Automated App Services in Cisco ACI – F5 Private Cloud Solution

– June 28, 2017 – 0 Comments

Henry Tam is Sr Product Marketing Manager for F5’s Cloud Solutions and BIG-IP application delivery controller (ADC) platforms (hardware and software). Henry is responsible for the outbound marketing and go to market strategy of these solutions. We are publishing this Blog on behalf of Henry.

Today’s software-defined economy requires businesses to move faster than their competitors. Speed and agility are critical to keeping up with competitive demands for new applications, as well as maintaining existing infrastructure. Because an inability to scale and service networks can lead to escalating costs and increased time-to-service, many IT groups deploy private clouds to help them respond aggressively to business needs. As part of the private cloud initiative, automating the network stack requires a solution that addresses not just the L2-3 switching and routing complexity, but the associated L4-7 services as well—for each application.  Not surprisingly then, organizations are looking for a SDN solutions like Cisco ACI that fully integrate with advanced L4 – L7 services, all driven by single app policy and can be orchestrated by higher level orchestration tools like Ansible.

Today, following the introduction of our previous solution package for OpenStack, we’re announcing the F5 Private Cloud Solution Package for Cisco Networking. This package leverages the existing supported and certified APIC integration with BIG-IP through iWorkflowTM and F5 Device Package and now includes the BIG-IP iSeries appliances and Virtual Editions, the advanced application delivery and security software, and F5 professional services, simplifying your procurement and deployment processes.  This package has been engineered, tested, and certified to run in Cisco ACI Service Manager (Managed), Network Policy (Unmanaged), and standalone Nexus 9K NX-OS modes.  The last two modes also includes deployment architectures that utilize Ansible for orchestration and automated configuration. By supporting multiple modes, F5 allows customers to operationalize the entire network and start migrating to the policy-based, application-driven network architectures or full private cloud, for both existing and new applications. By leveraging this package with Cisco ACI and Ansible playbooks, we provide a full stack orchestratable SDN solution that enables agile and consistent app services delivery, security, all within a DevOps-ready solution that enables collaboration between IT and app owners.

Figure 1: Integrated F5 and Cisco ACI fabric multi-tier architecture

The adoption of cloud-based software defined network solutions like Cisco ACI is accelerating.  Now with the F5 solution package, you can confidently deploy a private cloud with Cisco ACI fabric fully integrated with F5 scalable app delivery services delivering the automated policy-driven application deployments you need.  Combining the advantages of the F5 and Cisco market leading solutions, organizations can deploy versatile, elastic network and application services—ultimately leading to quicker and more successful application rollouts. Engineered. Tested.  Validated. Certified.

Availability of this new solution package will be in calendar Q3 2017.

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Access in the Era of Intent-based Networking

– June 27, 2017 – 0 Comments

Intuition. It is one of the key traits that makes us human. What if we could make the network intuitive in translating intent into network configuration? Could a network learn to defend itself against malware and threats?

In a digital world, enterprises networks are under the onslaught of a myriad of different forces. On one hand, there is the explosion of devices getting on the network. This brings with it connectivity challenges and security challenges. On the other hand, transformations of computing and storage are starting to gain maturity and organizations are now looking to replicate these virtualization benefits at the level of the network. These new digital requirements need a fundamentally different approach.

Enter SD-Access.

While software-defined networking (SDN) concepts provided a starting point to begin solving some of these problems it clearly was not enough. SD-Access is a new capability that combines the power of policy-based networking, an intelligent network fabric and automation to make intent-based networking a reality today. SD-Access makes the network look like a “single” large virtual switch to the users and devices connecting to it. Establishing a layer of virtualization for the end user and the network node is the becoming increasingly necessary to manage the growth of people and devices getting on to the network. Virtualization allows for agility and flexibility in ways that hitherto have been unavailable.

To delve deeper, SD-Access enables security and segmentation within the network. SD-Access makes it intuitive to segment your network based on user and device identity using simple and automated workflows. It has never been easier to build virtual networks of IOT devices, guest devices and user devices within a single converged infrastructure. SD-Access combines wired and wireless networks within the intelligent network fabric and makes it easy to seamlessly roam anywhere in the network providing uninterrupted mobility services to the end-user. Finally, SD-Access enables IT teams to now offer customized services to different lines of business.

What makes me proudest in regards to SD-Access is how we tackled the networking industry’s big, tough, “unsolvable” problem. We began this journey over two years ago and had the best minds in the industry work to fundamentally transform networking. Our engineers worked closely with a select set of customers to validate our hypothesis and use cases in a co-development model and used their critical inputs to refine our solutions. We conducted extensive user-testing and validation of our workflow to ensure that we could capture intent from very different user-personas and make this solution as simple and elegant as possible. Keeping up with growth and mobility isn’t just about making things faster, sometimes it’s about building in near-infinite flexibility that allows for expansion, new uses and newer innovations for years to come.

