Cisco @ VMworld 2012

Its true, there is no rest for the weary.  While we are putting the finishing touches on CiscoLive!, we have already started work on VMworld 2012, which remains one of my favorite shows.  As part of that, we have submitted the following session topics for consideration:

  • 1988 – From Here to There: VMotion Within and Beyond the Data (by yours truly): One of the coolest aspects of vSphere is VMotion. There are a number of innovative technologies available to help you make the most of this feature. This session will help you understand the use of various technology options such as flat architectures, VXLAN, OTV and LISP to support VMotion within the data center and between data centers. As with many aspects of IT, there is no one right answer. The session will discuss the pros and cons of various technologies to allow you to decide what best meets your needs. And, since no VM is an island, the session will also look at how L4-7 and storage figure into things.
  • 2680 — Secure multi-tenant data center with Cisco ASA1000V, Virtual Security Gateway and Nexus 1000V: Cisco ASA1000V cloud firewall and VSG together provide a comprehensive cloud security solution. The Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall employs mainstream, proven Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) technology, optimized for highly secure multi-tenant virtual and cloud infrastructure at the edge. Implementing Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) with the Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall in a virtual multi-tenant data center solution provides tenant edge, intra-tenant, and inter-tenant virtual and cloud security.
  • 2373 — Best Practice for Deploying VXLAN with Cisco Nexus 1000V and VMware vCloud Director: Cisco Nexus 1000V is the first virtual switch to provide Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network (VXLAN) providing cloud network isolation and is fully integrated with VMware vCloud Director. Come to this session to find out how to deploy VXLAN with VMware vCloud Director. This session will also provide a deep dive into VXLAN deployment best practice.
  • 2227 — Go Big! 10G and Multi Adapter vMotion for Large Workloads: The addition of Multi-Adapter vMotion and improved overall vMotion performance in ESX 5 allowed Medtronic to scale up to a high density virtualization and large workload environment with 1TB of RAM per host and guests with up to 256GB of ram. This session will explore the networking challenges and solutions of “scaled up” virtualization environments including the configuration of multi-adapter vMotion, NIOC, class based WFQ QOS in the Cisco Nexus 1000v, and QOS in the Cisco UCS fabric.

If you would like to one of more of these sessions, please head over to VMworld site and vote, vote, vote!

Thanks

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Cisco Puts More Power in Your Hands with StackPower

I recently attended a presentation by bestselling author and speaker Chip Conley. Conley is best known for successfully applying noted American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid to create a simplified business model with three themes:
– Survival
– Success
– Transformation.

Conley’s Transformation Pyramid can be applied in many areas. For example, when it comes to serving customers needs,  these three themes tell us that we need to focus on not only customers’ basic and tangible needs at the bottom of the pyramid, but also their higher needs to succeed with their business goals. Here I’ll take a look at how Cisco StackPower helps our customers to achieve their objectives at each of the three stages.

I begin with a very basic customer “survival” need: ensure network high availability. The Cisco Catalyst 3750-X switches help meet this requirement by creating a pool of electric power that is shared by all the switches in the power stack. If a switch suffers a power supply failure, it can still maintain its operations because each switch is supported by the power pool, not by an individual power supply. You can also add an eXpandable Power System (XPS 2200) to the power pool for increased resiliency and flexibility.

The second level of customer needs is to be successful in what they do. In terms of network high availability, this means doing so with less equipment and costs.  This is where Cisco StackPower shines with innovative technologies such as N+1 redundancy and zero-footprint redundant power supply (RPS).  N+1 here means that one extra power supply is used for backup support for multiple switches in the stack. Independent tests show that StackPower can cut both capital and operational costs:
– savings of four power supplies or $4,000 in a three-switch stack with N+1 redundancy
– internal redundancy with no requirement for extra rack space
– intelligent 3-tier, 27 -level power prioritization scheme to control load sharing and shedding behavior

The third and highest level of customer needs, transformation, may mean different things to different people. It could be industry leadership, innovative accomplishments or simply making a difference in the community. Cisco provides numerous technologies and solutions to help our customers achieve their goals, including
– StackPower to ensure high availability of the power control plane
– StackWise (for 3750 switches) and StackWise Plus (for 3750-X switches) to ensure high availability of the data control plane
– Power Over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) to deliver inline power to drive Web cameras, IP phones, 802.11n Wi-Fi access points, security surveillance cameras, and other devices for rapid rollouts and efficient operations.
With these technologies, customers can deploy mobility, E911 and many other mission critical services that help accelerate the move towards their business goals.

