Cisco Nexus 1000v and Cisco VN-Link

I won’t even pretend to be an expert in the area of Cisco networking but I just wanted to write something short around Cisco VN-Link and the Cisco 1000v (don’t expect technical here).  Most of you are probably aware of the new Cisco 1000v virtual switch that is basically a plug-in to VMware vSphere but are probably less familiar with or haven’t heard of VN-Link in any detail.  So what are the differences between the two?

It is beneficial to think of VN Link and the 1000v as two types of virtual switching solutions from Cisco.  The 1000v is a software based distributed switch integrated into the VMware vSphere hypervisor.  So when vm A wants to talk to vm B (or C or D……)  the traffic really never has to leave the hypervisor and is handled within this distributed virtual switch.  So what about traffic leaving the hypervisor for the outside world (physical servers, non-vmware vm’s, etc.)? For traffic going outside the virtual world to the network Cisco tags its traffic with a VN Tag to ID which vNIC it came from.  VN-Link is similar in some ways to the 1000v but it does it’s work at a hardware level (Nexus 5000) and uses this VNTag to do so.

The 1000v is specific to VMware but VN-Link can be used by other hypervisor vendors like Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen Server, Henry’s Hillbilly Hypervisor or whatever else pops up down the road.  These vendors can then develop their own distributed switch solutions using this technology.  Now I know I missed a truck load of info and probably made some errors in my over simplification here but hey, I told you I was still somewhat Cisco stupid at this point.  If you want more detailed info on the subject straight from the horse’s mouth, check out:

Here’s a VERY rough whiteboard that a trainer shared with me last week that shows the differences in traffic flow between the two solutions.



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