A quick journey through all the excitement that awaits you at Cisco Live 2016

– June 30, 2016 – 1 Comment

As Las Vegas glows in the intense June summer sun, another glow is appearing on the horizon. The heat is hot and the ground dry, but the air is filled with sound – I am reminded of a famous America song. Are you wondering what the song could be?

Cisco Live 2016 is arriving in town a week from now, and the city is already getting prepared. Cisco Live US 2016, Cisco’s premier education and training destination for IT professionals worldwide, kicks off next week in Vegas.  More than 28,000 customers and partners converge to network and share their experiences, and potentially meet new peers onsite.


Like you, I am eagerly awaiting the keynote set for Monday, July 11, 10.30 AM local time. Chuck will discuss how IT and Network play a key role in the emerging Digital world, and how cisco’s vision and strategy will help organizations succeed and lead digital transformation.


There are several other additional keynotes , including  a Guest keynote by actor Kevin Spacey, a luminary keynote by Jason Silva, and an industry keynote by Cisco CTO and SVP, Zorowar Biri Singh.  So prepare your agenda in advance to get a broad exposure.

For the remainder of this blog I will focus on Tetration Analytics and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) highlights. The logical place to start is with Tom Edsall and Ishmael Limkakeng’s Innovation Talk on the topic “Next Gen Data Center Part 1: Automation, Analytics and Orchestration” which is scheduled for July 11, 2.30 PM.

Tom and Ish will also be joined by Cisco Exec, Joseph Pinto, as the three of them discuss how customers can achieve pervasive visibility across the data center with Cisco Tetration Analytics. This action packed session includes a demo, ACI and CliQr customers sharing their digital journeys, and highlights from our newest eco-system partners.  You’ll also learn how ACI’s jumpstart solutions can pro-actively help ensure your success.

Let us now segue into ACI and the Tetration Analytics Breakout sessions. More than a 100 sessions are dedicated to Tetration Analytics this year at the show. I’d recommend  Senior Director Yogesh Kaushik’s session titled “Real-time application visibility and policy management using advanced analytics” as a must-attend. I also recommend Cisco fellow Navindra Yadav’s session BRKDCN-2040, for a close peek at machine learning and Network analytics and how they enhance Data Center security and operations. Plus there are many more, and you can pick and choose from the session catalog?

More than 75 ACI breakouts feature prominently among a large collection of 1,000 plus breakout sessions this year with several experts addressing hot topics in operations, deployment, and eco-system. I recommend a few breakouts I consider relevant to current data center trends and ACI deployments. Dhritiman Dasgupta (DD), Vice President, Data Center Marketing, is presenting a business session and explores the top strategies companies can factor into their planning cycles in building their next-generation data centers over the next 3 to 5 years. DD is an amazing story-teller, and in this session he’ll discuss how SDN, Hybrid Cloud, Analytics, Big Data etc are coming together to create a compelling architectural play.

Many customers have expressed their interest in hearing how ACI helps simplify DevOps operationally in application centric data centers. Harry Petty, Director of Marketing with Cisco systems, brings you exactly that perspective in his breakout session.  My own personal favorite, Carlos Pereira, will treat you via both a short (2 hour) and long (9 hr) session.  Please check the session catalog for date and time.

Most of you by now will be raring to make a beeline to the world of solutions as it is where exhibitors and subject matter experts from various partners and customers of cisco throng to gather insights on what’s new and exciting.


This year, we are showcasing a big collection of solution demos spanning multiple architectures including Data Center, IOE, Security etc. It will take me several blogs to cover them all, so I will stick to Tetration Analytics and my focus area, ACI. Solutions from hundreds of cisco partners are on display in the world of solutions.   This is your opportunity to explore the broader Cisco Partner eco-system, find answers for your specific networking challenges, and hear unique perspectives from Cisco engineers and partners, Monday-Wednesday 11.30 – 7.30 PM.

Our ACI and Tetration Analytics solutions and demo showcase focuses on typical customer care-abouts. The demos include Multi-Pod ACI, ACI Security, Cloud Orchestration with ACI, Tetration Analytics, and Cisco CloudCenter. There’s more, so please stop by our Cisco booth for a detailed engagement with one of our subject matter experts.

If you have some time, please plan to take in the Theater presentations – it runs every 15 minutes.


