Automation is Unavoidable – But Painful Shift Isn’t

Private cloud – you hear it everywhere.  Industry analysts tell us that private cloud has become a core data center strategy  well on its way to becoming a core element in the formal IT portfolio.

Forrester research indicates that CIOs and IT departments are strongly drawn to private cloud as the on-ramp for their cloud journey.  What’s behind this interest and drive to shift?

Partially it is driven by the need to leverage existing data center infrastructure better.   But THE market driver responsible for the lion’s share of adoption is the need to accelerate application delivery.   We are talking about building applications faster and deploying them to the environment that has the right amount of elasticity, services and economics.

Yet for all the strategizing and trial steps, only a small number of enterprise companies have deployed a true private cloud.  Why? Without the right tools and methods, it is painful and chaotic.

To learn more about how you can control your journey to automation and how it can help IT professionals grow in their careers, click on this link and register for a live webcast featuring Dave Bartoletti, Principal Analyst from
Forrester and executives from Cisco on Tuesday, February 17th at 11 am Eastern / 8 am Pacific.


In this event, you will learn:

  • About the new IT professionals’ balancing act that will change your role in IT
  • The three keys to private cloud success
  • Why most of today’s solutions are just tool kits
  • How to accelerate automation adoption with Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite

Join us for this live webcast.  Your developers, end users and customers expect continuous delivery. Start this New Year by learning how to own and control the ways in which you deliver the private cloud that your business wants so that your business can soar.  Click here to register.


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New Cisco innovations at Cisco Live Milan 2015

Cisco Live at Milan is an exciting place to be at this year. There are many new innovations and technology being showcased by teams from all across Cisco.

Below is a list of  interesting sessions to attend about the latest innovations at Cisco Live Milan 2015

Whisper suites Demos– New innovation demos. Please stop by to watch the live demos and get goodies:

Whisper suites : one on one meetings and presentations.

Breakout sessions :

  • BRKAPP-2032 — Introductory — Integrating Citrix Netscaler into Cisco Data Centers : Jeff Ostermiller
  • BRKDCT-2333 — Intermediate — Data Center Network Failure Detection : Arkadiy Shapiro

New RISE blog : Remote Integrated Service Engine at Cisco Live Milan

New ITD blog : Intelligent Traffic Director @ Cisco Live Milan

Nexus 7702 announcement : Nexus 7702 has a sweet spot in being a “services chassis” with RISE and ITD.

Nexus 5k/6k : RISE and ITD are planned  for Q1 CY 2015. Currently available for EFT.

 Nexus 7k/7700 :  Most recent NX-OS 6.2.10 has the following new features:

  • Weighted load balancing
  • L4 port based load balancing
  • Sandwich mode Node-State sync between two ITD services in  a VDC
  • DNS probe
  • Start/Stop/Clear ITD statistics collection
  • Show ITD statistics have % traffic distribution
  • Node-level standby
  • VRF support for ITD Service and Probes
  • Number of ITD services scaled up : 32 ITD services per VDC
  • Number of VIPs scaled up : 16 VIPs per ITD service
  • DCNM support using DevNet

Scalability & A Whole Lot More At Cisco Live Milan


Thousands of customers from around the globe have converged at Cisco Live in Milan to share and discover what is new, interesting and impactful in networking.  In the Data Center, several key themes are emerging, one of which involves scalability.  As business requirements continue to drive the need for more – more apps, more storage, more compute, more speed, more capacity, more of whatever – Cisco continues to innovate, helping customers scale their environments.  There are a lot of new capabilities/products being introduced across the Nexus Data Center switching portfolio, to address scalability, and much more.

One of the key things I’d like to call out is BGP control plane for VXLAN.  While there are more details and a link below, I want to highlight this because as VXLAN continues to pickup steam, and more customers deploy it, these networks are getting, and will continue to get, much larger.  When VXLAN initially came out, one of the things about it that resonated with people was the fact that it would allow a theoretical max of 16 million tenants, which is quite compelling relative to the 4096 offered by traditional VLANs.  However, the fact that the VXLAN header happens to have enough space (24 bits) to allow for a network that large does not mean you can just go out and build it.  By default, VXLAN uses a flood and learn mechanism for device discovery because there is no control plane explicitly defined.  Think about this for a minute.  Flood and learn out to 16 million tenants, umm, may not be the most optimized approach.  Is there another tried and true method to perform this type of function, that customers are already familiar with?  Yes – BGP.  So, this is the background on the rationale for BGP control plane for VXLAN and why I think it’s an exciting new innovation.