Up to this point, Cisco StackPower is supported only in the Cisco IOS “IP Base” feature set. Going forward, Cisco StackPower will become available on all 3750-X LAN Base switches (-L), starting in IOS version 15.0.(2)SE which is expected to be released in the third quarter of calendar year 2012. Existing Cisco 3750-X LAN Base customers will be able to upgrade their IOS to get StackPower with no extra costs, except the StackPower cables which require a separate purchase.

You’ll soon have more power in your hands with Cisco StackPower!

 

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Part 1: 10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management

This part 1 of the series “10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management” that I’ll be publishing over the next few weeks–I hope! (The boy is nothing if not ambitious).

1. The service catalog is a tool for driving users to standard configurations.

To get the operational efficiencies we hope to achieve from virtualization and / or cloud computing, we need to establish standard configurations. This is tough, for a couple of reasons.

First, the challenge is the gap between the language of the customer, and the detail needed by the operations group typically generates a lot of back and forth during the “server engineering” process.  Instead of having “pre-packaged” configurations, every thing is bespoke.

Instead of having useful abstraction layers and levels, the customer has to invent their own little bit of the data center. This made sense when the new app meant a whole new hardware stack to which the app would be fused to and the concrete poured on it. It doesn’t make sense now.

Second,  there’s resistance from customers to adopt standard VM builds.  Sometimes the reasons are valid, other times less so. The issue arises because the technical configurations have not been abstracted to a level the user can understand what they get and what’s available for configuration.  Nor can they compare one template to another in ways that are meaningful to them.

The service catalog is the tool to help deal with these two obstacles.  The service catalog is a useful tool to communicate, in the language of the customer, the different options available from IT for hosting environments.

A service catalog will support multiple views (customer, technical, financial, etc) so that when the customer selects “small Linux” for testing, this generates both a bill of materials and standard configuration options.  Once that base is selected, self-service configuration wizards provide both guidance and gutter-rails so the customer is both helped to the right thing and prevented from making errors.

From this customer configuration, the environment build sheet is generated which will drive provisioning and configuration activities or to execute any policy automation in place.

And the catalog allows the VM admins to figure out what their “market” is buying; which is very useful for capacity planning.

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IPv6 Planning – Where Do I Start?

World IPv6 Day is on June 6, 2012 and organizations everywhere will be permanently enabling IPv6 for their products and services. With the date fast approaching, you might be wondering: where do I start with my IPv6 transition?

Integrating IPv6 into an existing network may seem like a daunting task. Big tasks can create ‘analysis paralysis’ to the point where nothing gets done because the perception is that the task is too big to take on.  The key in this scenario is to not think about the task as one big one, but rather a series of small tasks that can be handled independently.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started with IPv6:

1.  Bring together a cross functional team: IPv6 integration touches all functions in an IT organization.  It encompasses network infrastructure, security infrastructure, data center, servers, clients, applications, etc.  Taken as a whole, the scope may seem vast and beyond the capability of an individual or a group to accomplish.  A key message here is that IPv6 integration is NOT a network-only project.  Yes, IPv6 is a transport protocol.  Yes, it is important at the network layer.  However, as a transport protocol, IPv6 touches just about everything, which is why it is critical in the early stages to get everyone involved.

This cross functional team should have representatives to serve as the voice for their IT group, coordinate integration activities within their function and between functions, and also champion IPv6 integration throughout their part of the organization.   IPv6 integration is a perfect opportunity to re-establish communications channels and partnerships between and among organizations that typically do not talk or work with each other.