These short duration presentations give you an overview on key topics such as how ACI’s open API has enabled a broad L4-L7 eco-system with Citrix, F5, A10, Radware, et al. The session titled “Secure and Accelerate your applications with Cisco ACI” runs on Monday 1.20 pm. I recommend you attend the session titled “CliQr – A path to digitization in a hybrid cloud world” on Tuesday 11.30 AM. These are very highly sought after topics in most of our customer engagements. There are several others you can choose from in the agenda planner.

One of the key pillars that made Cisco ACI phenomenally successful is the Open and Secure eco-system of 50 plus leading partners that have built joint, integrated solutions with ACI. F5, a leading ACI partner on the L4-L7 integration front, have a big booth presence (booth #617) this year as an Emerald sponsor.

F5 has exciting demos and videos featuring Cisco ACI- BIG IP & iWorkflow, OpenStack, SAP with F5 BIG-IP, NFV etc. Please check them out. There are multiple speaking sessions Monday through Wednesday at the F5 booth on “Deploy your Application using F5 iApps in Cisco ACI using iWorkflow.”  Several F5 execs will be present in the F5 booth, so you can understand the big picture and strategy behind how the two companies are evolving the SDN landscape. F5 will also be speaking in the DevNet Zone on how programmability helps in easy deployment of applications with F5 iApps and Cisco ACI.

Citrix is another of Cisco’s key ACI eco-system partner. They are lighting up the Partner section with booth demonstrations, speaking opportunities and social media outreach.

Join Citrix at Cisco Live Las Vegas – the destination for the education and inspiration you need to thrive in the world of digital business. Visit Citrix booth 609 to learn about our technology-driven solutions to enable digital business transformation.   Meet our technology experts on delivering business agility through datacenter automation and application and desktop virtualization from the leader in secure delivery of apps and data.  Stop by our sessions on July 11 at 1:15pm in the Cisco Solution Theater and July 11 at 3pm in the Think Tank Hub:  Citrix and Cisco Alliance – Delivering the best load balancing, virtual desktops and application delivery with Cisco ACI. Citrix booth 609 will also hold hourly theater presentations on our solutions with a grand prize raffle of 3-D Printers at the end of each day. Cisco is presenting at the Citrix theater Tuesday and Wednesday 5 PM on topic “ACI and NetScaler joint solution.”  We will cover key integration features, benefits and customer adoption.  Do not miss this presentation if you are looking to integrate NetScaler with ACI.

There are also new members to the ACI eco-system. Tufin is the latest one. Tufin Orchestration Suite™ integrates with firewalls, routers, SDN platforms such as Cisco ACI, and public cloud platforms to provide Cisco customers with visibility and control of security policies across heterogeneous networks to ensure security and compliance and boost agility of network security teams.  With Cisco Tetration and Tufin, customers have the ability to discover, monitor, modify, and validate application connectivity across a multi-vendor infrastructure, in the data center and the cloud, all in compliance with their security policy. Stop by Tufin booth #3045 at Cisco Live to learn more!

AlgoSec is the newest kid on the ACI eco-system block. AlgoSec extends ACI’s policy-based automation across customers’ heterogeneous enterprise network infrastructure, to deliver unified, automated security policy management. This integration provides users with visibility and control, risk and compliance insights, as well as extends the range of 3rd party devices that Cisco can manage. AlgoSec will be showcasing the joint solution at Cisco Live, booth #2944 – stop by!

We also want you to have lots of fun amidst your busy schedule. Excited to see Elle King and Maroon 5 at Cisco Live? Cisco customers will be in for a treat at the Customer Appreciation Event this year, and T-Mobile arena will be the setting for this spectacular celebration on Wednesday, July 13, 7:30 p.m.


There are several other ACI and Tetration partners of cisco showcasing their ACI centric solutions, and I will exceed the guidelines for a blog if I were to describe each one of them.

I hope you enjoy the event, and paint the town red. And for those who are new, don’t feel overwhelmed.  I have been there.  Our Cisco ambassadors will meet and greet you, and make you feel at home.  Do not hesitate to ask Cisco staff what you are looking for, and enjoy the show!

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    Looking forward to come to Cisco Live again. Six days left to start the journey to LV. 🙂

New! Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data and Analytics with Cloudera and Apache Spark

– June 29, 2016 – 0 Comments

Well, we do not stand still for long…at least our R&D teams don’t!

The breadth of our solutions for Big Data and Analytics continues to grow, as we are pleased to introduce Cisco’s UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data and Analytics with Cloudera and Apache Spark.  Working with one of our key Big Data ISV Partners – Cloudera – our Engineering teams have created this new Cisco Validated Design, downloadable for free here.

