Unanswered Question
Oct 17th, 2008

Welcome to the Cisco Networking Professionals Ask the Expert conversation. This is an opportunity to learn about Network Virtualization with technologies such as MPLS, Virtual Route Forwarding and Generic Route Encapsulation with Cisco expert Pallavi Srinivasa. Pallavi is a senior product manager with campus switching systems technologies group (CSSTG) focusing on campus-related activities for the Cisco Catalyst 6500 and 4500 Series platforms. She product manages the Supervisor 720, including the latest supervisor supporting virtual switching system. Recently, she has focused on network virtualization in the enterprise campus for the two platforms. She has been at Cisco for 8 years in various roles including technical marketing engineer. She holds a master of science degree from Wright State University in Ohio.

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Loading. Sun, 10/19/2008 - 23:02

Hi Pallavi,

I hope you are fine. Can you please tell us a little bit what network virtualization is and what platforms support this feature. Thanks in advance.

Best Regards,

Rahim Amir Ali

palsrini Wed, 10/22/2008 - 13:23


Network Virtualization, broadly, is grouped into (1) Network Segmentation, (2) Interconnect and (3) Pooling

(1) Network Segmentation (one to many) allows you to have various logical segments on the same physical network. An example is a company wishing to have separate network for test labs, production and guest.

Technologies used today are VRF-lite, MPLS-VPN and GRE.

(2) Interconenct involves providing L2 adjancies and managing L2 domains efficiently while doing so. (e.g, vMotion in a DC-DC interconnect)

Technologies used today include EoMPLS, VPLSoGRE, AToMoGRE, L2omGRE.

(3) Pooling is combining multiple physical devices into one logical device resulting in network simplification.

Technology used today include VSS, HSRP etc.

Since these are mainly Enterprise campus requirements, these technologies are supported on modular switching platforms (Catalyst 6500, 4500 and Nexus 7000). Technologies supported vary depending on the platform you select.

Hope that helps.

tdeganus Tue, 10/28/2008 - 10:40

Can you point me to some urls detailing these topics on cisco website


beth-martin Wed, 10/22/2008 - 07:14

How does the term “Network Virtualization” translates to my customer business needs?

palsrini Wed, 10/22/2008 - 13:27

Network Virtualization results in reduced CapEx and OpEx due to efficient utilization of available resources. This results in lesser power usage making it a GREEN technology.

Other benefits to business are:

Improved IT asset utilization: servers, storage, Network

Operational efficiency and reduced complexity in infrastructure management

Faster service deployment

Improved security, compliance

Greater disaster recovery capabilities

manuadoor Thu, 10/23/2008 - 04:47


I am lanning to take an MPLS link, for a voip traffic, what all things I have to take care of when I take that. when router is best to terminate it...

palsrini Fri, 10/24/2008 - 08:43

Could you please elaborate on this? Do you want to put voip in a separate logical network?

manuadoor Fri, 10/24/2008 - 20:26

Yes.. I will be putting that in a different logical network.

palsrini Mon, 10/27/2008 - 11:46

You should be able to terminate it at the edge if you have a VRF or MPLS VPN capable routers at the edge. Catalyst 6500 series switches supports both of these technologies. If you don't have this capability at the edge, you will lump all traffic into one group and then separate them again with a L3 switch or router that is behind the edge device.

What do you have at the edge?

aghaznavi Fri, 10/24/2008 - 15:39

Do you have any public customer reference on any of these virtualization technologies?

thomas.chen Mon, 10/27/2008 - 10:49

Where in the network (core, distribution, data center etc) would these technologies matter to my customer?

palsrini Mon, 10/27/2008 - 11:44

Network Virtualization is used through out the network. You start with well-know VLANs in the wiring closet or access layer of the network. As you move up to distribution and core for both your campus backbone and Data center, you will use other technologies such as VRF-Lite and MPLS VPN.

Case studies for custoemrs who have already used this are available at

Please feel free to probe for further details.

palsrini Thu, 10/30/2008 - 14:46

Great! Would like to know anything specific. Are you thinking of implementing this?

b.hsu Tue, 10/28/2008 - 11:30

How does Enterprise virtualization technologies differ form Provider class technologies?

palsrini Thu, 10/30/2008 - 14:45

Enterprise customer requirements vary from that of a Service Provider. Enterprise customers may not have the skill set to understand MPLS technology. They will want a simplified version based on the IP technologies they are familiar with. Enterprise customers also do not have large scalability needs that some technologies offer. Hence VRF-Lite is more suited for Enterprise Class scalability and operational requirements.

Service Providers have a higher scalability needs. Appropriately they invest in the skill set to meet this need. Hence technologies such as MPLS VPNs are more suited for SP customers.


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