Changes, Part 2 – So, What Do We Do With That?

Last week, in part 1 of this 3 part series, we discussed how Digitization* is driving change. We also covered how Changes (cue** David Bowie) are manifesting themselves in the shifting shape of Applications, which are the raison d’etre for the Data Center.

Deconstructing Apps: Scale Containers
As traditional apps are deconstructed 
into multiple microservices running on containers, these containers represent a significant increase of new addressable endpoints on the network. As this deconstruction of the app progresses across dozens, hundreds or even thousands of traditional apps in a given enterprise, there are scaling challenges associated with this. Yeah, ok, so what do we do with that?

Ghosts and Invisibility Cloaks: Telemetry

Lets think some more about the implications beyond scaling issues. As the traditional application is decomposed into multiple microservices, containers can come up and go away very rapidly. They’re faster than VM’s. Consider an event, such as a microservice starting, stopping or moving, or a security attack on one of those mobile endpoints, for example. If sampling occurs every 5 milliseconds (or packets, or whatever…pick an incremental unit), but an event starts at 2 and stops at 4, what happens?

It is undetectable.ghost-151504_960_720

It’s a ghost.

It does not exist.

How do you troubleshoot or manage a ghost you can’t see or measure?  You cannot.

This type of event – which is very real in terms of the problems it may create – is essentially invisible as far as existing tools are concerned. In this scenario, sampling ain’t gonna cut it. Consequently, we need telemetry information that lets us know what’s occurring continuously, in real time.

Ok, so what do we do with that?

Get On The Bus: Capacity

Remember the phrase “the network is the computer”? Over the years, there have been many arguments as to why that vision is becoming realized, and we now see it taking yet another step. As processes become distributed across containers, some traffic that was once perhaps contained within the OS itself will now be distributed across the network. What was once only in the server is now truly distributed across blades, racks, aisles, data centers, as well as private and public clouds. The network becomes essentially the IPC (inter process communication) bus of the computer.bus(Check here to see what a really fast bus looks like in action.) These concepts layer on top of the increasing endpoint density discussed above, to place additional requirements on the network in terms of speed, performance and capacity.

Oh, and let’s not forget that with all that increased data comes the need to store it and move it, and to do so, increasingly, with distributed storage technology. This means far more data moving between compute nodes over Ethernet/IP (in addition to Fiber Channel). Another thing…all those IoT devices that are popping up like mushrooms, or are reproducing like rabbits, or are multiplying like rabbits on ‘shrooms (?), and they are creating data that needs to be stored somewhere as well. All of this combines to generate significant storage growth, much of which will run over the network, also driving the need for additional bandwidth. (Additionally, once that data is collected and stored, somebody probably wants to do some analysis and glean some useful info from it, so we’ve got yet more activity in the form of Big Data…)

So, what do we do with that?

Supercalifragilisticonvergence: Intelligence


So, at a high level, we see compute, network and storage meld themselves into more of a singular thing (umm, though no, not a singularity) that can be set up and torn down rapidly through self-service. For that to happen effectively, we need to assure that at a more tactical level, we are mindful of how, as discrete technologies converge upon one another, they impact one another’s requirements, whether we’re talking about hyperconvergence or whatever.

As an example, as more storage moves across the network, it must be low latency, and deterministic if it is to deliver lossless transmission of storage traffic. So there must be a higher level of intelligence in terms of things like buffering algorithms and flow control within the network, if this is to be done in a cost effective manner that works. Again, an appropriate response is: So, what do we do with that?

I’ve called out several trends and challenges associated with them, but haven’t yet provided any answers in terms of how to address them. So, return to this blog next week, for #3 in the series, where I will share with you what we do with that.

* BTW, here is a nice summary and white paper of interesting research – not just conjecture – on digitization.

** Yes, I know this is a technology blog but I did mean ‘cue’ not ‘queue’.

Photo credits:,, youtube (see bus link)




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Customers Share Their Digital Journeys with #CiscoACI

Cisco Live Berlin

“Wow” Moments take the stage at Cisco Live Berlin

One of the key themes at Cisco Live Berlin last week, as well as across the tech industry, is “disrupt or be disrupted”. One of the most exciting aspects of my role at Cisco is working with customers and hearing how Cisco’s ACI and SDN technology comes to life through their voices and success stories – and how they are disrupting in their industry.

