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Bring IT to VMworld 2014!

August 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm PST

It’s time to dust off your most comfortable shoes, pack your spare battery packs, and warm up your throwing arm--VMworld 2014 is almost here. As always, the Cisco Data Center team has a lot going on both on the show floor and off. Here’s a quick guide to some of the community highlights for those attending and those watching it all unfold.

Conference hair? We have your solution. Visit us at Cisco Booth 1217 for your #CiscoUCS hat. Tweet a selfie and enter our raffle!

Conference hair? We have your solution. Visit us at Cisco Booth 1217 for your #CiscoUCS hat. Tweet a selfie and enter our raffle!

Sunday, August 24

8-11 am: vBreakfast
What better way to get to know the community than over breakfast at Mel’s Diner? Join #CiscoChampion Shane Williford and many others in this yearly tradition of carbo-loading for an action-packed day.

1-4 pm: Opening Acts
This new addition to kick off the community learning at VMworld is brought to you by the VMunderground group in partnership with vBrownBag, both of whom Cisco is sponsoring this year. Learn about topics spanning tech and professional development in this informal panel sessions.

3-5 pm #v0dgeball
For the 2nd year in a row, Cisco is the proud sponsor of Team CloudBunny at this annual charity event. Exactly what it sounds like, this is the time of year where smack talk is encouraged and a year’s worth of glory is earned. All proceeds benefit Wounded Warrior Foundation. So don a pair of ears, or just come out and prepare to cheer. Suggested donation is $5 for fans.

Yes, it's an actual charity dodgeball match! Come out to donate and cheer us on!

Yes, it’s an actual charity dodgeball match! Come out to donate and cheer us on!

8-11 pm #VMunderground
This annual tradition is bigger than ever! Come out to meet your colleagues at this community-backed event. Conveniently located right across from Moscone, it’s the perfect time to meet old friends and connect with new ones. We’ll be there with various giveaways (did someone say #vBacon?). Be sure to follow @CiscoDC this week for a chance to win one of the limited supply of #VMunderground wristbands available.

Tuesday, August 26

8-11 pm #vBacon
Back for the 3rd year, #vBacon is bigger and more bacon-filled than ever. If you’ve not yet registered, do so today for the VIP entrance into the community party where everyone knows your Twitter handle. Complete with caricaturists to capture the moment, locally themed food and drink, and lots and lots of bacon. Accept no imitations.

The one and only #vBacon happens Tuesday night! Join us!

The one and only #vBacon happens Tuesday night! Join us!

In between the social activities, there are great Cisco sessions, demos, and #EngineersUnplugged being shot at the Cisco Booth 1217. Also, we’ll be in the Social Media Lounge and on the vBrownBag stage. For a complete listing of learning opportunities, here’s a Full Cisco at VMworld Event Schedule. We look forward to connecting with you!

For those watching from home, you can keep up with the news by following any of the hashtags above, and also #CiscoUCS, #CiscoACI, #VMworld.

What’s on your schedule for next week?


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F5 device Package for Cisco APIC goes FCS

Recent few weeks should have been exciting if you are a customer of ACI.  First, we announced the shipment of ACI to Data Centers worldwide. Then, F5 announced that its device package for Cisco APIC is FCS. We also had a very successful F5 Agility at New York early in August, showcasing Cisco ACI-F5 Big IP joint solution in breakout sessions, world of solutions Expo and in keynotes Panels.  Cisco also recently published a jointly written technical whitepaper, a solutions brief and a Design guide with F5.

In this blog, I want to take you on a quick tour of the Cisco ACI-F5 integrated joint solution.

Traditional approaches to inserting L4-L7 services into a network entail highly manual operations, that takes days or even weeks to deploy. Likewise when an application is retired, removing a service device configuration, such as firewall rules, can be difficult. Cisco APIC can automate service insertion while acting as a central point of policy control. APIC can also automatically configure the service according to the application’s requirements, which allows organizations to automate service insertion and eliminate the challenge of managing the complex techniques of traditional service insertion.

Diagram-1: ACI – F5 Big IP Integration architecture


As depicted in diagram-1 above, F5 BIG –IP integrates with Cisco APIC through well established and open APIs (Simple Object Access Protocol [SOAP] or Representation State Transfer [REST]).  The result of the integration is a device package, which is currently available on F5’s software download website.  With the device package from F5 loaded on Cisco APIC, customers can achieve automated network and service provisioning across the F5 services fabric, providing end-to-end telemetry and visibility of applications and tenants. Cisco APIC acts as a central point of configuration management and automation for Layer 4 through 7 services and tightly coordinates service delivery, serving as the controller for network automation.