There are plenty of other interesting things to check out on the World of Solutions show floor and they are called out below.  To  those of you that are here, come by and take a look, ask questions and learn how these latest product introductions and technology innovations can help your data center scale. If you’re not here, take some time to go through the many hyperlinks below or watch Cisco Live keynotes and presentations live from Milan!

BGP VXLAN Support on the Nexus 9000 and Nexus 7000 – as cloud computing continues to momentum, enabling the creation of a highly scalable, multi-tenant environment with network segmentation, traffic separation, elasticity, and workload mobility. However, the VXLAN IETF draft does not specify a control plane, and relies on a flood-and-learn mechanism for host and endpoint discovery. The Cisco® Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Control Plane for VXLAN solution is an open, interoperable standards based approach using the proven features of BGP to provide a more scalable, flexible, alternative.

Nexus 9000 Additions to the Portfolio:

  • 100G on Nexus 9500 and Nexus 9300 – Keeping up with evolving data center bandwidth demands, Cisco is introducing 100GE modules for both the Nexus 9500 and 9300 (8 port and 4 port respectively) for  high performance spine/core connectivity and also for direct router interconnect.
  • New Nexus 93120TX a 2RU switch supporting 96 x 10GBaseT + 6 x 40GE Uplinks operating in NX-OS Mode and ACI-capable

Nexus 7702 and New Nexus 7000 F3 Series Module -For customers wanting the comprehensive DCI and services features of the Nexus 7700 in a small form factor, the wait is over! The new 3 RU Nexus 7702 is an ideal compact solution for small/medium DCI deployments (OTV, MPLS, VPLS and EVPN) and high performance RISE and ITD services. Cisco is also introducing a new 10GE F3 module for the Nexus 7000 chassis, rounding out the 10, 40 and 100GE F3 portfolio for both 7000/7700 chassis.

QSFP BiDi MonitorFollowing up on the huge success of the 40GE Bidi transceiver, Cisco is introducing a BiDi Monitor QSFP. The Monitor QSFP provides passive optical tap capabilities for Bidi links, allowing data monitoring for security and network optimization analysis.

Cisco Nexus 5648Q and new 12 Port 40G Ethernet/FCoE GEM: the Nexus 5648Q features 24 x 40G ports and can scale up to 48 x 40G ports via 2 of the 12 port 40G GEM modules. This new switch also supports FEX, offers VXLAN capabilities, and rich data analytics and FCoE support.

Nexus 3000 Family Enhancements

  • Nexus 3548-X offers lower power consumption (~ 25%), Multicast NAT:  Simplifies co-location integration and Latency Monitoring: FIFO Traffic visibility and troubleshooting
  • Nexus 3132Q-X featuring lower Power consumption (~ 15%), the option for 4 x 10GE SFP ports at a lower price

Nexus 2332TQ Fabric Extender supporting  32 x 10GBaseT + 4 x 40G Uplinks plus all of the feature set that the Nexus 2300 Series offers including larger buffers to absorb traffic bursts, support for Cisco 40G BiDi optics, and additional versatile TCAM Supporting for support of capabilities such as ACL classifications and QOS, and local flow redirect for architectures that require intra-rack traffic to reduce bandwidth.




Enterprise Networks Taking Center Stage at Cisco Live Milan

It is clear being an IT professional today is not easy, there are ever increasing demands on the network and on IT resources. Just look at some of the data out there:

Even in conversations with customers here at Cisco Live MilanCL Milan it is evident that IT is tasked to more with less, “I am told I need to be more agile.” Or, “Everyone is getting new Mobile Devices that are going to increase traffic.” Or “I needs to be more strategic to the business.”

It is clear that IT needs to rethink how they enable applications, secure the network and manage the infrastructure. But there is hope! Cisco is hard at work developing new solutions and products to help in meeting top of mind concerns. In recent January announcements, many being highlighted at Cisco Live Milan, Cisco has shown how new technology can help IT be more agile, support new demands and drive business impact. There have been a number of blogs talking about these announcements and below is where you can find out more about these exciting Cisco innovations.

Increasing IT Agility

  • Cisco ONE Delivers a More Valuable and Flexible way to Consume Cisco Software.
  • Cisco Meraki is delivering a global, enterprise-class, comprehensive Cloud-Managed IT solution

Supporting New Demands

Driving Business Impact

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Introducing Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite

Forrester research indicates that private cloud has entered into the formal IT portfolio by becoming a core part of data center strategy.   I have been writing about the sea change underway in private cloud.  This sea change means that automating the provisioning of virtual machines and their infrastructure is inadequate in a world where your users  expect continuous delivery.

Application developers want to accelerate application stack design and deployment.  Your customers expect to consume applications and their supporting infrastructures on-demand and take delivery within minutes.

Doubt this fact?  I consistently hear from senior executives about the growth of shadow IT within their organizations simply because the data center cannot meet delivery expectations.

