Cisco Live: Meet the Expert

So Cisco Live 2013 has just wrapped up and I thought I’d build upon my previous Cisco Live post regarding what it’s like to be a presenter at Cisco Live, but this time from the perspective of an engineer in the Meet the Expert program.  As a customer if you need advice you can enter the world of solutions and talk to someone in the main Cisco booth area, or head over to the red shirted engineers in the Design Clinics.  However, what if you want to ask some questions in a more intimate setting, want to go deeper into the analysis of your problems or be able to talk about your network or infrastructure without having your competitor standing right next to you?  Maybe you want to make sure the person you are working with has a background of exactly what you are looking for.  Then you head over to the Meet the Expert area.


From a customer’s perspective they sign up for a session, pick an “Expert” to meet with based upon the Expert’s background and skills and submit a date/time to meet.   Seems like a much better process than the booths or Design Clinics where the person you talk to skills are primarily based upon who’s shift it is.

First of all, this room/area is nice and quiet and secondly when we meet with the customer we get to go into a small private room with a table, chairs and dry erase board.  A perfect environment for troubleshooting their MPLS network or solving the middle east conflict.

If you’ve read my previous Cisco Live post, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the break-out sessions.  However, there is a special place in my heart for these.  I’m not sure if there’s another conference out there that you can have a technical 1:1 with a customer.  Quite often when meeting with a customer you’ve got account teams with you, peers or the customer has their people around them.  Here’s is just 1:1, mano-a-mano, you, the customer and a dry erase marker.  Now you do have an idea of what they want to talk about, it’s in the invitation.  So if you’re a UCS engineer you can avoid or get help before that Core Service Provider Routing problem ruins your day.

There’s probably statistics that CiscoLive has that will show how many Meet the Expert sessions were done and the growth rate of them, but I still believe that this is an underutilized program.  Why?  When I mention it to attendees they do seem surprised about it and always say that they’ll use it next year. From my seat, I think this is a chance to get a deep understanding of a customer, their problems and how Cisco can help them.   It’s a bit like the end of a break-out session where a dozen or so audience members will come up to you to ask a few questions.  It’s like that in that you aren’t answering questions in front of a room of 200 people, but you’re also not going hoarse after talking for 2 hours.


I had one session this past year that really stood out.  The first was a meeting that was set up between a peer of mine and a customer.  The problem was that my peer is truly an expert in Industrial Solutions.  Sounds good.  However, the customer had questions about DataCenter based storage solutions and Storage Area Networks.  Something he knew about as much about as I know about Industrial and Manufacturing Solutions. We started off slowly with the customer talking about their datacenter, their growth, server counts, platforms, capacity planning and a rough topology drawn out before us.  The three of us began to discuss options, requirements and hurdles that they’re currently facing going forward. I got to admit, one can accomplish quite a bit when it’s just a few engineers around a white board.  Though having a sales guy around to get coffee about 30 minutes in would have been a bonus.  The customer would ask tough questions about the design while adding more color to his perspective of it, and it would morph into one that was agreeable by all parties.  There are some areas that we all agreed would need to be further investigated, for which Cisco Services would be needed.

Now, I realize that every Meet the Expert is different.  At the same time I was having my meeting, there’s another Expert that is providing insight into troubleshooting an issue.

I think it’s this 1:1 meeting whether the customer is in a good mood or bad that really enhances the experience of this program.  People talk about how much Customers can learn from Cisco at this event, however, I’ll take a different stand, it’s programs like Design Clinics, Meet the Expert and the “10 minutes after a break-out” where Cisco can stop talking and listen, and this my friends is the key.


Thanks for a wonderful Cisco Live in Orlando and I’ll see you next year in San Francisco.

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SDN – What is it and what does it mean for Your Business?

As the long awaited innovation in the networking space moves out of hype cycle and market interest in software defined networking (SDN) steadily rises, Cisco has been actively involved in these emerging trends, working with standards bodies and listening to the requirements of our global customer base.
As we continue to make our networks more open, programmable, and application aware, we believe we have the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio to help lead this change in an evolutionary manner.