At Cisco Live Berlin last week, I had the great opportunity to meet with customers and hear them share their stories on and off stage about how ACI was disrupting and transforming their business models, IT organizations, and their networks. What’s more, customers are so excited to share their ACI successes and innovations that they took to Twitter to share their “wow” moments with ACI at the #CLEUR Tuesday evening ACI Customer Reception, which was attended by packed room of 260 customers. Some of my favorite tweets were from @ThomasRaabo: #ciscoaciwow missing my fabric…See you soon #aci and @Martin_Lipka: CiscoACIWoW: when our non-network engineers started to design, test and configure hybrid cloud and data centre networks on their own!

The buzz continued Wednesday morning as 8 customers including Shutterfly, Keylane, University of Dresden, Sainsbury’s, Halkbank, Pulsant, NBCUniversal and SAP took the stage with Soni Jiandani, SVP of Insieme Business Unit at Cisco, during her iTalk keynote, “Driving Innovation: A Path to Digitization, Speed, and Visibility Into an Application-Centric World.” Each customer representing a different vertical market shared how Cisco’s SDN solutions were a game changer in their organizations – and breathing in innovation, speed and efficiencies to move at the speed of business.

At the 10,000 ft. viewpoint, here’s what each of these customers are doing to digitize their business; increase value to their customers; and create new revenue streams with their networks and infrastructure powered by Cisco Nexus and ACI innovations.

  • Cisco’s programmable fabric helps Shutterfly customers’ move billions of photos off their phone and into the cloud to share their memories with a simple, scalable and high-performing network.
  • 2 Supermarket retailer in the U.K., Sainsbury’s, is taking their business digital to change the way they interact with customers and offer them new ways to buy groceries and goods backed by a converged infrastructure and ACI.
  • Media titan, NBCUniversal, brings us movies, TV show, news broadcasts and theme parks that are in respect different businesses and require a data center environment that can offer the network as a service with automation and segmentation to move at the speed of business (and keep us consumers entertained!).
  • Halkbank can address “just–in-time” delivery of simple banking applications to its wide range of customers across many channels, including mobile, Web, TV and branch tellers, while reducing the IT complexity associated with creating services to meet customer demands – including upgrading entire data center network fabric in just 10 minutes;.
  • SAP is experiencing exponential growth in its cloud business with many cloud networks across the globe and using Cisco ACI to automate, scale and manage complexity to keep pace with customer growth.
  • Technische Universitat Dresden, can spin up virtualized multi-tenant environments with a “plug and play” like model, reducing complexity and quickly serve internal customers faster and easier.
  • With ACI, Pulsant is becoming an established hybrid cloud leader in the market, connecting the virtual and physical, simplifying operations and serving customer fasters, while also giving their provisioning, network and cloud engineers new career paths.
  • Keylane, a SaaS provider for the insurance industry, can move huge volumes of data faster with more bandwidth and less switches with Nexus 9000, increasing time-to-market over the competition and future-proof the network to move to ACI.


On State at CLEUR

Behind the scenes, these customers are dynamically changing their IT organizations and simplifying complex infrastructures – changing people, process and things along their digital journeys. That’s the power of Cisco ACI and SDN solutions.

Got an #CiscoACI “wow” moment to share? Find us on Twitter at @CiscoCustomers and @ciscoDC.


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FlexPod with Infrastructure Automation: Business Agility Through Simplicity

Over the last several years Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure has been at the center of combining together technologies from industry leaders into integrated systems that dramatically reduce complexity while improving operational efficiencies and time to deployment. FlexPod is a leader in the integrated infrastructure segment, with greater than 7000 customers in more than 100 countries. These customers have come to trust FlexPod to be the foundation for their virtualized infrastructure, cloud computing, desktop virtualization, and enterprise applications.

