Can you afford to deploy new applications in days or weeks when your competitors can do it in minutes? Are your developers satisfied with the time it takes to move a new application from development through QA and CA to production? Are you able to deploy new releases daily? Are you happy that your development teams prefer public cloud services over internal IT? If you have answered NO to at least one of the questions, it's high time to put Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) near the top of your priority list.

Now imagine you would combine virtualized network services with programmable network elements—you would get highly-flexible infrastructure allowing you to deploy, configure and migrate application stacks in minutes, not days or weeks.

Topics covered in this workshop:
  • The need for SDDCs
  • SDDC explained
  • Architectural approaches to software-defined networking
  • Software-defined network services and virtual appliances
  • Software-defined security and virtual firewalls
  • Software-defined storage and distributed filesystems
  • Product deep dive: Cisco ACI and VMware NSX

The Software-Defined Data Center Workshop (SDDCWS) v2.0 is available as a 2-day intensive instructor-led workshop.

The workshop was developed by Ivan Pepelnjak
Ivan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354 (Emeritus), has been designing and implementing large-scale service provider and enterprise networks using advanced and emerging technologies since 1990.
Ivan started analyzing OpenFlow-based solutions and writing about OpenFlow technology and SDN concepts in early 2011. He was moderating the first-ever OpenFlow symposium in Silicon Valley in September 2011, had SDN presentations at RIPE and other regional ISP meetings, ran full-day SDN workshops at Interop and Troopers, and created OpenFlow/SDN webinars for NEC, VMware and Nuage Networks.
Ivan published two books on SDN and OpenFlow in 2014, and helped large multinational organizations and equipment vendors familiarize themselves with SDN concepts, evaluate their SDN strategies, and plan and design SDN pilots. He’s also the author of several Cisco Press books, prolific blogger at and author of a series of highly successful webinars.


This workshop will tell you how to design a SDDC, describe leading products (VMware NSX and Cisco ACI) and document their benefits and shortcomings.


The course contains these components:

Software-Defined Data Center
  • This section illustrates the concepts of SDDCs with a real-life example using VMware NSX/VSAN and Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform, and describes the following concepts:
    • Software-defined storage
    • Software-defined network connectivity
    • Software-defined network services

Architectural Approaches to SDDC Networking (New in version 2.0)
  • This section describes typical SDDC networking and network services architectures:
    • Heavy orchestration of existing data center networking and network services components
    • Hardware network virtualization solutions with virtual appliances or network services insertion
    • Hypervisor-based network virtualization solutions with virtual appliances

Hardware Network Virtualization Solutions (New in version 2.0)
  • This section describes:
    • Network virtualization implemented with hardware data center fabrics, from large-scale Layer 2 fabrics (TRILL, FabricPath, VCS Fabric) to overlay solution (VXLAN on Arista EOS, Cisco Nexus 9000) and policy-based architectures (Cisco ACI)

Product Deep Dive: Cisco ACI (New in version 2.0)
  • Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is the leading example of hardware-based network virtualization.
  • This section explains:
    • Cisco ACI architecture
    • Packet forwarding across Cisco ACI fabric
    • Cisco ACI endpoint groups (EPG) and contracts
    • Service insertion in Cisco ACI

Overlay Virtual Networking Deep Dive (Updated in version 2.0)
  • In this section you will discover the architecture and technical details of numerous overlay virtual networking solutions including:
    • Multicast-based VXLAN (Cisco Nexus 1000V, VMware vCNS)
    • Unicast VXLAN (Cisco Nexus 1000V, VMware NSX)
    • VMware NSX for multiple hypervisors (including OpenStack)
    • Hyper-V Network Virtualization (Microsoft)
    • Contrail (Juniper)
  • This section covers these deep-dive topics (including detailed packet flows):
    • Layer 2 MAC address learning and flooding in overlay virtual networks
    • Connecting overlay networks with the physical world using Layer 2 gateways, Layer 3 gateways, and virtual and physical appliances
    • Distributed Layer 3 forwarding
    • Layer 3 overlay virtual networks

Product Deep Dive: VMware NSX (New in version 2.0)
  • VMware NSX was the first commercial product implementing the SDDC paradigm in vSphere and multi-hypervisor environments, including OpenStack- and CloudStack-based deployments.
  • This section describes:
    • Architecture of VMware NSX and its components
    • NSX principles of operation
    • Services offered by VMware NSX in vSphere- and open source-based clouds

Virtualized Network Services (Updated in version 2.0)
  • After a brief refresher of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) concepts, this section focuses on:
    • Typical virtual network services use cases
    • Benefits and drawbacks of virtual appliances (as compared to their physical counterparts)
    • Performance limitations of virtual appliances
    • Deployment and management challenges in large-scale environments

Software-Defined Security (Updated in version 2.0)
  • Firewalls inserted between VM Ethernet adapters and virtual switches can drastically change the typical security paradigms and introduce centrally managed scale-out architectures.
  • This section describes:
    • Common VM NIC firewall architectures (including Cisco VSG, VMware NSX and Hyper-V-based solutions)
    • Service insertion and virtual network tapping solutions

Prerequisite Knowledge