2.  Ensure executive sponsorship: this aspect is sometimes overlooked but is vital to the overall success of the project. Having someone from the executive team who is an active participant in integration activities is important to the overall visibility and status of the project.  Active executive sponsorship reinforces the commitment of the organization as whole to IPv6 integration, and will help sustain the momentum and progress of the IPv6 integration project.

3.  Break into chunks: with the team assembled, it is now time to break the project down into manageable chunks that can independently be addressed.  If you look at the task as having to integrate IPv6 into 50,000 hosts running five different operating systems; 20,000 servers running 3,000 separate applications; 5,000 routers running 20 different versions of software and 10,000 switches running 30 different versions of software, the team will easily be overwhelmed by the magnitude!

Instead, break down the task into different components or places in the network such as core infrastructure, Internet edge, client edge access, data center, web based applications, etc.  It might also be worthwhile to analyze and prioritize where IPv6 integration has to happen first based on geography or business requirements.

The diagram below shows three potential approaches to breaking down the project.  The blue box shows a core-to-edge approach.  The orange box shows an edge-to-core approach.  The red box highlights an Internet edge approach.

ipv6 planning approachesCore-to-Edge Planning

The core-to-edge approach allows an organization to deal with the internal network infrastructure without having to deal with potential application and user issues.  The organization can gain experience in operating an IPv6 network and adapt their processes and procedures to accommodate the new protocol without the added pressure of having to deal with end user issues.

Edge-to-Core Planning

The edge-to-core approach is a bit more complex because it involves the end users and applications from the outset.  In this model a specific and limited set of applications and users is typically chosen for initial implementation phases.  This approach allows for some valuable experience to be gained and the lessons learned can be applied to the next series of users and applications.

Internet Edge Planning

Starting at the Internet edge allows an organization to offer IPv6 connectivity to Internet users that consume their services. The advantage for this model is that it allows for Internet users to connect to the organization via whatever transport is available, yet the organization does not necessarily have to do any IPv6 integration internally.  In this model, a translation layer is used to provide IPv6 to IPv4 address translation so that the backend services and applications do not have to be IPv6 enabled.  This model buys time for the organization to properly plan and prepare for IPv6 integration on the backend.

Keep in mind that the implementation and breakdown are not mutually exclusive.  It is OK to begin doing work in all these areas simultaneously if the resources are available.  Please take the time to review some of the IPv6 design documents that are available on cisco.com:

Breaking a large task down into a series of smaller ones (see my prior blog) can be more manageable and allows the work to be done in increments until the whole task is completed.  As the shampoo bottle states – lather, rinse and repeat — at some point you will find that you are done.

Are you ready to join the many organizations who are permanently enabling IPv6?

 

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With VPLEX and OTV, Cisco and EMC change the Mobility and Disaster Recovery Game (Part1)

if you get the chance to be at EMC World you probably saw an interesting demo shared by Cisco, EMC and VCE  about Mobility and Business Continuance — If you didn’t , Cisco Live San Diego will be another opportunity to see it

Our favorite bloggers Jake Howering  and Omar Sultan wrote  in the recent past  about DCI (Data Center Interconnect)  , OTV (Overlay Transport Virtualization)  i.e  DCI as an enabling framework for both Workload Mobility & Disaster Recovery 

Today I am pleased to have EMC Colin Durocher, bringing his perspective on the best way to address a critical challenge for a lot of IT organizations.
Next week I will post a second part , with a video  about the demo itself

Colin Durocher (on Twitter  @OtherColin) is a Principal Product Manager with the RecoverPoint VPLEX Business Unit.He has been working with the VPLEX product in several capacities including QA, software development,
systems engineering, and product management for over 10 years.
He is a father of two, a professional engineer, and is currently pursuing an MBA.
Colin is based out of Montreal, Canada.

“Life Inside the Datacenter Silo

The traditional approach to IT is characterized by datacenter silos.  Within each silo, we have our operations down to a science:

  • We use server clustering, redundant network fabrics, and RAID storage to protect against unplanned local failures.
  • We maintain spare capacity to absorb failures and workload spikes
  • We don’t think twice about moving data between tiers, or even between arrays to optimize cost and performance.
  • We commonly move virtual machines non-disruptively from server to server to load balance or perform maintenance.
    As far as mobility and availability needs are concerned, life is good…  Within the silo.

