Cisco nexus 1000v goes free

At my place of work we use the Cisco Nexus 1000v. It was a big part of my drive in the last year to bring all parts of IT into the virtual environment.

Selling the 1000v to the Network department was actually very easy. I gave one of the engineers a Cisco white paper to read on physical switch best practice and VMware. He read it that night and came to the office when straight to his manager and explained why we needed to buy it.

The whole purpose of this was to bring the network team into the fold. As we moved forward with a fairly aggressive P2V drive the network team has slowly lost control and visibility of a fairly major part of their network. Not being able to apply and guarantee the same network policies across the network estate is a major cause of concern for many network people.

The network team are now approaching me and asking if they can look at putting the virtual versions of the physical security appliances they use into the Virtual environment, so when I was at VMworld in Barcelona, I made a point to visit the Cisco stand and ask about the VSG and the Virtual ASA to try to get an idea of how they work with the 1000v’s, differences, licensing and other bits and pieces. They told me that Cisco were going to come out with a two tier licensing model. Essentials and Advanced, in other words free and not free. OK that is a little unfair as the Advanced version does have a few more features than the Essentials version, most importantly for us the Advanced version now comes with a VSG license.

For us this is great. In our small offices (two hosts) we can now start to put the free version and in our large datacentres we can keep using the 1000v but now also have the option of using the VSG. This should also be a big benefit for small companies, schools, charities and anybody else who is cash strapped (and yes, home labs too).

While this is good news, Cisco aren’t in the business of giving away free stuff, they don’t even do, what I fondly refer to as the drug pusher samples (a small bundle of free licenses to get you hooked). It makes me wonder how strong the uptake of the 1000v architecture really was. We love it and get really good use out of it but it is expensive and I believe this cost probably drive most people away.

Either way I think its a good step forward.