How Do You Draw a Big Picture From Millions of Dots of Disconnected Data? Try Data Virtualization.

– July 28, 2016 – 0 Comments

Companies lose market opportunities daily because of a missing insight or an overlooked fact—simply because it’s not easily within plain view. Sales can’t connect with latest marketing programs. Marketing can’t connect with sales data. Shipping can’t connect with product inventory information. Manufacturing can’t connect with sourcing data. And, so on.

Despite enterprises typically having databases that contain answers to queries like these, critical operating information is often siloed in ways that prevent all stakeholders from obtaining knowledge vital to their tasks, and giving them the big picture of how the business is performing.

Hyper-Distributed Data: Information Overloadblurredfocus_fence_800x800_quote

Yet overlooking one dot of data can make the difference in losing or winning new customers. A Forrester research analyst expresses the problem succinctly: “More data management needs equate to more data integration to deliver the knowledge to meet executive demands.”

Not only is data growing in size but it is also growing in speed with dramatic increases in computing bandwidth and power — and from the edge of the network to the cloud. Static, centrally stored data warehouses are giving way to dynamic, transient data that is captured on the fly, analyzed and acted upon in real time. Data sources have become hyper-distributed. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), data is being created in more ways, by more devices, in more places than ever before—and is growing exponentially.

Out With the Old. In With the New.

Traditional approaches to database management are falling short. Historically, businesses would design an entire data warehouse schema, including how to extract and transform data, along with a process to load it into the warehouse. Users then would use an application to view the stored data. While appropriate for an older world where markets and technology moved more deliberately, this approach is too slow in development, redundant in replicated data, and manually intensive for today’s fast-changing business environment. Data that is out of sight and out of date can be a competitive downfall.

Enterprises are asking, “How can we cope with the rate and volume of data creation? How can we get critical data to the people who need it most? How do we protect our legacy data while investing in the future? How do we liberate the immense library of data trapped inside our company, so that it’s available to everyone?”

Liberation day is here, thanks to data virtualization. Put simply, data virtualization is integration software that makes it easy to access enterprise data, no matter where it resides. Users can query the data as if it existed in a single place. Common virtualization applications might include big data or cloud data integration, creation of an enterprise-wide data virtualization layer, extending an existing data warehouse, or federating business intelligence (BI) data. The needs will vary by where enterprises stand in their data management journey. The flexibility of data virtualization gives them a choice of places to start. Above all, a company can leverage all their enterprise data, eliminating data islands and giving employees access to the information they need–when, where and how they want it–with data virtualization.

From the results perspective, data virtualization helps businesses respond faster to constantly changing business intelligence needs. In fact, some of our customers using Cisco Data Virtualization have reported that users are realizing business insights 5 to 10 times faster than with traditional data integration. Equally important, IT management has seen time savings of more than fifty percent compared to their old data management methods, which required constant data replication and consolidation. Virtualization’s ability to reduce data management complexity also means that the IT organization can increase utilization of its existing storage and server investments, helping contain hardware expense and easing governance.

Be Prepared—to Succeed: The First Step for Better Data Outcomes.

Connecting the data dots—or data integration—is critically important in gaining business insights. But often overlooked is the need to get the data “right” first—before it is integrated and analyzed. Quality data helps ensure quality analysis and contributes to consistent business outcomes.

With the speed of data acquisition accelerating and multiplied by the collection of massive amounts of information, poor data preparation can dramatically slow business momentum. Aggregating unstructured and structured data from both external and internal sources, correcting misspelled words, creating context, eliminating duplicate information or blank fields, and reshaping columns are essential to preparing data for analytics you can depend upon. However, even those companies who recognize these facts know that proper data preparation takes considerable time and resources. Customers tell us that every moment spent on data preparation means less time is spent on interpreting data analytics and acting upon business insights.

That’s the reason why we introduced Cisco Data Preparation earlier this year. It helps business analytic teams who want to boost their data preparation productivity, while also reducing the risk of poor data quality. The Cisco self-service platform can either be deployed in the cloud or on customer premises.

Working with flat files, structured relational databases, or business applications like, analysts can explore the data with visual, interactive data tools to quickly understand and identify their business requirements. Data can be scrubbed and modified in the moment using natural language processing without the need for coding, SQL or scripting.

