Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals: Understanding Techniques and Designs for Highly Efficient Data Centers with Cisco Nexus, UCS, MDS, and Beyond, First Edition

Book description

Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals

For many IT organizations, today's greatest challenge is to drive more value, efficiency, and utilization from data centers. Virtualization is the best way to meet this challenge. Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals brings together the comprehensive knowledge Cisco professionals need to apply virtualization throughout their data center environments. Leading data center expert Gustavo A. A. Santana thoroughly explores all components of an end-to-end data center virtualization solution, including networking, storage, servers, operating systems, application optimization, and security. Rather than focusing on a single product or technology, he explores product capabilities as interoperable design tools that can be combined and integrated with other solutions, including VMware vSphere. With the author's guidance, you'll learn how to define and implement highly-efficient architectures for new, expanded, or retrofit data center projects. By doing so, you can deliver agile application provisioning without purchasing unnecessary infrastructure, and establish a strong foundation for new cloud computing and IT-as-a-service initiatives. Throughout, Santana illuminates key theoretical concepts through realistic use cases, real-world designs, illustrative configuration examples, and verification outputs. Appendixes provide valuable reference information, including relevant Cisco data center products and CLI principles for IOS and NX-OS. With this approach, Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals will be an indispensable resource for anyone preparing for the CCNA Data Center, CCNP Data Center, or CCIE Data Center
certification exams.


Gustavo A. A. Santana, CCIE® No. 8806, is a Cisco Technical Solutions Architect working in enterprise and service provider data center projects that require deep integration across technology areas such as networking, application optimization, storage, and servers. He has more than 15 years of data center experience, and has led and coordinated a team of specialized Cisco engineers in Brazil. He holds two CCIE certifications (Routing & Switching and Storage Networking), and is a VMware Certified Professional (VCP) and SNIA Certified Storage Networking Expert (SCSN-E). A frequent speaker at Cisco and data center industry events, he blogs on data center virtualization at


  • Learn how virtualization can transform and improve traditional data center network topologies
  • Understand the key characteristics and value of each data center virtualization technology
  • Walk through key decisions, and transform choices into architecture
  • Smoothly migrate existing data centers toward greater virtualization
  • Burst silos that have traditionally made data centers inefficient
  • Master foundational technologies such as VLANs, VRF, and virtual contexts
  • Use virtual PortChannel and FabricPath to overcome the limits of STP
  • Optimize cabling and network management with fabric extender (FEX) virtualized chassis
  • Extend Layer 2 domains to distant data center sites using MPLS and Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV)
  • Use VSANs to overcome Fibre Channel fabric challenges
  • Improve SAN data protection, environment isolation, and scalability
  • Consolidate I/O through Data Center Bridging and FCoE
  • Use virtualization to radically simplify server environments
  • Create server profiles that streamline “bare metal” server provisioning
  • “Transcend the rack” through virtualized networking based on Nexus 1000V and VM-FEX
  • Leverage opportunities to deploy virtual network services more efficiently
  • Evolve data center virtualization toward full-fledged private clouds


-Reviews -


“The variety of material that Gustavo covers in this work would appeal to anyone responsible for Data Centers today. His grasp of virtualization technologies and ability to relate it in both technical and non-technical terms makes for compelling reading. This is not your ordinary tech manual. Through use of relatable visual cues, Gustavo provides information that is easily recalled on the subject of virtualization, reaching across Subject Matter Expertise domains. Whether you consider yourself well-versed or a novice on the topic, working in large or small environments, this work will provide a clear understanding of the diverse subject of virtualization.”

-- Bill Dufresne, CCIE 4375, Distinguished Systems Engineer, Cisco (Americas)


“..this book is an essential reference and will be valuable asset for potential candi­dates pursuing their Cisco Data Center certifications. I am confident that in reading this book, individuals will inevitably gain extensive knowledge and hands-on experience dur­ing their certification preparations. If you're looking for a truly comprehensive guide to virtualization, this is the one!”

-- Yusuf Bhaiji, Senior Manager, Expert Certifications (CCIE, CCDE, CCAr),



“When one first looks at those classic Cisco Data Center blueprints, it is very common to become distracted with the overwhelming number of pieces and linkages. By creating a solid theoretical foundation and providing rich sets of companion examples to illustrate each concept, Gustavo's book brings hope back to IT Professionals from different areas of expertise. Apparently complex topics are demystified and the insertion of products, mechanisms, protocols and technologies in the overall Data Center Architecture is clearly explained, thus enabling you to achieve robust designs and successful deployments. A must read... Definitely!”

