Cisco ONE Revealed

So, since we made the initial set of announcements around Cisco ONE last summer, beyond a burst of M&A activity, things have been pretty quiet.  What we have been doing is spending time with customers and developers doing field trials on the various aspects of Cisco ONE (the onePK platform API the agent and controller technology, and our network overlay solutions).  The reaction has been pretty positive across customers, ISVs and service providers that have been looking at and using the technology:

onePK is unique in its ability to combine the benefits of SDN with the full feature set of Cisco’s network system software platforms, allowing creative software companies—such as ourselves- to innovate at the application layer — ISV

Collaborating with Cisco to integrate the capabilities the Cisco ONE Controller and the widely deployed [redacted] technologies is a perfect example of how …we continue to bring sate-of-the-art capabilities to the campus…advance the maturity of SDN technologies. — Major University

Cisco’s Open Network Environment holds a lot of promise for us.  It allows us to build upon our existing Cisco investments to create and deliver the innovative new solutions our customers are looking for from a market leader — Leading Service Provider

So, not to tease you too much, join us for a webcast next Tuesday and you can learn about what’s in store for Cisco ONE: what’s new with platform support, what’s changed on the controller front, new overlay network solutions…plus some other cool data center goings on.  See you there.

 

 


Cisco VXLAN Innovations Overcoming IP Multicast Challenges

At Cisco Live! in London this week, Cisco is demonstrating some enhancements to its Nexus 1000V virtual switch that greatly ease some of the challenges in deploying VXLAN in large scale cloud networks. VXLAN was designed to solve the problem of setting up traditional virtual networks (VLANs) in large multi-tenant cloud environments: the limited ID range for VLAN tags was quickly exhausted and a larger ID pool was needed for larger shared infrastructures. VXLAN thus becomes the foundation for a virtual network tunnel or virtual network overlays on top of physical networks. And unlike VLANs, VXLANs are designed to act as L2 virtual networks over L3 physical networks. For a more in-depth refresher on VXLAN, start here.

[Note: Join Cisco for a Live Announcement Webinar on Cloud Innovations on February 5: Register Here]

While VXLANs have certainly enabled a whole new level of scalability for virtual networks, one of the challenges in deploying VXLAN is its use of IP Multicast to implement the L2 over L3 network capability. Why is this? VXLAN is a MAC-in-IP encapsulation protocol in a UDP frame. The virtual switch that acts as the VXLAN termination (in Cisco’s case, the Nexus 1000V virtual switch) takes the L2 packet from the VM, wraps it in a L3 IP header, and sends it out over UDP. But the challenge is that there’s no way to determine what the IP addresses are of all the other hosts (VXLAN termination points) participating in the same VXLAN network. In other protocols, this can be accomplished within the network control plane and some virtual to physical mapping protocol, but the VXLAN specification indicates there should be no reliance on a control plane or a physical to virtual mapping table.

VXLAN frame

VXLAN thus resorts to IP Multicast (e.g., flooding and dynamic MAC-learning) to determine which IP address the packet should be sent to given only the destination MAC address. This leads to a lot of extra set-up, excessive network traffic, and some dependence on the physical network (there has to be an IP Multicast enabled core, e.g.). It hasn’t been ideal.

Now Cisco is introducing enhancements to its VXLAN implementation that overcome this traditional requirement for IP Multicast, two of which are on display this week at Cisco Live!

The first solution involves head-end software replication at the source virtual switch (a Nexus 1000V). Multiple packets are created for each possible IP address at which the destination MAC address can be found, and sent from the head-end of the VXLAN tunnel. All these replicated packets are then unicast to the possible destinations. This avoids the requirement to manage IP Multicast within the network core and flooding at the destination end of the network. This scenario works well when there are a relatively small number of IP addresses for VXLAN termination points.