With Cisco ACI -F5 BIG-IP joint solution, customers can preserve richness of F5 Synthesis offering through policy abstraction, offering investment protection, application deployment agility, scale and secure multi tenancy and achieve great operational cost benefits.  Existing F5 Physical hardware or virtual editions can be deployed with Cisco ACI. Moreover, in this model, application policy based provisioning of workflows allows for efficient and faster roll out of application across multiple tenants while maintaining operational best practices across L2-L7 teams within an IT organization.

With Cisco ACI and F5, you can overcome your biggest IT agility and cost management challenges, ensuring responsiveness to customers and employees and a more competitive posture. As a result, rather than being a perceived barrier to success, your IT organization can drive innovation and agility to meet business objectives.

To learn more, please register for the technical webinar Cisco and F5 are hosting on Aug 26

Click here to Register


Relevant links

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Announcing Cisco UCS Performance Manager: Performance monitoring and capacity planning for UCS integrated infrastructures

Now get data center assurance for UCS integrated infrastructures and tie application performance to physical and virtual infrastructure performance.

You can achieve deep granular visibility into UCS components to optimize resources and deliver better service levels to customers without having to resort to multiple tools and “swivel-chair” management.




If you are going to be at VMworld next week stop by the Cisco booth. We will be on-hand with presentations and demos of UCS Performance Manager.  Get a first look on the show floor at the Cisco booth #1217. Here:

Moscone Convention Center-South Hall, San Francisco, CA
Sunday, August 24: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Opening Reception)
Monday, August 25: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 26: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 27: 10:00–5:00 p.m.

Fern Topology View1

Cisco UCS Performance Manager delivers capacity and performance management for Cisco UCS and integrated infrastructure network and storage devices. Just click on the device or the path and see the real-time performance metrics from the main dashboard.

With technology from Zenoss, this Cisco solution delivers granular device monitoring from a single customizable console. Cisco UCS Performance Manager uses UCS APIs to collect data from UCS Manager to display comprehensive information about all UCS infrastructure components.

Fern Application View dynamically Identifies Converged Infrastructure Components supporting the app

Using Dynamic Views you can view the integrated infrastructure elements that an application is using – right now. They’re kept up to date by configuration change events from VMware and UCS and accurately reflect the infrastructure resources used by each application.

You can easily spot where an error is affecting an application by examining the event rainbows of the components. With added benefits for VMware administrators: UCS Performance Manager gives you the ability to map virtual resources that include vSphere hosts, vSphere defined datacenters, vSphere VMs and endpoints. So, no matter how the application is defined (logical, physical or virtual), from the blade to the switch, you can dynamically see and drill down into affected components for one-stop troubleshooting.

We are also presenting an overview of UCS Performance Manager with a live Q&A at the Cisco booth. Some of the benefits we will be discussing:

  • We will show how UCS Performance Manager provides deep visibility for service profiles, chassis, fabric extenders, adapters, virtual interface cards, ports, and uplinks for granular data center monitoring.
  • How you can use UCS Performance Manager to maintain service-level agreements (SLAs) by managing optimal resource allocation to prevent under-provisioning and avoid performance degradation.
  • You can define component or application-centric views of critical resources; you can monitor SLA health and performance from a single console, eliminating the need for multiple tools.

Mark your calendar:
“Performance and Capacity Management for Cisco Converged Infrastructures”
Tuesday August 26, 2:00pm

And, at 3:30pm on Tuesday, Mark Balch, Director Product Marketing and Raju Penmetsa, Principal Engineer at Cisco will highlight UCS Performance Manager in their breakout session: “Management and Automation for UCS Integrated Infrastructure”.

Session MGT3158.
Room: Moscone West, Room 3022.
See more here:

Hope to see you there!

For more information, or to schedule a demo reach out to Andrew Blaisdell or to Vishwanath Jakka

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Introducing TPCx-HS – first Industry Standard for Benchmarking Big Data Systems

Over the past quarter century, industry standard benchmarks have had a significant impact on the computing industry. Vendors use benchmark standards to illustrate performance competitiveness for their existing products, and to improve and monitor the performance of their products under development. Many buyers use the results as points of comparison when purchasing new computing systems.

