My final observation from my days at the London Gartner Data Center Conference is related to SDN and ease of network management – or otherwise. Hopefully this discussion will give you some ideas for good questions to ask at the Las Vegas conference, which is running as I write this.
Cisco UCS on show at the Gartner Data Center Conference
Before I start, if you are at the conference in Las Vegas, please do take time out to visit the Cisco stand #305 to find out more onCisco solutions including Unified Computing and ACI. Also take some time to say hello to our with new, exciting team members from our Metacloud acquisition – it’s fantastic to have such OpenStack and DevOps expertise in particular part of the Cisco team.
To catch up on my earlier questions, see my part 1 and part 2 blogs – questions you can ask at any SDN conference or of any vendor, since this blog series is not just about the Gartner conference. Now on to more SDN questions to ask ….
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Tags: ACI, API, Cisco UCS, cisco_services, network_management, nms, SDN
More data allows for better and more expansive analysis. And better analysis is a critical success factor for businesses today.
But most data warehouses use the once-in-never-out principle when storing data. So whenever new business activities occur, new data is added without removing old data to make room. New data sources, such as data from social media networks, open data sources, and public web services further expand the warehouse. Unfortunately, all this growth comes at a cost.
Is there a way you can have your cake and eat it too?
With Hadoop and Cisco Big Data Warehouse Expansion, you can.
Disadvantages of More Data
While everyone understands the business advantage that can be derived from analyzing more data, not everyone understands the disadvantages that can occur including:
- Expensive data storage: Data warehouse costs include hardware costs, management costs, and database server license fees. These grow in line with scale.
- Poor query performance: The bigger the database tables, the slower the queries.
- Poor loading performance: As tables grow, loading new data also slows down.
- Slow backup/recovery: The larger the database, the longer the backup and restore process.
- Expensive database administration: Larger databases require more database administration including tuning and optimizing the database server, the tables, the buffer, and so on.
Three Options to Control Costs
The easiest way to control data warehouse costs is to simply remove data, especially the less-frequently used or older data. But then this data can no longer be analyzed.
Another option is to move the lesser-used data to tape. This option provides cost savings, and in an emergency, the data can be reloaded from tape. But analysis has now become EXTREMELY difficult.
The third option is to offload lesser-used data to cheaper online data storage, with Hadoop the obvious choice. This provides a 10x cost savings over traditional databases, while retaining the online access required for analysis.
This is the “have your cake and eat it too” option.
The Fast Path to Transparent Offloading
Cisco provides a packaged solution called Cisco Big Data Warehouse Expansion, which includes the data virtualization software, hardware, and services required to accelerate all the activities involved in offloading data from a data warehouse to Hadoop.
And to help you understand how it works, Rick van der Lans, data virtualization’s leading independent analyst, recently wrote a step-by-step white paper, Transparently Offloading Data Warehouse Data to Hadoop using Data Virtualization, that explains everything you need to do.
Read The White Paper
Download Transparently Offloading Data Warehouse Data to Hadoop using Data Virtualization here.
To learn more about Cisco Data Virtualization, check out our page.
Join the Conversation
Follow us @CiscoDataVirt.
Tags: Cisco Big Data Warehouse Expansion, Cisco Data virtualization, data analytics, data virtualization, Data Warehouse, Hadoop, rick van der lans
Shadow IT is estimated to be 20-40 percent beyond the traditional IT budget. The ease by which organizations can purchase apps and services from cloud service providers (CSP) contributes significantly to this spending. This is an eye-catching number worthy of investigation—not only to identify and reduce costs, but to discover business risks. So, it is no surprise that CIOs and CFOs have started projects to identify and monitor unknown CSPs.
I often get questions from customers asking if it is possible for IT to monitor cloud service usage and discover shadow IT using existing technologies, and what the pros and cons would be.
The first CSP monitoring approach I am asked about is the use of secure web gateways. A gateway captures and categorizes incoming web traffic and blocks malicious malware. The benefit of this approach is that the gateways are typically already in place. However, there are several limitations in relying exclusively on this approach. Gateways cannot differentiate between a traditional website and a CSP which might be housing business data. They also have no way of discerning whether a given CSP poses a compliance or business risk. Most importantly, to use gateways to track CSPs, IT would need to create and maintain a database of thousands of CSPs, and create a risk profile for each CSP in order to truly understand the specific service being consumed.
The second approach I get asked about is whether organizations can use NetFlow traffic to monitor CSPs. Many customers feel that they can build scripts in a short amount of time to capture usage. Simply answered, yes this can be done. But organizations would face a similar challenge as if they were using web gateways. To capture CSP traffic using NetFlow, IT would need to develop scripts to capture every CSP (numbering in the tens of thousands). Then identify how each CSP is being used, the risk profile of the CSP to an organization, and how much the CSP costs to project overall spend. This is just the beginning. An IT department would then need to build reporting capabilities to access the information as well as continually maintain the database; and apply resources to this undertaking on a monthly basis to ensure the database was current.
