is embracing the shift to spine-and-leaf topologies, while addressing the challenges of converging fast growing virtualized environments with their largely separated but inter-dependent physical infrastructure.

Dynamic Fabric Automation advances the established software and hardware capabilities of Cisco FabricPath, which has over 2,000 customers and more than 13,000 licenses to date. It will deliver higher levels of IT automation, tighter integration between physical and virtual environments and ultimately deliver infrastructure simplification.

Dynamic Fabric Automation is designed to be topology independent.

DFA is designed to be topology independent, making it highly attractive to customers looking to deploy Dynamic Fabric Automation benefits in current data center designs. DFA is also attractive to data centers migrating to a spine-and-leaf architecture where all nodes, (application, compute, storage, or infrastructure service) are at most only two network hops away from each other.

With Dynamic Fabric Automation, we are one step closer to unifying the physical and virtual domains within the data center.

Management of the Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation is through a single point centralized Fabric Manager, responsible for the entire fabric deployment across both physical and virtual networks. From fabric topology discover, to mapping tenants to switches, to monitoring and diagnostics of every network device in the fabric, the Fabric Manager delivers advanced consolidated management from one source of truth.

Cisco DFA management adds features for network automation and provisioning to streamline both physical servers and virtual machine deployments and their later migration across the fabric. When a server, virtual or physical, is detected the appropriate fabric policy for its workload is identified and applied to the corresponding network Leaf. As virtual machines move across the fabric, the assigned network policies are automatically applied to the correct leaf switch to ensure both consistency and compliance. In addition, switch deployment is simplified with power-on auto provisioning. When a switch is added to the fabric, it is identified as a leaf or spine, and the Fabric Manager automatically delivers the correct configuration files to the switch, enabling it to join the fabric as a fully functional member in a matter of minutes.

Dynamic Fabric Automation meets the needs of a modern data center.

While listening to this exciting product announcement, it became clear that Dynamic Fabric Automation will help us meet the challenges of efficiency and scale, virtualization and workload mobility. It will also meet many other demands that continue to challenge our view of the modern data center and how best to architect its capabilities.

There is no doubt that the increasing pace of innovation and change will continue, and we will ultimately have many more options to consider as we look to balance the demand for new more dynamic services while still maintaining stability and cost control. Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation looks to strike this balance by delivering industry leading capabilities on the proven stability of the Nexus Data Center platform, with lower operational cost through advanced automation and ultimately higher productivity.

Click here to learn more about Cisco’s data center architecture solutions or join the conversation @CiscoCanada.

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