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Enable your hybrid cloud networks and more with Cisco Nexus Dashboard Fabric Controller (NDFC) Release 12.1.2

This blog is a collaboration with Co-Author David Keith, Senior Product Marketing Manager


Business spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to reach hundreds of billion in 2021, up 6 percent from 2020, and is expected to grow through 2024 as organizations recover from the pandemic slowdown and gear up to serve their customers in new and innovative ways. Growing data centers require an easy to use, agile, and scalable end-to-end lifecycle automation toolchain with fabric control capabilities to automate large data centers in multiple locations—either on-premises or in the cloud. With the shift towards a hybrid cloud model, the need to monitor application performance, gain visibility and management across on prem and cloud networks is ever growing. These challenges extend across connectivity, operations, and the application experience. The challenge is not to evolve now, but to be adaptive—always.

A Quick Recap of NDFC

Cisco Nexus® Dashboard Fabric Controller (NDFC). Cisco NDFC is the comprehensive management and automation solution for all Cisco Nexus and Cisco Multilayer Distributed Switching (MDS) platforms powered by Cisco NX-OS. NDFC provides a single point of management, streamlined automation, comprehensive monitoring and visibility, for deployments spanning LAN, SAN, and IP Fabric for Media (IPFM) fabrics. With 12.1.2, NDFC also empowers businesses to move to a hybrid cloud environment with network connectivity automation and visibility between private and public clouds as well.

NDFC runs as a service on top of Nexus Dashboard (ND) cluster that can be either a physical or a virtual cluster. Furthermore, NDFC seamlessly integrates with other services running on ND including Cisco Nexus Dashboard Orchestrator (NDO) and Cisco Nexus Dashboard Insights (NDI).

  • Nexus Dashboard Orchestrator: NDFC integrates with Nexus Dashboard Orchestrator to scale out deployment to more than one NDFC instance and extend an on-premises NDFC managed data center into a public cloud
  • Nexus Dashboard Insights: NDFC integrates with Nexus Dashboard Insights to provide granular and scalable visibility for Day 2 operations such as deep dive troubleshooting and maintenance operations that benefit data center operation teams.

What’s New in NDFC 12.1(2)

  • Hybrid cloud connectivity to AWS and Azure for deployment flexibility: The Hybrid Cloud Solution will support seamless connectivity between on-premises and cloud networks. With NDFC, users can manage their on-prem VXLAN fabrics. Other key components include Cisco Nexus Dashboard Orchestrator (NDO) which will establish connectivity between on-prem and cloud sites sending policies to the Cisco Cloud Network Controller (CCNC). The Cisco Cloud Network Controller provides automated connectivity, policy translation, and enhanced visibility of workloads in the public cloud. CCNC will translate policies from NDO and program them into cloud-native constructs. NDFC 12.1(2) Hybrid Cloud solution will provide support for Microsoft Azure and AWS public clouds.
Figure 1: hybrid cloud networking with NDFC

Look forward to additional blogs on our hybrid cloud capabilities coming soon

  • Scale enhancements: NDFC 12.1(2) places a heavy emphasis on increasing scale. With the constant expansion of customer data centers, NDFC aims to build with customers, sharpen our competitive edge, and increase support for high scale deployments. Some major scale improvements include support for 500 switches in managed mode with a per fabric limit increase to 200 switches, advancing external fabric scale to support 1000 switches, and IPFM scale enhancements to support 150 switches further enabling growth.
  • Enhancements to Interface group support: Interface groups were introduced to support easy provisioning of overlay networks to interfaces via the ability to create interface groups. By creating interface groups, users can attach networks to interfaces that way whenever new groups or interfaces get added, they automatically inherit the configuration. NDFC 12.1.2 will also introduce a new policy field allowing you to update selected interfaces within a policy and create customized policies further simplifying this workflow. In 12.1(2) we are also expanding this feature to support L2 Tor use cases.
  • Incremental enhancements for Media and SAN Controllers: NDFC 12.1(2) also institutes several ongoing enhancements in the areas of SAN management and media fabrics management. SAN will introduce improved scale to support 1 million ITL/ITN flows in SAN Insights and configuration monitor enhancement to identify Configuration Drift conditions. In IPFM, there will be a focus on optimizing PTP and RTP monitoring and increased scale.

NDFC 12.1.2 sets up the building blocks for customer velocity, deployment flexibility, and growing data center environments by focusing on Hybrid Cloud Solution, improved scale, and enhancements to existing features with high user adoption. Learn more about Cisco NDFC today!



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Author: Akshaya Premkumar

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