The good news, Cisco has done this work for our customers! We have developed Cloud Consumption Services to help organizations identify and reduce shadow IT. Using collection tools in the network, we can discover what cloud services are being used by employees across an entire organization. Cloud Consumption includes a rich database of CSPs and can help customers identify the risk profile of each CSP being accessed, and identify an organization’s overall cloud spend.
Cisco has helped many IT organizations discover their shadow IT. For example, we worked with a large public sector customer in North America who was struggling to embrace the cloud, but were concerned about business risks. Employees were pushing for cloud services to improve productivity when 90% of Internet traffic was blocked by the organization’s policy. Despite these restrictions, 220 cloud providers were being used already and less than 1% were authorized by IT. Leveraging Cloud Consumption Services, the customer was not only able to manage risk, but also authorize future cloud services based on employee needs in a controlled manner.
It is a good practice for every IT organization to understand how employees are using cloud services and monitor usage on an on-going basis. I encourage our customers to determine which approach would work best for their organization; otherwise they may face unknown business risks and costs.
To learn more about avoiding the pitfalls of shadow IT and how you manage cloud services, please register to attend an upcoming webinar on Dec 11, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. PT.
Tags: Cisco Cloud Services, cloud, cloud concerns, Cloud Consumption, Cloud Management, cloud security, cloud services, data security, security, Shadow IT
The London Eye
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, last week I attended the Gartner Data Center Conference in London. I came out of the conference with some questions I asked and some questions I wish I had asked! So if you are attending the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, USA, this week, here are some suggested questions you can ask in the SDN-related seminars! And if you are not at the conference, don’t worry – feel free to ask these questions of your candidate SDN vendors (including Cisco!)
Today I’ll cover :
(4) If OpenStack is part of your SDN/NFV solution, can you help us on OpenStack?
(5) What is the best hardware server platform for NFV/virtualised workloads?
I’ll leave question (6) on SDN and management until tomorrow – I feel a rant coming on and I’ll need more space Again, for questions (1) – (3), please refer to my part 1 blog.
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Tags: ACI, cisco_services, Gartner Data Center, NFV, OpenStack, SDN
Cisco ACI is gaining momentum and mindshare in the industry as testified by the 160 plus licensees for the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), and 900 plus customers for the Nexus 9k platform. All of this in less than three months since going live in August 2014. Riding on that wave of success, we are pleased to announce the Cisco ACI Simulator, a physical appliance that provides a simulated Cisco ACI environment. The appliance is a full-featured Cisco APIC controller software along with a simulated fabric infrastructure of leaf switches and spine switches in one physical server.
If you wondered how it is going to help you, think of it as a self-contained environment with Cisco APIC instances with real production software. You can use it to quickly understand ACI features, exercise APIs, and initiate integration with third-party orchestration systems and applications. The ACI simulator will also allow you to use the native command line CLI and GUI via APIs that are available for third-parties. If you are a developer or Cisco partner, this is an ideal way to develop and test your solution. If you are a customer, you can use this in your test lab to create profiles for your enterprise apps with your actual application delivery controllers and security devices. This belongs in any well-architected DevOps environment.
Topology of the simulator
The Cisco ACI Simulator enables you to simulate the Cisco ACI fabric, including the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches supported in a leaf-and-spine topology, to take full advantage of an automated, policy-based, systems management approach. Specifically, the ACI simulator environment comprises 2 ACI spines, 2 ACI leafs, and 3 APIC controllers.
The Cisco ACI Simulator includes simulated switches, so you cannot validate the data path. However, some of the simulated switch ports are mapped to the front-panel server ports which allows you to connect external management entities such as VMware ESX servers, VMware vCenter, VMware vShield, and bare-metal servers; Layer 4 through 7 services; authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) systems; and other physical and virtual service appliances. In addition, the Cisco ACI Simulator allows simulation of faults and alerts to facilitate testing and demonstrate features.
The ACI simulator provides a variety of features and benefits, key ones summarized in the table below.
||Topology view, Fabric discovery
|Creation of network constructs
||Build a tenant, private layer 3 network, bridged domain
|Specify Cisco ACI policy constructs
||Create Filters, Contracts
||create Application Network Profiles, End-point groups
||VMware ESXi, vCenter, vshield
|L4-L7 services integration
||Cisco ASA/ASAv, Citrix NetScaler and F5 BIG-IP
|Monitoring and troubleshooting
||View faults, events, managed objects etc through GUI
|Programmability with Northbound API clients
||Python, REST APIS with JSON & XML bindings, PowerShell etc
Additionally, please refer to the Cisco ACI compatibility matrix for a full list of supported capabilities and the Datasheet for detailed specifications. In closing, I want to bring to your attention to the general availability of APIC release 1.0(2i) and Cisco NX-OS release 11.0(2i) for Cisco Nexus 9000 Series ACI-Mode Switches. This release delivers new hardware and software capabilities that will further the customer momentum we are seeing with ACI.
For more information, visit
Tags: CISCO ACI Simulator, Cisco APIC, L4-L7 services integration, Nexus 9000 Platform, programmability, spine-leaf architecture