Apache Spark is a fast, general-purpose engine for large-scale data processing. With Spark, more enterprises are adopting Hadoop and gaining the capability to process a much wider set of workloads, including streaming and machine learning.

Two common reference architectures for Spark on Cisco UCS are available on Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers: one adds Spark processing on Hadoop infrastructure, and the other enables stream processing with Kafka or similar technologies.

Figure 1:  Typical use cases for Spark and Spark Streaming. Showing flow of data from various data sources to Fog and Kafka nodes, and then to Spark, and then farther downstream to HDFS, NoSQL, SQL databases, Elastic, Solr, and other systems for additional processing.

 Solution Highlights

  • Comprehensive Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data and In-Memory Analytics
    The Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data and Analytics offers high performance, capacity, and scalability for Apache Spark with Cloudera Enterprise. It offers proven, high-performance linear scalability and easy scaling of the architecture with single-and multiple-rack deployments.
  • Easy Deployment
    Cisco UCS Manager simplifies infrastructure deployment with an automated, policy-based mechanism that helps reduce configuration errors and system downtime.
  • Simplified Management
    Deploy Cisco UCS Director Express for Big Data quickly and easily for big data infrastructure with one-click provisioning, installation, and configuration. Used in combination with Cloudera Manager, a holistic interface that provides end-to-end system management and detailed and precise visibility and control over every part of an enterprise data hub, the solution makes cluster management simple and straightforward.
  • Flexible Big Data Platform
    Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data and Analytics on Cloudera Enterprise allows you to deploy Apache Spark in standalone cluster mode or together with Hadoop and leading NoSQL deployments.
  • Real-time Data Processing with Spark Streaming
    By adding Spark Streaming and Apache Kafka on Hadoop deployments to Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data and Analytics, you enable stream analytics, which ingest data in small batches and perform transformations on them.

To learn more about Cisco’s Big Data & Analytics Data Center program, please visit us at www.cisco.com/go/bigdata. To view our current offerings & architectures for Big Data, please visit the Cisco Design Zone for Big Data.


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Chaos Monkey as a Service and other memorable moments at Velocity Conference

– June 29, 2016 – 0 Comments

Last week was quite eventful, certainly unpredictable and some would probably say chaotic.

I am a big soccer fan, so with the Copa America and the Euro 2016 tournaments happening, I certainly could scratch that itch. And as always, it is more art than science to predict the results (Iceland winning over England anyone?) and we are treated to memorable outcomes.  Now the world knows there is more to Iceland than being a great place, or even paradise, to build and operate datacenters.

One of the other memorable aspects for me came at last week’s Velocity Conference during the Ignite Sessions when attendees learned that “AWS is Chaos Monkey as a Service”.  As far as predictions go for moving and running applications and workloads in the cloud – it’s happening. See the Cisco Global Cloud Index for some concrete data points and forecasts. Yet with applications based on microservices architectures running on containers, the consumption can be potentially chaotic. This is where DevOps enters the picture helping to bring order to chaos.

Cisco’s Mike Dvorkin gave a keynote talk that I think you will find interesting to watch in case you missed out at last week’s event. Stating that DevOps exists to run applications, but in many cases, the focus is on the micromanagement of every elemental detail – no focus, or understanding, of the application. This breaks down in two fundamental ways. First, there is an explosion in the number of application service definitions.  All of them hardwired for specific use cases, environments, and circumstances related to various stages in the application life cycle. Second is the dependency chaos resulting from a lack of mechanisms to control the consumption of application services. These problems are closely related. The missing piece is how service resources are allocated to their consumers, and how such allocations can be controlled in a consistent, abstracted way – devoid of understanding of instance, architecture, and environmental detail.

Mike discusses the principles and benefits of a controlled consumption model, and its implications to DevOps processes and security in his keynote talk at Velocity Conference. You can watch the recording of his talk here.

Velocity Keynote

Mike Dvorkin Keynote: “Tackling consumption chaos in microservice architectures”

Other memorable moments last week included talking to developers, DevOps Engineers and Ops Managers, and listening to how we could help them in their day to day work. We demonstrated that Cisco sponsors several open source projects.  This included a demo of Policy based Infrastructure for Containers with Project Contiv,  Cisco UCS Manager integration with Puppet and a DevOps Model with Cisco and Ansible. Of course, handing out Cisco DevNet T-shirts and having a raffle always proves to be a fairly predictable way to help draw a crowd.