Crossing the Chasm (Between Silos) 

When it comes to protecting against site failures, we use array replication to maintain a copy of all our data in a secondary (often passive) datacenter.  We maintain scripts to automate our failover in case we ever need to declare a disaster.  We practice our DR plan at least once a year.  Don’t we?  Moving applications between datacenters is complicated enough that we really just try not to do it.  When we do, it often entails a professional services engagement.

All this has worked reasonably well for us up to now.  But IT budgets are being squeezed and IT administrators need to eliminate waste, reduce complexity and find ways to increase their operational efficiency.  It isn’t an optional thing.  Consider the IDC digital universe study (2011) which estimates that by 2020, the amount of information under management will increase by a factor of 50 while the number of IT staff managing it will increase by only 1.5

That gap will need to be filled by different technologies.  Let me introduce one to you – EMC VPLEX Metro.  For hundreds of customers, it is breaking down the barriers between datacenters bringing new levels of efficiency, simplicity, and availability.

What VPEX Metro does 

VPLEX makes the same information available in two places at the same time.  It sits between your servers and (heterogeneous) storage in both locations.  It virtualizes the storage with enterprise-class hardware and software and creates what is called a distributed volume.  VPLEX’s AccessAnywhere technology – a globally coherent distributed cache architecture borrowed from the world of super-computing – ensures fast coherent access to data in both locations.  Reads are always serviced locally – from cache or from disk – while writes are synchronously mirrored between locations.


How VPLEx and OTV change the game 

VPLEX breaks down the barriers between your datacenters as far as storage is concerned.  Cisco Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) does the same as far as the network is concerned – stretching a layer 2 network between sites.  By combining these, we can now stretch our server clustering technologies between datacenters and stretch their mobility and availability benefits to eliminate the datacenter silos.

Consider  VMware vSphere as an example.  With VPLEX and OTV, we can now stretch our ESXi clusters across datacenter boundaries allowing us to non-disruptively move applications between our datacenters, just as we do within the datacenter.  Given that 80% of downtime is planned, this can be really useful for moving applications out of harm’s way ahead of any maintenance activity…  Eliminating the need to negotiate maintenance windows with users.

Even more amazing is that we can leverage VMware HA to protect our applications from site failure without having to maintain any DR scripts or have a human involved to declare a disaster before systems will begin to failover to the secondary site.  Also, when the primary site comes back online, we no longer need to take an outage for “failback”.  We simply vMotion applications back to where they should be.  In fact, with VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler, VMware will do that for us.  Self-healing datacenter infrastructure.

Beyond that, we can fully leverage a second site as an active one…  In fact, there is no longer the concept of primary and secondary sites.  There is now one federated pool of resources.  By enabling VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), we can even benefit from automatic load balancing of virtual machines across that entire pool allowing us to leverage the spare capacity in one datacenter to absorb failures or workload spikes in another datacenter.  VPLEX thus enables better asset utilization.

These benefits are not limited to VMware clusters.  The mobility and availability use cases apply to Oracle RAC, IBM PowerHA, Microsoft Hyper-V and Cluster Services, as well as other clustering technologies.

Where to Learn More

Come visit the Cisco, EMC, and VCE  booths at Cisco Live  to learn about Mission Critical Business Continuity Made Simple here
To learn more about VPLEX check here  ”

Also more Cisco Data Center blogs on OTV 

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/under_the_covers_with_otv/

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/vxlan-deep-dive-part-2-looking-at-the-options/

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/dci-use-case-capacity-expansion/

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/more-vxlan-qa/

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/best-practices-for-application-delivery-in-virtualized-networks-%E2%80%93-part-ii/

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An Intelligent Network. What Is It?

