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Business Continuity and Workload Mobility for Private Cloud (Cisco Validated Design-Part1)

As a Cloud Architect, I’ve had the privilege to work with CTOs and CIOs across the globe to uncover the key factors driving Business Continuity and Workload Mobility across their cloud infrastructures. We’ve worked with enterprises, large and small, and service providers to answer their top five concerns in our new Business Continuity and Workload Mobility solution for the Private Cloud.

1) Can you provide business continuity, workload mobility, and disaster recovery for my unique mix of applications, with lower infrastructure costs and less complexity for my operations teams?  Yes.

2) Can you provide a multi-site design that reduces business outages and costly downtime, allowing my critical applications to be more secure and available? Yes.

3) Can my operations teams perform live migrations of applications across sites while maintaining user connections, security, and stateful services?  Yes.

4) Does your multi-site solution allow me to utilize idle standby capacity during “normal” operations, and reclaim that capacity as needed during an outage event?  Yes.

5)  Can your Cisco Validated Design greatly reduce my deployment risks and simplify my design process, saving my business significant time, money, and resources?  Yes.

A Proven Multi-site Design, Built on the Most Widely Deployed Cloud Infrastructure    

We addressed each of these pain points as we designed, built, and validated our new multi-site business continuity and workload mobility solution. Our multi-site solution is built upon Cisco’s cloud foundation, the Virtual Multi-service Data Center (VMDC) that’s been deployed at hundreds of the world’s top enterprises and service providers. In our latest VMDC release, we’ve extended our cloud design to support multi-site topologies and critical use cases for private cloud customers. This validated design simply connects regional and long-distance data centers within your private cloud to address some critical IT functions, including:

  • application business continuity across data center sites;
  • stateful workload mobility across data center sites, will maintaining user connections and security;
  • application disaster recovery and avoidance across data center sites; and
  • application geo-clustering and load balancing across data center sites.

Cisco business continuity and workload mobility for the private cloud -Cisco Validated Design

Choose the Cloud Infrastructure that Fits Your Unique Business Needs

The  VMDC Business Continuity and Workload Mobility solution (CVD Design Guide) is grounded in the reality of today’s cloud environment, providing different design choices that match your applications needs. We realize there is no “one size fits all” cloud design, that’s why we support both physical and virtual resources, multiple hypervisors and storage choices, and security compliant designs with industry certifications like FISMA, PCI, and HIPPA.

Key Factors Driving Business Continuity and Workload Mobility in the Private Cloud
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Bring Your Own Service: Why It Needs to be on InfoSec’s Radar

Security concerns around cloud adoption can keep many IT and business leaders up at night. This blog series examines how organizations can take control of their cloud strategies. The first blog of this series discussing the role of data security in the cloud can be found here. The second blog of this series highlighting drivers for managed security and what to look for in a cloud provider can be found here.

In today’s workplace, employees are encouraged to find the most agile ways to accomplish business: this extends beyond using their own devices to work on from anywhere, anytime and at any place to now choosing which cloud services to use.

Why Bring Your Own Service Needs to be on Infosec's Radar

Why Bring Your Own Service Needs to be on Infosec’s Radar

In many instances, most of this happens with little IT engagement. In fact, according to a 2013 Fortinet Survey, Generation Y users are increasingly willing to skirt such policies to use their own devices and cloud services. Couple this user behavior with estimates from Cisco’s Global Cloud Index that by the year 2017, over two thirds of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud proves that cloud computing is undeniable and unstoppable.

With this information in mind, how should IT and InfoSec teams manage their company’s data when hundreds of instances of new cloud deployments happen each month without their knowledge?

Additionally, what provisions need to be in place to limit risks from data being stored, processed and managed by third parties?