The need for speed in the technology industry is not a new concept. However, in this instance we are not referring to processor performance or networking bandwidth but rather the ability to quickly and simply deploy IT infrastructure to meet the needs of the business. Cisco and NetApp, working closely with our channel partners, have introduced FlexPod with Infrastructure Automation. This new FlexPod solution utilizes Cisco UCS Mini, NetApp FAS storage, and automation capabilities that radically simplify and accelerate the ordering, delivery, and installation of IT at remote and branch office locations.

FlexPod_IACisco, NetApp, and Avnet have released a new configuration that is preassembled and fully cabled in a rack, simplifying and reducing the order and delivery process from weeks to days. An easy-to-use management interface initiates the automated configuration process by using prevalidated computing, network, and storage templates. The result is that in roughly five business days a customer can procure a FlexPod solution that is ready to be deployed and within minutes of unpacking, a virtualized infrastructure can be instantiated, poised for application deployment.

Eliminate Islands of Infrastructure
FlexPod with infrastructure automation can seamlessly integrates with existing Cisco UCS and FlexPod infrastructure by leveraging established skill sets and management software, helping to eliminate the creation of infrastructure silos. After the solution is deployed, our worldwide cooperative support model make it easy and cost effective to own. The ability to independently scale computing and storage resources based on the needs of your business is what has always made FlexPod unique. FlexPod with infrastructure automation simplifies and accelerates the deployment of virtualized infrastructure to help create an agile IT environment. For additional information on FlexPod with infrastructure automation please read NetApp’s blog and the collateral below:


Cisco UPoE Powers Cutting Edge Retail Experience At The Dandy Lab

The Dandy Lab is a menswear lifestyle store based in Central London. Using Cisco Universal Power over Ethernet on Catalyst switching as the foundation, The Dandy Lab has seamlessly integrated technology into their business to provide a cutting edge retail experience to customers.

In collaboration with the University College London, founders of The Dandy Lab Julija Bainiaksina and Peter Jeun Ho Tsang set out to build a retail store where cutting edge technology could be used to enhance customer experience. By partnering with Cisco, The Dandy Lab connects sensors, digital signage and other next gen retail technology in the store to create a truly immersive retail IoT environment for customers.

The Dandy Lab uses Cisco Universal Power over Ethernet (UPoE) technology as a corner stone for its digitization strategy. With Cisco UPoE on Catalyst 3850 and 4500E switches, devices such as security cameras, thin clients and even LED light panels can be connected to the network and powered with up to 60W per port – all over a single Cat5e/Cat6 cable. Infrastructure can also be further consolidated with the Catalyst 3560CX compact series switches which can be powered with Cisco UPoE from Catalyst 3850/4500E in the wiring closet and which in turn can provide PoE/PoE+ power to multiple devices, for example, at retail point of sale to a thin client, an IP Phone and a card reader. At The Dandy Lab, the Catalyst 3560CX compact switches are integrated into the furniture and other store fixtures so that the technology seamlessly blends in to the store.

Using Cisco UPoE has helped The Dandy Lab gain many advantages. First, because Ethernet cabling is cheaper and easier to deploy than traditional power cabling, The Dandy Lab was operational in less than two weeks. Also, The Dandy Lab was able to leverage Cisco UPoE for all cabling without having to drill holes in the walls – a key requirement since their rented space is a listed property. Second, by connecting Cisco UPoE to Cisco’s Energy Management Cloud, The Dandy Lab is able to monitor energy consumption for each device, thereby reducing costs and being more energy efficient.

The UPOE switches that we’ve had integrated from Cisco have been very useful. We’re not having power cables running all over the place. We’ve been able to manage our systems, we’ve been able to run various bits of hardware through these switches, and that’s actually been very beneficial for us, powering items with one single cable.”, says Peter.

Finally, The Dandy Lab uses Cisco UPoE as the foundational technology to build the consummate IoT experience, with cameras, NFC card readers, sensors, Wifi access points, all powered with UPoE. With the IoT infrastructure in place, The Dandy Lab has been able to look at customer presence and location analytics such as customer dwell times, street to store conversion rates and repeat visits from specific segments to incorporate that into their business strategy.