Let’s continue the conversation @asowal1234.

 

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Cisco Nexus Reaches Another Impressive Milestone through Continued Innovation Delivery

– June 26, 2017 – 2 Comments

Cisco recently announced a major customer milestone in our data center portfolio with the news that the Unified Computing System topped more than 60,000 active customers, from literally zero in 2009. Other parts of our data center portfolio are doing just as well as we discussed in our most recent earnings call where we announced fast growth of Nexus 9000 customers that brings us to a total of more than 12,000 customers strong.

We added almost 1,200 new Nexus 9K customers in the quarter, bringing the total installed base to 12,000.  Our APIC adoption continues to increase rapidly with over 380 new ACI customers in Q3, bringing our total to nearly 3,500.

The impressive growth in the Cisco data center portfolio is strong validation of the trust customers place in our ability to both innovate and execute, even as data center trends are rapidly evolving across the vectors of application models, users, and locations. Our customers recognize that the Nexus 9K is a foundational element of that portfolio, featuring proven high performance and density, low latency, and exceptional power efficiency that are must-have features for their modern data centers.

To capitalize on this momentum and to provide customers with more choice, Cisco is expanding the Nexus 9000 fixed-configuration options with the introduction of two new Nexus 9300 fixed switches based on Cloud Scale ASIC. This advanced chip technology keeps our customers years ahead, or perhaps light years ahead as the world-champion Dubs might put it. Cloud Scale ASICs provide our customers an innovation advantage in terms of application performance, pervasive visibility, and security and truly sets Nexus 9000 apart in a crowded data center switching marketplace.

The two new Nexus 9300 models are:

  • Cisco Nexus 9364C ACI Spine Switch: Features 64-port fixed 40/100 QSFP and 2 fixed 1/10 SFP+   available in ACI mode with NX-OS support coming next year. This model is for spine deployments in the enterprise, service provider, large virtualized, and cloud environments. The Cisco Nexus 9364C ACI Spine Switch is a 2-rack-unit (2RU) switch that supports Layer 2 and 3 non-blocking with aggregate 12.8 Tbps of bandwidth, 16 ports of MACSEC capable hardware, and efficient handling of high-performance data center traffic for business-critical apps.

  • Cisco Nexus 9348GC-FXP: Features 48 ports of 100Mbps or 1Gbps, supports both ACI and NX-OS mode, and is best suited for customers that require a Gigabit Ethernet ToR switch with local switching. This switch is ideal for customers with big data usage with minimal data center footprint. This switch offers up to 48 1Gbps copper downlink ports that can be configured to work as 100Mbps or 1Gbps ports. The four SFP28 optical ports also can be configured as 10/25Gbps while the two QSFP28 ports can be configured as 40- and 100-Gbps ports.

Cisco Nexus 9300 Deployment Scenarios

Similar to other Nexus 9000 switches, these switches offer high degrees of architectural flexibility and can be deployed in three models:

  • in NX-OS-based stand-alone mode as a programmable network,
  • in VXLAN/EVPN-based programmable fabric,
  • in highly automated ACI mode, delivering automated policy-based systems management

This combination of the Nexus ACI spine switch along with Nexus 9300 leaf nodes form the infrastructure heart of an automated and policy-driven ACI architecture. The new Cisco Nexus 9364C Switch offers advanced scalability in the smallest spine switch form factor and enables connectivity to up-to 64 Cisco Nexus 9300 leaf switches with its high port density of 64 40/100 GbE ports and 12.8 Tbps throughput.

These two new switches build on other recent Nexus 9300 successes namely the availability of N9K-C93180YC-FX and N9K-C93108TC-FX models that established several innovation benchmarks including:

  • Being the first and only switch in the market with integrated encryption (MACSEC) capabilities
  • Bolstering high-performance reliability through support for 25Gbps RS-Forward Error Correction
  • Multiprotocol storage networking with support for 8/16/32G Fibre Channel on enabled on each 25Gbps SFP+ ports

Summary

Customers will choose vendors who can deliver a dynamic data center infrastructure that is easy to manage, affordable and flexible is required to meet the needs of resource-constrained IT professionals in large or small companies. More than 12000 Cisco customers now understand the Cisco Nexus 9000 offers flexible options for their different use cases and high-performance scale that supports continued growth. With the two new Nexus 9300 switches, Cisco has added two more weapons in our data center arsenal to take on the most challenging customer environments.