How does an intelligent network affect you? Do you care how you’re able to read this blog post as long as it is delivered efficiently and loads quickly? Let’s dive deeper. As you consume information available on the World Wide Web, use the various enterprise apps at work, and browse training videos, do you ever wonder about how the content is delivered to you? Think about the various technologies and network services that may have impacted how this blog was delivered to you and the path it took from the app server to your laptop, iPhone, Blackberry, android phone, or tablet.

I was reading some of my older blogs, which I had posted when I was part of Cisco’s push into the enterprise social networking market and was wondering how much of that is still relevant today. About a year and a half later, Facebook’s IPO underscores the importance of human networks and information sharing atop intelligent networks, resulting in a more productive workforce and an enlightened human race due to the availability of information and how quickly it can be consumed. So what do I mean by an “intelligent network” and what problem is it trying to solve? As with any system designed to carry content, modern day networks suffer from bandwidth constraints, traffic prioritization challenges, and ensuring consistency across multiple networks.

If you step back and look at the bigger picture, the task of delivering information over computer networks is seemingly very simple. It’s all about getting information from point A, where it is hosted, to point B, where it is consumed, over a network that knows how to route information between the two points. Upon close analysis though, changes in the various ways enterprises host applications and the changing expectations of consumers are making an apparently easy task complex. For instance, modern day enterprise employees won’t compromise on the quality of experience for business applications and they also expect to be able to access enterprise apps in numerous ways.  A big part of the whole challenge is around application and service delivery of business-critical applications with stringent service level objectives (SLO) for metrics such as end user experience and how the network, which is responsible for the delivery of these applications, can rise to the challenge and do its part in assuring delivery of such applications.

Business-critical applications have a strong correlation with business operations, productivity, and profitability. CIOs favor networking vendors who deliver platforms and solutions that are sufficient for not only delivering traditional “plumbing” needs, but can also host services, be application aware, and intelligently treat and deliver applications critical to the business.

Cisco, with its offering of the Application Visibility & Control (AVC) solution on its integrated services routers (ISR) and aggregation services routers (ASR) has taken giant strides towards embedding intelligence into its platforms (and therefore the network) to identify, analyze and optimize application traffic without requiring the installation of external agents. This makes a Cisco network not just application aware and intelligent but also very cost effective and helps network admins avoid some of the pitfalls of transitioning hosting of applications to more centralized locations such as the enterprise data center or a virtual private cloud. Using AVC, enterprises can define, monitor, and control the quality of the end user experience being delivered to remote branches, and isolate issues at a user, branch, network, or data center level. Service providers can provide a central portal for their hundreds of customers and help them monitor their service level agreements (SLAs) around application usage and experience. Institutions such as universities can monitor and control application bandwidth consumption and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as bandwidth consumption at a per student level.

What about reporting? A reporting solution that can collect data from multiple AVC sources and present end-to-end visibility along the horizontal (DC-WAN-aggregation-WAN-branch-LAN-user) and vertical (network infrastructure-applications-services-user) stacks can help network administrators overcome some of the challenges associated with application delivery in the enterprise. Cisco Prime Assurance Manager is a reporting solution that can aggregate data from multiple AVC sources and present this complete picture for network administrators  (see example report below) .

 

http://www.cisco.com/go/pam

Cisco Prime Assurance Manager provides network-based end-to-end application, end user experience, and infrastructure health visibility.

So, hopefully I have spurred you to think about the role of the network in ensuring application delivery and enhancing your end user experience before you browse away from this blog and get ready to read another one.  Spare a few moments and think about the magic that happens behind the scenes to deliver that next blog to you.

 

 

 

 

 [l9]???

 

I was reading some of my older blogs, which I had posted when I was part of Cisco’s push into the enterprise social networking market and was wondering how much of that is still relevant today. About a year and a half later, I write this blog on an iconic day, marked by Facebook’s IPO. This underscores the importance of human networks and information sharing atop intelligent networks, resulting in a more productive workforce and an enlightened human race in terms of the availability of information and how quickly it can be consumed. So what do I mean by an “Intelligent network” and what problem is it trying to solve? As with any system designed to carry content, modern day networks too suffer from problems emanating from bandwidth constraints, traffic prioritization challenges and ensuring consistency across multiple networks that content may have to traverse to reach its consumers.