-- Alexandre M. S. P. Moraes, Consulting Systems Engineer — Author of “Cisco Firewalls”

Table of contents

  1. About This eBook
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. About the Author
  5. About the Technical Reviewers
  6. Dedications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Contents at a Glance
  9. Contents
  10. Icons Used in This Book
  11. Command Syntax Conventions
  12. Foreword
  13. Introduction
    1. Goals and Methods
    2. Who Should Read This Book
    3. How This Book Is Organized
  14. Part I: What Is Virtualization?
    1. Chapter 1. Virtualization History and Definitions
      1. Data Center Essential Definitions
      2. The Origins of Data Center Virtualization
      3. Classifying Virtualization Technologies
      4. Summary
      5. Further Reading
  15. Part II: Virtualization in Network Technologies
    1. Chapter 2. Data Center Network Evolution
      1. Ethernet Protocol: Then and Now
      2. Data Center Network Topologies
      3. Network Virtualization Benefits
      4. Summary
      5. Further Reading
    2. Chapter 3. The Humble Beginnings of Network Virtualization
      1. Network Partitioning
      2. Concepts from the Bridging World
      3. Defining VLANs
      4. Two Common Misconceptions About VLANs
      5. Spanning Tree Protocol and VLANs
      6. Private VLANs
      7. VLAN Specifics
      8. Concepts from the Routing World
      9. Overlapping Addresses in a Data Center
      10. Defining and Configuring VRFs
      11. VRFs and Routing Protocols
      12. VRFs and the Management Plane
      13. VRF Resource Allocation Control
      14. Use Case: Data Center Network Segmentation
      15. Summary
      16. Further Reading
    3. Chapter 4. An Army of One: ACE Virtual Contexts
      1. Application Networking Services
      2. The Use of Load Balancers
      3. Load Balancer Proliferation in the Data Center
      4. ACE Virtual Contexts
      5. Use Case: Multitenant Data Center
      6. Summary
      7. Further Reading
    4. Chapter 5. Instant Switches: Virtual Device Contexts
      1. Extending Device Virtualization
      2. Why Use VDCs?
      3. VDCs in Detail
      4. Creating and Configuring VDCs
      5. Allocating Resources to VDCs
      6. Using Resource Templates
      7. Managing VDCs
      8. Global Resources
      9. Use Case: Data Center Security Zones
      10. Summary
      11. Further Reading
    5. Chapter 6. Fooling Spanning Tree
      1. Spanning Tree Protocol and Link Utilization
      2. Link Aggregation
      3. Cross-Switch PortChannels
      4. Virtual PortChannels
      5. Layer 2 Multipathing and vPC+
      6. Use Case: Evolution of Network PODs
      7. Summary
      8. Further Reading
    6. Chapter 7. Virtualized Chassis with Fabric Extenders
      1. Server Access Models
      2. Understanding Fabric Extenders
      3. Fabric Extender Topologies
      4. Use Case: Mixed Access Data Center
      5. Summary
      6. Further Reading
    7. Chapter 8. A Tale of Two Data Centers
      1. A Brief History of Distributed Data Centers
      2. The Cold Age (Mid-1970s to 1980s)
      3. The Hot Age (1990s to Mid-2000s)
      4. The Active-Active Age (Mid-2000s to Today)
      5. The Case for Layer 2 Extensions
      6. Ethernet Extensions over Optical Connections
      7. Ethernet Extensions over MPLS
      8. Ethernet Extensions over IP
      9. VLAN Identifiers and Layer 2 Extensions
      10. Internal Routing in Connected Data Centers
      11. Use Case: Active-Active Greenfield Data Centers
      12. Summary
      13. Further Reading
  16. Part III: Virtualization in Storage Technologies
    1. Chapter 9. Storage Evolution
      1. Data Center Storage Devices
      2. Accessing Data in Rest
      3. Storage Virtualization
      4. Summary
      5. Further Reading
    2. Chapter 10. Islands in the SAN
      1. Some Fibre Channel Definitions
      2. Fabric Processes
      3. Defining and Exploring VSANs
      4. Use Case: SAN Consolidation
      5. Summary
      6. Further Reading
    3. Chapter 11. Secret Identities
      1. Fibre Channel over IP
      2. Inter-VSAN Routing
      3. N_Port Virtualization
      4. Summary
      5. Further Reading
    4. Chapter 12. One Cable to Unite Us All
      1. The Case for Data Center Networking Convergence
      2. Data Center Bridging
      3. Introducing Fibre Channel over Ethernet
      4. Deploying Unified Server Access
      5. Configuring Multihop FCoE
      6. Unified Fabric Designs
      7. FCoE and SAN Extension
      8. Use Case: LAN and SAN Management Separation
      9. Summary
      10. Further Reading
  17. Part IV: Virtualization in Server Technologies
    1. Chapter 13. Server Evolution
      1. Server Architectures
      2. x86 Hardware Evolution
      3. Introducing x86 Server Virtualization
      4. Unified Computing
      5. Summary