For more info:
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/nexus-9348gc-fxp-switch/index.html
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/nexus-9364c-switch/index.html

Tony Antony
Sr. Marketing Manager

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2 Comments

  1. The growth of the customer base on these switches is amazing!

    Nexus 9000 switches, these switches offer high degrees of architectural flexibility

Cisco is Evolving the Network into the iPhone of the Enterprise

– June 26, 2017 – 0 Comments

It’s an exciting time in the networking industry. According to IDC, the worldwide programmability market will experience huge growth over the next three years and be worth nearly $12.5 billion. Cisco is leading the charge in this market and recently unveiled a new generation of intent-based networking solutions. This enables a new and programmable network that can anticipate actions, stop security threats in their tracks, and even learn to solve previously unsolvable challenges.

For IT professionals, this is life-changing news as they try to adapt their skillsets to a new era of networking, or risk being left behind. For app developers, the shift to intuitive and programmable networks is also creating a new world of opportunities. Traditionally, app developers wouldn’t think twice about the network, but as the network becomes code, the app developer gains a new platform to innovate to their hearts content.

This presents a tremendous opportunity to leverage the network as a modern software system with APIs, programmable ASICs and software layers that add analytics and intelligence. If you followed the discussions last month at DevNet Create, you understand how important this relationship between apps and infrastructure has become.

Today, we’re taking big step toward giving developers the power to unleash a new generation of network-powered applications by offering the resources a developer needs to delve right in. The new Cisco DNA Developer Center allows developers to:

Whatever you choose, your apps will thank you.

A decade ago, the iPhone created a new breed of applications for the consumer. I believe the programmable network will have the same impact for the enterprise. Over the next decade, we’ll see a new breed of network-powered applications emerge and a new category of network-powered developers will emerge.

With these new tools, developers can bring applications directly into the network and create smarter software. The combination of smart software and a programmable network provides limitless opportunities for the developer, which is especially important as cloud, IoT and mobile ecosystems grow. Through APIs, apps can talk to the network, allowing for improved performance, security and quick provisioning to get the network resources needed. In essence, apps now have super powers. How cool is that?

Success is dependent on breaking down silos between the network and app developers. Enter DevNet. We built a community of more than 450,000 developers that can grow and learn together. With more than 150 events each year, there are numerous opportunities to learn and, as a result, take advantage of a massive new market.

For Cisco, the network has become code. Just as early developers monetized the iPhone ecosystem, developers that act now will pioneer dramatically more powerful apps in IoT, analytics, AR, VR, data science and other areas incomprehensible to us now. ’m really excited to see what happens next. So, how will you make your mark?

 

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Tetration Open Platform Enables Strong Partner Ecosystem – Choice and Flexibility Benefits to Customers

– June 26, 2017 – 0 Comments

It was just one year ago that Cisco announced Tetration Analytics, an open platform that provides data center visibility at a level that’s never been achieved before, and at a scale never possible before. Tetration Analytics collects data in real-time using software and hardware sensors, analyzes the data with advanced analytics, and delivers information critical for data center operations by providing actionable insights in real-time, through easy to understand visuals.

Earlier this year, we announced new software that automates policy enforcement, enabling organizations to build secure environments for their business. With the open APIs included in this release, customers and ecosystem partners got the ability to write their own applications that access data stored on the platform. Cisco continues its tradition of open ecosystems, around our open platforms, by working with companies to build applications and integrations with their solutions.

And over the past year, we have collaborated to build ecosystem momentum with a wide variety of technology partner solutions. The choice and flexibility to leverage a full-fledged open APIs, publish-subscribe Kafka messaging system, and ability to run data-processing apps on the Tetration platform, have enabled a strong 12 ecosystem partners to build a broad set of new use cases for our customers.

Today, we are proud to congratulate our ecosystem members for their collaborative efforts and share the results. The partners include AlgoSec, Avi, Citrix, Corvil, ExtraHop, F5, IBM QRadar, Infoblox, ServiceNow, Splunk, Tufin, and Turbonomic, our valued technology alliance partners.

The key use-cases we are tackling are below. Most of these partners are demonstrating these integrations in the World of Solutions at Cisco Live! US in Las Vegas between June 26th to June 29th – be sure to check them out, if you are participating.

Insight Exchange (Avi, Citrix, Corvil, ExtraHop, F5, Infoblox): Technologies from our partners have the ability to look deep into the packet and network metadata to identify various application-level information – clients accessing resources that are load-balanced, user authentication failures, ransomware, certificate and cipher audits, DHCP attributes of the endpoint, etc. The integration brings some of these key insights into the Tetration platform to enrich Tetration flows, by annotating relevant flows that correlate to these application patterns.

Service Visibility (ServiceNow): Information from Tetration analytics about end-points are now pushed to the CMDB. With this integration, the CMDB is enriched automatically and endpoint information in the CMDB is continually and automatically kept updated.

Service Assurance (Turbonomic): Deep insights on application communication patterns and network throughput & latency enables us to deliver analytics driven automated service assurance – to quickly recover from service degradation/outages or, better still, avoid service interruption by automating proactive VM/workload movement, right-sizing, placement, etc. With this integration, we are able to leverage Tetration insights to automate decisions on optimal workload placement in a virtualized environment.