During engagements with our global customer base, we have heard many claims about SDN. I will address these claims from a customer support point of view.
• SDN is about virtualizing the network. It is about migrating from a static, complex physical network platform to a dynamic simplified software enabled virtual platform
• SDN is about commoditizing network hardware because software can provide all functionalities in a centralized, limitless fashion.
• SDN is about reducing TCO and increasing agility. It is about reducing cost (OPEX) through simplification, virtualization, and automation, but also accelerating innovative business services for growth.

Let’s look at the implications of these.

#1: SDN is about virtualizing the network.
This is true and there are benefits. But before you think about virtualizing the network using “Software Defined Network” or “Software Defined Data Center”, let’s recap some core requirements any IT organization needs to take into account:
• Do you have an understanding of your business application environment?
• What are the key interdependencies between your application strategy and your infrastructure strategy?
• What implications would virtualizing the network layer have on your SLA’s? Are there performance penalties associated to your business if you don’t meet them?
If you have not explored these questions in details, then consider developing an “application to infrastructure” blueprint that is aligned to your business strategy. Leverage SDN as a crucial technology building block that can accelerate this process and provide solutions to any gaps identified hence simplifying your path towards network virtualization.

#2: SDN is about commoditizing network hardware because software can now provide all network functionalities.
This is not a reality today. The evolution of PaaS/SaaS and application providers support the fact that software is not “limitless.” The need for network intelligence, scale, performance, and security are still top priorities of most IT infrastructure. SDN does not promise to eliminate the importance hardware has, but simply illustrates the possibility of moving the decision intelligence from the hardware to software. What about speed and performance requirements on a software controller? Can it scale and grow as fast as the business (traffic) needs? How about the hardware that the controller software is running on — can it react fast enough to the ever-growing computing and storage demands? Can your “software only” infrastructure grow dynamically and as fast as your business application needs grow? Each organization needs to consider the implications of transferring the risk and complexity from infrastructure deployment to software (controller and agents) development.

#3: SDN is about reducing TCO and increasing Speed to Market for innovative business services.
Total Cost of Ownership calculations include both CAPEX and OPEX.In an “SDN” world, CAPEX = hardware cost + software cost which includes both development and maintenance, whether you choose to develop in-house (i.e. hiring new skills or transform your existing staff) or through a third-party software developer (i.e. licensing and upgrade costs). Is your operating model changing fast enough to utilize the benefit of SDN’s *simplified* management and operation? Have you broken down IT siloes between Security, Compute, Storage, and Operations? Is your organization ready to shift from managing infrastructure to managing software and changing the IT operation structure? Do you have the necessary tools and process to capture the rich data an “SDN” architecture now provides and turn them into new services for creating new revenue streams? In other words, is everything going to get more complicated before it can be “simplified”? Looking back to the server virtualization transition, very few IT organizations, if any, can claim that they realized the projected operating ROI within the first few years.

Now, let’s take a look at Cisco Open network Environment (ONE).
CiscoONE is more than just SDN. It offers a solution set that provides:
• A softwarecontroller that is centralized and separated from the local data planes
• Network programmability
• Network virtual overlays
We see the move to programmability and network virtualization as an evolution, not a revolution. CiscoONE creates incremental functionality that can be layered on existing infrastructure to deliver new functionality and provide SDN capabilities on top of both traditional technologies and modern business application needs. This enables you to continue leveraging value from the IT investments you’ve already made. We are working to help customers extract more value from the network by offering a broad network API, rich features, and analytics. The core value of the Cisco solution is an “Application Centric Infrastructure”, compare to the generic “Software Defined Network” term. Both software and hardware are a means for providing services business applications. And by making applications the center of everything, we take the broadest view to deliver openness, programmability and abstraction across multiple layers, to the line of business owners.

As my colleague Stephen Speirs pointed out in his blog, Services is the missing S in SDN, I would also say Strategy is the starting point for SDN. Why Strategy?
With the right strategy, you can plan, build and manage an open, programmable, “virtualized” network that reduces your OPEX and delivers the business outcomes you need with the minimum level of risk.
– Customers are at various stages of SDN adoption, as with any new technology or network paradigm. We’ve heard a lot of questions from them: How do I build a business case for SDN? How do I validate the ROI? How do I manage SDN devices? How would SDN change my operations model? What new security vulnerabilities and regulatory issues will I have? How do I build the API applications that are needed for my use case? What do I do when something goes wrong?
– Few customers have a clear understanding of their application profiles. Without a clear view of your application profiles, there are risks to deploying SDN.
– Cisco Services can help you through the SDN journey starting from identify the right strategy to execution so that your organization can transform your business agenda to maximize business value and minimize risks.

