Cisco and VMware (in which Cisco has a 1.6 percent equity stake) say the integration will enable IT managers "to set and enforce connection policies for each virtual machine across a data centre [and apply] the same policy-based configuration and operation of network services traditionally available in Cisco physical hardware switches...to each virtual machine."
IT managers will be able to "more easily manage virtual machines as they migrate them across physical servers during routine hardware maintenance or to balance server workloads for optimised application performance and availability."
To support the joint offering, Cisco and VMware will introduce a set of professional services and reseller certification training in virtualisation that will be based on their combined expertise in networking and virtualisation.
New Cisco Virtual Network Link (VN-Link) technology in the Nexus 1000V will integrate with VMware's vNetwork Distributed Switch framework "to create a logical network infrastructure that will provide full visibility, control and consistency of the network."
Cisco and VMware claim that it will help network, virtualisation and server teams to gain efficiency in virtual environments and obtain accurate, real-time data for stronger collaboration in troubleshooting.
They will jointly propose VN-Link to the IEEE standards body as a new protocol called 'Network Interface Virtualisation' and say that acceptance would enable its adoption by other vendors and create the scale and certainty to enable it to be implemented in hardware.
The Nexus 1000V software is expected to be available in the first half of 2009 and to available as an option with a future release of VMware.
The two companies say they have a number of beta customers, including some in Australia, and quote one customer, Theresa Regan, director of operations and infrastructure services for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, saying: "What is cool about Cisco working together with VMware is that the service, security and operational ease of management policies in Cisco networking will be assignable across each virtual machine in VMware infrastructure. This kind of innovation will help drive more use of virtualisation in our campus."
In a separate joint initiative Cisco's products for optimising the delivery of applications across wide are networks are being made 'VMware aware' to improve the performance of VMware Virtual Desktops across wide-area networks.
With VMware Virtual Desktops a desktop OS and applications are centrally hosted, but dedicated to a single user, and accessed over a wide or local area network.