The Cisco Nexus 1000v: Essential and Advanced Editions

The Cisco Nexus 1000v is a software switch that can be inserted into a VMware vSphere environment to migrate the network stack away from the native VMware standard and distributed switches and onto the Nexus platform. In order to install and utilize this technology, one must be licensed for vSphere’s “Enterprise Plus” tier along with having Cisco licenses to cover each host’s physical CPU socket. A shift is in the wind, as Cisco announced a shipping GA version of the Nexus 1000v in their datacenter blog that is being released with two editions: Essential (free) and Advanced.

For those who already hold paid for licenses of the Cisco Nexus 1000v – you are eligible to upgrade to the Advanced edition at no further cost. Be aware that the list prices for a support contract of the Advanced edition is higher than the Essential edition: $174 per physical CPU socket vs $39 with Essential. According to Cisco, you can “download the software from CCO and re-use [your] existing licenses.” Also note that there is a nx_os command required to change your licensed edition from Essential to Advanced.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience the features in the Cisco Nexus 1000v you can now download the latest edition from the CCO site with nothing more than a login account (free). The 1000v will natively install under the Essential edition without a support contract. Per Cisco:

“the Nexus 1000V Essential Edition is no charge, but there is a nominal annual charge per CPU socket for software maintenance. This is not required, and customers can run without support if desired, and the nominal support fee only kicks in if elected” – source

As long as you have VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses for your hosts, you can take the switch for a test drive in your lab and get a better understanding of how it would impact your various production or non-production environments.

This article was also posted on the Ahead blog