Many times, analysts will have the need to pull multiple data sets together. Typically this is a difficult process, as analysts try to determine the best data fields to merge. Using Cisco Data Preparation, the ideal connections are automatically recommended, saving analysts considerable time and effort. Also important, teams can work together to share and reuse data using a centralized library. With built-in authentication and auditing capabilities, team members always know that they are operating in a secure environment where highly trustworthy data is being created together for a shared outcome.

If you haven’t heard of “data preparation” don’t be surprised. The category has only taken off in the last few years but it is quickly gaining altitude. Stewart Bond, Director at IDC, Data Integration and Access Software, reflecting the viewpoints of other leading analyst firms describes what is driving the growth, “Solutions are emerging in response to demand from today’s tech-savvy business users wanting more access to their data and IT’s desire to empower business users with more data access while still maintaining control.”

Are you confident that the employees in your company have all the access they need to connect all the dots of data for critical business insights? If not, do you think data virtualization and preparation could help you take a major step toward creating a bigger and better picture for them? Do you envision any obstacles? I would love to hear from you on these or other questions you may have. Thanks for your interest!


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You haven’t really arrived until your checked luggage has

– July 28, 2016 – 0 Comments

Think about it: you’re checking in for that international flight across an ocean, connecting through a busy hub somewhere.

Your suitcase is weighed and given a tag. This tag contains some basic information:

  • Where it needs to go.
  • When it needs to be there.
  • Who it belongs to.

As you leave the check-in area, make your way through airport security, and finally to the gate, your suitcase has already started its own complex journey down a maze of conveyor belts, security scans, luggage carts and baggage handlers – not at just one, but in this scenario, at three airports.

It’s no wonder there’s a potential for lost luggage. Yet thankfully more often than not most passengers are reunited with their luggage at their destination.

The positive outcome  – in this case, your checked belongings arrive with you – depends on how the data on the luggage tag is processed by the airport’s intricate systems. Each scan of that tag along it’s journey through the system results in a decision on what needs to happen to it next. The workflow of the systems required to get that suitcase from point A to B to C is mind-boggling.

I find that fascinating.

Using checked luggage as an example, it’s hard imagine how just three bits of data can result in such a positive customer experience and desired outcome. We tend to take it for granted. The keys to success are the processes and supporting infrastructure that create that experience and outcome: data preparation, data analytics and data management.

The Bigger Data edition of Unleashing IT goes into the latter: how your organization can achieve desired outcomes with the right data preparation, analytics, and management tools in place, supported by a solid and well integrated infrastructure.

Unleashing IT - Bigger Data Edition


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Let’s face it, whether you’re just starting your journey or returning from one, you haven’t truly arrived until you and your suitcase pass through customs together..



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F5 Agility 2016 – Next Stop Chicago

– July 28, 2016 – 0 Comments

Only a few weeks remain for the Fall season to officially set in, and it’s still quite hot in Chicago. The fast approaching F5 Agility event is further adding a sizzle to the conference scene at the Chicago Downtown Hyatt Regency.  August is the most popular season to visit Chicago and we are seeing a sold-out attendance at the F5 Agility event this year. Join us to learn about the future of application delivery, share best-practices with influential decision-makers, connect with technology leaders, and have some fun at the Agility closing gala at the House of Blues.


During Aug 2-4, we are going to hear F5’s leaders, customers, and partners share how the latest solutions from F5 are transforming what’s possible for today’s organizations. In about two years, Cisco ACI and F5 partnership has demonstrated significant success in our joint solution momentum and customer adoption. I am pleased to invite you all to attend this premier industry event and get insights on how F5 and Cisco are bringing the power of cloud, security, data centers, converged systems, and as-a-Service together to enable fast, efficient, and secure application delivery in today’s challenging hybrid environments.

F5 CEO John McAdam will kick-off Agility and share his worldview and how F5 is gearing up for future success in today’s increasingly app-centric world. Following John, F5’s EVP of Worldwide Sales, John DiLullo and SVP F5 Services Ian Jones will focus on the latest security issues and hybrid cloud potential. We then have F5’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Product Development Karl Triebes, who will take an in-depth look at F5’s vision and product roadmap.