If you step back and look at the bigger picture, the task of delivery of information over computer networks is seemingly very simple. It’s all about information getting from point A, where it is hosted to point B, where it is consumed, over a network, which knows how to route information between the two points. Upon close analysis though, you will realize that changes in the various ways enterprises could host applications and the changing expectations of the consumers of these applications have made an apparently easy task, complex. For instance, modern day enterprise employees don’t have even a modicum of will to compromise on the quality of experience for business applications and expect numerous ways in which they could access enterprise apps. In short, a big part of the whole challenge is around application and service delivery of business critical applications with stringent service level objectives (SLO) for metrics such as end user experience and how the network, which is responsible for the delivery of these applications, can rise to the challenge and do its part in assuring delivery of such applications.

Business critical applications have a strong correlation with business operations, productivity and profitability. For their enterprise networks, CIOs favor networking vendors who deliver platforms and solutions, which are sufficient for not only traditional “plumbing” needs but can also host services, are application aware, and intelligently treat and deliver applications critical to the business.

Cisco, with its offering of Application Visibility & Control (AVC) solution on its ISR and ASR has taken giant strides towards embedding intelligence into its platforms (and therefore the Network) to “Identify, Analyze and Optimize Application Traffic” without requiring the installation of external agents. This makes a Cisco Network not just application aware and intelligent but also very cost effective and helps network admins avoid some of the pitfalls coming with transitioning hosting of applications to more centralized locations such as the enterprise Data Center or a virtual private cloud. Using AVC, enterprises can define, monitor and control the quality of end user experience being delivered to remote branches and isolate issues at a user, branch, network or data center level. Service providerss can provide a central portal for their hundreds of customers and help them monitor their SLAs around application usage and experience. Institutions like Universities can monitor and control application bandwidth consumption and monitor KPIs such as bandwidth consumption at a per student level.

You must have figured out by now that a key component of the entire solution is a reporting solution, one which can collect data from multiple AVC sources and present an end-to-end visibility both along the horizontal (think DC-WAN aggregation-WAN-Branch-LAN-USER) and vertical (network infrastructure-applications-services-users) stacks. Cisco Prime Assurance Manager is one of the reporting solutions, which can aggregate data from multiple AVC sources and present this complete picture (see figure below) resulting in enhanced application visibility and helping network administrators overcome some of the challenges associated with application delivery in the enterprise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Evolution of the Data Center LAN: An analyst view

Data centers have evolved from a simple client-server model to complex virtualized environments, with the network continuing to play a vital role to enable businesses to adopt new technologies and applications for growth and scale.  The data deluge resulting from the exponential increase of video traffic and rich media applications  along with and workload mobility, and users are bringing their own devices (BYOD) such as tablets and smart phones into the work environment,  is driving significant change in information technology. The question in the minds of CTOs, IT Directors and Managers — even System Administrators —  now becomes, Is your data center network really ready to meet these new challenges?

As part of The Data Center LAN Switching Thought Leadership discussion series, Dr. Jim Metzler, Moderator, Ashton, Metzler & Associates, discussed some of the key technologies that have driven the data center network evolution.  The discussion focused on the viability of converging LAN and SAN environments along with the best approaches to scale Virtual Machines and incorporate OpenFlow and Virtualization into data center networks based on input from industry leaders  – Cisco, HP,  Arista, Avaya, Brocade, and Extreme Networks

Read the full discussion online or download quick summaries by topic below:

 What Are the Best Approaches to Scale Virtual Machine (VM) Networking Beyond the Data Center?   ( Summary PDF):  Panelists were asked to identify the primary challenges that limit the ability of an IT organization to move VMs between data centers. Read the summary for vendor recommendations.

What’s the Best Alternative to Spanning Tree?   ( Summary PDF)  The most obvious conclusion that can be drawn from the discussion is vendors have widely varying views on the best alternative to STP.   Please read the PDF to learn more about the choices.