Speaking of crowds, we certainly expect a large one at the upcoming Cisco live! in Las Vegas, July 10-14. Next to visiting the DevNet Zone, I encourage you to plan and schedule your DevOps Sessions.

In case you care about who will win Euro 2016, the final is on July 10.  Since you will be in Vegas, maybe place a bet. Good luck with your prediction on the outcome. I am pretty certain it’s a safe bet Cisco live! will be yet another great opportunity to learn, engage, and make more memorable moments. It may just be organized chaos. See you there!



Image Source: Pixabay


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Cisco DevNet DNA Community of Interest Launches

– June 28, 2016 – 0 Comments

Co-authored by Jeff Reed, SVP of Cisco Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions

Since announcing The Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) in March, it has been generating a great deal of enthusiasm in the networking community. Cisco DNA represents an opportunity for the network to drive digital transformation in your organization and take you on a technology journey that fully embraces virtualization, automation, analytics, and cloud service management – all with openness and extensibility.devnet1

It’s not just technology that drives digital transformation – It’s also an organizational and individual journey to build the skills and capabilities to reach the destination – which is why we’re excited to launch the Cisco DNA DevNet community of interest! The Cisco DevNet DNA community is a critical avenue to get the tools, resources, and code you need to build innovative, digital network-enabled solutions. You’ll find an online community with a myriad of resources to support your journey – whether you’re walking through the installation of Python and Git, learning the fundamentals of the APIC-EM APIs, or using sandboxes to test your solutions.

Please join us on the Cisco DNA journey and interact with experts and others in the DNA community on Cisco DevNet!


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Discover How “Digital Ready” is Your Network at Cisco Live

– June 28, 2016 – 0 Comments

The pace of change in business is accelerating so fast, that many IT professionals may not have fully recognized and internalized the enormity of the changes happening in the networking space right now. We’re talking about taking a huge leap forward in the way networks will be designed, deployed and managed compared to the last 20 years or more. This is not simply a change in the technologies we use, but also an evolution in the skills IT professionals must develop and a shift on how they run their operations. Evolving our networks so that they understand what the business requires – and then just deliver on those requirements.

I know it sounds like science fiction at times. But with controller-based networking, virtualization, analytics and cloud-enabled services, this future is where the industry heading. The question is less if, and more how and when. And maybe the more important question is what are you doing to get ready now?

With $23.8 Trillion of “Digital Value at Stake” from 2015-2024 in the private sector alone – probably sooner rather than later I would guess.

Every aspiring organization, large or small, is faced with the opportunities and challenges of digital business needs a digital-ready network. These are agile, secure networks simplify IT and enable rapid innovation. Without a network that can actively enable and protect your business strategy, the applications, cloud services, and devices you deploy cannot live up to their potential.

Several organizations are taking this new challenge head-on, and partnering with Cisco to re-imagine their business and implement new ways to scale to the new network demands through automation, abstract out intelligent analytics and defend the organization with network-security model. For example:

  • Santana Row, and outdoor shopping center in California, that is able to understand user behavior patters to better serve their shoppers and gues
  • Backcountry, an online retailer, that is leveraging network automation and analytics to compete with lower operational costs and customer insights.
  • KPIT, an IT professional services firm in India are re-defining the customer and employee experience with new mobile services to reserve office space and navigate the campus, as well as attracting the Millennial workforce.


“According to a Forrester survey, organizations believe it is on IT leadership to make sure this integration between business and IT occurs: “Nearly 4/5th of business leaders believe that it is IT’s responsibility to ensure the network can support the company’s digital plans.”

At the same time however, according to Gartner “Less than 10% of enterprises that have implemented or plan to implement digital business have very clear integration between their network and digital business *strategies”.

So with that in mind – have you considered…

  • how “digital-ready” your network is?
  • where your network is in the journey from manual operations to full automation?
  • whether you have a plan to support IoT?
  • can your network provide the real-time protection you need against malware ?
  • can your network provide business insights on worker and customer preferences?
  • And many, many more………

If you are intrigued by these questions, check out the network readiness index where you can measure your network’s readiness.

To help you navigate the answers to these questions and more, the Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) vision, solutions and services are designed to help you with this journey.

Coming up very soon is CiscoLive, – in Las Vegas. – There, you will have an opportunity to take a deep dive into how you can adopt the DNA principles to make sure your network is digital-ready. You’ll also learn about where your peers are on their network technology journey and where they are planning to be in 2 years.