Security Visibility and Orchestration (AlgoSec, Tufin): Security compliance platforms from our partners can now provide automated, continuous compliance assurance by tapping into the comprehensive corpus of inventory and flow information hosted on the Tetration Analytics platform. Security orchestration capabilities enable our customers to push security rules down to a variety of firewall devices, both on-prem and in the cloud. With this integration, customers will be able to enforce Tetration policies not just on the host agents and Cisco ACI infrastructure, but also on third-party firewalls.

This is just the beginning of our Tetration Ecosystem journey.  We would like to sincerely thank all these partners for collaborating with us to build integrated solutions to address key customer use-cases. We will continue to focus on deeper integrations with these partners to unlock more use cases as well as build integrations with new partners with the ultimate goal to make our joint customers as successful as possible.

Thank you to all of the executive support received from our partners:

AlgoSec: “We are excited to be a part of the Cisco Tetration Analytics eco-system”, said Anner Kushnir, VP of Technology at AlgoSec. “The synergy between Tetration’s powerful application discovery capabilities and AlgoSec’s business-driven security policy management and application connectivity mapping provides customers with unprecedented visibility into security risks and vulnerabilities in the context of business applications.”

Avi Networks: “Analytics and Big Data is a driving force in responsive, automated and secure IT, allowing customers to anticipate and proactively address business needs” said Edward Sharp, CSO at Avi Networks.  “By combining Cisco’s Tetration Analytics Platform with Avi’s application services fabric, including load balancing, analytics & insights, customers improve the value and security of their infrastructure, by detection and remediation of security policy outliers and anomalous traffic flows.”

Citrix: Ash Chowdappa, Vice President/General Manager, NetScaler ADC, Citrix

“Citrix and Cisco plan to strengthen our partnership with an emphasis on Analytics by integrating NetScaler ADCs and Management and Analytics Solution (MAS) with Cisco’s Tetration Analytics solution. The two-way exchange of network, application, infrastructure state information will help us deliver a complete L2 – L7 application stack visibility to simplify, optimize and secure application deployments. We look forward to continued integrated solution offerings  across our solution portfolio including NetScaler with hybrid cloud with Cisco CloudCenter, private cloud with Cisco ACI and Microsoft AzurePack, and micro-services deployments.”

Corvil: “It truly takes an ecosystem to address today’s complex challenges of data center visibility, service assurance, and security,” said David Murray, Chief Business Development Officer for Corvil.  “Our integration with Cisco Tetration Analytics gives customers new levels of insight and context to enable them to dynamically execute effective service and security policy changes to deliver improved and more secure digital experiences for their users and customers.  Through Corvil’s unique transaction insight we can further inform application and security policies around specific users, customers, and transactions.”

ExtraHop: Through this integration with ExtraHop, Cisco customers can now realize the benefits of network traffic analysis for security,” said Raja Mukerji, CCO at ExtraHop. “By adding the real-time application layer visibility delivered by ExtraHop to Tetration’s behavioral analytics and machine learning, we offer the industry’s most targeted, accurate, rapid security policy enforcement, helping customers thwart major threats like ransomware.”

F5 Networks: “Cisco and F5 have worked together closely to help customers achieve application deployment agility in Cisco Nexus/ACI environments,” said Calvin Rowland, SVP Business Development and Public Cloud at F5. “I’m excited that we’re now extending our successful collaboration by taking advantage of the L4‐7 analytics in F5 BIG‐IP along with the security policy enforcement capabilities of Cisco Tetration Analytics. Today, we are demonstrating our joint integration that enables Tetration to do policy enforcement based on application-level insights gathered from F5 BIG-IP. Together, we will deliver comprehensive full‐stack network analytics, combined with application delivery and security solutions to micro‐segment and secure east‐west communications in the Data Center.”

Infoblox: “By combining Infoblox Actionable Network Intelligence with Tetration discovered Application insights and automatic policy enforcement capabilities, Infoblox can track the threat propagation and enforce polices across virtualized and bare-metal server environments, thereby reducing the datacenter surface that is vulnerable to attack and increasing operational efficiency through automation of routine tasks associated with datacenter security.” Prakash Nagpal, VP, Product Marketing, Infoblox.

Turbonomic: “Together, Turbonomic and Cisco Tetration deliver joint customers with a deeper understanding of data center resources through analytics for their IT environment, which is complemented with powerful enhancements to workload placement, IT optimization, and automation. The combination enables customers to power their hybrid cloud environment with network aware placement and dynamic workload optimization. We look forward to executing on our joint roadmap to extend the value of these systems even further.” – Endre Sara, Vice President, Advanced Engineering at Turbonomic.

