Last week at VMware’s VMworld conference in Las Vegas, VMware and Cisco announced the planned 2009 release of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch software. This is an exciting advancement in the area of data center virtualization. I have written before how virtual networks will require a co-administered approach and why virtual switching should require both network and virtual server administrators. When this type of solution is available in the market, the manageability and provisioning of network access for virtual systems will be much appreciated from both the server and network teams.

The Nexus 1000V will, if anything, make provisioning different VLANs that are available to various VMware host systems much easier. On current versions of VMware ESX and VirtualCenter, there is quite a lot of configuration required on the host or complex scripts to export the configuration for the virtual machine port groups for each host profile. Further, network teams will appeal to the management of the virtual network connectivity being available from a Cisco piece of software.

While there is limited information about the specifics of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch software, I believe there will still need to be a close and agile relationship between the network administration team and the virtual server group. This is because the key to a successful virtual implementation revolves heavily around the network access. Based on the information currently available, this Cisco solution appears available only to VMware-based virtualization implementation. This is can be an important observation as virtual platforms from Microsoft, Citrix, and others contend with VMware. While VMware currently has the market share, there is a charged battle from the other players to get into the ring.

The Nexus 1000V and other enhancements for VMware-based virtual environments are due to be released in 2009. More information on the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch software can be found on the Cisco Web site.