The second solution relies on the control plane of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch, the Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM), to distribute the MAC locations of the VMs to the Nexus 1000V Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM, or the data plane), so that all packets can be sent in unicast mode. While this solution seemingly conflicts with the VXLAN design objective of not relying on a control plane, it provides an optimal solution within Nexus 1000V-based virtual network environments. Compatibility with other VXLAN implementations is maintained through IP Multicast, where required.

These two solutions should be available next quarter as we roll out updates to our Nexus 1000V virtual switch. In addition to these approaches to avoiding multicast in VXLAN, Cisco has in mind other solutions for later in the year that offer advantages in other VXLAN scenarios.

Since VXLAN is an IETF standard, the questions naturally arise, “Do these innovations violate the standard?”, “Are these proprietary extensions?”, “What if I’m not working in a purely Nexus 1000V environment?”. Fair enough. The point is that Cisco has a history of evolving standards while solving customer problems and maintaining compatibility with existing implementations. In this VXLAN case, we are still maintaining compatibility with other VXLAN solutions through multicast where desired. There’s no need to take advantage of these extensions in Nexus 1000V. In addition, Cisco has already made multiple proposals to the IETF to address the IP Multicast concerns.  We hope the rest of the industry, which is generally cognizant of the difficulties with multicast in scaling out VXLAN networks, helps back these proposals. But until then, we will be helping our customers overcome one of the main VXLAN objections they have today.

And if you are in London, stop by the Cisco Data Center booth and check out the new demos and let us know what you think!

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A new wave of Cisco Cloud Connectors Further Accelerates Adoption of Cloud Services

In my previous blog I introduced the concept of Cisco Cloud Connectors, which help enhance cloud services for customers and partners, and listed the latest Cisco Cloud Connectors.

Today I am excited to share the next round of Cisco Cloud Connectors developed with third-parties and just announced at Cisco Live London! These Cisco Cloud Connectors expand further into a broad set of cloud-based applications and were developed by a growing list of third party partners. These new Cisco Cloud Connectors help address pain points in various domains such as storage, hospitality, security, VDI, identity, shipping and digital signage.

Here are a few examples of the new Cisco Cloud Connectors

  • Do you manage passwords and access for a large number of resellers and suppliers? Managing all the user credentials and the associated security issues for non employees is expensive, time consuming, and creates friction in key business relationships. Why not let partners manage their own users and simplify access? Check out the new Ping Identity Cloud Connector.
  • Are you interested in deployment of digital signage that will continue to seamlessly deliver, even when your cloud service is not available?  Industry Weapon’s Cloud Connector combines the best of both centralized and independent models.

 

Below are the latest additions to the growing list of Cisco Cloud Connectors developed and tested for Cisco platforms. The complete list can be found at Cisco Cloud Connectors.

Cisco Cloud Connector development with many more partners is underway, so be sure to look out for future announcements on new Cisco Cloud Connectors that can enhance your migration to cloud-based models. To learn more about Cisco Cloud Connectors, review this whitepaper: Cisco Cloud Connectors: Bringing Network Intelligence to the Cloud.

If you would like to partner with Cisco on developing new Cisco Cloud Connectors or have any additional questions feel free to contact ask-cloudconnect@cisco.com

 

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Nexus 1000V Expands Cloud Network Services Ecosystem with vPath Integration in the Imperva Web Application Firewall

Nexus 1110 Imperva-2We are ramping up another news cycle around our Nexus 1000V and cloud network services portfolio this week at Cisco live! in London. Among the updates, business security solutions vendor Imperva is demonstrating integration of its SecureSphere Web Application Firewall (WAF) into the Nexus 1000V vPath service insertion architecture. This marks the first third party product to participate in the Cisco vPath architecture, which allows virtual services to be easily inserted and chained into Cisco virtual networks and virtual overlays.

[Note: Join Cisco for a Live Announcement Webinar on Cloud Innovations on February 5: Register Here]

Regular readers of our data center and cloud blog will probably recall the importance of vPath in enabling virtual services for virtualized multi-tenant cloud environments, and for allowing policy mobility along with VM mobility. The Cisco vPath architecture currently supports our own virtual services including Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, and virtual WAAS for WAN optimization. vPath also boosts performance of service traffic paths and orchestrates service chaining so that VM traffic is processed in a ordered chain defined by policy.