And you’ll not just learn about the technology – because you need to view technology as just one leg of the stool. Technology needs to be balanced with programs to support professionals in the networking industry to evolve skills to design, deploy, manage and program their next gen network. And then there’s also process. Because to make the leap you will also need clearly defined processes for building and supporting a digital ready network.

So, whether you are attending in person in Las Vegas or virtually, you can’t afford to miss the DNA-related Cisco Live sessions and conversations. Get your freshest DNA information from the Cisco Live source:

And if you are attending in person please make sure you come by the booth to say hello….we’d love to hear your thoughts on DNA and of course share ours on how we can help you towards a digital-ready network.

* Gartner, Jouni Forsman, Survey Analysis: Networks for IoT and Digital Business, September 2015, G00289837



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Cisco CloudCenter Achieves Certified Integration with ServiceNow

– June 28, 2016 – 0 Comments

IT Service Management meets Hybrid IT

Borrowing the signature song from the Lego Movie for an enterprise service management blog post is a stretch, but I couldn’t resist. If you’ve seen the Lego Movie you’ll know that the song is extremely catchy, you can’t stop singing “Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team”. The “bad guys” in the movie aim to have everything packaged and boxed into exactly what they want, while the “good guys”, workers, struggle every day to build Legos from these pre-defined packages. With a very happy and up-beat ending, the workers eventually defeat the pre-defined system such that people are able to live free and create their own Lego structures.

As I had mentioned in my previous ITSM blog, hybrid & public cloud adoption, software-defined infrastructure and wide spectrum of customers – from LOBs to infrastructure operations to developers – are driving the ITSM 2.0 transformation, causing the domain being managed by enterprise IT to become so diverse, complex and specialized. The Lego movie keeps coming to my mind, when I think of how “pre-defined” template based ITSM tools provide specific outcomes for IT departments, however, they actually fall short to deliver innovative enterprise services to businesses with agility, creativity and freedom to choose any data center or cloud platforms.

What are we announcing today?

SNOW App Stor with CliQr LogoI am ecstatic to announce that ServcieNow has certified our integration with Cisco CloudCenter. The CloudCenter integration is the most extensive ServcieNow certified integration to date. The integration enables the full lifecycle management and self-service on-demand deployment of application stacks and their underlying infrastructures to a wide range of public cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, Google, IBM SoftLayer, Rackspace, as well as private and hybrid cloud providers including Cisco, VMware, OpenStack, CloudStack and HPE Helion.

The CloudCenter integration provides ServiceNow customers the ability to give users on demand fully automated deployment of full application stacks to datacenter or cloud environments. As a result, a user can select a single item, see side-by-side cost comparison of deployment cost in each available environment, and choose where to deploy before submitting their request. This avoids having multiple environment specific items to build and maintain.

The CloudCenter Integration is available as free download in the ServiceNow Store. Services partners such as EngageESM are trained and available to help install and configure the integration in the Americas and EMEA, and already helping CloudCenter customers get integrated.  Other partners are coming on board for regional coverage.


SNOW and CliQr Solution Diagram

How does it work?

The typical IT service request and delivery cycle now looks like:

Publish Application Profile—A service manager can “One Click” publish any existing CloudCenter application profile. A ServiceNow admin then links the application profile to pre-defined groups of users.

Demand Service Request—In ServiceNow, the requestor selects the appropriate item, adds it to their shopping basket, supplies start and end dates, then receives a side-by-side cost comparison for each available cloud. An optional Purchase Order feature lets users identify specific accounts for internal billing.

Approval Workflow—The deploy request is routed via ServiceNow approval workflows including projected cost to help guide their decision.

Automated Deployment—Cisco CloudCenter provisions cloud infrastructure resources through direct communication to the target datacenter or cloud API, and then deploys and orchestrates application images, services, and data.

Status Updates—CloudCenter updates the CMDB. And ServiceNow can receive status and ongoing infrastructure performance updates from Cisco CloudCenter. Combined with information from third-party application performance monitoring and service assurance tools, ServiceNow can log an incident or start a new remediation workflow.

Closing the loop—CloudCenter can scale out applications based on pre-defined rules. At the end of life, CloudCenter manages the termination of the application and infrastructure. CloudCenter updates ServiceNow with any changes.

Early Customer Success

Our customers are telling us that Cisco CloudCenter and ServiceNow bring together two key enablers needed for IT transformation – service management and cloud brokering. One very compelling and representative use case comes from Vodafone. Vodafone has recently launched its
own global cloud platform called Vodafone CloudStore enabled by Cisco CloudCenter and the ServiceNow integration. The Vodafone CloudStore is a self-service cloud service brokerage solution that automates end-to-end 1-click service delivery on any cloud.