Services help you address the areas of What, Why and How

The Cisco Services team is well-positioned to lead this transition for customers. Our work with enterprises, services providers and public sector organizations over past 20+ years has provided us with unique network insights and implementation experience. Cisco Services offer consulting, professional and technical services via strategy, assessment/planning (Why), design and development (What), deployment, validation and operations services (How). We have the experience to help you adopt open, programmable or virtualized networks based on where you are today and where you need to be in order to harness Network Intelligence through deep programmatic access to your networking platforms.

#EngineersUnplugged S3|Ep2: Next-Gen Storage, Converged Infrastructure on the Horizon?

Welcome to another episode of Engineers Unplugged. This week’s topic is Next-Gen Storage, handled admirably by Cisco’s J Metz (@drjmetz) and Stephen Foskett (@sfoskett). What will the topology of the future look like? What is the tech evolution that will drive adoption? From token ring to SDN, they’ve got it covered. Watch and see:

J Metz and Stephen Foskett take the Uni-Corn and Unicorn Challenge, Respectively.

J Metz and Stephen Foskett take the Uni-Corn and Unicorn Challenge, Respectively.

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:
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

We’re shooting more episodes this week at Cisco Live in Orlando! Bring us your best unicorn, or just stop by the whiteboards at the Social Media Hub to say hi!

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Cisco Datacenter Solutions at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

Next week, Microsoft will be hosting over 16,000 attendees from over 160 countries at their Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, Texas. Cisco is again a proud sponsor of this event and complete details about our participation are available on

Stop by booth #1401 where Cisco will be demonstrating:

In addition to demonstrating the products and solutions that have catapulted Cisco to the #2 blade server vendor worldwide1, Rex Backman will be speaking on “Leveraging Cisco Datacenter Assets to Drive Private Cloud Revenue” Wednesday (4:00 – 5:00 PM, Hilton America Grand Ballroom D).

Both the Nexus 1000V and FlexPod won Best of TechEd 2013 awards. This was the third year in a row for a Cisco product to be so honored.


We’re looking forward to seeing you at WPC. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #CiscoWPC. If you won’t be able to join us and would like to learn more about how Cisco is changing the economics of the datacenter, I would encourage you to review this presentation on SlideShare  or my previous series of blog posts, Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good. Or visit the Microsoft Cisco UCS portal.

  1. Source:  IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, Q1 2013 Revenue Share, May 2013

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OpenStack at Cisco Live in Orlando

There’s a lot of news coming out of Orlando from this year’s Cisco Live US event, and a lot of it involves OpenStack. OpenStack has never been more prominent at Cisco Live – and there’s much more to come. This is significant not only because it demonstrates our continued commitment to OpenStack but also the progress of our ongoing product integration efforts.


We had multiple technical breakout sessions and technical seminars on OpenStack, delivered by Cisco OpenStack experts, throughout the event.  Here are a few of them:

We’re also featuring six product demonstrations with OpenStack integration. If you are in Orlando this week, please visit the World of Solutions Expo and see them all:

  • OpenStack with Cisco Nexus 1000v

We’re showing an OpenStack deployment on UCS hardware that uses Nexus 1000v as the underlying host virtual switch. Nexus1000v solution on KVM hypervisor is going to be available soon. We’ve developed an OpenStack Networking (i.e. Neutron) plugin that communicates with the Nexus 1000v VSM module and also configures VEMs on the host. We have introduced network profile and port profile constructs in OpenStack Networking as well as provided enhancement to the OpenStack Horizon (GUI) for Nexus 1000v.

  • OpenStack Networking and Cisco Nexus plugin

Our OpenStack Networking Cisco Nexus plugin can provide isolated tenant network segments on Nexus physical hardware by provisioning and de-provisioning VLAN’s. The plugin works with Nexus 3K/5K/6K/7K line of switches. This data sheet captures more information.

