In light of Cisco Live Orlando, the biggest thing since sliced bread has hit the Cisco’s DC flagship Nexus series. This isn’t about a bigger box, a faster line card, or 100Gb everywhere – which they did do by the way – it is the Nexus Validation Testing framework.

Cisco’s Nexus platform before this announcement and refocus was seen in my eyes as a promising youthful platform. Its young, fresh outlook on the DC with its flexible modularity proved popular among Cisco shops. Lead by the reassuringly expensive Nexus 7000, the spear tip of the family, Nexus solidified itself into many varying DC worldwide.

The Nexus platform was then hit hard with good and bad feedback throughout the past couple of years. What was designed to be a serious CapEx investment to form the foundation of multi-tenant DCs, cloud providers, and large enterprise DCs, was plagued with some convoluted software/firmware and migration paths. When updating to a new code train and finding out that you cannot because you’re handicapped due to M2 line card version incompatibility is demoralising. Not having the confidence to sit in the CTO’s office and say “Yes, this hitless upgrade can go ahead without outage.” causes a loss in consumer confidence for decision makers.

NVT aims to build topologies that you and I build. They then stack the features on and you and I use. They reproduce your Nexus topology and report back to you that yes, your hitless upgrade will work or this version combined with OTV and other unicorn-blood powered technologies will not break. Cisco has listened. Cisco is improving their practice.

With all that in mind, Cisco has injected their youthful teenager with a shot of the real world. They have taken off the rose-coloured glasses and brought it back from the brink of juvenile detention. NVT is the differentiator for many businesses in their business case against other brands. NVT is what will make the Nexus the venerable platform it deserves to be. NVT will help retain customers that have had their loyalty tested. NVT will help entice those who have heard the horror stories have another look.

I have faith that the NVT ship is being led by a good captain. This ship, the SS NVT, is the impetus for investment in to the next generation of Cisco’s DC. I wish you luck NVT, because I, like many others, are holding a candle up to you.

Help me NVT, you’re my only hope.



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