Last year, Imperva announced integration with the Nexus 1110 Cloud Services Platform. This latest demonstration shows further simplification through interactions with the Nexus 1000V vPath, as the above diagram shows. The vPath architecture is flexible and extensible, providing greater options in the future for customers through a broader 3rd party ecosystem, including Imperva. (Yesterday we also blogged about Citrix’ virtual NetScaler VPX on the Nexus 1110).

For securing virtualized and cloud environments, customers need a defense-in-depth security architecture that demands multiple virtual firewalls, including zone-based firewall, tenant-edge firewall and web application firewall (WAF).  The Imperva SecureSphere WAF, in conjunction with Cisco’s Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and ASA 1000V cloud firewalls, can offer customers a comprehensive multi-tier virtual firewall solution. Together, the joint solution can simplify deployment of Web application security in virtualized data centers.

The SecureSphere WAF with Cisco Nexus 1000V vPath support helps customers to:

  • Steer Web traffic through the SecureSphere WAF, even in complex and heterogeneous datacenters with multiple virtual services.
  • Migrate SecureSphere WAF virtual machines to new host machines without impacting application sessions.
  • Maximize application uptime through fail open Web application firewall configuration.

Imperva is hosting a technology preview of the Cisco Nexus interoperability at Cisco Live London starting today. The demonstration showcases the Imperva SecureSphere WAF hosted on the Cisco Nexus 1110 and the SecureSphere WAF interoperating with Cisco Nexus 1000V and vPath. If you are at the show in London, please visit them in booth E1.

Related: More on the Imperva and Cisco Collaboration (Imperva blog)

Related: Citrix NetScaler VPX Gets Going on the Nexus 1110 Virtual Services Platform

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Zero to 5000 Citrix VDI Users Logged-in and Working in Just 30 Minutes!

Making sure your users don’t go to sleep (or worse) waiting to log-on
Hi Everyone! I am the team lead Technical Marketing Engineer for Cisco Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions on UCS and Nexus. While I have done some blogging in my time – this is my first blog for Cisco. I have been in this space for over 22 years, before “virtualization” was called that, working with published applications and published desktops (MetaFrame and early RDP.)
With the Citrix and EMC teams, I have been focused for the past few months on validating what I think is a really exciting solution — even if I say so myself. So recently not much time for blogging I am afraid.
Over the last couple of years we have seen desktop virtualization, specifically Hosted Virtual Desktops (HVD,) become increasingly more mainstream — but today we are really experiencing an upsurge of deployments — and not just pilots — but full blown multi-thousand seat deployments.
As you are probably aware the worst nightmare is that you deploy the solution and the users don’t adopt it because it doesn’t provide them the user experience they need or want.
One of the key requirements for success is an infrastructure that won’t just provide the right experience for the first few hundred users — but that will scale linearly as you grow into the many thousands.
You can rely on Cisco Validated Designs to deliver for you! We use real world test scenarios to insure that you can implement our designs in your environment and be successful.
The keys to a successful deployment of a large scale HVD environment start with:
• Detailed characterization of the virtual workloads
• Desktop Broker that supports efficient streaming capabilities
• Reliable, fast User Profile management
• Compute platform that provides linear scalability, rapid expandability, and excellent management tools across hundreds to thousands of servers
• Network infrastructure that provides the right amount of bandwidth to the right traffic
• Storage system that is capable of efficiently handling massive IOs, both on the read side
for boot up and the write side for HVD ramp up and steady state
• A robust hypervisor capable of supporting advanced capabilities required for HVDs
• Fault tolerance at all levels of the solution, producing a highly available system

