Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) is a Cisco management solution that maximizes overall data center infrastructure uptime and reliability, hence, improving business continuity. Focused on the management requirements of the data center network, Cisco DCNM provides a robust framework and rich feature set that fulfils the routing, switching, and storage administration needs of present and future data centers. In particular, Cisco DCNM automates the provisioning process, proactively monitors the storage area network (SAN) and local area network (LAN) by detecting performance degradation, secures the network, and streamlines the diagnosis of dysfunctional network elements.
Unified management throughout the data center network
Cisco DCNM simplifies the data center operating environment and provides a centralized management application that delivers the capability to be used across the entire data center network infrastructure: core, aggregation, access in particular top-of-rack and blade switches, and storage fabric.
Through the powerful and fully automated discovery capability built into Cisco DCNM, critical data from the network is uploaded into a relational database that models the network. Device details, topology information, and network service settings are stored in this network model and are available for inventory purposes. The user has quick access to information on equipments and other physical assets that constitute the network, such as chassis type, supervisors, line cards, ports, fans, and power supplies. The user also has visibility into the logical resources in use, such as IP addresses, MAC addresses, VLAN IDs, access control lists (ACLs), PortChannels etc. These resources are tracked on a permanent basis; hence, this inventory is a reliable and trustable source of information, easily viewed via the GUI or easily accessed programmatically.
Done manually, misconfigurations can happen throughout the entire configuration process leading to sub-optimal operation or even network downtime. Cisco DCNM validates configuration change requests before their deployment. Typically, when configuration data is entered in Cisco DCNM, it is checked for validity and consistency during a preprovisioning step that uses domain rules. Domain rules are network feature attributes and network feature behavior enforcement: for example, IP address overlap. This validation step occurs only when the configuration request is deployed, so that the most current network model is the reference for the network feature configuration. The Cisco DCNM configuration engine helps ensure error-free configuration.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
The Cisco DCNM GUI is built with usability in mind and follows two paradigms: network-feature-centric: Layer 2 and network security features are the network entities that the IT staff manipulates the most. Logically arranged, network features are immediately accessible; data-led workflow: The data needed to complete a task is readily available from the main window. Network Administrators are automatically in the context of the configuration to be accomplished; navigation between windows is minimal. Intuitive drag-and-drop actions ease the configuration process.
Cisco DCNM features an accurate graphical representation of the physical network in a single window. The topology map visualizes devices and links and highlights configuration information such as chassis and ports configuration details as well as status information. Additionally, a layer 2 overlay map displays active VLANs and STP blocked ports clearly identifying the traffic path. The user can modify the topology map icon layout with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface. A tabular list of the managed devices featuring a search tool helps the user to locate the device of interest. The view is redisplayed with the spotted device in the center of the window and its connected neighbors. Access to related configuration parameters is only a click away.
Virtual PortChannel (VPC) is another virtualization technology built in NX-OS which allows ports member of a PortChannel to be spread between two physical devices. This solution allows for a more efficient use of available ports by eliminating the need for STP and STP blocked ports. Hence, all available uplink bandwidth between a VPC end point and the 2 remote VPC peers can be utilized at any time. DCNM fully automates the configuration of VPC which is guided, step by step, by a wizard.
Network events are collected and displayed in an Event Browser window. Each event is correlated to the network feature it relates to. In addition, per-device filtering and alarm grouping are automatically performed. Color-coded status indicators make critical alarms easy to spot. The overall network health is summarized in a scoreboard-type interface. Alarms and messages can be forwarded to northbound applications.
Performance monitoringProduct Highlights
When instructed to do so, Cisco DCNM collects port and bandwidth utilization, error count, traffic statistics, security violation count etc. The polling frequency and duration of the collection are user configurable. Real-time and historical performance statistics reports are displayed in chart and graph formats. The values and parameters of each report can be exported as a text file. Cisco DCNM capacity to produce both real-time and historical records provides the network administrators and planners with key performance indicators required in today's network environment.
- Virtual device context
- Fiber channel and Layer 2 and 3 domain awareness
- Fully automated, high-fidelity network discovery
- Middleware abstracts the network and performs device language mediation
- Proactive measurement of important performance indicators for ongoing network monitoring
- Programmatic interface exposed northbound
- Network model mimics the network dynamics