At CiscoLive Milan today, the Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite was introduced.  I can hear your response now…..What another cloud management platform? So I will respond:  no way!

Many of today’s solutions are simple toolkits that require IT administrators to customize and maintain integrations between tools, processes, applications and teams.  IT needs to become software and infrastructure engineers.  End users have expectations of simplicity and out-of-box operation and these tools simply frustrate meeting end users expectations.

Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite is an engineered software solution not a platform. It delivers a hybrid-ready private cloud software solution that contains out-of-box installation and content.  There are out-of-box utensils designed specifically to accelerate the design and deployment of your existing and cloud-first applications – across private and hybrid environments.  Learn more by watching this video.

The modern self-service portal was designed to accommodate multiple users:  end users, application developers and IT professionals.  The user experience for each of these customers can be tailored to their specific requirements, no coding required.  Your access gateway to provisioning, monitoring and managing hybrid cloud resources is the self-service portal providing access to Cisco Marketplace, the Intercloud Ecosystem of partners or other hybrid cloud offerings.

Best of all Cisco’s hybrid solution delivers choice of service partners, hypervisors and cloud platform.

The Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite leverages the newly announced Cisco ONE Software bundles that deliver a flexible approach to consume Cisco software.

Your customers want their applications fast.  You understand the critical dependency between successful application delivery and your business.  Learn how to deliver apps quick so your business can soar by registering for a live webcast with Forrester and Cisco on February 17th at 11 am Eastern/8 am Pacific.


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Hockey Game and Big Data – Unleash Your Competitive Edge

Consider this scenario: Twelve humans, gracefully speeding across a mere 200×85-ft sheet of ice on skates, gripping sticks built to withstand some serious slashing, and eagerly chasing and passing a puck.

The determination to win is evident in each player’s demeanor. This is a recipe for competitive spirit. And much like hockey, the competitive landscape for any company or organization is built upon the same premise: the field is crowded and there are a lot of elbows being thrown.

So how do you differentiate and ensure you’re not the underdog?

To effectively break away from competitors, many organizations are embracing a Big Data strategy. However, getting started down the Big Data path can be a daunting task if you go at it alone. And much like the teamwork required to win that hockey game, Cisco and Intel® work together to help you navigate the field and  develop a strategy built on a server platform that will put you ahead of your competitors.

So unleash your competitive edge and join Cisco and Intel for a night of hockey action as the Indy Fuel take on the Kalamazoo Wings in the newly renovated Indiana Farmers Coliseum on February 25. Seats are limited, so reserve yours now.

Register here.


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RISE: Remote Integrated Service Engine Demo @ Cisco Live Milan

The Cisco® Remote Integrated Services Engine (RISE) allows both physical and virtual external service appliances to be attached to the Cisco Nexus® 7000 Series Switches and gain the same benefits as if the appliances were directly connected to the switch backplane like a dedicated service module. Cisco RISE provides a bidirectional control plane for tightly coupling network services to data center switching. Cisco RISE establishes a communication path between the network data plane and the service appliance, simplifying deployment and optimizing data paths with better traffic visibility in the data center. RISE is supported Cisco Prime NAM, Citrix NetScaler 1000v, Citrix NetScaler VPX, Citrix NetScaler MPX, Citrix NetScaler SDX etc.

Interested in knowing more about Cisco® RISE . The engineering team will showcase demos of some of the innovative features being designed for the Nexus 2K to 7K platforms. These are 15-30min Software Demos performed by our technical leaders. Please stop by our booth or visit the Nexus Data Center Whisper suites to watch the live demo and get some free goodies. Email questions to:

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Summary: Drive Customer Engagement with Analytics and Insights – the Next Wave of CMX Innovation

CES and NRF kicked off 2015 with a bang, and as usual, showed us that there is no shortage of gadgets and dashboards to help businesses solve their every need.

From an IT perspective, choosing the right tools to solve each technology challenge should involve a full evaluation the merits of feature sets, while balancing the (rapidly shrinking) budget. But the business doesn’t wait – IT is flanked by consumer-mindset-driven employees and visionary execs eager to stay on top of buzz words like Big Data and Analytics.

Not coincidentally, we’re witnessing IT budgets shift over to Line of Business (LoB), a clear nod towards the business relevance of digital engagement.

In fact, 44% of mobility initiatives are now either completely funded or jointly funded by Line of Business (LoB) leaders.

This is a great opportunity for IT to align with LoB interests and drive programs that allow LoB and IT to successfully deliver business outcomes together using technology.

Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) sits at this sweet spot where the network, traditionally owned by IT, can help LoB better understand customer behavior and drive operational efficiencies using data analytics, as well as improve customer engagement.