Cisco UCS together with Citrix technologies, EMC VNX storage, and VMware vSphere provide the key foundation for a high performance, highly available HVD environment:
• Login VSI 3.6 Medium workload was used to represent a typical knowledge worker
• Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 FP1 with Citrix Provisioning Server 6.1 provided the ultimate desktop streaming technology with the smallest storage footprint
• Citrix User Profile Manager was used to manage 5000 unique desktop user profiles
• Cisco UCS B230 M2 blade servers provided awesome compute resources and Cisco UCS 6248UP Fabric Interconnects (FIs) managed server hardware, network and storage for the environment.
• Cisco UCS Service Profile Templates and Service Profiles made server deployment fast, efficient and insured that each blade was provisioned exactly the same as the next.
• Cisco UCS Manager, with tight integration with VMware ESXi, handled management of all of the blades across the 5 VMware clusters used in our solution seamlessly
• Cisco Nexus 5548UP Access Switches and (for the first time in a Cisco VDI CVD) Cisco Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switches in conjunction with our FIs provided end to end Quality of Service for all traffic types from the HVD through the hypervisor, the FIs and through the Nexus 5548UPs – all at 10 GE or 8 Gb FC!
• EMC VNX5300 with Fast Cache, provided the outstanding read and write IO to support 5000 HVDs boot up, ramp up, steady state and log off
• For the first time in a Cisco VDI CVD, our design provides N+1 server fault tolerance at the VMware cluster level. Another real-world differentiator for Cisco!

Here is a look at the hardware used in the solution:

Whitney5KRefDiag

The highlight benefits of the joint validated design for deploying a scalable Citrix XenDesktop include the following:

Highlights

Whitney5KHighlights

I will be writing more about the in depth details of our Zero to 5000 solution in the coming weeks. Please let me know what you are interested in exploring!

For more information download the Cisco Validated design http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/unified_computing/ucs/UCS_CVDs/citrix_emc_ucs_scaleVDI.pdf

And for more information on Cisco VXI solutions for desktop virtualization go to www.cisco.com/go/vxi


Cisco Connected Grid Update

2012 was an exciting year for Cisco’s Connected Energy business.

Cisco entered the Smart Grid space 3 years ago and we have seen significant customer momentum.  We now have more than 250 customers worldwide. These include advanced metering infrastructure, substation and utility data center deployments in North America and wide area, substation, and distribution networks in Europe and Asia.  In 2012, we had over 175 production deployments and picked up the UTC Best Smart Grid Products/Solutions for FAN and Substation as well as the Frost & Sullivan innovations awards. Our Connected Grid Cisco Developer Network of partners continues to grow as well and we will be announcing more members in the coming months.  

Last Wednesday we announced an expansion of the Connected Grid Portfolio. The new offerings include the Cisco® Utility Operational Network solution, Cisco Connected Grid Design Suite, and Cisco Incident Response and Workforce Enablement solution. These three new solutions will help utilities modernize, manage, and improve everyday grid operations.

All of this ties together with Cisco’s vision for the Internet of Everything. The network will be a crucial part for utilities to improve communication, enabling devices, and intelligent data which triggers smarter and more efficient decisions in the operations and management portion of the grid.

I would also like to highlight some customer  successes and how they are using our new solutions.

SCANA Corporation is an energy based holding company serving electric customers in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. SCANA has a number of two way radio systems that range from low to high band, digital to analog and trunked to individual channels. For years interoperability was just not practical for SCANA. Cisco’s IPICS solution allowed SCANA to obtain interoperability across regions and systems,. These options were unique because it allowed them to scale as large as necessary but still be affordable during the early stages of a deployment.

Western Power Distribution (WPD) is an electricity distribution network operator serving over 7.7 million customers  in the UK. Cisco participated in WPD’s grid modernization efforts called project FALCON. Project FALCON pilots a communications network across over 200 substations to improve load forecasting for 11kV electrical networks, and provide real-time grid information dynamic asset rating, automatic load transfer, meshed grids and energy storage. Take a look at a clip from WPD.