  • OpenStack and Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC) turns OpenStack into a production-ready cloud platform – using our service catalog, orchestration, and cloud management software to complement and extend OpenStack functionality. At Cisco Live, we’re demonstrating how end users can order a virtual machine from the Cisco IAC portal, with OpenStack integration to Nova to fulfill this request.

  • Cisco UCS Manager and OpenStack

Cisco UCS Manager has extensive hardware provisioning and diagnostic capabilities that will soon be brought into OpenStack. What we’re showing this week is the ability of UCS Manager to detect chassis and blade hardware configurations and initiate an automated OpenStack node deployment. The UCS Manager OpenStack developer community information can be accessed here. Additionally, we also had a breakout session that walked through deploying OpenStack using our Cisco OpenStack Installer (COI): starting from bare-metal provisioning all the way through the deployment of the controller and compute nodes as well as storage, and networking. Visit here for COI setup instructions.

  • Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation with OpenStack

The newly announced Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation is our next generation network fabric solution that provides high performance converged networking across the data center. This week, we’re showing OpenStack Networking with Dynamic Fabric Automation to provision network overlay within the Fabric.

  • OpenStack integration with Cisco Open Network Environment

Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE) architecture expands the capabilities of OpenStack Networking by providing a onePK plugin. We’ll be showing how various Cisco ONE elements can be programmed through OpenStack Neutron and offer Layer 2 and Layer 3 services in an OpenStack deployment. See here for more information.

At the recent Red Hat Summit , OpenStack was also very prominent; the launch of their commercially supported distribution of OpenStack (Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform) filled one of the few remaining gaps for mainstream customer deployment. We’re continuing to work with the OpenStack community and partners like Red Hat to advance the adoption and success of this open source cloud platform.  If you want to learn more about OpenStack and Red Hat on Cisco UCS, you can watch these videos from the Red Hat Summit.

This new level of project maturity as well integration with the Cisco Nexus and UCS platforms is accelerating customer adoption of OpenStack. Cisco Live is the obvious place to showcase our success and ongoing commitment to OpenStack.

Stay tuned for more from the OpenStack team at Cisco!

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Enterprise Networks at CiscoLive Day1 Recap

Hi Everyone! My trusty film crew and I are here at CiscoLive! Orlando. It has been great so far with the launch of the new Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series, Cisco 4451-X, Cisco ASR 1000-AX, and Sup8E for the Catalyst 4500!  Over the next few days we’ll be doing interviews with some of the awesome people here at Cisco who helped create these technologies, as well as other people doing interesting demos, and some with unique perspectives.

To kick things off, we get a little sittly with the 6800 and I got an interview with Shawn Wargo on what’s exciting about Instant Access.  Enjoy and let me know what you think.

If you’d like a deeper dive into these technologies, check out our TechWise TV Episode, Networking Game Changer: Get the inside scoop on the Catalyst 6800, the ISR 4451-X, Catalyst Instant Access, the Catalyst 2960-X, and the Catalyst 4500′s Supervisor 8-E


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Introducing An Entirely New Direction in Branch Offices

Introducing 4451-X Frickin Awesome 400Thinking about remote site networks in a totally new way.

This week Cisco announced a new member of the Integrated Services Router family.  The ISR 4451-X might not seem that unique at first glance.  Here’s Cisco releasing another new router that adds to their already extensive branch router portfolio – the ISR G2.  However, the newest ISR really is a #GameChanger when it comes to building a modern, future-proof network designed with business critical applications in mind.

That isn’t just marketing fluff in this case.  The ISR 4451-X was designed from the ground up with rich network services and application delivery in mind.  It really is the first platform conceived and built from the very beginning with a laser focus on application experience in a remote branch office.  Maybe we even need a new name because in some ways it really is changing what it means to be a “router.”

The Concept

When we started thinking about designing a new high-end branch router, several things were happening simultaneously with our large Enterprise customers.  First, the role of applications was changing in the network.  With modern business-critical applications being delivered across the wide-area network are now critical for keeping the front doors open, the network is now more critical than ever to businesses of all types.

By and large these applications are being delivered over the web which takes us to the next major trend that factors into every new product today: the cloud.  These business critical web applications are being delivered from a mixture of private, public and even hybrid clouds that make the role of the network much more important in creating an ideal application experience.