With their cutting edge retail experience, The Dandy Lab is drawing a lot of press coverage, attracting customers, driving sales, reducing costs and enhancing customer experience. Highlighting the benefits of their digitization strategy, Julija says,

The bottom line obviously for us as a company is to make sales and provide a good customer service for our client who are coming through the doors. By using technology we actually proved that it helps to increase the sales and to offer a better service for our customers. We feel proud to be involved with Cisco and work with them”.

Click here to learn more about how Cisco UPoE can power your business.

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Smart Services Build a Better Business Model

Cisco Software-Enabled Services Help Transform Network Operations

Imagine that you’re a network operations director for a large company. You’re pleased that your management has invested millions of dollars in Cisco equipment to provide a world-class network on which to drive the company’s business. Now, your company is counting on you to keep it running smoothly and reliably – around the clock and around the world.

But you have a network operations problem. In fact, chances are you have several problems in meeting management’s expectations:

  • Your network device inventory information is inaccurate and out of date.
  • Many of your devices lack service coverage.
  • You can’t easily identify equipment facing end of life or end of service.
  • Security alerts are often overlooked.
  • Overseeing stacks of service contracts is distracting your staff from strategic business technology tasks.
  • To manage these and other issues with your installed base of network equipment, you have to rely on a time-consuming, error-prone manual process.

As organizations undergo digital transformation, IT priorities are broadening to focus more and more on operational challenges. How do you keep up with these and emerging operational problems?

A Single Source of Network Truth: Cisco Smart Services

The answer is Cisco smart services. Simply put, “smart services” enables operational best practices. It provides actionable insights gained from detailed visibility into a company’s network. Data is gathered automatically and correlated with 30 years of unmatched Cisco network knowledge in servicing over 50 million network devices. Reports are then generated that help diagnose real or potential network problems. Management can then take proactive steps to resolve them – often before they even occur. As a result, enterprises can operate their networks more cost-effectively, minimize network risk and assure business continuity.

Analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC), an industry leading research firm, describe today’s IT digital business transformation well, “Services as we know them will move from an equipment-centric to a solution-centric environment. This process is, at a high level, characterized by taking labor-intensive processes and distance out of the services model and replacing these elements with software.”

Two examples of a Cisco smart service as defined by IDC are Smart Net Total Care (SNTC) and Cisco Partner Support Service (PSS). These software-enabled services provide a single installed base management solution that includes service contract management, foundational technical services, and device diagnostics – plus security and other alert notifications for thousands of Cisco products … and the product list is growing daily. Both software offers make previously invisible network device problems visible so customers can take steps to avoid them altogether.

While the sophisticated software automation provided by Cisco smart services is impressive, what really resonates with users is the value they receive once deployed. By answering a few simple questions they can quickly assess the value missing in their current installed base management process. For example, “How do you track your network equipment inventory today? How long does it take you? How many people do you require? Do you know what devices on your network are facing end of life or end of support? How do you ensure that all devices have service coverage?” Based on their answers to these and other questions, the path to adopting smart services can be very short.

Neotel, a major South African telecommunications service provider, found the answers to these questions and more when they choose Cisco smart services. With 8,500 devices on their network carrying subscriber traffic, downtime wasn’t an option. In fact, Neotel’s service level agreements with their customers demand 99.999 percent uptime. With smart services in place, this level of quality is possible 24 X 7. Not only is the use of smart services helping its current customers dramatically reduce network downtime, but it is also providing Neotel with a key competitive differentiation to attract new customers. The service provider has reduced network risks, proactively identified issues before they happen and resolved issues faster when they do occur. As an added bonus, proactive support means that Neotel can hold less replacement products in inventory, freeing up budget to invest in new IT projects.

Smart Services Help Neotel Achieve 99.999% Customer Uptime

Smart Services Position Cisco Partners to Add Even Greater Customer Value

For many enterprises, the change to more automated operational solutions may be a difficult and complex transition. Fortunately, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are prepared to help their clients using smart solutions, whether it’s Smart Net Total Care or Cisco Partner Support Service . Both solutions include Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs) that let partners fully integrate them into their own branded service offerings. Studies have shown that service firms that consult and guide customers have the opportunity to increase their customers’ network effectiveness and create customer loyalty, while also improving both the MSPs’ top and bottom lines.

