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Solving the last mile in Hadoop deployment

A recent Gartner report quotes “More than 30% of all support tickets (for hadoop) are related to mis-configuration”.

Despite the immense opportunity with Big Data, Customers deploying Hadoop clusters are still riddled with the complexity of deployment and manageability of Hadoop clusters at scale.  To make it worse, latent issues with incorrect configuration can impact application and business performance. With data volumes growing so quickly and business decision makers demanding faster response time, organizations need to find ways to consistently deploy Hadoop clusters and manage them efficiently.

Introducing Cisco’s UCS Director Express for Big Data to consistently, reliably and rapidly deploy Big Data Hadoop clusters and manage them under a single management pane. Built on the leading UCS Common Platform Architecture (CPA) for Big Data and award winning UCS Director platform, this product provides a single touch automation for end-end Hadoop deployment all the away from bare metal disk and network configuration to installing and setting up Hadoop services. It is tightly integrated with major Hadoop distributions to complement and communicate with Hadoop managers to provide centralized visibility across both the physical hardware as well as Hadoop services.

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What does this mean for customers? Customers can now deploy Hadoop clusters by pre-configuring hadoop policies in addition to infrastructure policies.  Hadoop stats and infrastructure stats can be correlated to better diagnose cluster bottlenecks. With out-of-the-box performance configured based on best practices for Cisco UCS CPA for Big Data, this means less time and resources spent on cluster tuning. In addition, the extensible and programmable infrastructure with north-bound REST APIs allows further customization and building add-on services.

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Providing a seamless customer experience, with enhanced agility and improved operational efficiency has been a key mantra for UCS. With UCS Director Express for Big Data, the same benefits are extended into the Hadoop application space.  Now, customers have a simpler and faster mechanism to realize the benefits from Big Data Hadoop adoption.

#EngineersUnplugged S6|Ep7: Technology Career Convergence

September 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, we take a break from talking about the technology and talk about the technologists! Where is your career headed, what are the trends? John Mark Troyer (@jtroyer) and Matthew Brender (@mjbrender) discuss the silos and the pros and cons of being a generalist vs a specialist.

Technology is quickly evolving from ACI to the storage space. Conclusion: always be learning. Especially if you’re in a unicorn-drawdown.

And we have a winner!

And we have a winner!

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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Four More Awards for the Cisco IT Team and Cisco Prime Service Catalog

The Cisco IT internal implementation of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, dubbed the Cisco IT “eStore”, is no stranger to awards. Earlier this year, the Cisco IT eStore ranked in the InformationWeek Elite 100 and was nominated a finalist for the Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) award.

If you aren’t familiar with the Cisco IT eStore and Cisco Prime Service Catalog, this intro video provides a great overview:

Now we are very proud to announce that Cisco IT has won not just one more, but four new honors: the 2014 “Stevie” Awards from International Business Awards.

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The Stevie Awards, which honor and generate public recognition of achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals, feature some of the most exciting work in business and information technology.

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This year, the team behind the Cisco IT eStore was recognized with a Gold Stevie Award for Information Technology Team of the Year. As this internal implementation of Cisco Prime Service Catalog grows in scale, this team has been working to rapidly deploy new services (whether desktop applications or data center infrastructure) and new capabilities (e.g. a new mobile interface) to provide a single, one-stop shop for all IT services at Cisco.  It’s effectively the internal “IT app store” within Cisco for all employees.

For more information on the Cisco IT eStore initiative, you can check out the case study here, my write-up on the eStore here, Adel du Toit’s blog post on the Cisco IT initiative here, and a great overview session from our recent Cisco Live conference here.

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Cisco IT also took home a Silver Stevie Award for their innovative work on our internal Lightweight Application Environment (LAE) – an innovative platform-as-a-service deployment that’s also powered by Cisco Prime Service Catalog as well as other tools including Jenkins and OpenShift.

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Within Cisco, we have a private cloud – dubbed the Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS) – that offers infrastructure-as-a-service with ready-to-go server, storage, and network resources for development teams.  Together, CITEIS and the Lightweight Application Environment allow Cisco application developers to focus on application coding and testing, not on the underlying infrastructure or platform. The LAE is called “lightweight” because the ordering and provisioning processes places very light demands on developers.

For both and CITEIS and LAE, the eStore (Cisco Prime Service Catalog) gives developers an easy-to-use, self-service portal for ordering and provisioning their application environment – providing on-demand access to the infrastructure as well as the required operating system, middleware, and system functions without manual provisioning by Cisco IT. All the resources they need are delivered just a few minutes after the developer orders them.  Here’s an example screenshot:

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You can read more about how Cisco IT enabled this Lightweight Application Environment in this blog post here.

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The final two Stevie Awards for Cisco IT this year were a Silver & Bronze medal for the Information Technology Executive of the year – awarded to our very own V C Gopalratnam (Cisco IT Vice President) and Michael Myers (Cisco’s Senior Director of Information Systems for Cloud Orchestration and Platform Service) respectively.

V C and Michael have played key roles in both the aforementioned CITEIS and LAE initiatives, enabling IaaS and PaaS via the Cisco IT eStore and Cisco Prime Service Catalog. We’re excited that these executives are being recognized for their leadership, and we look forward to what lies ahead for the Cisco IT and eStore team going forward.

If you aren’t already, be sure to follow @CiscoUM and @CiscoIT for the latest updates in these areas on twitter. Also visit cisco.com/go/service-catalog for more info on Cisco Prime Service Catalog.

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Application Enablement and Innovation Leveraging Linux Containers

Linux containers and Docker are poised to radically change the way applications are built, shipped, deployed, and instantiated. They accelerate application delivery by making it easy to package the dependencies along with the application. That means that a single containerized application can operate in different development, test and production environments and platforms (physical and virtual). While the concept of containerization is not new, the benefit of using containers to pull together all the application components (including dependencies and services) into a package for application portability is. As continuous integration and delivery require a very agile Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) process to move from development to production, containers provides the perfect abstraction to deploy and test across the various platforms. Application containers make it very easy for applications to be deployed on bare metal servers, virtual machines, and public clouds. The reason why containers are relevant Read More »

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Integrating ACI & Nexus 2000-7000

As the breadth and depth of the ACI solution continues to grow, so does customer interest.  Many customers who have invested in, and continue to invest in, the Nexus 2000-7000 switches find the ACI vision very compelling.  So, this leads to a logical question regarding how an existing Nexus 2000-7000 fabric will integrate with an ACI fabric.

In short, customers can leverage current Nexus products and add ACI capabilities to their data centers in an incremental manner.  Integrating ACI into an existing Nexus environment will not require replacement of existing Nexus switches.  The benefits of ACI policy can be extended to apps on both physical and virtual servers within the existing Nexus fabric.  This can be achieved as follows (double click on the graphic below to launch the 3+ minute presentation):

In this scenario, the existing Nexus fabric is serving as an optimized transport for an ACI overlay solution.  However, this solution is very different from other industry overlay solutions.   It’s different in that the ACI overlay provides integrated/embedded support for both physical and virtual servers, it allows use of existing L4-7 infrastructure, while providing the automation functionality of the ACI policy model.

If you’d like to learn more, there is a summary, as well as a white paper available.  There is also this video whiteboard session that covers a subset of the elements mentioned above.

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