      6. Further Reading
    2. Chapter 14. Changing Personalities
      1. Server Provisioning Challenges
      2. Unified Computing and Service Profiles
      3. Building Service Profiles
      4. Verifying Stateless Computing
      5. Using Policies
      6. Firmware Policies
      7. Industrializing Server Provisioning
      8. Use Case: Seasonal Workloads
      9. Summary
      10. Further Reading
    3. Chapter 15. Transcending the Rack
      1. Introduction to Virtual Networking
      2. Cisco Nexus 1000V Architecture
      3. Nexus 1000V Communication Modes
      4. Port Profiles and Dynamic Interface Provisioning
      5. Deploying Nexus 1000V
      6. External Connectivity and Link Aggregation
      7. NX-OS Features in the Virtual World
      8. Online Migrations and Nexus 1000V
      9. Virtual Extensible Local Area Networks
      10. Introducing Virtual Machine Fabric Extender
      11. Deploying VM-FEX
      12. Online Migrations and VM-FEX
      13. VM-FEX High-Performance Mode
      14. Use Case: Data Center Merging
      15. Summary
      16. Further Reading
    4. Chapter 16. Moving Targets
      1. Virtual Network Services Definitions
      2. Virtual Network Services Data Path
      3. vPath-Enabled Virtual Network Services
      4. Routing in the Virtual World
      5. Site Selection and Server Virtualization
      6. Use Case: Virtual Data Center
      7. Summary
      8. Further Reading
  18. Part V: End-to-End Virtualization
    1. Chapter 17. The Virtual Data Center and Cloud Computing
      1. The Virtual Data Center
      2. Automation and Standardization
      3. What Is Cloud Computing?
      4. Cloud Implementation Example
      5. Journey to the Cloud
      6. Networking in the Clouds
      7. Software-Defined Networks
      8. OpenStack
      9. Network Overlays
      10. Cisco Open Network Environment
      11. Before We Go...
      12. Summary
      13. Further Reading
  19. Part VI: Appendixes
    1. Appendix A. Cisco Data Center Portfolio
      1. Cisco Application Control Engine
      2. Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances 5585-X
      3. Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall
      4. Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches
      5. Cisco Cloud Portal
      6. Cisco Intelligent Automation Solutions
      7. Automation Software Components
      8. Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Solution
      9. Cisco Intelligent Automation for SAP
      10. Cisco MDS 9000 Series Multilayer Switches
      11. Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module
      12. Cisco Nexus Data Center Switches
      13. Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches
      14. Nexus 1010 and 1100 Virtual Services Appliances
      15. Cisco Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders
      16. Cisco Nexus 3000 Series Switches
      17. Cisco Nexus 4000 Series Switches
      18. Cisco Nexus 5000 and 5500 Series Switches
      19. Cisco Nexus 6000 Series Switches
      20. Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Switches
      21. Cisco Unified Computing System
      22. Cisco 6100 and 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects
      23. Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis
      24. Cisco UCS 2100 and 2200 Series Fabric Extenders
      25. Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers
      26. Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers
      27. Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Cards
      28. Unified Management Solutions
      29. Cisco Application Network Manager
      30. Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager
      31. Cisco UCS Manager and UCS Central
      32. Virtual Network Management Center
      33. Virtual Security Gateway
      34. Virtualization Techniques Mapping
      35. Further Reading
    2. Appendix B. IOS, NX-OS, and Application Control Software Command-Line Interface Basics
      1. IOS Command-Line Interface Basics
      2. Command Modes
      3. Getting Context-Sensitive Help
      4. Abbreviating Commands and Using Shortcuts
      5. Managing Configuration Files
      6. Using Debug Commands
      7. NX-OS Command-Line Interface
      8. NX-OS Access
      9. NX-OS Modularity
      10. NX-OS and Running Configuration Files
      11. NX-OS Command-Line Interface Optimizations
      12. Configuration Version Management, Batches, and Scripts
      13. Application Control Software Command-Line Interface
  20. Index

Product information

  • Title: Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals: Understanding Techniques and Designs for Highly Efficient Data Centers with Cisco Nexus, UCS, MDS, and Beyond, First Edition
  • Author(s): Gustavo A. A. Santana
  • Release date: June 2013
  • Publisher(s): Cisco Press
  • ISBN: 9780133096439