Here are a few considerations for IT and InfoSec teams as they try to secure our world of many clouds:

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Cisco and Microsoft SQL Server 2014

April 16, 2014 at 11:18 am PST

Fig 1 Overview

This week Microsoft launched SQL Server 2014, their data management and business intelligence platform. SQL Server at Microsoft has grown tremendously over the years; it is far from its origins as a simple relational database that Microsoft licensed from Sybase years ago. For the 2014 version of SQL Server, Microsoft has focused on continuing their drive to deliver mission critical performance, use that performance to provide for heterogeneous data access and insight, and finally delivering a data platform for customer’s private and hybrid cloud solutions.  At Cisco we believe that our Unified Data Center architecture provides an optimum compute, network, and management offering for your Microsoft SQL Server solutions:

Compute – Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS)

 Fig 2 Compute

Our Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server family is an intelligent fabric-based computing infrastructure that simplifies operations and speeds application deployment in physical and cloud computing environments. UCS combines industry-standard x86 architecture blade and rack servers, networking, and enterprise-class management into a single cohesive system. UCS’s configuration is entirely programmable using unified, model-based management to simplify and accelerate deployment of Microsoft workloads, bare-metal or virtual, such as SQL Server 2014. Its unified I/O infrastructure uses a high-bandwidth, low-latency unified fabric to support networking, storage I/O, and management traffic. UCS unified fabric increases performance, security, and manageability by extending fabric directly to servers and virtual machines. UCS servers are 100% stateless, delivering a highly flexible server environment that allows for dynamic utilization of server hardware

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ACI enables a world class Service Oriented IT organization

April 16, 2014 at 11:00 am PST

Private Clouds are fundamentally challenging how modern data centers are acquiring and consuming IT.  Nearly half of large enterprises polled[1] have deployed a private cloud, its reasonable to say organizations are tackling head-on the key concerns of designing, building and deploying a private cloud today. The top challenges are security of data, control and efficient delivery of applications as cloud services; need to be compliant, need for in-house expertise and added upfront costs. Added to the challenges is the network that is becoming the remaining bottleneck to business agility after everything else gets virtualized and automated. SDN is the key component[2] of any cloud computing strategy in making IT more agile and, therefore, more responsive to the needs of the business.

At our April 2 webcast,  New Applications Are Knocking: Is your Data Center OPEN for Business?, we explored insights from ACI ecosystem vendors and customers that are addressing these challenges using the Nexus 9000, cloud orchestration, and the open capabilities of ACI.

Cisco Customer Insights Panel - April 2, 2014

Cisco Customer Insights Panel -- April 2, 2014

At that event, Chuck Crane, Lead Networking and Security Architect at Acxiom, shared the accelerating pace that his team is expected to deploy infrastructure in – from weeks down to  hours with an astounding 20,000 network and security changes in their cloud infrastructure per year.

His DevOps teams are accelerating their deployment cycles from six months down to two week sprints so the IT organization must deliver new infrastructure services almost instantly.  Chuck and the other customer discussions can be found at the 40 minute mark in this video of the event.

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)  solves not only the technical challenges but also delivers the operational, service-level, and financial business improvements that help organizations become world class service oriented IT organizations.  ACI gives IT leaders the ability to manage even the most complex private cloud environments more easily and transparently.

The architecture provides a common programmable automation and management framework for network, application, security, and virtualization teams.   This framework makes IT more agile while reducing application deployment time.  In short, Cisco ACI enables a world class service oriented IT organization by coordinating application, network and security teams to maximize the benefits of a policy-driven data center that support open, standard controller APIs to maximize flexibility and minimize lock-in. In other words, ACI enables the IT to be more strategic in streamlining the IT resources and to act like an internal service provider, essentially “running IT as a business”.

Related:

Introducing OpFlex – A new standards-based protocol for Application Centric Infrastructure

The Promise of an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)

Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Includes Strong Partner Ecosystem for Security and Network Services

The Dynamic Security Model of Cisco ACI (video)

Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI): Application Network Profiles for Security and Network Services


[1] Gartner, Private Cloud Matures, Hybrid Cloud Is Next, Analyst: Thomas J. Bittman

[2] Top 10 Technology Trends, 2013: Cloud Computing and Hybrid IT Drive Future IT Models, 6 February 2013, David W. Cearley, Donna Scott, Joe Skorupa, Thomas J. Bittman

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#EngineersUnplugged S5|Ep7: How Data Becomes Information

April 16, 2014 at 10:31 am PST

In this week’s episode, Nils Swart (@NLNils) and Stace Hipperson (@stacehipperson) discuss how data becomes information via Open Daylight. Have they whiteboarded network engineer nirvana? Watch and see. More data!

This is in fact unicorns in a distance. Foiled again:

Stace Hipperson and Nils Swart own their unicorns.

Stace Hipperson and Nils Swart own their unicorns.

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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