Cisco claims virtualisation will become easier for network administrators in the next year when it releases its first software network switch,
The VCD-OS will enable distributed virtual switches for enhanced connectivity between VMWare's ESX servers in a virtual environment.
Cisco has used VMWare's open API for the default switch within the VCD-OS to develop a customised virtual switch with added functionality.
The biggest benefit, according to Cisco, is that network administrators will be able to use the same familiar management tool for both physical and virtual environments.
This will remove some of the complexity of setting up and managing virtual networks and help speed up the transition to a virtual environment for many organisations.
William Fellows, principal analyst at The 451 Group, said Cisco's virtual switch would bring together server and network management for the first time.
"Until now this has been an inhibitor to the whole idea of a shared infrastructure," he said.
The Nexus 1000V will also extend Cisco's security, policy enforcement, automated provisioning and diagnostics features into VMWare enviroments.
The same policy-based configuration and operation of network services traditionally available in Cisco physical switches will be applied to each virtual machine.
The release of the Nexus 1000V is expected in the first half of 2009 and marks another strategic partnership aimed at preserving VMWare's leadership in the virtualisation market.