Cisco has announced the availability of an overlay technology for its Nexus 7000 Series of data centre switches that aims to reduce the complexity of connecting up geographically-dispersed data centres.
Dubbed Overlay Transport Virtualisation (OTV), the technology allows disparate data centres to connect over an extended Ethernet LANs and appear as one logical data centre.
According to Cisco, OTV is useful for customers that are consolidating data centres, spanning clusters across data centres, or have legacy applications requiring Layer 2 network connectivity.
In the past, connecting data centres required the rollout of a dedicated dark fibre networks, as the movement of virtual machines was based on the Layer 2 (data link) layer.
This scenario which wasn't "scalable or economical" for customers connecting data centres over Layer 3 (IP) networks, said Dylan Morison, data centre lead for Cisco Australia and New Zealand.
OTV is an overlay technology which allows organisations to connect data centres over "existing carrier class networks" such as Optus' Evolve or Telstra's MPLS network, provided that they have a Nexus 7000 switch deployed at each data centre.
Liam Fraser, general manager of marketing for Alphawest, a Cisco partner, said it expected OTV to help customers simplify their data centre operations and potentially reduce the cost of customer service deployments.
"The combination of Cisco Nexus 7000 with OTV will provide us with the foundation to offer flexible and cost effective services to our customers at the layer 2 level, enabling our customers to have LAN-like functionality running across their WANs (wide area networks).
Max Ardica Cisco's data centre solutions architect said in a recently posted video that as an overlay technology OTV has two advantages for customers: It can be deployed across different types of connectivity between data centre sights.
And it allows it to be deployed without modifying the design principle the customer traditionally uses to deploy the data centre network.
"You might have scenarios where you have dark fibre or a MPLS type cloud connectivity or IP core, OTV can be deployed across all these different deployment options."
"And it allows customers to extend data centre connectivity without modifying the boundary at Layer 2 and Layer3 in the network," he said.
Cisco OTV will be available in April 2010 and existing Nexus 7000 customers can deploy OTV through a software upgrade at an additional licensing fee.
Cisco's list price for OTV is US$30,000 (A$33,692).