Cisco Partners are using smart services APIs in numerous ways. The APIs take data collected by the Partner from the customer, so the information is correlated directly to the known inventory. With the data collected, Partners can then add further customer value through branded services that might include sophisticated inventory lifecycle management, tracking of security alerts, determining service contract coverage and pinpointing both hardware and software end-of-life status. Use of the smart services’ APIs is an ideal way to help differentiate Partners when consulting with companies on how to better operate their networks. Additionally, Cisco Support APIs can also be used to help Partners reduce costs and improve efficiency through automating access to Cisco support services, such as case information, EoX status and bug searches. Many partners have begun using these APIs to seamlessly deliver managed services solutions to their customers.

In fact, Cisco can further contribute to that value when Partners provide their customers’ IB data to Cisco for analysis. Fully secure, Cisco can then take the data and apply its sophisticated analytics tools and 30 years of network intellectual capital to assist Partners in understanding their customer networks in ways that may be impossible on their own or without considerable work. Shameless plug: For those Cisco Partners attending this year’s Partner Summit on Monday, February 29 in San Diego, we are hosting an Automation and Analytics Showcase at the Hilton Hotel between 6-8 p.m. at which we’ll demo our smart services software options. I hope you’ll join us. Please check the hotel monitor the day of the event for details.

The Proof is in the Numbers: Smart Services Create Enterprise Value

Eighty-eight percent of customers using Smart Net Total Care service for contract and inventory management say it meets or exceeds their expectations. Customer descriptions of their experience with this Cisco smart service reveal the value they see. For example, John Burke, Director of IT at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), explains it this way, “Using Smart Net Total Care extensively on installed base management will help us achieve savings on current and planned CapEx (capital expenditures). But more importantly, it will give us an accurate inventory of our network infrastructure, which we didn’t have before.”

For QNCC and thousands of other companies using Cisco smart services, they are quickly transforming their network operations from reactive to proactive management. It’s a smarter business model on which to address the complex network challenges they face today, by building the services foundation for tomorrow.

How are you managing your installed base lifecycle management? Where does automation fit into your plans?


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Cisco and Splunk Drive Operational Intelligence at Enterprise Scale

Guest Blog from Friea Berg, Global Strategic Alliances, Splunk

As a member of the Splunk Global Strategic Alliances organization, Friea Berg is responsible for Splunk’s overall Cisco partnership. She leads a cross-functional team driving core technology alignment, solution development, GTM initiatives, and sales strategies across Cisco Data Center, Security, ACI, Collaboration and IoE teams. Friea has more than 15 years of technology marketing and sales experience with a proven track record of building successful joint solutions with Cisco, NetApp, Microsoft, Red Hat, and other technology leaders. 


Over the past decade Splunk has closely aligned with Cisco to help organizations gain real-time insights across the vast amounts of data generated by Cisco’s industry-leading security, networking, data center, wireless, and collaboration portfolios. Thousands of joint customers – including Cisco itself – use Splunk to correlate Cisco data with machine data across their infrastructure, enabling them to minimize operational and security risks, drive informed decisions, and ultimately transform their business.964568D4-6CFA-4880-BDF0-CC885BBA7021

We’ve also focused on optimizing Splunk software deployments on Cisco UCS to take advantage of UCS’s incredible performance, scalability, and TCO. Cisco UCS’s ability to support exponential growth across data volumes, simultaneous users and demanding use cases has been proven in Splunk Enterprise performance benchmark assessments. For example, the latest release of Splunk software was shown to complete searches up to six times faster then the previous release when tested on a 32-core Cisco UCS system.

To enable fast, predictable Splunk deployments Cisco has published multiple reference architectures plus a full Cisco Validated Design that provides prescriptive, step-by-step deployment guidance for Splunk Enterprise on UCS. Cisco UCS is also the only server platform with a Splunk supported integration!

Most recently Splunk and Cisco have collaborated to deliver solutions for:

  • IT Operations Analytics to help organizations find and fix problems faster with end-to-end visibility across their infrastructure
  • Security Analytics to provide comprehensive real-time visibility and protect against advanced threats before, during and after an attack

Intrigued? Ready to start “Looking for Trouble” and “Winning the War on Error?”