This year we have two guest keynotes. Mike Ebeling, CEO of Not impossible Labs, and Mike Ditka, legendary football coach and TV commentator are here to entertain you and highlight the key characteristics people need to achieve their personal and professional goals.

And now let’s segue to Cisco Sponsor breakouts. Cisco Exec Daniel McGinniss is hosting a business breakout session titled “Deliver Application Agility with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure” Aug 4, 8 am local time. What’s unique about this Breakout Session? Well, you will get to not only hear Daniel eloquently walk you through the role of Cisco ACI in today’s Application-Oriented Economy, but also see Mark Wall from WWT join him on stage and share their success stories with ACI.  Daniel will discuss the challenges companies face to achieve successful digital transformation, and how the ability to develop, deploy, and fine-tune applications is critical in that journey. Daniel will then introduce Cisco ACI, an open, scalable, programmable SDN solution that helps address these infrastructure challenges. Daniel will illustrate how Cisco ACI enables rapid application deployment, reduces cost and complexity via a unified policy approach, delivers compliance, and accelerates customers along their cloud journey. Daniel’s breakout as I said earlier, also features a unique Partner segment towards the end. Mark Wall, Chief Architect from WWT, will join Daniel on stage to share their ACI experiences. How often do you get this comprehensive experience in a breakout session, one that is devoid of a sales pitch. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

For the technically oriented among you, we also have a technical breakout session by Cisco, Aug 4, 10.15 AM local time. This session covers the integration architecture, value-props, and openness of the platform that the joint Cisco ACI-F5 solution brings to customers and partners. We are also offering a 4 hour Lab session featuring Cisco ACI and F5, 1- 5 PM, Michigan 1B. Hands-on experts from Cisco and F5 will be present to help you get deep and technical.

That is not all. Cisco ACI brings you additional customer engagement opportunity in the solutions expo hall. We are featuring cool demos showcasing our joint solutions namely, ACI-BIG IP and ACI-iWorkflow on both Aug 3 and 4, during the duration of the expo hours. Stop by the Cisco booth where our product experts are available to engage in white-board sessions and to compliment the demos, we also run short duration presentations in the Cisco theatre at periodic intervals. Should you desire, we are happy to meet you in 1-1 meetings, so let us know how we can enrich your experience at the event

For all the hard work we all do at the event, there is plenty F5 offers to let us relax and enjoy. This year we are taking over the House of Blues in Chicago. This institution grew out of founder Isaac Tigrett’s love for the unique American art form known as “the Blues”. Join F5 Networks as we close the evening with good food and drink plus three great shows. Be there to get your special F5 Agility 2016: House of Blues Star Guitar t-shirt.

Entertainment includes:

Network with your fellow attendees while enjoying tasty food and drink, entertaining music, knowledgeable guides, and more are awaiting you on Aug 2.

I am eager to see you all in Chicago next week. There are some useful links for you to check out before your visit on how Cisco ACI and F5 work together on the innovation front.

For more information, Visit


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“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” – Theodore Levitt

– July 27, 2016 – 0 Comments

This summer, I started teaching Leadership and character building to my 8-year-old son. To get some structure to the plan, I bought a good book which was organized into value based chapters and exercises. I would read one chapter with him everyday and complete the exercises at the end of the chapter. I had no idea that this seemingly simple routine would turn out to be a leadership refresher and eye opener for me. When I thought of character, values like honesty, integrity, humility etc flashed through the mind. Finding “Best effort” and “Empathy” in the list of good character traits was attention grabbing if not surprising.

Organizations too have a character just like individuals. Creating products that exhibit “Best effort” and “empathy” with customer should be in the DNA of value driven organizations. At Cisco, this is evident in the APIC-EM manageability product suite. APIC-EM is Cisco’s Software Defined Networking (SDN) controller for enterprise networks. It delivers an elastic platform for policy-based automation that simplifies and abstracts the network.APICEM provides SDN approach for WAN in IWAN application, new device onboarding through PnP application, and network visibility through Path Trace application.