Tufin: “Cisco Tetration Analytics and Tufin Orchestration Suite are a powerful duo,” said Reuven Harrison, CTO, Tufin. “The two solutions combined can have an immediate positive impact on our joint customers who are seeking to secure their applications in a modern IT environment with hybrid cloud platforms and micro-service architectures. Our joint customers are already benefitting from this partnership by gaining deep visibility and enforcing tight network segmentation for their dynamic applications.”

Related links:

Ranga Rao’s Blog for Tetration 2.0: https://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/robust-ecosystem-for-tetration-analytics

DC ecosystem webpage: www.cisco.com/go/dcecosystem

Tetration webpage: www.cisco.com/go/tetration

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Staging and Setup for Cisco Live 17

– June 23, 2017 – 0 Comments

The average IT refresh cycle for access layer switches is typically anywhere between 5 to 8 years. This means the typical engineer configures a switch once, and then, other than minor changes, doesn’t have to reconfigure that switch again for a long time. The rollout process also tends to be staggered over time and location, with the typical rollout going building by building or floor by floor.

If you are with me so far, you can imagine my shock when I first took on the role of leading the NOC team at Cisco Live and learned that not only do I need to configure 500+ switches but I need to do so in about 3 months with the bulk of the requirements coming in about 3 weeks out. To make matters worse most of these were not brand new out-of-the-box switches. I was faced with the uphill task of wiping 500 switches, loading code on them and configuring them to be consistent and stable.

Fortunately, the range of products available to me made this enormous task relatively straightforward.

STAGING SETUP
We started off by building racks that we used to stage 3560cx switches. Each rack can hold 42 switches. We broke up each rack logically as bins and slots to make it easier to manage. As you can see below each rack has 3 bins and each bin has 14 slots.

Staging Racks loaded with Switches

Each slot has power, Ethernet and a console connection. Power is connected to a network controlled PDU so each slot can be turned off and on individually. Console cable connects to a terminal server that has a menu created that lists which line connects to which slot. Ethernet all runs back to a 3850 to provide network connectivity (and POE if APs are being staged). The 3850 uplinks to the network.

APs in the staging rack after hours

 

Terminal Server Menu

Now that we have all the logistics and setup are taken care of we can start the staging process.

PRE-STAGING CONFIG
As we load up the switches in a slot we scan the serial and the mac into a spreadsheet and use some formula magic to convert the base mac address to the address that will be used for the VLAN SVI of our switch mgmt. VLAN. The mac address is then used to create a reservation in Cisco Prime Network Registrar for DHCP.

This way, when the switch boots up and gets a DHCP address, it will be the same address that we will end up using for the show via static assignment. This helps us in two ways, one the address doesn’t change during the staging process so there’s no disruption to the process and two we see the same IP-SERIAL-MAC combo everywhere in the network, start to finish.

The scope on the DHCP server serving the switches had option 43 configured to point to APIC-EM

Switch staging
We used APIC-EM and its PNP features to stage all our switches this year. APIC-EM supports template variables which is what we used to configure a unique hostname and IP address for each switch.  You remember all those serials we scanned before? We used that csv to bulk upload the switch info to APIC-EM and into a project. This time around we did not get an opportunity to use APIC-EMs rich API capabilities to program a project but, are definitely looking to do so in the future.

APIC-EM CiscoLive PNP Projects

Once the switch info is in APIC-EM, we are ready to begin staging. On the uplink switch we added the PNP startup VLAN command to ensure the switch gets an IP in the right VLAN and can talk to APIC-EM. At this point, all we had to do is power on the switch. The switch would then boot up, grab a DHCP IP, connect to APIC-EM, download code, reboot and then download config. That’s it! We’re done.

Using APIC-EM we staged 3560CX switches, 3850-24XU switches and 3850-24XU stack switches. We had almost a 100% success rate. The few failures we had was because of code dependencies on the switch which is easily fixed by manually adding the PNP commands via console. A lot of these switches were provisioned over lunch, on the weekend at home and yes, even over a few beers while watching TV. That’s the beauty of this setup, it beats the alternative and ensures consistency on all the switches. Honestly, I don’t think I could ever go back to the old way of copy paste or USB.

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Delivering Hosted Private Clouds with Cisco and NetApp Managed EdgeCloud

– June 23, 2017 – 0 Comments

Over the past few decades, cloud consumption across the world has grown tremendously. We have seen servers get consolidated into the data center with resulting network simplification. While numerous organizations have been able to build successful businesses and network architectures consuming services from the cloud, there are specific use cases that are challenged with the cloud model. These use cases require stringent availability metrics, stricter data integrity and connectivity nuances that don’t fit well within the cloud model. Based on the specific needs, these use cases require the equipment to be located locally near or on the customer premise. In order to meet the needs of the customer there is a rapidly growing cloud business segment called the hosted private cloud. Cisco and NetApp are excited to deliver a joint hosted private cloud solution called the Managed EdgeCloud.