State Grid Corporation of China delivers power to over 80% of China. A digital substation footprint this large leads to complexities in deploying and configuring integrated electrical and communications networks.  With the Cisco Connected Grid Design Suite, State Grid of China was able to reduce deployment time, and cost of ongoing maintenance.

Southern California Edison is one of the largest utilities in the US and provides power to over 14 million people . As part of their Centralized Remedial Action Scheme (CRAS) project for wide area protection of the electrical grid they are deploying Cisco’s utility operational network. CRAS will enable fast and automated control actions, utilizing relays and telecom network, to ensure acceptable power system performance following critical outages.

We are looking forward to announcing more customers in the next few months so please stay tuned.

The Connected Energy Networks team will be in San Diego this week for the Distributech convention, booth 3314, so please come by and say hello. We hope to see you there.

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Cisco Live Europe London Excel Centre Jan 28-Feb 1 : What You Make Possible

Cisco Live Europe returns to London this year more precisely at the ICC Excel Conference Centre.

By focusing on “What You Make Possible”, attendees are invited to hear customer testimonials and see Cisco’s innovation solutions that showcase what is possible when partnering with Cisco.

WhatYouMake Possible

 

As usual the event is divided between a series of educational programs, starting on Monday January 28 with a full day of technical seminars , followed on the 29, 30, 31 and even Feb 1st by a large range of opportunities

  • Keynotes sessions with CTO Padmasree Warrior (1/29) and Data Center SVP/GM David Yen (1/30 )
  • Break out sessions
  • Panels
  • Labs
  • Meet the Engineers
  • Cisco Certifications

I will not detail all the activities. I encourage you to check the website. If you’re in London you want to attend directly – If not you may want to check www.ciscolive356.com to discover  a large  choice of sessions that you can attend on line .

This year we are honored to have NetApp as a Diamond Sponsor (Check John Rollason’s blog on NetApp activities a Cisco Live) . If Cisco, EMC and VMware have been collaborating intensively over the past years with the creation of VCE , and solutions such as VBlock and VSPEX , Cisco and NetApp have also reinforced the partnership moving it to a next level with a recent announcement around Flexpod (chek the blog from Todd Brannon More of a good thing: Cisco and NetApp open the next chapter for FlexPod)

 

Remember the “Data Center of The Future?

“  Going this year at Cisco Live London on the Data Center and booth you will find an impressive series of racks featuring the new face of “The Data Center of the Future “ that we call the “Unified Data Center” built  in strong partnership with Intel.

In addition we are presenting more than 25 demos covering Unified Computing, Unified Fabric, Unified Management, and solutions such as hybrid cloud (check Shashi Kiran recent blog Lowering Barriers to Hybrid Cloud Adoption – Challenges and Opportunities), desktop virtualization ( Check Tony Paikeday ‘s blog) and mission critical applications running on UCS such as SAP, Microsoft (Check Rex Backman ‘s blog)  and Oracle.

Amongst the remarkable demos let’s mention

TheaterPresentationThis quick overview will not be complete without mentioning a series of 41  theater presentations  on Tuesday , Wednesday and Thursday. A great opportunity to get a quick snapshot (10 to 15 mn)  of the different solutions , presented by Cisco and partner expert and why not …win some cool gifts.

Check on the booth to get the most recent agenda , or follow @cisodc , hashtag #CLEUR as I will send regular alert.

And for fun ?
Treatsfor Tweets2

Well, you may certainly want to participate to the “Challenge” organized around UCS .
You may also take advantage of the “Candy Station “ Treat for tweet  , The one-stop sweet shop for delegates needing a sugar hit:)

Wether you are in London or not expect to see a lot of social media activities with blogs, tweets and video – So check this blog , @ciscodc and facebook.com/ciscodc to know what’s going on .