Finally, the more-important-than-ever IT organization was being tasked with doing more with less.  Under constant pressure to drive down capital and operating costs, IT groups needed to make every purchasing decision go further in both longevity in the network and ease of operation.  Pay-as-you-grow, simplicity and application awareness are all terms that describe expectations for the 21st century network.

The Execution

The ISR 4451-X is an attempt to create an entirely new concept in branch routing that ties together all of these trends into a platform that can seamlessly fit into branch environments at up to 2Gbps of throughput.  The same platform needed to scale with pay-as-you-grow performance licensing so you pay for the performance you need while supporting the huge range of features our customers expect in an ISR.  The design of the 4451-X spanned several years  involving a team of hundreds of engineers from around the globe.  It’s a little humbling when you see the amount of work and attention that goes into every aspect of designing something so revolutionary.  To put it into perspective, one of the more seasoned engineers on the project, Brian Embry, was a summer intern still in college when he first touched the project.  Today he’s one of the most experienced engineers working on the core functionality of the 4451-X.

Not every design is quite as ambitious.  ISR 4451-X actually started with the split data and control-plane architecture of the ASR1000.  We then added a new concept in the services-plane while making sure this new platform would fit into a wide range of branch environments.  That services plane is something that really sets the 4451-X apart from anything else in the industry.  For the first time we have dedicated hardware that can be used to run network applications lifted directly from their appliance siblings.  For example, the exact same WAN optimization software running on the WAAS appliances or virtual WAAS runs seamlessly inside the 4451-X services-plane.  No compromises in service delivery.  There are lots of other network services we’re working on that you’ll be seeing over the next few months.  Over time there will be options for lot of applications running in containers exactly like their appliance counterparts.

Of course, application experience is about more than just hosting services.  For the 4451-X we incorporated Application Visibility and Control (AVC) into the core data-plane hardware.  Previously routers always made forwarding decisions at layer 3 of the OSI model.  Really smart routers might peek up into layer 4 but never any further than that.  With the Application Experience (AX) concepts built into the ISR family we’re now making forwarding decisions all the way up to layer 7.  This new platform is also part of the AX portfolio as the 4451-AX.

Deciding where to run those business critical applications is always a difficult prospect for an IT organization.  For some of the most important applications, it often makes sense to run them directly in the branch itself avoiding network latency, security concerns and any risk of network or cloud outages.  That’s where the UCS E-Series server blades come to bear.  The same general-purpose server modules work across the ISR family including the 4451-X.

The Result

So here we are 5 years and many gray hairs later.  We have a platform we’re all extremely proud of.  The ISR 4451-X augments the ISR portfolio with a device that hits a variety of cost and performance requirements.  With performance licensing, the 4451-X can boost performance without touching hardware.  Network services and general branch applications deployed remotely through a combination of Service Containers running internally and applications running on a UCS E-Series server module.  Application awareness is front-and-center throughout the 4451-X.  This really is a platform designed for the way branch networks are being built today.


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Introducing Cisco Unified Fabric Innovations: Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation, Nexus 7700 Switches, and F3 Modules

Cisco today introduced Application-Centric Infrastructure as the vision for Next Generation Data Center architecture, built for both today’s physical and virtual workloads as well as tomorrow’s highly dynamic Cloud-based, and performance-intensive big data application environments. Please check out Padmasree Warrior’s blog or Cisco Unified Fabric to learn more.  

What I would like to share with you is how we are evolving the Cisco Unified Fabric to deliver operational simplicity through superior integration.

Introducing Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA)

Delivering Operational Simplicity through Superior Integration

As organizations accelerate private and public cloud deployments, IT organizations and data center networks must evolve to meet rapidly changing and growing requirements.  Virtualized and cloud environments require more agility and simplicity to quickly deploy and migrate virtual machines. IT organizations, on the other hand, are challenged with operational complexity, architectural rigidity and infrastructure inefficiency with manual processes, disjointed provisioning, deficient software overlays, static resource allocations and disruptions when growth is needed.

The good news is that Cisco continues to evolve its Unified Fabric to address these needs. The new Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation delivers unsurpassed operational simplicities through superior integration. It does this by …...automating device configuration…automating fabric configuration for virtual machine (VM) deployment and migration…integrating bare-metal and virtualized resources without the need for a dedicated gateway…providing tenant awareness to the fabric management layer…simplifying day-to-day operations…and supporting scalable multi-tenant cloud deployments.