Cloud-in-a-Box Consumption Model

Network architects recognize that every use case and every workload is different. There are certain use cases that work better with resources that are either dedicated or in close proximity. A cloud-in-a-box solution can be hosted at the customer location as customer premise equipment (CPE) and managed by the service provider. Since equipment is located on the customer premise with the Managed EdgeCloud solution, it is ideal for users that do not want their data traversing the WAN, such as universities and research organizations. The user’s data security concerns are more bounded, given that data storage and usage remains within the local network. Additionally, the workload can be designed to deliver the metrics expected by the users. All of this, while maintaining the ease of consumption with a pure play cloud model. The service provider is still in charge of delivering the solution to the customer and delivering a preconfigured rack to the end customer that only requires connectivity to their network, power, and WAN. Once this is complete, the customer network is ready to go live. From that point onwards, the service provider can open up the solution and continue to monitor and manage it remotely.

Managed EdgeCloud Overview

Service Providers are looking for new ways to deliver value added services to their enterprise customers. They can fulfill this need for Hosted Private Cloud with the Managed EdgeCloud and extend their cloud infrastructure to the enterprise edge. This converged infrastructure solution from Cisco and NetApp is a prepackaged solution that they can be easily deployed at the customer location.

Managed EdgeCloud packs in powerful routing, storage and compute capabilities in a rack with an ability to support multiple concurrent virtual machines. The solution includes the Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISR 4000) for routing, Cisco UCS E-Series Server blades for compute, and NetApp FAS platform for storage. It is available in different sizes, with the smaller size being a great fit for mid-market and low-end Enterprise branches. Additionally, there are some new powerful UCS E-Series Server blades that will be available in July. Please check out Vikram’s blog for details.

Benefits of Managed EdgeCloud Solution

Managed EdgeCloud delivers the ease of use of cloud, while providing all the benefits of a CPE solution:

OPEX Savings: Just like a pure play cloud solution, customers are saved from the operational overhead of managing their infrastructure, even though the equipment is located on premise.

Predictability: One of the drivers for this use case is the need for predictability from the network, storage and compute that comprise this solution. Customers can now realize the benefits of a cloud based model while avoiding the unpredictability of a cloud based model. This ensures that their business-critical network is always on.

CAPEX Savings: One of the challenges with CPE solutions is the complexity of the network due to multiple components. MEC solution comes prepackaged and saves the customer from having to deploy and integrate various products that often require a multitude of management systems.

Increased Uptime: The customer can now rest easy knowing their network will be always on with the remote monitoring and maintenance by the service provider.

Data Integrity: The customer IT can be assured that the business data and intellectual property is contained and processed locally, since the cloud is located on the premise. This is especially relevant for universities and research organizations.

With the promise of a hosted Managed EdgeCloud, we are just scratching the surface in terms of the options the solution unlocks.

Visit us at Cisco Live Las Vegas – June 25-29, 2017

The Cisco and NetApp team will be showcasing the Managed EdgeCloud solution at Cisco Live Las Vegas. Please visit us at NetApp booth#2115 to learn more about the Manage EdgeCloud solution.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn and stay tuned for my next blog.

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Building the Platform for Intuitive Infrastructure

– June 22, 2017 – 0 Comments

Next week at CiscoLive we will begin to introduce the next evolutionary step for Unified Computing.  UCS was conceived a decade ago with the ambition to of tackle some of the hardest problems that existed in the data center. The architecture that emerged from that thinking has changed the shape of the industry and changed the game for thousands of IT organizations. A project we call Starship defines where we will go from here.

 

Let’s Take this Party to the Cloud

The term “Merakification” has been coined inside Cisco to describe evolving our products to a cloud-managed paradigm. With UCS we’ve already centralized systems management and orchestration in the fabric. With Starship we move it to the cloud, and that’s a big deal.

 

Follow your Intuition

We think it’s time to start letting the machines manage the machines. With Starship we will build a cloud-scale foundation to collect, baseline an analyze system telemetry to feed recommendation engines and deliver actionable intelligence to IT. We see the potential for systems to constantly optimize themselves and take more operational burden off of our customers shoulders. It’s time to personalize the experience to their role, make it much more dynamic, and continue pursuing our goal of pervasive simplicity. This is the path to intuitive infrastructure.

 

Secure the Future

The best way to prepare for the unexpected is to build on an architecture that can adapt quickly and efficiently to changing requirements. That’s been a hallmark of UCS from the beginning. The first phase of Starship is coming later this year, and as a SaaS platform, will inherently provide a level of operational and architectural futureproofing that can’t be achieved with infrastructure-based approaches we’re familiar with today. If you’re making any big decisions about which computing architecture is going to carry you forward strategically, Project Starship is something to be aware of.