VF Cloud Store with CliQr ImageSNOW CliQr Screen Shot







Using our integrated solution, Vodafone CloudStore provides its customers with a single global point of access that automates access and consumption of cloud services with streamlined governance and greater visibility of what and how cloud is being used across the business.

The integrated solution provides the following unique benefits:

  • Model based deployment to any environment (as opposed to script based deployment hard wired to single environment) removes need for cloud specific expertise when creating and publishing application profiles
  • Side-by-side comparison of expected cost to allow service requestor to choose best deployment environment
  • Automated management of infrastructure and application lifecycle to reclaim unused datacenter and cloud resources through horizontal scaling application tiers (adding/removing instances) and time-based auto termination
  • Policy based automation “guardrails” to guide placement and deployment decisions, and run-time actions all through simple policy tag features giving enterprise IT visibility and governance across data centers and clouds
  • Self-service shopping cart integration that provides deployment to multiple clouds from one ServiceNow catalog item

The key message from the Lego movie is basically this: We don’t succeed or thrive as humans, if we are stuffed into “boxes” with our freedom and creativity constrained. With Cisco CloudCenter and ServiceNow “certified” solution, the “good guys” at IT organizations no longer have to sweat away daily at building and maintaining multiple environment specific service catalog items based on pre-defined templates designed for each specific data center and cloud platform. Let us live free and create our own “Lego” structures on any data center or cloud platform!

To learn more:

Cisco CloudCenter with ServiceNow At-a-Glance

Cisco CloudCenter with ACI and ServiceNow (brief overview)

Cisco CloudCenter Architecture Overview White Paper

Vodafone Knowledge16 Presentation – Vodafone Enabling the Cloud in the Enterprise

(Follow the link to create login and access Vodafone presentation at Knowledge16 summit)


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Application Optimized Transport in the Data Center using Segment Routing

– June 27, 2016 – 0 Comments




I am posting this blog on behalf of Vipul Shah, Sr Manager, Product Management.

Imagine a data center network for an e-commerce business that allows for on-demand allocation of bandwidth as a result of high traffic volumes generated by large number of transactions during the holiday shopping season, or a data center network for a financial services company that can intelligently reroute critical transactions around brownouts, error prone links, and network congestion using per-application policy. Finally, imagine a content delivery network (CDN) that can logically segment the physical infrastructure to speed the delivery of web content by separating large and small traffic flows. All of these scenarios require an agile network that can provide some type of explicit forwarding path to the applications while reducing latency.  This is what Segment Routing does. It provides the most optimal path to the applications, which in some cases may not be the shortest path.

As the networking industry continues to stride towards Digitization and simplification of the data center, Cisco continues to innovate and execute on the concept of software defined networks (SDN). Segment Routing is one such innovation, whereby it provides the benefits of SDN but also adds intelligence into the network making it adaptive to the needs of the application itself.

The insatiable growth of applications has fueled a demand for network agility, security and performance guarantees. Segment Routing can address these requirements with its application optimized network transport. By encoding the path information directly at the source; i.e. either at the virtual switch or at the top-of-rack (TOR), and using per-application policies, Segment Routing puts powerful control in the hands of the network operators by empowering then to create secure, adaptive, and optimal paths based on application requirements.

SR in Data Center

As industry first, Cisco recently delivered Segment Routing for the data center with the Nexus 9000 and Nexus 3000 series switching platforms, with commitment to support additional platforms in the future. This strategic capability in the data center complements Cisco’s Application Engineered Routing that leverages Segment Routing for the wide-area network (WAN) and essentially provides the means to enable an unified end-to-end policy and application aware network architecture between the data center and the WAN. Additionally, by combining High Availability using ISSU with Segment Routing on the Nexus 9000 & Nexus 3000 provides a more powerful agility story for the Segment Routing network. The Nexus switching platforms also enhances orchestration capabilities with programmatic access using NXAPI REST support. Adding a controller can provide visibility into the performance metrics of the entire network; the learning of bandwidth consumption of all the fabric links provides the ability to create and program dynamic forwarding paths on demand. This level of granularity makes Segment Routing much more intelligent for application awareness.

Today, large content providers are looking for ways to speed up content delivery by enabling this unified forwarding paradigm with the Nexus platforms in their data centers. Similarly, large financial firms are looking to utilize Segment Routing by building a multi-plane architecture with the Nexus platforms in their data centers, allowing them to separate business transactions from non-critical applications over the same network fabric.