The Ability of the Data Center LAN to Support Virtualization  (Summary PDF) Virtualization broadly defined is a hot topic for virtually all IT organizations. What impact does virtualization have on data center LAN switching? Read the summary to learn more about the impact of virtualization on your DC.

Does Converging the LAN and SAN Make Sense?  (Summary PDF) Cisco has taken a multi-protocol approach:  convergence is not just about FCOE,  it is about converging the end to end infrastructure.  All of the vendors except Arista claimed some sort of savings by implementing convergence, while Arista claims that for many enterprises, the number one priority is to enable virtualization, and they don’t see convergence as priority,

Does OpenFlow Make Sense in Enterprise Networks? (Summary PDF ):  Cisco’s position is that software defined networking (SDN),/ OpenFlow , will play a key role in the ongoing evolution of networking because it offers a way for customers to take advantage of the sophisticated features of their infrastructure.  STAY TUNED for more info on OpenFlow / SDN coming your way soon.

 The Evolution of the Data Center LAN  (Summary PDF) Discusses challenges in evolving the data center LAN. Sixth discussion on this topic and the last in the series.  Format is interview style with Q/A.

As you can see, each vendor has their own strategy and they position to their strengths. Cisco is and will always be technology agonistic in order to provide solutions for the most pressing issues facing customers today and  in the future.

 Tony Antony
Sr Marketing Manager

 

 

 

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The not so hidden war: Private versus Public Cloud…

The cloud battle lines have been drawn out over the past 2-3 years.  Is your company getting your CRM from the public cloud?  Most definitely!  Does your IT shop use one site Service Desk tools or are they using a public cloud provider?  Maybe.  Did you click the button and put your music in the cloud.  Probably.

Many 10’s of billions of enterprise CAPEX and OPEX dollars are spent on enterprise compute and the tools to manage and automate that.  IT shops have a very difficult question:  Do I invest in building my own private cloud, or do I leverage the public cloud?   Many say that a well run private cloud can be cheaper, more secure, and more in tune with internal requirements.   Private and Public clouds are vying for your spend and mind share.  Who will this battle?  How much of a war is this?

Let’s understand that management and automation software has become just as important as your hardware selection as the key ingredient in your compute strategy.  This is a war over close to 100B dollars of enterprise and service provide spend.

There is indeed a 3rd player in this war:  a company and a service offer that is both pragmatic and in a leadership position.   I personally spent close to 6 years in the managed services business earlier in my career and every lesson I learned in managing on-premise, hosted, and private infrastructure for clients all pointed to the most pragmatic approach for how to address client needs:   Customer Choice.

News Flash:  CSC has selected and is deploying Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud as the cloud automation engine behind their on-premise private and public cloud offering running on VCE vBlock technology.  This is a significant market statement about where infrastructure as a service is going and how to get there.  Leveraging the lessons from Cisco IT usage of Intelligent Automation for Cloud (self service, catalog and orchestration) for private cloud management and automation and all the knowledge based best practices that our business unit has harvested over the past 10+ years of experience in automation in public and private clouds, CSC and Cisco and have joined forces in the war.  Many other service providers are as well.

If you would like the benefit of a private cloud, but want someone else to operate it, give CSC a call.  It will be an intelligent choice for Intelligent Automation from Cisco.

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Breaking News: CSC Selects Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud

Some great news to start the day, hot off the presses: CSC Selects Cisco Intelligent Automation Software to Support Increasing Client Demand for its Cloud Services.

We’re proud to welcome CSC as one of many new customers for Cisco’s cloud management software.  Enterprises large and small, as well as service providers from around the world, are adopting Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.

As one of the world’s largest providers of technology-enabled solutions and services, CSC has been a pioneer in delivering enterprise-class IaaS and was recently recognized as a leader in Gartner’s new magic quadrant for public cloud service providers.  Their cloud business is growing rapidly by providing a secure, reliable path to IT-as-a-Service for their clients:


CSC cloud services are built on VCE’s Vblock infrastructure platform, with Cisco UCS and networking, EMC storage, and VMware virtualization.  They chose our Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution to complement these and other technology investments, while providing differentiated cloud management capabilities in self-service provisioning and orchestration.

