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VMware, Cisco Announce Virtual Extensible LAN for the Cloud

VMware and Cisco have debuted the new Virtual Extensible Local Area Network (VXLAN) architecture, which forms the basis of a scalable LAN for the cloud.

VXLAN, which is designed for running applications in the cloud, allows for the on-demand creation of logical, virtual networks. It can scale to support more than 16 million logical networks, so IT administrators can control each user's access to data and applications with logical networks for each instance of the application. VXLAN also supports applications running in hybrid clouds.

The technology has been submitted for standardization at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

"Together with VMware, Cisco has unlocked the power of the network to extend virtual machines beyond the confines of a single stack to the entire data center and cloud infrastructure from different locations," said Soni Jiandani, senior vice president, Server, Access, Virtualization Technology Group for Cisco. "VXLAN will provide the ability to scale networking segments to millions of VMs to ease the deployment of applications in the cloud. Also, by segmenting these VMs and applications via highly secure virtual networks, customers will be able to achieve the security required for multi-tenant cloud environments."

The two companies also announced enhancements to their combined virtualization solutions, along with improvements to several desktop virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions.

Announced updates to desktop virtualization solutions include:

  • The expansion of Cisco's Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) system to support VMware View 5 and integration with Cisco collaboration solutions;

  • The availability of VMware View 5 on Cisco Cius and Cisco Virtualization Experience Clients (VXC) 2100 and 2200 endpoints;

  • A collaborative workspace through VMware View with Cisco Unified Communications (UC), including call control and increased scalability with VMware View 5, VMware vSphere 5, Cisco UC, and Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS); and

  • Support for Click-To-Call communication between users running WebEx Connect inside VMware View virtual desktops.

Updates to cloud infrastructure include:

  • Support for VXLAN technology in VMware vCloud Director 1.5, VMware vSphere 5 and Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch;

  • Enhancements to VMware and Cisco combined solutions using Cisco UCS 2.0 and VMware vSphere 5;

  • Auto-deploy capabilities in VMware vCloud Director 1.5 and Cisco Nexus 1000V, enabling simplified installation and delivery of VXLAN-based network isolation;

  • Plans to integrate Cisco's Virtual ASA firewall with VMware vCloud Director; and

  • Automated hypervisor provisioning by Cisco UCS 2.0 through integration of VMware vSphere 5 Auto Deploy with UCS Manager, enabling administrators to deploy many VMware vSphere nodes lined to a single Auto Deploy boot image in a single operation.

VXLAN technology in Cisco Nexus 1000V will be available for beta sometime this month. VMware View 5 is expected to be generally available later in the third quarter of 2011. A draft of the VXLAN specification is available on the IETF Web site. A whitepaper about VXLAN is available on the Cisco site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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