Check out these executive videos to hear from Splunk CEO Doug Merritt how we’re collaborating to accelerate time-to-insight and see why Splunk Chief Strategy Officer Steven Sorkin’s is excited about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure. Get the scoop on rock star Splunk Enterprise 6.3 on UCS performance and be inspired by Cisco’s 5-minute Strata keynote, “Unleashing the Power of Big Data Today” (psst … it involves Splunking race car data!).

If you want specifics I highly recommend Splunk’s Cisco Security Suite Attack Chain Demo, which offers a quick intro to how organizations use Splunk and Cisco products to before, during and after an attack protect to against advanced threats and malicious insiders. Alternately, below is a quick sampling of blog posts on various integrations:

Finally, to experience Splunk for yourself check out the Splunk for Cisco Security and NX-OS Programmability and Automation on Cisco’s hosted dCloud demo environment. Or, better yet, download a free Splunk Enterprise license and one of the more than a dozen free Splunk apps for Cisco.


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Cisco Private Cloud Transforms Your Business

Digital technology has become pervasive in our lives.   As a result tech savvy employees and customers have new expectations for interacting with your business. The problem is how do you meet these new expectations while at the same time meet your objectives of cost reduction, delivering business innovation and increasing profit?

Translate your manual provisioning processes with automated workflows in order to meet both objectives.   Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite delivers a hybrid-ready private cloud with built-in tools for IT professionals, line-of-business managers as well as application teams.

To learn more, watch this new video: 

Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite provides a hybrid ready private cloud that will:

  • Deliver a self-service user experience for line-of-business, application teams and IT professionals
  • Supply consistent, compliant infrastructure to support cloud native & existing applications
  • Deliver a secure hybrid cloud extension for your data center into public cloud resources
  • Convert infrastructure templates and application profiles into automated application stacks

Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite will transform your manual processes into automated customer services that help reduce costs, deliver business innovation and free up your staff to focus on new business services to increase profit.

Don’t get left behind.   Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite allows you to become the disruptor in your industry rather than waiting to be disrupted.

To learn more, please go to: or watch this edition of TechWise TV.


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Changes, Part 1 – David Bowie, Containers and Cisco Live Berlin

On January 10, David Bowie passed away. He was an icon in the music world, with a career spanning 5 decades, and selling 140 million albums, with many going to number 1 on the charts. And yes, you are reading a Data Center blog that will, eventually, wind its way back to the more familiar topics of containers, microservices, clouds, as well as routing tables, MAC addresses and buffering algorithms. They are all connected, as we shall see over the next couple weeks and posts.

Back to Mr. Bowie. When he passed away last month, the German government sent out this tweet:

david bowie german govt tweet

Why?   We’ll get to that, but first let’s consider his hit song “Changes”. That song, in many ways, was symbolic of Bowie’s life. He was a very creative guy, in terms of the music he made and also his ventures into other areas – fashion, film…he even started his own Internet Service Provider. He went through significant changes in terms of his overall look, style and sound.

He reflected cultural shifts – over time and space (he was popular on multiple continents, over many years) – and, to some extent, impacted these shifts. He was relevant in different eras and different places. One of those places was in Berlin, which is where Cisco Live is happening this week. He actually lived there for 3 years from 1976-1979, during which he recorded 3 albums. One of them had a song on it called “Heroes”, about a couple that met at the Berlin wall. It was a story of desperation and hopelessness.

In any case, “Changes” could be the anthem for what we are seeing in the industry right now. Tech in general and networking in particular are always changing. Over the past few decades we’ve seen many new protocols, media, speeds, operating models, etc.   However, never before has there been such a major set of far reaching changes hitting us all at once. This convergence of change is creating a seemingly infinite loop between technology and business, one that is accelerating and cycling at a dizzying pace. Digitization is having a hugely disruptive influence on business, which then demands more from the technology, which then delivers new innovation having a disruptive influence on the business…and round and round we go. Note this disruption to the business can be either positive or negative, depending on how capable/innovative the business is to integrate and exploit the new technology. ‘Tis much better to be a disruptor than to be disrupted.