 

 

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Citrix NetScaler VPX gets going on the Cisco 1110 Virtual Network Services platform

 This week at Cisco live! in London, Citrix is demonstrating the Citrix NetScaler VPX virtual application delivery controller (vADC) on the Nexus 1110 Cloud Services Platform . NetScaler VPX is the industry-leading vADC and is further testimony to the expanding ecosystem for the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual networking portfolio and the Cloud Network Services platform. The integrated Cisco-Citrix solution follows on the heels of last year’s agreement by the two companies that Cisco would reference sell the Citrix NetScaler portfolio, and Cisco’s demonstration of its Nexus 1000V virtual networking portfolio on Citrix XenServer.

Citirx

 

The Nexus 1110 is the latest generation of appliances that started with the Nexus 1010. The Nexus 1110 helps customers that are virtualizing more of their application and security services and want to run them on a dedicated platform. For example, virtual firewalls, like our Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), complement physical firewall appliances to support virtual application deployments and VM mobility requirements. The Nexus 1110 appliance serves that need, running a range of virtual services on a platform that the networking and security teams can more directly control than the other application servers.

With Citrix NetScaler VPX integrated into the Nexus 1110 Cloud Services Platform, enterprise IT admins can scale-out deployments by enabling additional virtual NetScaler instances (VM’s) directly from the Nexus 1110. NetScaler VPX also provides feature and management consistency across physical and virtual ADC’s, as well as consistency across physical and virtual workloads that are being managed. The NetScaler portfolio includes two other physical appliances, MPX and SDX. The virtual VPX can also load balance across both physical and virtual servers, as well as multiple web servers, application servers and database servers.

N1110Deploying NetScaler VPX on the Nexus 1110 also gives organizations a great deal of flexibility, since the virtual CPU’s in the Nexus 1110 can be allocated across multiple services and can be dedicated to NetScaler as needed. For example, for light loads, the Nexus 1110 could allocate 2 vCPUs to NetScaler, or for heavier loads, 8 vCPU’s could be allocated. NetScaler VPX is thus ideally suited for Service Providers who want to dynamically expand service capacity to their hosted private cloud clients.

 The Nexus 1110 Cloud Services Platform is designed as a High Availability (HA) architecture and frequently deployed as a redundant pair. NetScaler VPX takes advantage of the HA features in the Nexus 1110 to better manage failover and availability as well.

 With the announcement last year that Cisco would reference sell the Citrix NetScaler portfolio, including the VPX virtual module, this integration shows the increasing synergy with the Cisco virtual networking portfolio. In addition, it’s a great step toward expanding the available services for Cisco virtual networks and overlays.

 If you are in London this week, please make sure to stop by the Citrix booth at Cisco live! at booth #G18 in our World of Solutions Expo.

 

[Join Cisco for a Live Announcement Webinar on Fabric Innovations for  Cloud on February 5: Register Here]

 

 

 

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Learn about Unified Management in the Data Center and Cloud Booth at Cisco Live London 2013!

If you haven’t heard about Unified Management, it refers to our portfolio of data center and cloud management software products. Cisco’s data center and cloud management software helps our customers to deliver IT services faster, more efficiently, and with lower total cost of ownership.

This year we’ve made it even easier for you to learn about these software solutions, with several demo stands on the expo floor and more than 17 breakout and theatre presentations.

We invite you to join us at Cisco Live London and learn more…

In the World of Solutions expo, we selected these Unified Management products to demo at Cisco’s Data Center and Cloud (DCC) booth:

If you’re not familiar with Cloupia – a very exciting new addition to our software portfolio for converged infrastructure management – make sure you stop by our booth and get a live demo.  You can also see a Cloupia demo in the NetApp booth (where you can hear the latest about Cloupia for FlexPod management) and the VCE booth.

In addition, we will be featuring a 3-way cloud automation demo (including Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud) in the Cisco, EMC, and VCE booths.  Did you know that VCE resells Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud? Stop by the VCE booth to see a demo of our cloud management solution running on a Vblock.

