Cisco will release free edition of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch

Update October 22: Cisco made the Cisco 1000V v2.1 available for download.

Cisco announced it will release a free edition of the Nexus 1000V, the virtual switch available on VMware vSphere and soon for Hyper-V.

The Cisco 1000V virtual switch can be managed like any other physical Cisco switch or router. It has the same IOS interface and services. If the default VMware standard or distributed virtual switches are used, network admins have to get used to another userinterface (of the vSphere client) and a different feature set that they are used to.  Often management of virtual switches is performed by the management team responsible for the VMware vSphere servers.

Cisco 1000v is targeted at large organizations operating a dedicated management team for networking and one for server virtualization.   Those organizations want  a clear separation of network management and compute management.

Mind to be able to use the Cisco Nexus 1000V you need the vSphere Enterprise Plus edition.

Starting with the 2.1 release, which is now in beta,  two editions of the Nexus 1000V are available , an Essential Edition and an Advanced Edition.

The Nexus 1000v offers additional services like a virtual firewall, virtual VPN and virtual router which are not available on the VMware switches.

The table below shows the feature set of both editions as well as the list price of the Advanced Edition. The Advanced Edition, priced at $695 per CPU, the same price as the current 1.5 release, includes:

  •     The Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) for Nexus 1000V, a virtual firewall with visibility to virtual machine attributes for building sophisticated compliance policies, and logical trust zones between applications (VSG was previously sold as a separate product).
  •     Support for advanced capabilities, such as DHCP snooping, IP Source Guard, Dynamic ARP inspection and Cisco TrustSec Security Group Access (SGA).

If you want to evaluate the Cisco 1000V that is possible by downloading the trial version of the current release 1.5.2. By default, the trial version will function for 240 days without any license packs installed for up to 512 CPU sockets on up to 64 servers. You will then be able to upgrade to the Release 2.1 Essential Edition before the 240 day period expires.

It is not possible anymore to take part in the beta of the 2.1 release which offers the free Essential Edition.
A video in which Cisco gives a demo of the Nexus 1000V can be seen at VMworldTV or at the blog of Eric Sloof.

More information here.

Cisco 1000v v2.1 has been released at October 22. Download here.

Starting with Release 4.2(1)SV2(1.1), a tier-based Licensing approach is adopted for the Cisco Nexus 1000V. The Cisco Nexus 1000V is shipped in two editions: Essential and Advanced. A new CLI command is provided to display the current switch edition and the other licensing information. In the two tier licensing model supported with Release 4.2(1)SV2(1.1), the software image is the same for both the editions. You can switch between the two editions at any time. The switch edition configuration is global. The entire switch (supervisor and all modules) is either in the Essential edition or the Advanced edition.

Essential Edition

When the Release 4.2(1)SV2(1.1) software is installed, the Essential edition is the default edition. When the switch is configured in the Essential edition, all the features (other than the advanced features) are available for free for unlimited time. No licenses are required to operate the Essential edition. The switch edition configuration is global and not per module. In Essential edition, all the modules are automatically licensed. Use the svs switch edition command to move the switch from the Essential edition to the Advanced edition and vice versa.

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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