If you’re at Cisco Live next week and want to learn more, please join us the session noted below.  We have a great panel lined up to discuss this and to share more about the project. You’ll also find a couple of demos available in the UCS area in the World of Solutions so please come by…and while you’re at it feast your eyes on our beautiful new M5 server lineup, which will be out as a preview as well.

There is a lot more to come on this topic so please keep an eye on the blog and stay tuned in with #CiscoUCS #CiscoHX.

Talk soon,

Todd

 

PSODCN-1185 Cisco UCS: The Road to Full-Potential Automation

Tuesday, Jun 27, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Level 2, Mandalay Bay K

 

Panelists:

Ashish Nadkarni, Program Director, IDC Worldwide Infrastructure Practice

Gautham Ravi, Director, UCS Poduct Management

George Bentinck, Product Manager, Meraki

Todd Branon, Director, UCS Product Marketing

 

 

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Accelerating your journey to the next generation data center with FlexPod

– June 22, 2017 – 0 Comments

Accelerating your journey to the next generation data center with FlexPod

Here at Cisco we are getting ready to head to Las Vegas next week for our annual customer event, Cisco Live 2017.  Before we get there, we have some exciting news to share with you about a new addition to our extremely successful FlexPod portfolio.

Guest Blogger: Siva Sivakumar, Senior Director, Cisco UCS Solutions

As many of you know, FlexPod is our highly acclaimed joint solution with NetApp and includes a portfolio of pre-validated, converged infrastructure solutions that combine the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), Cisco networking, and NetApp storage components.  FlexPod is built on technology trusted by over 8,400 customers worldwide with solutions that are optimized for the most popular infrastructure use cases, applications, and technology transition points in the industry, such as virtualized infrastructure, cloud computing, and enterprise applications.  And with continuous innovation over the past 7 years, the Flexpod portfolio has continued to help those customers simplify and modernize their IT environments in a constantly shifting technology landscape.

Today we are announcing a new member of our FlexPod family, FlexPod with SolidFire (Product name: FlexPod SF).  FlexPod SF provides all-flash, scale-out, block-based storage built using NetApp SolidFire Element OS software, Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS), and Cisco Nexus switching for a cutting-edge integrated infrastructure solution that ignites the full potential of a next-generation data center. It is designed to support multiple applications, clients, and tenants with the precise storage capacity and performance that each one needs.

FlexPod SF will appeal to our traditional infrastructure buyers, as well as new cloud and virtualization buyers who are building next generation data centers.  It delivers all the transformative capabilities you need to deploy new applications faster, more securely, with greater agility, and more cost-efficiently.

Answering next generation data center challenges

FlexPod SF is ideal for next-generation data center workloads. It delivers web-scale infrastructure to develop, deploy, and consume modern applications at cloud speed.  FlexPod SF expands our reach into enterprise virtualization/private cloud buyers and to service providers, as well as new use cases such as DevOps, OpenStack, Docker and XaaS, based on guaranteed QoS and on-demand scale out.

FlexPod SF allows customers to:

  • Reliably run hundreds of applications on a single platform with guaranteed SLAs and to independently set capacity and quality-of-service at minimum, maximum, or burst performance levels across the entire infrastructure.
  • Seamlessly meet business demands with SolidFire software defined architecture, simplified management and scale by automating every aspect of provisioning, management and reporting with 100 percent programmable NetApp SolidFire storage and Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) B-Series servers.
  • Align business expenses with business growth by reducing initial capital expenditures. FlexPod SF delivers controlled performance at lower operating costs by allowing customers to buy only as much compute and storage as they need, when they need it. NetApp SolidFire storage also enables VM deployment up to five times faster and provides granular “scale as you grow” capabilities with independent storage nodes.

With a system built on best of breed technology from Cisco and NetApp, you can deploy FlexPod SF with confidence and know that your data center is well positioned for the future.

Summary

FlexPod will continue to be a platform for innovation equipped to deal with the constantly changing technology landscape and ever-increasing demands on IT.  FlexPod SF is just the latest incarnation of the Better Together partnership between Cisco and NetApp.

In addition to today’s FlexPod SF Press Announcement , at Cisco Live U.S. in Las Vegas, June 25-29, we will be unveiling the new FlexPod SF solution. Come to the NetApp booth (#2115) at Cisco Live for the unveiling celebration on June 26th at 1PM.  Check out this NetApp FlexPod SF Blog and learn more about FlexPod and FlexPod SF by attending these Cisco Live Sessions at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.  Hope to see you in Las Vegas!