The new Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation delivers:

1- Optimized Fabric Infrastructure for Enhanced Efficiency and Scale

With enhanced forwarding, distributed control plane and integrated physical and virtual, Cisco DFA is optimized for spine-leaf topologies and simplifies networking by enabling any network anywhere with seamless mobility for physical and virtual machines.

Leaf switches function as the Layer 2/3 boundary with an integrated gateway and connect all resources, including VMs, bare-metal servers, physical and virtual services, and WAN access. Spine switches provide high-speed connectivity and forwarding between the leaf nodes.

This topology provides high bisectional bandwidth, deterministic 2-hop latency between resources.  It also delivers greater resiliency with smaller failure domains and multi-tenant scale of greater than 10,000 tenants/networks.

Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation also lets VMs communicate with bare-metal servers or physical services without requiring a dedicated gateway. This significantly improves performance and scale by eliminating gateway bottlenecks and points of failure.   

2- Simplified Fabric Management with Open APIs for Ease of Operations

Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) 7.0 provides centralized fabric management allowing you to manage the fabric in a holistic manner. It enables automated network provisioning, common point of fabric access, and host, network and tenant visibility. 

Cisco DFA simplifies switch deployment significantly. With Power-On Auto Provisioning, when a switch is added to the fabric, Cisco DCNM identifies the switch as a leaf or spine, and automatically delivers the correct configuration files and switches are up and running in minutes.

Cisco DCNM also simplifies operations by providing a central point of management across your physical and virtual networks…from fabric topology discovery…to mapping tenants to switches…to fabric monitoring and diagnostics of every network device in the fabric.  

With open northbound REST-based APIs, Cisco DCNM better integrates with Cisco and 3rd party orchestration and automation tools, in addition to cloud platforms.


3- Automated Provisioning for Greater Agility

Cisco DFA enables network automation and provisioning for simplifying both physical servers and virtual machine deployments and migration across the fabric.  Based on the network admin defined network profile templates for physical and virtual machines, instances of Network Policies are automatically created in DCNM when a Server Admin provisions VMs/PMs. When a VM/PM pertaining to a project is detected, Network Policy is applied to the network leaf.

Here’s how it works.

When a new tenant is provisioned, the tenant network information is sent to the DCNM and the Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM). When a VM is instantiated on a server, the VSM passes the port profile information to the Cisco Nexus 1000V. The Nexus 1000V then forwards the tenant ID to the leaf switch using VDP, an industry-standard protocol. The leaf switch then queries the DCNM to retrieve the tenant network information, and applies it to the port.

And that’s it!

A new tenant and a VM have been provisioned without any manual network configuration, significantly reducing deployment time. Of course while this works better with Nexus 1000V, Cisco DFA also supports other vswitches.

For VM mobility, reprovisioning the fabric is just as simple. When a VM moves from one leaf switch to another, the destination leaf switch follows the same process, automatically downloading the VM’s tenant information and configuring the port.


Introducing Cisco Nexus® 7700 Switches

Cisco is extending the Nexus 7000 Series with the addition of the Nexus 7700 switches. These new Nexus 7700 switches offer industry’s highest scalability in an environmentally optimized form factor while maintaining operational, feature and architectural consistency across the entire Nexus 7000 SeriesNexus 7700 delivers:

  • Up to 83 terabits per second (Tbps) of overall switching capacity
  • Industry’s highest-capacity 10, 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports – with up to 768 native 10-Gbps ports, 384 40-Gbps ports and up to 192 100-Gbps ports.
  • The Cisco Nexus 7700 Switches deliver a comprehensive set of features with nonstop operations in two chassis form factors: Nexus 7718 and Nexus 7710

What is really important to note is that the Nexus 7000 and the Nexus 7700 leverage the same fundamental building blocks, such as identical ASICs and software releases.  This offers our customers a consistent operational model between the platforms.

Introducing F3 Series Modules

Cisco is also announcing new 40G/100G optimized F3 Series modules for the Nexus 7000 switches and Nexus 7700 switches. Based on Cisco’s custom F3 ASIC, and integrated with Cisco’s NX-OS software, the F3 modules deliver the industry’s broadest data center switching feature set in a single module offering.