A few of the key trends causing this disruption include containers/microservices, cloud and hyperconvergence.

Containers are picking up a lot of momentum. Fast. We will see lots of containers, ‘across time and space’, i.e. over the coming months/years, irrespective of geographies, vertical markets, or organizational size. Docker hub pulls grew from 11.3 million in January 2015 to 1.3 billion in October 2015. Why? They offer a lighter weight, faster, more scalable way (vs VMs) to operate and isolate multiple apps on the same operating system.

As traditional apps are deconstructed into multiple microservices running on containers, each of those containers represents new addressable endpoints on the network. How many more endpoints? Lots. As a result, any given RU will see dramatic increases in the number of endpoints. I’ve seen many different projections, but it appears that the rough numbers indicate we’re looking at a move from like dozens of VM’s per RU to 100’s of containers per RU.  As this concept is multiplied across the rack, aisle and overall data center, all those new endpoints mean a corresponding increase in addresses, routes, etc.

As customers struggle to deal with these increasing requirements, they will seek out new ways deal with them. These new ways will be the subject of the next 2 posts, along with consideration of how both hyperconvergence and cloud play into this mix, beyond them simply reflecting the output of a random buzzword generator.

As for Mr. Bowie, I learned that about a decade after he left Berlin, he returned – in 1987 – to do a concert at the Berlin Wall. It was actually a dual concert because he played in West Berlin, but thousands of fan’s gathered on the East Berlin side as well, and could hear as he played “Heroes”, and spoke in German. Riots erupted on the East Berlin side. The following week, Ronald Reagan delivered his famous speech telling Gorbachev “Tear down this wall”.  It’s said that these riots served as the catalyst for a parade of revolt over the next 2 years that ultimately led to the Wall coming down. So, that is the somewhat embellished story behind the tweet that opened this post, and the way David Bowie, Containers and Cisco Live Europe are (at least in my perhaps twisted view of the world) connected.

In summary, one could say that the Wall stood between an ineffective political/economic system that did not meet the needs of a changing world, and the promise of change, openness, freedom and security. Actually, Reagan used those very words (bolded) in his speech at the wall. These same words can be used to describe many of the innovations at Cisco Live Berlin this week.   Innovations that are enabling customers to adapt to a changing world, with open API’s and standards, freedom of choice and embedded security. Note, I am not being so ludicrous as to say there is any comparison between the impact of the 2 events – I’m just saying one is a metaphor for the other. Check back next week as we cover more about these innovations and how they address major trends of change in the industry.

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Excitement in the air! More customers are embracing Cisco ACI

Live from Cisco Live Berlin



Eight customers joined @SoniJiandani on stage in telling their stories on why Cisco SDN makes sense for their business.


Shutterfly and  Kaylane take the stage to talk about why Programmable Fabric was a benefit to them:



Jeremy J. Franzen Director, Network Engineering, and Arslan Munir Director, Cloud Engineering & Network Architecture at Shutterfly: they were faced with operational and scalability challenges and then leveraged PoAP for zero touch provisioning and NX-API for automation to simplify and accelerate deployments.



Sebastiaan van Nisius Team Lead, SaaS Projects at Keylane: They needed to build future proof solution with Nexus 9K that enabled them to move data faster while using less switches. They see this a key difference in giving them an advantage in time-to-market against competitors.



Next up were the Cisco ACI customers.

Andreas Weigand at Technische Universitat Dresden: The business needed high performance fabric with multi tenancy. ACI helped them to achieve and spin up multi-tenancy quickly to be more productive. Their “Wow Moment” with ACI was the plug-n-play and the ability to quickly and easily to add new switches. “IT JUST WORKS!”


Dr. Dietmar Reinelt Vice President, Infrastructure Management, SAP AP: The SAP cloud services is growing at a rapid pace and creating complexity in managing that growth. ACI helped them be able to do more with less through automation and scalability at large scale.


Cenk Niksarli, CTO at HALKBANK: They needed a long term solution to manage requirements and complexity. ACI helped them to deliver fast business now. It simplified multi tenancy model while maintaining compliancy. Their biggest “Wow Moment” is the ability to upgrade the whole data center in a matter of minutes without downtime and while still delivering fast services.