With a commitment to deliver on standards based technologies, Cisco has built Segment Routing in partnership with the industry. There are over 25 drafts in the IETF led by Cisco, with contributions from major customers, networking vendors and operators. Several key documents are now in working group status in the IETF.

If you are interested in learning more about Cisco’s industry leading Segment Routing solution please join us in our upcoming TechWise TV Workshop where we will discuss details about the technology and specific customer use cases. Please register here

Optimize Applications with increased Network Intelligence using Segment Routing!


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Micro Segmentation and Cisco ACI – From Theory to Practice Part II

– June 27, 2016 – 0 Comments

This is the second of a series of blogs where we will illustrate how to leverage Cisco ACI to implement Micro Segmentation. In the first blog we described how to use ACI micro segmentation to implement a web application that uses a tier of apache Web servers and a MySQL database.

We saw how all Virtual Machines involved could be on the same subnet and on the same dvPortGroup in a vSphere environment, and use Micro EPGs to group Virtual Machines according to the function they provide in order to get the right policies applied. The ACI white-list policy model ensures that only the required protocols and ports are allowed between the involved Virtual Machines, and Service Graphs can be used to insert advanced security provided by NGFW and Load Balancing functions.

In this blog, we will focus on how to dynamically implement a sandboxed development environment to modify that application. Before I get on with that, I want to explain that in order to make the demo a bit more fun, I also decided to add an L2 NGFW between the Web and DB tiers of our application. I did that to illustrate how the APIC can automate the NGFW configuration there. But in any case we can imagine that doing this is interesting anyways, because while the contracts on the fabric effectively act like a firewall in the sense that only TCP/3306 is allowed between Web and DB tiers, the fabric can’t really ensure that it is SQL traffic going over that protocol. You need to inspect at the application layer for that. An NGFW can do that, and also protect against SQL-related attacks, etc. So the “production” environment is represented like in the picture below, where I am just highlighting the change from the demo of the first blog:



You can check this video to see how we added that L2 Firewall using the ACI vCenter Plugin to insert an existing Service Graph Template.


So now let’s imagine that Acme Co. wants to give their developers an environment to make changes to the application. If we remember, our Joomla-based Application Profile looks like this:


One of the advantages of SDN is that we can create and delete network configurations programatically, just like we create Virtual Machines. So we can build the development and testing environments on demand, and destroy them when they are no longer required. With ACI, this does not requiring anyone going box-by-box configuring network constructs. Instead, a program or script can talk to the APIC API and create, modify or delete complex network configurations, regardless of physical topology. You can also snapshot existing configurations … like you can snapshot a VM (… a promise long made by other SDN vendors, and long overdue …

Visualize the Future of IoT at the Esri User Conference

– June 27, 2016 – 0 Comments

Guest blogger: AnnMarie Link, Global Strategic Partner Marketing Manager, Cisco amlink headshot

When you think about the future of IoT, can you visualize the impact it will have on the world around us? Picture a world where everything is connected, with data from everywhere organized, analyzed, and acted upon within a fraction of a second.

But what really does that mean for you and me?

Imagine a scenario where audio sensors detect noise and trigger a notification on a city official’s computer monitor.

The sensors work together with other Internet of Things devices to triangulate the exact location of an incident.  A few mouse clicks later the city official can see that a traffic accident has occurred on a three-dimensional map of the city. A system quickly assesses all available surveillance cameras, analyzing line of sight for each, and pulls up the best visual vantage point automatically.

Armed with a real-time visual understanding of the situation at hand, the city official can make smarter decisions on how to get first responders on the scene quickly, and get ahead of complications such as traffic jams or power outages.

Or, imagine flow sensors on large-scale asset networks such as oil or gas pipelines.  When an issue arises, workers are notified of the exact location of the problem, the moment it happens. Video feeds and additional environmental information will help technicians anticipate any safety risks and put environmental mitigation efforts in motion before arriving at the site.

Those are just a few examples of how data from a wide variety of sources can help people and organizations become more efficient. Enabling analytics that understand the spatial relationships between Internet of Things devices is the Future of Smart — that just happens to be this year’s tagline at the Esri User Conference.

Security camera monitoring events in shopping center at night.

Security camera monitoring events in shopping center at night.