  • For the Nexus 7000 switches: a 12 port 40G module and a 6 port 100G module
  • For the Nexus 7700 switches: a 24 port 40G module and a 12 port 100G module
  • Some of the features include FabricPath, VXLAN, Fabric Extender technology (FEX), FCoE, OTV, LISP, MPLS along with Cisco DFA.

This comprehensive feature set simplifies customer deployments by giving our customers the flexibility to deploy a wide range of network designs with a single module, ensuring unprecedented investment protection and agility to adapt to changing networking requirements over time.

In addition, the F3 Series modules represent a 60% improvement in power efficiency, helping to address the environmental challenges in today’s data centers.  

Continue reading “Introducing Cisco Unified Fabric Innovations: Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation, Nexus 7700 Switches, and F3 Modules”

Cisco Professional Services for Cloud Ranked #1 in IDC Survey – Announced at CiscoLive!

Having been part of the team who developed the Cisco Cloud Enablement Services, our professional services to help customers enable and adopt cloud computing, I was absolutely delighted watching the CiscoLive! keynote yesterday to hear Padmasree Warrior announce the results of the March 2013 IDC market research study that showed Cisco come out on top for cloud professional services [Source: “2013 U.S. Professional Services Opportunities Related to Cloud Services”, IDC Doc # 239862, March 2013].

In this survey, as  the chart below shows (reproduced with the kind permission of IDC), respondents indicated that Cisco professional services were used most often across all of the three cloud categories that IDC measured: cloud applications, cloud application platforms, and cloud infrastructure.  Ahead of Accenture, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle/Sun, HP and others.

IDC March 2013 - Cisco Leads Professional Services for Cloud

I first blogged on the challenges of adopting cloud almost exactly 3 years ago, based upon our early experiences in delivering cloud professional services.  We’ve not rested since then, continuously innovating our services and capabilities, preparing for the exiting years ahead.  For example, over the past 6 months, we’ve introduced the Cisco DomainTenSM framework for cloud and data center transformation.  If you follow my blogs, you’ll see that that I’ve discussed the data center challenges across the diverse range of domains ranging from Facilities and Infrastructure, Automation and Orchestration, Applications and Operational Process and Governance.  We offer services to help our customers in each of these ten domains.  We’re no longer deploying just individual hardware technologies.  We’re helping our customers address their business challenges in complex solution areas including cloud computing, secure virtual desktops, application migration and software defined networking (SDN).  It’s both humbling and terrific to see our success, witnessed by the IDC survey discussed above, but most importantly across our customer base as we help them benefit from data center transformation.  And it’s also terrific to see how Cisco Services is helping more and more companies choose Cisco as their IT partner of choice — all part of Cisco’s journey to be the #1 IT company.


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Cisco UCS vs. IBM Flex System: Complexity and Cost Comparison

Complexity and Cost Comparison: Cisco UCS vs. IBM Flex System is report recently published by Principled Technologies.

They evaluated both the technologies and costs of each solution and found a UCS solution is both less expensive to deploy and less complex to manage than an IBM Flex System.

Off all the ways Principled Technologies shows how UCS is a superior solution, I wanted to touch on just one: highly available and scalable management. A UCS management domain consists of a pair of Fabric Interconnects and supports up to 160 blade and/or rack servers. In contrast, IBM is limited to 54 blade servers plus a non-redundant Flex System Manager node. Quoting from the paper:

Because IBM Flex System Manager nodes do not failover automatically like the Cisco UCS solution, administrators must manually connect to a backup node and bring it online. Each target system has an OS agent that remains registered to the original FSM node and does not recognize the new FSM. Admins must manually unregister each of these agents from the failed node and then register the new FSM node. [page 7]

Read the full report to learn the many additional ways which UCS is shown to be superior solution and why Cisco has leapt ahead of IBM and is now the #2 blade server vendor worldwide1



Would like to learn more about how Cisco is changing the economics of the datacenter, I would encourage you to review this presentation on SlideShare  or my previous series of blog posts, Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good.

  1. Source:  IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, Q1 2013 Revenue Share, May 2013

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