APIC-EM’s Application Visibility and Control (AVC) with static QoS policy and dynamic QoS policy manifests philosophy of “Best effort” and “Empathy”. Older generation of networking QoS solution required tons of configurations by the customer. Policy creation with IP address, port, device ID, minimum and maximum data rates, flow based priority setting, dozens of rules and their order of precedence, and the list goes on. Most recent QoS solution with APIC-EM goes deeper into customer’s heart and captures his intent expressed through intuitive interface with minimum number of steps. The system then translates business intent into elaborate network level configurations as required by network devices. Business intent is captured by identifying business relevant applications through a drag and drop interface. The interface then identifies a scope for the policy. System takes care of translating the intent into classification and marking at queue level. It also allows cloning of business intents and application of same business intent over both wired and wireless network. Keeping up with the promise of “empathy” APIC-EM does not penalize users for human errors. It allows users to completely rollback on previous decisions or even abort a transaction in the middle. Policy provisioning solution also includes Dynamic creation of a policy when triggered by an external call server like Lync . APIC-EM exposes northbound APIs for enabling dynamic policy creation and tear down. EZQoS demo can be found here:


Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Imagine people expressing there intent of faster horses through an intuitive interface and having a car appear on their doorstep the very next moment!!


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Cisco: A Shining Beacon of Light in Florida

– July 27, 2016 – 0 Comments


People are much more susceptible to light than we imagine. For instance, tests have shown that natural light has a positive affect on people than staid, artificial light.

The Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is putting that theory to the test and Cisco is helping them along the way. As the fourth-largest school district in the United States—there are over 35,000 students in the school system—M-DCPS’ Chief Information Officer (CIO) Deborah Karcher has long been a proponent of providing her kids better lighting. She feels that more natural light will sharpen the children’s minds in the morning and perk them up during the traditional post-lunch lulls.

She discovered a solution in the Cisco Digital Ceiling Framework that combines lighting, air conditioning and other building networks into one IP-based infrastructure. The framework is built over a Cisco infrastructure that includes Cisco Catalyst 3560 switches and Cisco 4431 and 3925 Integrated Service routers.

Not only can network power cut down on energy costs, but PoE-powered LED lighting can match natural light.

“The ease of the installation was incredible,” Karcher said. “At the front end, it was as simple as plugging in new lights.”

The bottom line was something to behold too, as classrooms went from using 750 watts to 350 watts. The money saving is incredible, Karcher said but the future is what she’s most excited for.

The lights are able to change color, so the school will be able to set up a code based solely on light color. For example: green lights could mean class changes and red lights could signal an emergency. Lighting sensors connected to the network can pick up wristband signals from student coming enter class. Say goodbye to the days of taking roll!

For more information on this customer case study, please click here.


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Network Automation with ACI – a NetOps Example

– July 26, 2016 – 0 Comments

I’d like to talk about Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and focus on one of the most important steps that Data Center IT teams take on the journey to achieve full automation and deliver agility, security, and efficiency deploying and managing applications.  This step – Network Automation – is a key piece in this journey because it connects every component required to run an application: the servers, storage, other networks, and necessary services to secure and scale applications.

With Cisco ACI, customers can choose the operational model that suits them best – network automation, services automation, or full application based automation.(Figure 1).  When customers have existing applications and networks, the first step, a network centric operational mode for ACI, can be the simplest.  It’s easy to map existing network constructs to an ACI model and quickly yield benefits.

ACI Phases

Figure 1 Operational Choice in the Journey to Application Centric Automation

Every network engineer and network operations leader can benefit almost immediately from the centralized management, simplification, and efficiency that automating switch and network management tasks with ACI can bring.

Let me provide you an example with an application written to simplify migrating legacy networks (using VLANs) onto an ACI fabric (which is better suited to today’s East/West data center traffic patterns).  VLANs are used for isolation in data center networks and network operations teams need a simple way to deploy classical VLAN networks. With that need understood, Cisco network engineers created an ACI application called NCAplus (Figure 2).


Figure 2 NCAplus

The purpose of NCAplus was to create a portal that simplifies Layer 2 network operations in the datacenter. Leveraging the programmatic philosophy of ACI, the tool is able to automate traditional network constructs like port channels, virtual port channels, VLAN assignments and more. Older API interfaces that just provide a “view” to the CLI are not as powerful. The ACI RESTful API interface is capable of manipulating all members of the fabric as one single entity that makes it possible to create applications quicker. Instead of the application having to deal with individual components in the network, everything sits under the control of APIC that provides a robust programmatic interface to your network. These different facts made it possible to simplify the code for the application and deliver the application at speeds that match todays DevOps timeframes.

