The Cisco Cloud Router Story

Cloud Router : Cisco

Now that VMWorld is over, there is a lot of industry buzz about VMWare, Nicira, VyattaCisco and the Cloud Router in the networking space.  Cisco had previously released the virtual Nexus 1000v switch, which provides a more flexible way to handle inter machine connectivity and the virtual ASA 1000v firewall.  While the Cloud Service Router CSR 1000v had been announced, there was not a lot of information out on it.

Recently Cisco released a Q&A about the CSR 1000v which includes a lot of helpful information about the positioning of the CSR 1000v router:

The CSR 1000v is a virtualized router based on Cisco IOS XE software.  It includes certain features from IOS XE including:

  • BGP, OSPF, EIGRP, Policy-based Routing, IPv6 Forwarding, VRF-Lite, LISP
  • DHCP, NAT, LISP, 802.1Q VLAN
  • IPSec VPN, DMVPN, EasyVPN, FlexVPN, GRE
  • MPLS VPN, VRF
  • ACLs, AAA and HSRP

The CSR 1000v is meant to serve as a router in front of a single cloud tenant as MPLS Customer Edge routing, IPSec VPN Gateway, NAT Gateway or LISP Gateway.  The functions that would normally have to be provided by an external router/device.  Combined with the Nexus 1000V and ASA 1000V you have a complete datacenter in a box.

A few years ago you would have needed a rack full of routers, switches, firewalls and servers to do the above.  We have finally able to build a true virtual data center.

What do I define as a true virtual data center? Here are some of the things that were almost impossible (as a group) before without using external hardware devices:

  • Multi-homing – You can have multiple uplinks and route across them differently using BGP.
  • Backend Server Fire-walling – With the ASA 1000v, you can separate your public servers from your private servers as a group, like you would with a hardware firewall.
  • High Availability – You can run a primary and backup of all of the devices including the router, switch and firewall.  The backups can exist on the same or separate physical hardware.

The biggest benefit of all? You can avoid forced hardware upgrade paths and all of your replacement parts are available from the server vendor you choose (or the local computer store..).

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