The Cisco and Esri partnership has already enabled ArcGIS Pro in a virtualized environment so that ArcGIS Pro can be deployed for a greater user experience. Virtualization helps to eliminate server sprawl, enable efficient use of server resources, and improve server availability.  It also enables data assets to be centrally maintained for security. IDC has found that more IT organizations are seeking the benefits of desktop virtualization. To learn more about their findings, check out this IDC White Paper, Assessing the Business Value of Cisco’s Desktop and Application Virtualization Solution.

Cisco has and will continue to partner with Esri to explore real-time visualization possibilities for the Internet of Things. With the amount of data being captured and aggregated by the Cisco Digital Platform (CDP), it’s a massive opportunity, and not just for cities. Virtually any field can benefit.

Do you want to hear more?

Join Cisco and Esri at the 2016 Esri User Conference, June 27 through July 1, located in San Diego, to see how we are working to bring real-time visualization and spatial analytics to the Internet of Things.

You’ll find us (and plenty of comfy couches) in the Startup Zone, where you can also grab a quick pic with our Cisco Photo Wall. Snap a selfie, share on social media, and a selfie stick is yours to keep!

Truly, there has Never Been a Time to align with the busy, challenging, changing needs of business, no matter where you are or what you do. Cisco is solving real business problems. Check out another example

Feel free to connect with me on Twitter and leave any comments below. Let’s continue the conversation!


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Cloud is King

– June 24, 2016 – 0 Comments

I live in the Hill Country outside Austin where one of our local storytellers, Shake Russell, wroteSaint Willie a song for the Texas sesquicentennial in which he proclaims, “Cotton is King.” He subsequently amends it to say, “Cattle is King,” followed by “Oil is King,” before finally settling on “Willie is King.”

I cannot dispute his nod to Saint Willie, but I feel safe updating Shake’s econ lesson to point out that in 2016, even out here in the boonies, Cloud is King

Case in point: My neighbor, who spends more time on a tractor than a smartphone, is using sensors to track body temperatures of his prized Longhorns via the Cloud as they roam across his 100+ acres. He’s not an early adopter or some tech guru; he has never even heard of IoT. He just likes the sensors “because thSurprised Cowey
attach to the cows’ ears” – a huge improvement over the old way of taking their temperature.

I’m certain the cows prefer it as well.

I bring this up because of some interesting data we gathered at SAP Sapphire about just how mainstream Cloud adoption has become. We surveyed over 400 attendees about how they planned to deploy their next SAP HANA project. 68 said on appliances, 85 said via TDI, and a whopping 257 – over 60% – said “in the cloud.”

Cloud Adoption

This is great news for Cisco customers because we have quietly become the benchmark infrastructure provider for simple and secure SAP Cloud hosting. In fact, 7 of the top 10 SAP Global Hosting Providers identified in the SAP Partner Guide have deployed their SAP infrastructure on UCS.   Surprised? Check out the dozen testimonials we have from certified SAP Cloud Hosters. Here are a few excerpts:


  • “As more enterprises move SAP to the cloud, we needed a partner that could help us expand our share of this rapidly growing market.” – Stacy Hayes, VP Strategic Partnerships, Virtustream


  • With Cisco infrastructure, we can deliver high-availability solutions with industry-leading uptime.” – Pat O’Day, CTO, Bluelock


  • Combining our expertise with Cisco infrastructure, we can drive new innovations for our customers.” – Vladimir Mlynar, CTO, Axians ICT Austria GmbH


  • Cisco changed our mindset and offered exactly what we needed in order to get to our goal, which is automation and reduced time to market.” – Martin Stratmann, Managing Director, Oetker Daten und Informationsverarbeitung (OEDIV)


  • Cisco is our trusted partner and a global partner of SAP, helping us keep customer satisfaction high.” – Steve Short, Senior Vice President of Managed Services, intelligence


  • By combining our expertise with Cisco technology, we can deliver innovative services across the globe.” – Umesh Gowda, Director of Business Development, Sourcing Advisory & ICT Relations, T-Systems North America


If these leading hosting companies bet their SAP cloud infrastructure – and consequently their business – on Cisco UCS, maybe you should consider us for your next SAP cloud project?

Meanwhile back in Texas, Willie has ditched the expensive satellite connection on his biodiesel bus and replaced it with a set of wireless data cards from a variety of providers and fused them into a single connection for fast, mobile, inexpensive access to the internet wherever and whenever he’s on the road again.  You can find that story out on the cloud – but don’t search for “Willie Nelson and IoT.”  Google will assume you made a typo.



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