The tool can take network components and group them in such a way to provide the network operator visibility around business functions. Imagine being capable of seeing things instead of just VLANS, but in management domains as IP Phones, Cameras, IoT Sensors, wireless endpoints and more. These groups ( Figure 3 ) are associated in ACI as Tenants of the fabric and can then utilize the various domain management services inherit in the fabric to provide network status visibility to each of them.


Figure 3 NCAplus Groups

Once you have established the management groups, NCAplus can now create and map interfaces, port channels, virtual port channels under these groups mapped to VLANS in your classical Ethernet networks. NCAplus utilizes higher level constructs for naming VLAN networks to associate things with business functions (Figure 4). Instead of VLAN254 NCAplus makes it possible to name it “IP Phone network Bldg10”. And this would be visible in the entire ACI fabric using all the tools that ACI provides for operational awareness, simplifying the work of day two operations.


Figure 4 Network abstractions to classical ethernet networks

NCAplus was written by Santiago Flores, Rafael Muller, and Cesar Obediente in a couple weeks. It is project available on github ( with all the documentation you need to use it yourself.  It was written using the ACI Cobra Software Development Kit (SDK) ( which provides a comprehensive set of open APIs for managing the 8,000+ managed objects available in the ACI object model.  Beginning developers may prefer to start with the ACI Toolkit which is a basic toolkit for accessing the Cisco APIC (  It is intended to allow users to quickly begin using the REST API and accelerate the learning curve necessary to begin using the APIC.

With the network automation approach, we can capture process knowledge in a repeatable model-based approach.  This improves operational efficiency and eliminates manual errors for  many tasks.

(Thanks to Cesar Obediente, Rafael Muller, and Mark Jackson for their inputs to this blog.)

For More Information

White paper on how to simplify adoption of SDN and migration to ACI: ACI – Network-Centric Approach.

Data Center open source applications at

Cisco open source projects at

See these Cisco Live 2016 Las Vegas sessions:

Simplify DevOps in Application Centric Data Centers

Dev-Ops for Networking: Application Centric Infrastructure – Open Standards and Open API’s

A Practical Introduction to DevOps Practices and Tools



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Cisco Simplifies Business Transformation

– July 25, 2016 – 0 Comments

There has been a revolutionary change in the conversation over IT’s role within your business.  Once centered on reducing costs, today’s conversation centers on how IT can move with greater speed and flexibility.  Why the change?

The answer is simple– the digitization of business.   You don’t have to live in Silicon Valley to notice that our technical acuity has increased and our patience for multiple week service delivery has decreased.  Your customers expect self-service access to services that get delivered within minutes.

To meet these expecations your need to transform your technology, tools and processes.   The centerpiece to this transformation is automation, which translates manual tasks into automated workflows permitting IT to become proactive and a key contributor to your business acceleration.

Cisco’s solution for enterprise transformation is the self-service hybrid cloud.  Hybrid cloud management is a way of transforming the consumption, delivery and management of IT and application resources.   Cisco’s goal is to provide your IT organization with the ability to say “we have the technology and tools to meet your service expectations both on premise and off.”

The cornerstone to Cisco’s hybrid strategy includes two solutions, Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite and Cisco CloudCenter; both of which are 2016 award-winning solutions.  Enterprise Cloud Suite simplifies the data center by providing a foundational layer of infrastructure automation.  Cloud Center delivers hybrid cloud management to approximately 20 different data center, private and public platforms.

TechWise TV has released their latest episodeTechWise which explains Cisco’s self-service hybrid strategy and includes a demo of CloudCenter’s ability to model, deploy and manage applications across multiple cloud platforms.

But wait there’s more. Register now for a follow-on workshop that includes a live conversation and deep dive demo with TechWise Robb Boyd and Cisco’s Zack Kielich on Thursday August 18th.

The pace of today’s business is relentless and IT is working hard to keep up.   Expectations from your customers are higher while application and business teams expect hybrid access to data center, private or public platforms. Provide your organization with the speed and agility it needs and workload platform choice so you can take advantage of new revenue opportunities faster.   Watch the latest TechWise TV episode and then attend our live workshop on August 18th and investigate Cisco’s hybrid cloud solution.


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Bringing Consistent Automation Across Cisco Nexus and Catalyst with Ansible 2.1

– July 25, 2016 – 0 Comments

We had a busy week around the middle of July with ChefConf 2016 (Austin, Texas July 11 – 13) and Cisco Live US (Las Vegas, Nevada July 10 – 14).

Now we’re moving on to AnsibleFest July 28 San Francisco where Cisco is a Gold sponsor as well as a Networking Hub sponsor.

GoldSponsorAnsibleFest July2016

NetworkingHubSponsorAnsibleFest July2016

I guess the good news this time is we don’t have a similar conflict as we did back in Berlin Feb 18, 2016 where we had AnsibleFest and Cisco Live in the same week.


At ChefConf, attendees asked where to find more info on the demo we showed during the event of installing chef on Nexus. Here it is More links and assets can be found in my previous blog.

You may wonder why Cisco has been actively participating at these types of events, the answer is simple: automation. As customers embrace the DevOps model in their environment, they want automation in their network to simplify and accelerate application deployment.  Our NX-OS enables integration of DevOps tools like Ansible, Puppet and Chef to program and automate networks.

We’ve highlighted different use cases and capabilities using such tools in these white papers high level and deep dive.

With Ansible 2.1 release, we have support across Cisco’s operating system NX-OS, IOS and IOS-XR. This means bringing configuration simplicity and automation to both Nexus and Catalyst switches. We’ll show several demos at the AnsibleFest like configuring VxLAN eVPN fabric, ACLs, and more…

We’ll have our experts on the floor in both the Networking Hub and main lobby that can answer your questions and demonstrate what you can do with Nexus and Catalyst.

Stay up to date on the latest version of the NX-OS Cisco-Ansible Module and IOS Cisco-Ansible Module. Also, visit the Cisco marketplace and Ansible-Cisco page. Ansible Modules are developed in partnership with Cisco and are opensource to help network administrators to manage Cisco Network Elements using Ansible.


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Elevating the Role of SDN in the Cloud with Cisco ACI 2.0

– July 22, 2016 – 0 Comments

ACI 2.0 – released earlier this month –  delivers strong new SDN and Cloud capabilities.  These enable Scale, Cloud Automation, Security & Analytics, as well as Optimized Operations.  Yeah, I know that sounds kinda ‘buzzwordy’, but read on and you’ll get a sense for the power that ACI 2.0 delivers.

I’m posting this on behalf of Srini Kotamraju, who is Director of ACI Product Management within INSBU.  

As technology megatrends go, both SDN and cloud computing are perhaps considered too mainstream to merit mentions in fashionable “top 10” lists these days. What is not in dispute are the massive investments companies of all sizes are making in both cloud services and SDN to modernize their data center infrastructure and operations. There has been less clarity in how these two technologies inter-relate, either as complementary or even competing approaches. We agree with this analyst and his view that implementing an effective SDN solution in the data center is the path to “cloud networking” that can support resources and services on a massive scale.

In fact, Cisco is delivering on this promise with our newest code release for the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI 2.0) that includes a comprehensive set of new features and functionality in both infrastructure and operations. There are notable advancements in this code release across four categories: infrastructure scale, cloud automation, security & analytics, and optimized operations. The key, overarching benefit is that these new innovations will make it easier for our customers to use the Cisco ACI at greater scale to support their applications across both on-prem data center and cloud domains. By doing so, the connection between SDN and the cloud becomes even tighter, resulting in higher levels of efficiency in data center network and resource management. Here’s a brief overview of each:

Infrastructure Scale: Cisco ACI now supports multiple ACI fabrics under a single ACI policy domain, while providing domain isolation of control plane within the pod. Cisco ACI Multi-Pod is an ongoing evolution, which began with single pod, then to stretched fabrics where you could have a single fabric stretch over distance. By going to a multi-pod ACI fabric design, customers gain the benefit of increasing performance and capacity to massive scale with a single management point among the different pods. The flexibility of the multi-pod design opens up a number of deployment models and use cases.