Continuing on the Transaction Processing Performance Council’s commitment to bring relevant benchmarks to industry, it is my great pleasure to announce TPCx-HS – the first standard that provides verifiable performance, price/performance and energy consumption metrics for big data systems. TPCx-HS can be used to asses a broad range of system topologies and implementation methodologies for Hadoop, in a technically rigorous and directly comparable, vendor-neutral manner. And while modeling is  based on a simple application, the results are highly relevant to Big Data hardware and software systems.

Developing an industry standard benchmark for a new environment like Big Data has taken the dedicated efforts of experts across many companies. I would like to thank the contributions of  Andrew Bond (Red Hat), Andrew Masland (NEC), Avik Dey (Intel), Brian Caufield (IBM), Chaitanya Baru (SDSC), Da Qi Ren (Huawei), Dileep Kumar (Cloudera), Jamie Reding (Microsoft), John Poelman (IBM), Karthik Kulkarni (Cisco), Meikel Poess (Oracle), Mike Brey (Oracle), Mike Crocker (SAP), Paul Cao (HP), Reza Taheri (VMware), Simon Harris (IBM), Tariq Magdon-Ismail (VMware), Wayne Smith (Intel), Yanpei Chen (Cloudera), Michael Majdalany (L&M), Forrest Carman (Owen Media) and Andreas Hotea (Hotea Solutions).

I envision that TPCx-HS will be a useful benchmark standard to buyers, as they evaluate new systems for Hadoop deployments in terms of performance, price/performance and energy efficiency. And for vendors in demonstrating competitiveness of their products.

Raghunath Nambiar
(Chair TPC Big Data Committee)

Additional information
TPCx-HS Portal
TPC Press Release
TPC takes the measure of big data systems by Joab Jackson

What’s Your Take on Enterprise Class Public Cloud (ECPC)?

There’s no doubt this question yields myriad of responses. Your input, thoughts, and perspectives are much appreciated. And here are few of my own recommended reads regarding the topic:

  • If you have not already read Xander Uyleman’s blog on “Finding the Perfect Cloud Service Provider”, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read it.
  • Overcoming business risks in the cloud is a major concern for many. Read Robert Dimicco’s blog for steps on how to best approach and defeat these challenges.
  • The latest special edition of Unleashing IT, published in partnership with Intel®, focuses on customers who have put their trust in Cisco Powered partners to deliver an ECPC to support their business—and it seems to be working well for them.

One of the most promising ways to approach IT concerns is to see how others are addressing them. To that end, I hope you’ll take a moment to subscribe to Unleashing IT so you can stay informed of how other companies and organizations much like your own are strategizing to stay ahead of their competition.

I’ve personally had several interesting conversations with customers around data center strategies.

On one occasion, it was very clear that the customer was not interested the business of “babysitting” hardware. I can relate; the laptop I am using to write this blog can be as demanding as a newborn at times—not fun when you are trying to work productively. Bottom line: the customer was looking for a service provider to meet all their demanding IT needs, including security and compliance, so they could focus on aspects other than IT management. I’m convinced their needs have been met—perhaps even exceeded—by a Cisco-certified service provider.

On the flip side, I’ve heard an argument from a start-up company that because they had access to schematic diagrams of the hardware they needed to support their business, they could simply build their own white box using over-the-counter components.


I have access to schematic diagrams (and kits) so I can build my own aircraft. Sounds great—in theory. Realistically, though, it doesn’t mean that I would actually do it. Especially if I have access to a fleet of rentals that I can book and fly anytime, then leave in someone else’s expert care after completing my journey. I think you get my point—and so did they. My unsolicited advice: consider an ECPC.

Lastly, I’ve of course had the “I can’t afford it” conversation. This one took more time, a few lattes, and discussions around the source of the budgets (CapEx versus OpEx). By the end of our conversation, the customer agreed that if an ECPC that met their IT requirements could be funded using OpEx, it might very well be a good fit.


But I digress. To hone in on the actual question at hand, here’s my opinion: Absolutely. ECPCs do exist, and can be beneficial to your business, provided you make informed decisions and ask the right questions of your service provider. If you find the right fit, outsourcing will allow you to effectively move workloads to an ECPC with confidence. And if, after all of that, you are still not sure, consider kicking the tires with a DRaaS solution for some of those workloads and scale that environment once you have gained more confidence in your provider.


When your business is on the line, there’s more to it than just deciding to have a third party manage your IT assets. You need to select a service provider you can rely on and confide in to guarantee your business is in good hands. Cisco Powered™ Cloud and Managed Services brings together everything you may need, and Cisco Powered partners are trusted experts who can help you realize the benefits of an ECPC.

Learn more here.