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Cisco HyperFlex gets more Chic and Edge-y in time for Vegas

– June 21, 2017 – 0 Comments

Over 1500+ New HyperFlex Customers

Greetings! We can’t believe Cisco Live US is already around the corner. Cisco HyperFlex continues to see rapid adoption with now over 1500+ customers across new industries and our current customers continue to scale-out their hyperconverged (HCI) footprints with the new high-performance HyperFlex All Flash nodes. HyperFlex is the hyperconverged platform of choice for customers around the world such as Bellevue Bank for their VDI trading desk environment and for education customers such as Hanyang University in South Korea – which is the very university my grandfather studied architecture in the 1950’s!

In addition to the advanced performance and features in the latest HX Data Platform release, we continue to bring new innovations to our customers with hybrid cloud solutions on HyperFlex with CloudCenter and new systems to rapidly deploy and provision VDI with our membership in the Citrix HCI Workspace Appliance Program. But talking with our customers we’ve heard a common request, they all love Cisco’s approach to hyperconvergence and want to deploy the same infrastructure simplicity in the edges of their operations going beyond their core data centers.

 

Introducing HyperFlex Edge for Remote and Branch Offices

HyperFlex is getting fully Edge-y with the new HyperFlex Edge HX220c nodes for Remote and Branch Office deployments (ROBO). These Edge configurations are designed specifically for the unique performance, availability, and economic requirements in ROBO environments. HyperFlex now offers a common hyperconverged platform from your core data centers and out to the edges of your operations. HyperFlex Edge is a perfect platform to standardize on all your unique ROBO environment types. The best feature of HyperFlex Edge is that it works with your existing ROBO networking and doesn’t require dedicated cluster fabric interconnects. You’re going to love it!

Cisco HyperFlex Edge features:

  • Single or Dual processors options
  • 128 GB memory per Edge node
  • SSD Caching with 3 to 6 HDD’s drive option per Edge Node
  • Three Edge nodes that connect directly to 1 Gbps networking

Learn more in the HyperFlex Edge At-a-glance.

Cloud-Composed Chic for the Edge

With the introduction of HyperFlex Edge the scale of HCI management rapidly increases from managing several clusters in the core to now dozens or hundreds of Edge deployments. Next week at Cisco Live, we will be unveiling Project Starship which brings next-generation cloud-based management to the UCS and HyperFlex portfolio. Cloud-management of HyperFlex delivers faster deployment, simplified operations and richer analytics that are especially powerful in a multi-site Edge environments.

The combination of Cisco’s Project Starship and HyperFlex makes Hyperconvergence Edge-y and turns Management Chic. Stay tuned for more on Project Starship from Cisco.

 

Experience HyperFlex and Preview Project Starship at Cisco Live Next Week

Learn how Cisco Redefined Hyperconvergence from Cisco’s SVP/GM of the Computing Systems Product Group, Liz Centoni. Liz will share about the unique approach Cisco has taken to hyperconvergence and the resulting industry-leading performance. She will also discuss Cisco’s unique ecosystem approach to delivering Hybrid and Multi-cloud experiences to hyperconverged deployments.

(Hyperconverged Infrastructure Redefined, Session ID: INSDCN-1017, Tuesday, Jun 27, 5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | World of Solutions, Innovation Showcase Theater, Booth # 2449)

Hear from Your Industry Peers transforming their IT operations with HyperFlex and get the latest details on the features and performance enhancements of the HX Data Platform.

(The Next HyperFlex Release is Arriving This Summer: Simple, Yet More Fully Loaded Than Ever!, Session ID: PSODCN-1250, Thursday, Jun 29, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. | Level 2, Mandalay Bay B)

Get a Preview of Cisco Project Starship and get the details on Cisco’s Next-Generation Intelligent Cloud-Based Management for UCS and HyperFlex.

(Cisco UCS: The Road to Full-Potential Automation, Session ID: PSODCN-1185, Tuesday, Jun 27, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Level 2, Mandalay Bay K)

Deepdive into the HyperFlex Data Platform and the built-from-scratch approach Cisco has taken to developing a file system specifically for hyperconvergence and to power a wider range of business-critical workloads.

(HyperFlex Data Platform – Technical Deepdive, Session ID: BRKINI-3010, Wednesday, Jun 28, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. | Level 2, Breakers CD)

Experience the new HyperFlex Connect management interface

& see the new HyperFlex Edge and All Flash Nodes

Visit the Data Center and Cloud Zone (in the Cisco Campus) during World of Solutions exhibit hours.

 

 

 

Start following Mr. HyperPossible @MrHyperP to get the latest and greatest on Cisco HyperFlex.

 

 

More resources on HyperFlex

Experience HyperFlex at Cisco Live 2017, Las Vegas

Learn about HyperFlex Momentum in the Channel

Read about HyperFlex Independent HCI Performance Testing by ESG

Read about the Economics of HyperFlex vs. Public Cloud

Visit cisco.com/go/hyperflex for much more on HyperFlex

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