And now, CMX is evolving beyond Wi-Fi to other data sources from the network (think BLE, video, CRM and more) to help our customers transform their business models for the mobility age and the impending Internet of Things.

With the latest updates to the solution, our customers can now:

Gain Customer Insights With the Latest Location Innovations

  • New Hyperlocation Module bringing Wi-Fi location accuracy up to submeter accuracy when combined with BLE
  • Enhanced FastLocate to bring location data to big data levels with up to 120 location updates per minute
  • Faster compute times with 2-4 seconds systems latency for actionable, real-time insights
  • Comprehensive Cisco BLE Strategy for hybrid location approach: Wi-Fi and BLE together for granularity, visibility and control

Simplify Tools with User Centric Design

  • Unified Dashboard consolidating all views for Mobility Services Engine (MSE) including historical and real time location analytics, BLE, captive zone portals and systems management
  • Pre-designed Vertical Analytics for enterprises that want more comprehensive analytics tools

Prepare Your Business with Big Data Ready, Scalable Infrastructure

  • Server Scaling and Clustering with MSE 10.0 for greater infrastructure elasticity to support up to 1M clients and analytics data storage improvements for 150M records
  • Cloud-based EMSP Consumption Model option for monthly invoicing

Join Robb Boyd and Jimmy Ray Purser in this Techwise TV episode as they delve into how to go beyond Wi-Fi location to transform business models: REGISTRATION LINK.

And check out this video for a fun way of understanding the relevance of CMX for solving LoB challenges.

Read the full The Next Wave of CMX: Location Innovation, Scalability, and User-centric Analytics for Better Customer Engagement blog to learn more.

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Cisco ACI and Nexus 9000 Activities at Cisco Live Milan 2015

Interested in learning more about Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure and Nexus 9000? We are hosting a myriad of activities here at Cisco Live Milan 2015! With Meet the Expert sessions and Demos at the World of Solutions, DevNet Zone labs, a plethora of breakout sessions, and customer whisper suite sessions, there is a wide range of content available throughout the week at the MiCo. Check out the highlights below.


  • “Let’s Discuss: Cisco’s Controllers – Why, What, How, When”

Wednesday, January 28 • 2:30pm — 3:30pm

  • “API Deep Dive: APIC DC”

Monday, January 26 • 3:30 PM — 4:30 PM

  • “API Deep Dive: APIC DC APIs”

Thursday, January 29 • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM


1.TECACI-2009 — Intermediate — Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) — The Policy Driven Data Center

2.BRKAPP-9000 — Introduction to Application Centric Infrastructure.

3.BRKACI-2001 — Intermediate — Integration and Interoperation of existing Nexus networks into an ACI architecture

4.TECDCT-2002 — Intermediate — Next Generation Data Center Infrastructure

5.BRKAPP-9004 — Intermediate — Data Center Mobility, VXLAN & ACI Fabric Architecture

6.BRKACI-3456 — Advanced — Mastering OpenStack and ACI

7.TECDCT-2002 — Intermediate — Next Generation Data Center Infrastructure

8.BRKACI-2006 — Intermediate — Integration of Hypervisors and L4-7 Services into an ACI Fabric

9.LTRDCT-1224 — Intermediate — Implementing VXLAN in Datacenter

10.BRKDCT-1302 — APIC and Nexus 9000: Network Programmability and Automation

11.BRKVIR-2931 — Intermediate — End-to-End Application-Centric Data Center

Cisco ACI/N9K Whisper Suites

Please visit to register a request. Please note a Cisco domain name is required.

Whisper suites are being held offsite at:

Melia Milano Hotel

Via Masaccio, 19

We hope you will enjoy the show.

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Intelligent Traffic Director @ Cisco Live Milan

Cisco® Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) is an intelligent and scalable, clustering and load-balancing engine that addresses the performance gap between multi-terabit switches and gigabit servers and appliances. The ITD architecture integrates Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching with Layer 4 to Layer 7 applications for scale and capacity expansion to serve high-bandwidth applications. ITD provides adaptive load balancing to distribute traffic to an application cluster.

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Below are some of the reasons why customers used ITD:

  • Load-balance traffic to 256 servers of 10Gbps each.
  • Load-balance to cluster of Firewalls. ITD is much superior than PBR.
  • Scale up NG IPS and WAF by load-balancing to standalone devices.
  • Scale the WAAS / WAE solution.
  • Scale the VDS-TC (video-caching) solution.
  • Replace ECMP/Port-channel to avoid re-hashing. ITD is resilient.

Please stop by our booth or visit the Nexus Data Center Whisper suites to watch the live demo and get some goodies.


Email questions to: