Xerox uses Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) as a Foundation for Cloud

Who doesn’t know the Xerox company ? As long as I can remember, Xerox products have always been part of my professional life . In fact, even before working for a company, I used a Xerox machine.

Originally known worldwide as a print and copier innovator, Xerox today has established itself as a leading business process and document services company, delivering popular solutions that include Xerox Managed Print Services (MPS) and Xerox Cloud Services.

On December 6 , at 9:00 am PST , Xerox Delivery Officer, MPS Technology Tom Force will join Forrester Analyst James Staten (@Staten7) as well as Jeff Hanson  and Rick Schlander , IT engineering leads at FICO Corporation to discuss with Cisco VPs Satinder  Sethi and Jim McHugh(@JimMcHugh) how to maximize the value of cloud by making the right architectural choice. You don’t want to miss this one hour highly educational webcast ! 

In fact, after registering, and before joining us for this unique webcast, you may want to have a quick look at the Xerox cloud story , which is pretty remarkable!

“The Xerox MPS global delivery centers consisted of static rack servers that were difficult to scale due to multiple hardware configurations. The centers were also reaching capacity, causing concerns about poor response speed that could slow transactions and worsen system reliability resulting in outages. As a service relied on by businesses worldwide, Xerox MPS needs to offer a 24-hour service and could not afford downtime. “ Sounds familiar ?

“With its years of experience providing outsourcing services to customers, Xerox also expanded into the cloud with services beyond printing and print management. Xerox Cloud Services started with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) before adding backup, disaster recovery, and mobile device management. With excellent features and services, Xerox Cloud Services is growing rapidly as a service that not only provides backup and storage, but also runs mission-critical applications for customers.”

So did you like this story ? Are you interested in getting more details on infrastructure capabilities that will allow you to achieve the full potential of your cloud deployment ?

If so register now, to our December 6 one hour webcast : Unified Computing System A Foundation for Cloud

Here is a preview of some of the topics, that Jim McHugh will cover with his invitees :

  • The role of open infrastructure programmability in achieving the full potential of the cloud
  • How the right foundation can help prepare your cloud for true elasticity and scalability
  • The architectural decisions that can affect future speed of service delivery
  • Deep integration : Why cloud require extensive automation down to the physical layer
  • Infrastructure capabilities that support resource distribution with complete transparency and simplicity

I hope to see you on line at 9:00 am PST next Thursday !

 

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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 10): Get Help for Your Home Network

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, VMware’s Mike Laverick (@Mike_Laverick) confesses on air that his home lab is a mess and he needs help. Good news, Cisco’s Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) to the rescue! No VLANs? No problem. Let’s watch and see what Josh suggests.

Sound familiar? Suffering a similar problem? Contact us (@CommsNinja) and we might solve your problem on-air.

Mike Laverick and Josh Atwell address Mike's home lab situation.

Mike Laverick and Josh Atwell address Mike’s home lab situation.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Questions for Mike or Josh? Join the conversation on Twitter. Follow @CiscoDC to stay up to date on all the news.

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Cisco IAC Availability, Scalability, and Geographic Distribution

When building a cloud, scale it out.

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud architecture and topology options enable scalability, availability, and geographic distribution. This white paper discusses several options, their strengths and uses, and the technical details underlying these options.”

Cisco IAC Availability, Scalability, and Geographic Distribution White Paper is available in the Cisco support community (log in needed)

Here’s an excerpt:

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) is a software-based solution for managing hardware infrastructure tasked with delivering various IT services as-a-service (XaaS). Cisco IAC provides configuration “content” to help customers rapidly deploy service-delivered, self-service enabled IT services on certain hardware architectures. Consulting services from Cisco Advanced Services or Cisco delivery partners can use the IAC infrastructure to create custom services for customers. This white paper discusses the software underpinnings of these services and options for deployment that provide scalability and resilience for large enterprises or service providers.
The major platform products which make up IAC relevant to a scaling and resiliency discussion are:

  • The Cisco Cloud Portal – The dynamic, tailored end-user web site where customers and administrators can browse available services and options, and order new services or changes to existing services. This element consists of a web tier which interacts with the browser to expose the Portal UI and an application tier which includes the Portal and Service Catalog. The Service Catalog provides the menu of available services, including new-service and update-service requests, as well as definitions and configurations for roles, business rules, dynamic form rules, and entitlement.
  • Cisco Process Orchestrator  – The delivery engine that makes the Move/Add/Change/Delete (MACD) changes to the steady-state configuration of the computing, network, storage, and application infrastructure (“Infrastructure”) needed to deliver the requested new service or service change. Orchestrator processes automate workflows which interact with applications, systems, and devices in the environment.
  • A database stores configuration, state, and runtime information from the above systems.
  • Cisco Network Services Manager (NSM) Server – a specialized engine for network provisioning. Cisco Network Services Manager’s policy-driven approach allows clouds to be created within single or multiple network Points of Delivery (PoDs), each with potentially different and unique offerings and operational behaviors.
  • Cisco NSM Controller – a local element near network devices within a network PoD which performs direct device interactions to achieve network provisioning at the direction of the NSM Server.
  • Cisco Server Provisioner – provides bare metal provisioning (remote installation) of an OS or hypervisor on a physical or virtual server, as well as bare metal imaging for system cloning and backup.

 

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Cisco Customers can now manage energy consumption of IP connected devices at no charge with Cisco EnergyWise Fast-Start $0 SKUs

Be it tax-credits/subsidies in different parts of the world or the recent news of California setting up a carbon trading exchange – no week passes by without the mention of “the importance of saving energy” or “reducing greenhouse gases”. Yet, with the explosion of technology and IP-connected devices; IT consumes over 25% of energy in a commercial building or office.

So why am I writing about this in a Cisco blog and what has this got to do with networking?

Cisco has developed a unique network-based energy management protocol based on Cisco IOS Software that helps customer’s monitor, report and control energy consumption of IP connected devices – Cisco EnergyWise. For over 2 years customers globally have been using the power of Cisco EnergyWise in their networks to manage the energy consumption of their campus IT environments. A review of five public customer case studies show close to US$400,000 annual savings per customer.

Cisco is now excited to announce Cisco EnergyWise Fast-Start $0 SKUs to accelerate energy savings for our customers. These Fast-Start SKUs will enable new Cisco Catalyst 4500, 3750, and 3560 Switch customers to deploy a subset of energy management applications at no charge. These have been launched in conjunction with three key EnergyWise CDN (Cisco Developer Network) partners — JouleX, Verdiem, and Nimsoft (CA Technologies).

Before this Cisco EnergyWise Fast-Start $0 SKU program Cisco was shipping Cisco EnergyWise with all Catalyst switches at no charge (as part of Cisco IOS), but most customers still had to purchase a management application from a Cisco EnergyWise partner. Now, when the customers buy a Catalyst 4000, 3700 or 3500 series switch/line-card, limited functionality management applications from the above three vendors (JouleX, Verdiem, and Nimsoft (CA Technologies) will be available at no charge via these Cisco $0 SKU. The exact functionality of the EnergyWise Fast-Start SKU varies by each partner, but in general energy monitoring and control for PoE, Cisco, and Cisco EnergyWise enabled devices is free. Energy monitoring for PCs is also available at no charge.

Cisco EnergyWise Fast-Start $0 SKUs are available when ordering directly from Cisco or when ordering through a Cisco authorized distributor. Fast-Start SKUs must be ordered at the same time as, and in conjunction with, the orders for Cisco Catalyst 4500/3700/3500 PoE, PoE+, and UPOE switches/line-card. We really hope this will further extend the power of Cisco EnergyWise by enabling Cisco customers to manage enterprise-wide energy without an upfront CAPEX investment.

For more information on Cisco EnergyWise contact ask-energywise@cisco.com

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Cisco Nabs Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards

Each year Windows IT Pro announces their Editors’ Best and Community Choice awards recognizing the hottest  products in the world of Microsoft. The Editors Best award highlight products that the Windows IT Pro editors and contributors believe are worthy of recognition. The Community Choice awards lets the Windows IT Pro readers from around the world decide which products are the best.

For 2012 Cisco was honored with 5 awards – covering Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Our Catalyst switch took home Gold in the networking category with Cisco’s Technical Support organization winning Silver. We wrapped up this medal trifecta with a Bronze for our UCS server family.

The Windows IT Pro awards complement our June 2012 Best of Tech Ed award for UCS Manager and when combined together they show the breadth and depth of our capabilities for our Microsoft server and workload solutions.

Read more on the awards and recipients here. To learn more on Cisco and our offerings for Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server please visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

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Just what we need on Cyber Monday – Cisco UCS Central

Total (consumer) spending for the (Thanksgiving 2012) weekend reached an estimated $59.1 billion, a 13% increase from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation.  Online spending on Friday alone topped $1 billion for the first time, according to the data-analysis firm comScore Inc.

We can analyze the seasonal patterns of traffic by studying the Alexa reports such as the one below for different retailers.  In the case of walmart.com the holiday traffic is 400% the average during the year.  It remains to be seen how much more the traffic would spike today – Cyber Monday 2012. It is clear that retailers like Walmart need the ability to scale up the e-commerce infrastructure during the holiday season.

A retailer’s e-commerce infrastructure would include software applications, middleware, server, network and storage resources.  Virtualization technology has made scaling of e-commerce applications easier.  However, virtual machines can only start on physical servers after they are racked, stacked and necessary network and storage access components have been properly configured.  The preparation of the physical infrastructure is still mostly a manual task, unless they are using something like the Cisco UCS.  The Cisco UCS Manager embedded in the system, handles the simplified configuration.  With large environments (thousands of servers) infrastructure management software such as Cisco UCS Central becomes increasingly important. Cisco UCS Central, which simplifies compute infrastructure scaling, became generally available last week.   With it, physical compute infrastructure management can now be policy based and automated.  This in turn can increase the velocity of changes and reduce the possibility of errors while scaling rapidly.  This blog by Steve Kaplan and the short video below give a nice overview of Cisco UCS Central software.

Generally we take into account scaling up, but what about scaling down?  For instance if walmart.com added 4 times the number of servers for the holiday season, they need to manually change all configurations to repurpose the infrastructure for other projects in January.  Without this capability the infrastructure capacity will be underutilized.  Once again converged systems like Cisco UCS can come to their rescue with the service profiles allowing rapid repurposing of servers with the necessary network and storage access configuration.

Additionally, retailers with globally distributed datacenters can now standardize on setups and use centrally proven and tested configurations.  A central policy setup capability will allow companies to leverage skills in a central location to manage distributed datacenters.  The central policy management capabilities should also come in handy when disaster recovery sites have to be setup quickly.   Check these solution overviews for more on Cisco UCS Central and partner solutions which integrate with it.

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Take 2: From an Ancient Scottish Castle to the Gartner Data Center Conference in London

Time flies!  I’m off to the Gartner Data Center conference in London again.  And as per last year, I’ll drive my this ancient and very historical Bothwell Castle on my way to the airport.

Bothwell Castle

 

Last year I was very busy at the Cisco stand in the Solution Showcase.  This time, I’m spending all of my visit  in the actual conference sessions, learning about top concerns and trends in the data center world, and I plan to tweet out some of the most interesting and controversial learnings, as well as following up in subsequent blogs here.  So follow me on Twitter @StephenSatCisco to learn what is surprising me (and I’ll use hashtags #CiscoDC #GartnerDC.  And  if you are at the conference, I should be near the Cisco stand at the breaks so drop by and say hello!

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Making it Easier for You to do Business with Us – Fixed Price Professional Services from Cisco

Professional services, Consultancy Services, Advanced Services — call them what you will.   I can hear you say:   “On No!  Complexity”.  “Now I need to work a Statement of Work”.  “I need help to get my project on time, can’t this get easier?”  “I need to get my legal contracts team involved.”  “Why can’t you just tell me a price?”

Common reactions from some of you who will engage any (and I mean any, not just Cisco!) professional services organization (for example,  Cisco Services or one of our many partners) to help bring additional experience, expertise and resources to your projects.  The good news is, where appropriate to your requirements, this complexity has been substantially reduced, with Fixed Price services from Cisco, available now for many of our most popular products and solutions.

I will confess: this is not new  – in fact we (quietly) first released such Fixed Price services back in 2009, to support the Cisco Unified Computing System deployments! – and if we’re honest, we’ve not talked much about them and how successful they’ve become, with many, many customers taking advantage of these quick-to-engage expert services.

These services have really made it easier for customers and partners to do business with Cisco, delivering a number of significant advantages to our customers and partners, as illustrated below.

 

Cisco Fixed Price Services – Characteristics

Easier to Do Business With

If you’ve followed John Chambers over the past year or two, you’ll have head him talk on a regular basis about the focus we’ve generated around in making it easier for customers and partners to do business with Cisco.  Witness also IDC’s research note on Cisco’s EMEAR Partner Strategy: Key Role for Services –  where our focus in Cisco Services in making life easier for partners is a prevalent theme.  Our Fixed Price services have really helped customer quickly engage the consultancy expertise they need to help them accelerate their projects.

The Advantages

Here are some of the characteristics of this class of professional services offerings that make life easier for you.

(1)    Fixed price:  Clear and upfront.

(2)    Fixed scope: You know what you are getting, with a predefined set of activities and deliverables.  There is, therefore, no need to construct a complex SoW (Statement of Work) – we’ve replaced this with a straightforward, fixed service description (as illustrated in the diagram)

 

Example Fixed Price Service Description

 

(3) Proven delivery methodology:  With each of these services, we’ve worked out what we will do, how long it will take, and put in place many deliverable templates and tools to ensure the project delivery is like clockwork.  In most cases, we’ve invested more up front in ensuring predictable and successful delivery that we’ll spend with you.  For example, in advance, we’ve prepared and proven (tested) template designs and test plans, ready for adoption and customization into your environment, where appropriate.   So if you engage us for say a 4 week Fixed Price service, you’ll typically be receiving substantial advance preparatory work, already done and dusted, ready to go for you.  In other words, our consultants are not starting from scratch when they arrive on site with you.

