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Cisco preps data center interconnect

Switch upgrade for workload shifting

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Cisco is reportedly prepping a software upgrade for its flagship Nexus 7000 switches designed to ease the movement of loads and virtual machines across multiple data centers.

Dubbed Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV), the technology essentially encapsulates and forwards Layer 2 Ethernet LAN traffic across disparate data centers, making them appear as one logical entity, according to Network World.

OTV encapsulates L2 traffic with an IP header. Native IP treatment of the encapsulated data allows admins to move workloads across data centers without maintaining multiple routing and forwarding tables in every device in a path from a source node to the destination node. There's other ways to go about it, but Cisco claims OTV makes it far easier to set up new data center interconnections by letting the routers do the work.

The company did not respond to our requests for comment on OTV. However, Cisco's US patent application for OTV, filed July 2007, can be viewed here.

Resiliency features baked into OTV include multi-pathing, multi-homing, and loop prevention as well as the ability to suppress floods of unknown L2 traffic and span tree packets, according to Network World.

OTV is expected to be available for the Nexus 7000's NX-OS operating system in April, and it's expected to be pushed into other platforms in the future. ®

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