Steve Cuneo VP, Networking at NBCUniversal: Cisco ACI helped them in automating their network with the ability to do segmentation across business units in a secured fashion.


Martin Lipka, Head of Connectivity Architecture at Pulsant:  ACI provided a new application layer of abstraction simplifying operations and enabled everyone to be a cloud expert with ZERO unplanned downtime.



And they have seen huge a whooping  513% ROI


Jon Rennie Infrastructure Services Manager, Service Operations at Sainsbury’s: ACI helped them to build a converged infrastructure to interact with customers whenever and wherever. Biggest “Wow moment” is the speed of deployment in being able to deploy servers in a matter of hours vs days.




You can catch all the talk about #CiscoACI and #CiscoNexus on Twitter!

Your Questions Answered re: the Cisco CSR 1000v on Microsoft Azure

This is a guest post by Matthew Packer.


Matthew Packer is a Product Manager at Cisco for the CSR 1000v.

As you may or may not be aware the Cisco Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000v is now available on Microsoft Azure.  This is the virtualized version of the world’s most popular enterprise networking platform (ASR 1000, ISR 4000) available on Microsoft’s public cloud.  Now that the CSR 1000v is available on Azure we are continually working to improve the available solution’s performance and functionality.

How do you launch the CSR 1000v on Azure?

To launch the CSR 1000v on Azure there is a pre-built solution available to you.  The solution is based on templates we created to ease the deployment of the CSR 1000v on Azure.  The templates allow the solution to deploy different resources at the same time to fully support a CSR 1000v deployment.  The solution details are as follows:

  • 2 Network-Interface-Cards (NICs)
  • VNet configured with two subnets, one private and one public
  • Routing tables on each subnet, with user-defined routes, the private subnet will use private-facing interface as the gateway so the VMs behind the router will not have direct access to the internet
  • Enables IP forwarding for each interface
  • Adds UDP port 500 (ISKAMP) and 4500 (NAT-T) in the security group on the public subnet for VPN connections
  • Azure D2 instance type compute

What is the Performance of the CSR 1000v on Azure?

When deploying the CSR 1000v solution on Azure the D2 compute requirements are 2 vCPU and 7GB of RAM.  With these specifications the CSR 1000v can achieve a CEF throughput of 500Mbps and an IPSec throughput (AES 256) of 150 Mbps.  This deployment supports up to 1,000 VPN tunnels.

How Does Licensing the CSR 1000v Work on Azure?

If you want to connect your enterprise network to Azure the CSR 1000v supports Bring Your License (BYOL).  This means you buy a license from Cisco or a partner and install that license to the CSR 1000v running on Azure.  You license the CSR1000v using Cisco’s Smart Licensing offer which allows you to manage licenses across different CSR1000v instances without having to lock each license to a specific CSR1000v UDI serial number. A Cisco Smart License server exchanges a “token id” with a CSR to enable that CSR for the assigned license throughput and technology package. Traditional PAK based license is also available. To learn more about the CSR1000v capabilities and license offerings go to this link

If you want to give the CSR 1000v a try on Azure, Cisco offers 60-day demo licenses to all CCO account holders.  If you don’t have an account, you go to this link, and create a guest account.  Once you have a guest account, follow the instructions here for temporarily licensing you CSR 1000v on Azure. 

What Does this Mean to You?

With the availability of the CSR 1000v on Microsoft Azure you now have the ability to use VPN technologies to seamlessly connect an Azure VNet to your enterprise network without the recurring costs of VPN tunnels while keeping consistent CLI and ACL lists across your enterprise router portfolio.  Now every branch office, campus and data center location can connect securely to your Microsoft Azure VNet without backhauling through an existing data center.

Stay tuned as we will discuss next the different use cases for the CSR 1000v on Azure.

You can access this whitepaper to learn more about the integration of Cisco CSR 1000V with Microsoft Azure.

To launch the CSR 1000v for Microsoft Azure, please visit the Microsoft Azure Marketplace page for the CSR 1000v.


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