(4)    Simple single part number for ordering: and you can order these services directly alongside product orders, at the same time, in the same purchase order.  And from any Cisco 1-Tier or 2-Tier partner – so customers can benefit from Cisco consultancy expertise regardless of where you buy our products from.

(5)    Broad range of technologies and solutions supported: With support far broader than my own area of Data Center Services, we have fixed price services across a range of assessment, pilot, design and implementation phases of your deployment life cycle for:

  1. Data Center: Cisco Nexus data center switches, Cisco Unified Computing System, Fibre Channel over Ethernet switches, and complex solutions such as Desktop Virtualization pilots.
  2. Borderless Networks: for example Cisco ISE (Identify Services Engine), IPv6 and Security
  3. Collaboration: Cisco Webex and Cisco TelePresence

Range of Cisco Fixed Price Services

 

(6)    There are several more advantages, illustrated in the first diagram in this blog, above.

 

Is there a catch? 

 Is there a catch?  In a way – I’ll be honest – there is.  These services are Fixed Price and Fixed Scope.

The catch?  Fixed price and fixed scope!

Sure, if you have specific requirements, we can do exactly what you need. However this does require that we note down and agree in a legal contractual format what we will deliver, and what role you play in this delivery.  This does mean that we need to move to a formal Statement of Work (SoW) to capture your requirements, and this then needs to be priced specific to your precise requirements.   However – as many of our customer who do this find – because you’ve found a fixed price offer that almost meets your needs, the extra work required to turn this into a customer SoW becomes a much quicker and simpler process.

Wrapping Up

Concluding then, each Fixed Prices service represents up-front investment in your deployment success, and an upfront investment in making Cisco easier to do business with.   Get in touch with me or your local Cisco Services solution specialist and we can tell you more!

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Next Generation Data Centers Need Next Generation Skills

The Cisco Global Cloud Index reports that annual global data center IP traffic will reach 6.6 zettabytes by the end of 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 31 percent. The growth of data and these new technologies impacts not only IT systems and infrastructures, but also the professionals that design, install, operate and manage them. Job roles are transforming more quickly in the data center than any other space in IT.
To meet the need for a comprehensive, job-role-focused training and certification program that allows customers and partners to optimize their IT infrastructure, Cisco today announced a Career Certification portfolio consisting of the Cisco CCNA® Data Center and CCNP® Data Center, as well as a robust product training portfolio.

Following the March 2012 announcement of CCIE Data Center, and the recently introduced suite of Nexus 1000v, 2000/5000, 7000, MDS and UCS product training, Cisco now offers a complete portfolio of Data Center training and certification, from the associate to expert level. For the first time, two key pillars of the Unified Cisco Data Center architecture: Cisco Unified Computing and Cisco Unified Fabric are covered across the job roles of design, implementation and troubleshooting.

Both networking professionals that want a new career choice, and current data center professionals who want to maximize their data center equipment design, installation and maintenance skills will enjoy benefits from this new certification track.

Watch below as Jeanne Beliveau Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco discusses the evolution of skills needed to support next generation Data Center technologies:

 

To know more about these certifications , visit the following web sites

 Cisco CCNA® Data Center  

CCNP® Data Center

Read also the full release here: http://newsroom.cisco.com/release/1105436

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Next Generations Data Centers Need Next Generation Skills

The Cisco Global Cloud Index reports that annual global data center IP traffic will reach 6.6 zettabytes by the end of 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 31 percent. The growth of data and these new technologies impacts not only IT systems and infrastructures, but also the professionals that design, install, operate and manage them. Job roles are transforming more quickly in the data center than any other space in IT.
To meet the need for a comprehensive, job-role-focused training and certification program that allows customers and partners to optimize their IT infrastructure, Cisco today announced a Career Certification portfolio consisting of the Cisco CCNA® Data Center and CCNP® Data Center, as well as a robust product training portfolio.

Following the March 2012 announcement of CCIE Data Center, and the recently introduced suite of Nexus 1000v, 2000/5000, 7000, MDS and UCS product training, Cisco now offers a complete portfolio of Data Center training and certification, from the associate to expert level. For the first time, two key pillars of the Unified Cisco Data Center architecture: Cisco Unified Computing and Cisco Unified Fabric are covered across the job roles of design, implementation and troubleshooting.

Both networking professionals that want a new career choice, and current data center professionals who want to maximize their data center equipment design, installation and maintenance skills will enjoy benefits from this new certification track.

Watch below as Jeanne Beliveau Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco discusses the evolution of skills needed to support next generation Data Center technologies:

 

To know more about these certifications , visit the following web sites

 Cisco CCNA® Data Center  

CCNP® Data Center

Read also the full release here: http://newsroom.cisco.com/release/1105436

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