I’d also encourage you to attend some of the following theatre presentations to gain insight into the value of these innovative software solutions:

 

Finally, you can learn more about our Unified Management solutions in the Cisco Live breakout sessions. The abstracts for each session can be found in the schedule builder. Here are some example sessions where you’ll hear about Cisco’s data center and cloud management software:

 

For daily updates and reminders to attend the various sessions you can follow us on Twitter @CiscoIA. We look forward to meeting you at Cisco Live in London this week!

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Lowering Barriers to Hybrid Cloud Adoption – Challenges and Opportunities

Cloud computing has evolved from the hype cycle of the last few years, to being an integral part of the Enterprise IT strategy as well as a fundamental service provider offering.  The types of cloud constructs have evolved as well – public, private, hybrid and community clouds are all the basic variants, with more sophisticated application-specific cloud offerings continuing to evolve.

While the journey to the private cloud has been continuing and relatively maturing, at least in the more developed countries, and public cloud services offerings are becoming relatively ubiquitous, adoption and deployment of hybrid cloud offerings have had a relatively modest uptake.

The reason for this is not because the allure of hybrid clouds is unappealing, or that it has few use-cases. It is quite the opposite.  There are several use-cases all of which are applicable to real-world IT deployments today:

  • Workload migration:  Seamless migration of workloads from the data center or private cloud to the public cloud for better capacity utilization.
  • Dev/QA operations:  Testing of new applications can induce requirement for additional temporary capacity and having an extensible hybrid cloud is quite appealing, instead of investing in on-premise infrastructure.
  • Cloud-bursting: To handle the needs of bursty applications, temporary capacity allocation in public cloud environments can be extremely cost-effective, providing the convenience of “infrastructure-on-demand”
  • Disaster recovery: Providing data resiliency in case of failure of on-premise resources

If the use-cases are real and the benefits are so apparent, why have Enterprise not gone all out to deploy more robust hybrid clouds? Why have only few Enterprise and selective applications followed this model?

I can think of a few. To make it real, let’s consider the use-case of migrating a virtual machine (VM) from the private cloud to a provider cloud, as an example to illustrate some of the challenges:Shangri-la

  • Operational complexity:   Consider the image below. Once a VM is selected to migrate, it can be quite the task to handle the right documentation, including all the L4-7 policies, convert it to a provider relevant format (which could vary depending on provider), initiate a separate VM instance from template and start it in the cloud. Now this has to be done in a secure way with reconfiguration of the policies and security profiles in most cases.  Bottom line – it is not simple.
  • Inconsistency: The different formats and opaque private and public cloud environments can induce inconsistencies, and lack of consistent policies can further erode transparency
  • Visibility and management: Can the operator responsible for the private cloud have the same degree of visibility and management as the workloads migrate from one environment to another. Can they still be accountable for “hard SLAs”, or do these become best effort.

Reducing any (or all) of the above challenges would go a long way in lowering the barrier to the hybrid cloud deployment. It can bring in operational simplicity, rapid provisioning and an accelerated time-to-market enabling IT and business agility.

As we tackle the problems associated with building high-performance, scalable cloud infrastructure, solving these challenges of extending the private cloud into public cloud environments while preserving consistency and doing it in a simple enough manner is an equally important consideration.

For those of you wanting to learn more about some of these challenges, what Cisco is doing to address them, I invite you to tune into a webcast I’m hosting with some of  Cisco’s top data center and cloud executives  on February 5th, 2013. Joining the webcast to lend their perspectives, will be Cisco’s CTO and Chief Strategy Offier Padmasree Warrior, SVP of DataCenter Group David Yen and VP of Cisco’s Network Operating Systems Group Ayman Sayed. We will also be joined by Andre Kindness from Forrester Research to provide industry perspectives on this topic, and by two special guests providing a customer view point — Kerby Lyons, VP of Global Network Engineering  from SunGard Availability services, and Greg Sanchez, CTO of General Dynamics IT.

The webcast is titled “Fabric Innovations to the world of many clouds”. I invite you to register here. 

I can assure you that it will be an hour well spent.

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