It's the night before VMworld 2008 and the Technology Exchange/Partner day begins and I'm pawing through the stuff in my bag, separating the "keep it" from the "toss it" schwag.
There's an innocuous little flyer stuffed in the bag on Cisco letterhead titled "Introducing Cisco's Virtual Switch for VMware ESX." Fantastic. Let's call it the 'cSwitch' ;)
A year and a month ago in August of 2007, I blogged about this very thing in a post titled: "VMware to Open Development of ESX Virtual Switches to Third Parties...Any Guess Who's First?" based on a hint from virtualization.info.
Given that VMworld 2007 came and went without this announcement, I'm very excited that we're actually going to get a look at what Cisco will offer; I think this is huge news and ultimately offers some profound game-changing (for good and bad) implications on the network and security fronts.
I have dozens of questions like: I wonder how much of the Nexus (7000 series)/NX-OS code cross-pollinates over (if any) to this solution and if we'll see capabilities such as STP/PVST+/Private VLANs, HSRP, Multicast, etc. make their way into Cisco's vSwitch and how this virtual switch with integrate/interoperate with the vkernel.
Further, as Ed Haletky and I unofficially bet over drinks this evening, I wonder if it will be a direct replacement for VMware's at-boot loadable module or it will co-exist? I bet the former. ;)
In addition to the "cSwitch," there are a couple of sessions I am very, very interested in attending given my exposure to VFrame and some Cisco engineers/architects at last year's show:
Simplify VMotion with Virtual Machine–Aware Network and Storage Services
See how network and storage services can be linked to a virtual machine so they move with VMotion events.
ESX Server in a Unified Fabric Environment
See how ESX Server works in a unified fabric environment with ESX 3.5 U2, Emulex Converged Network Adaptors, and the Cisco Nexus 5000.
VFrame: Enriching ESX Deployment with End-to-End Orchestration
Cisco’s VFrame DC 1.2 provides an easy-to-use template-based provisioning approach for rapid, repeatable, and compliant provisioning of ESX Servers. Through a rich set of networking and storage orchestration capabilities, it reduces the time required to bring up ESX clusters while providing operational scalability to manage large clusters effectively.
See the second topic above? Remember when I mentioned in prior posts about virtualizing applications directly within the Nexus?
Should be a very interesting couple of days.
Update: So there was no direct news/mention specifically of Cisco today in any of the distributed virtual networking (DVN) sessions -- there's a lot of messaging collisions because the re-branded 'v-everything' strategy has things being renamed. Hopefully we'll see/hear more from Cisco tomorrow.
Many of the underlying functions that will enable 3rd party virtual switches as well as any network interface to the vkernel via API were discussed today under the capabilities described by vNetwork (this includes the vNetwork Appliance API's and what you've known as VMsafe.) You can see more about vNetwork here in this post.
All I can say is that I got a lot of my suspicions confirmed, questions answered and conclusions affirmed in today's sessions. Some good, some bad. It's going to be a bumpy ride, kids.
The Four Horsemen live! ;)