Learn more about the CSC story in our new case study.  Here are some example quotes:

“We have to give clients on-demand service and elasticity. We looked for a flexible, enterprise class solution that could automate many procedures and integrate with other management capabilities. We want to provide an excellent client experience for self-service ordering, with the ability to handle different workloads and services overtime.”

– Eli Almog, CSC CTO for cloud computing

“Intelligent automation software from Cisco is fundamental to building our cloud services platform because it can automate the many procedures that span operations, and can integrate smoothly across heterogeneous environments.”

– Siki Giunta, CSC global vice president for cloud computing

“In an effort to deliver cloud services faster and more efficiently, CSC saw the value in Cisco’s intelligent automation software for provisioning physical and virtual infrastructure on the Vblock platform and other environments. The result is speedier deployments of cloud services to their clients, greater business agility, as well as a better way for CSC to track and control costs.”

– Flint Brenton, Cisco senior vice president for intelligent automation

“Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud provides a compelling software solution to meet this need and help organizations like CSC fully realize the potential of Cisco UCS and converged architectures like Vblock.”

– Bob Laliberte, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst

We’re looking forward to continued partnership with CSC as they continue to grow and expand their cloud services business, powered by Cisco cloud management and Vblock infrastructure.

You can find more information on CSC’s cloud services at http://csc.com/cloud and more about our orchestration and automation software at http://cisco.com/go/iacloud

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Cisco at EMC World : It’s All about Partnership!

A quick report from EMC World 2012 in Las Vegas
Pretty busy day this Tuesday with  a lot of topics covered by Cisco experts and partners

Desktop virtualization
Interesting conversation between EMC Josh Mello (@joshmello), Presidio Steve Kaplan (@ROIdude), and Cisco Ravi Balakrishnan  who addressed major questions in this panel such as common barriers for adoption, architectural innovations and value proposition brought by each company

More about VDI from Steve Kaplan here , and  from Cisco with Tony Paikeday and Jonathan Gilad

VSPEX

 

This Tuesday was also the opportunity to meet Nexus Colin McNamara (@colinmcnamara) and EMC Damian Karlson(@sixfootdad) to talk about VSPEX awareness and potential.

Stay tuned for  a video blog  in the following days

Meanwhile you may want to check this to-the point blog from Colin  VSPEX EMC’s Flexible Reference Architecture  Explained

Big Data
Also in the pipe a video conversation between Greenplum Will Davis (@willcmdavis)  , MapR Technologies Jabori Norton , and Cisco Raghu Nambiar on Big data reporting the latest evolutions on the market , and the key differentiators  brought by this alliance -Coming soon !

Chad Sakac Panel

Great panel also at the TC conference , with an interesting conversation between  EMC  Chad Sakac , Cisco Dom Delfino (@domdelfino), Intel , VMware  and Brocade
Two highlights amongst a lot of golden nuggets – Conversation about the “buzzword du jour = SDN “ and kudos from Intel to Cisco for the UCS success , with a nice recognition from every panelist including..Brocade.
We videotaped also a great conversation between Chad and Dom. Expect this video very soon.

Cisco Booth

 

The Cisco booth was packed again with a lot of conversations and interest for UCS, DCNM  and FCoE – Stay tuned for a series of videos with pods owners and theater speaker

If you are in Las Vegas , please stop at the booth 402 to attend some of the presentations starting at 1:00 pm PST – BTW the slide decks will be available in the following days on our Slideshare account.

 

EMC World has been  also a great  opportunity to meet a lot of our bloggers friends thanks to the great blogger lounge put in place by EMC – Kudos to the EMC social media team

Amongst them Forrester Analyst Vanessa Alvarez (@VanessaAlvarez1) , EMX Scott Lowe  (@scottlowe) , Fred Nix (@Nixfred), VCE Jae Ellers(@jellers) ,  Aaron Delp (@aarondelp), Jay Cuthrell  (@qthrul)…and many others


 

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