blog pic 1

 Cloud Automation: Cisco ACI 2.0 also includes a number of cloud automation tools that enable customers to accelerate deployment of applications across multi-hypervisor virtual environments of their choice. Specifically, ACI is now interoperable with the latest tools from VMware automation and cloud management products including vRealize 7.0, OpenStack for VMware, and ACI Plugins for Floating IP, etc. For example, the vCenter plugin in ACI 2.0 is designed to simplify the installation and monitoring of resources between the Cisco ACI and VMware environments. This plugin gives users the ability to easily configure, monitor, and automate the management of ACI fabrics from vSphere environment.

blog pic 2

Security & Analytics: Achieving greater levels of visibility throughout the entire infrastructure using better analytics perhaps remains a “holy grail” quest for any enterprise. Security is one, if not arguably the most important, use case of enhanced visibility – supported by the premise that one can’t secure what one can’t see.

Cisco is continuing to innovate in the security and analytics realms in ACI 2.0 with new features such as Copy Service, Port Security, and Permit Logging. Copy Service is a step up from traditional switch port analyzers (SPAN) in terms of making it easier to copying traffic for inspection and analysis through automated replication of target traffic flows, at a granular levels such as End Point Groups (EPG). Copy Service also offers real-time capabilities for troubleshooting, monitoring and analyzing. Permit Logging enables users to get deeper visibility into their traffic flows.

These new ACI features complement breakthrough Cisco innovation in the analytics space that we recently introduced through the Cisco Tetration Platform, which, of course, supports Cisco ACI environments. All of these security and analytics advancements will help ACI users better address their governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) requirements. These GRC costs have been going up steeply in face of increased regulatory, security and other mandates. Better managing these costs and requirements has become mission-critical for any enterprise today.

 Optimized Operations: Optimizing operations is perhaps the hallmark benefit for any SDN deployment that promises to improve data center efficiency and agility. Cisco ACI 2.0 is certainly no exception exemplified by new routing enhancements such as Policy-Based Redirection (PBR), Symmetric Multipath Load Balancing,Layer 3 Multicast and FCoE NPV. ACI policy automation now extends to WAN with OpFlex support for Nexus 7K and ASR 9K platforms, for automation of provisioning and exchange of tenant-specific information across Data Center and WAN infrastructure. In general, these new features simplify operations through more flexible deployment models at scale and by incorporating more automation.

In summary, ACI 2.0 delivers significant capabilities for automation and scaling data center, cloud-based infrastructure through a consistent policy framework. It intersects the capabilities of both SDN and the cloud, driving value in both environments. For more information about ACI 2.0 features please visit the ACI home page. ACI customers can download the latest software from the links – Cisco APIC 2.0(1m) and Cisco NX-OS 12.0(1m).

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Up Close with Cisco CloudCenter (CliQr)

– July 20, 2016 – 0 Comments

Cloud platforms are increasingly a viable option for a growing set of enterprise applications and workloads.   Application teams are uncompromising in their desire to build and deploy new applications into public cloud environments that deliver speed and choice. Industry analysts tell us that almost 50% of enterprise organizations are starting to build private clouds which means that data center professionals need to maintain an increasingly hybrid mix of cloud resources. This has lead to leadership teams asking “who is going to manage this hybrid mix?”

YOU can with Cisco CloudCenter.

Cisco CloudCenter expedites hybrid cloud outcomes by modelling, deploying and managing applications across approximately 20 different data center, private or public platforms. This application centric approach abolishes the duplicative coding efforts of other hybrid cloud solutions resulting in a reduction of up to 60% of developers time spent on these activities. Best of all, each application profile contains a “bill of materials” for the configuration and type of infrastructure needed to support that profile.  Cloud orchestration solutions, such as Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite; as well as other private or public cloud orchestration tools automatically set-up the infrastructure to the exacting requirements of the application profile.

ZackKielichWould you like to go deeper and learn more about CloudCenter?   Join TechWise TV’s Robb Boyd and cloud expert, Zack Kielich, for a deep dive conversation and live demo of how CloudCenter makes hybrid cloud management a whole lot simpler.    Register now.


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