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ESG Survey of IT Security Professionals Provides Insight to Data Center Security Issues

Yesterday, I reported on Cisco’s new ACI security announcements and an overview of our secure data center strategy. Today, I wanted to share some interesting market insights that we pulled from a survey conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) that Cisco commissioned, and that validates some key data center security trends and requirements that support our product strategy. Some of the key conclusions and data collected were shared in press coverage of the product announcement. The full survey results are here, and below are some summary graphics we prepared for our launch event.

Project Overview

Cisco commissioned the survey (conducted by ESG) to learn more about the challenges and issues IT professionals face when planning and implementing data center security.


  • The survey sampled 154 IT security professionals in North America responsible for network security requirements and operations. All respondent organizations had to be using physical firewalls (or virtual firewalls) and access control lists (ACLs).
  • Most respondents represented large midmarket organizations (defined as organizations with 500 to 999 employees) and enterprise organizations (organizations with 1,000 up to 10,000 employees). 71 percent operated from three up to 20 data centers worldwide.
  • The study included broad representation from industry verticals: financial, manufacturing, health care, government, retail and business services.
  • The survey was conducted in April 2015.

Top Survey Findings

The people problem:  Implementing network security controls is tedious and time-consuming.

  • 69 percent of organizations reported it takes from one man-hour up to four man-hours on average to convert a single new application network requirement into a network device or firewall configuration (before they even implement the new configuration, test it, etc.)
  • 74 percent say that it takes days or weeks to implement security device updates from request all the way through to production implementation. (See InstaGraphic below)

Solution: Just like SDN revolutionized the data center by automating network configuration changes, ACI is accelerating security changes by automating device updates and configuring how security services are inserted into application networks, helping to ensure greater accuracy and allowing IT to keep up with business requirements.

ACL changes days or weeks

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Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) wins best of Interop award for DC category!

Just a few months ago, Cisco announced an innovative new feature called Intelligent traffic Director (ITD) on the Nexus 7000. ITD offers customers a  hardware based multi-terabit load-balancing and traffic re-director solution unmatched in the industry. Yesterday, at Interop, ITD was recognized for its industry leading innovation and capabilities with the best of Interop award in the data center category.





Since it’s introduction, the customer feedback has been nothing short of remarkable.  ITD has gotten tremendous interest and traction from both Enterprise and Service providers who are using it to scale out Firewalls, IPS, Video Caching, Server Load Balancing, Professional Media Network devices, WAAS etc. ITD is helping businesses solve their real world problems and delivering significant value in terms of increased capabilities, scale while significantly lowering their lower Capex and Opex.

Based on the strong demand for ITD, Cisco is extending ITD across the Nexus portfolio starting with the Nexus 5000 and Nexus 9000 Series by the end of this month. We are also continuing to enhance ITD with a comprehensive roadmap which includes new features, support for enterprise and SP router/switches, new extensions for mobile operators and an ecosystem involving several partners.

Needless to say, the ITD team was totally excited with the recognition and they didn’t hold back 

ITD award










Congratulation to the entire ITD team for their dedication and passion…indeed a well deserved award.

You can get more information on ITD capabilities and features here.



Enhance Data Center Security and Automation with New Cisco ACI Features and Partners

We’ve been talking for a while about Cisco ACI’s leadership in SDN security features (like here), and in the design of our fine-grained security policy enforcement between individual workloads, sometimes called microsegmentation. Today, here at Interop, Las Vegas, Cisco is reaffirming its thought leadership in data center security and SDN automation with a couple of announcements, including the integration of Cisco FirePOWER next generation intrusion prevention system (NGIPS) into the ACI security framework. In other news, another ACI ecosystem security partner was announced last week at the RSA Security Conference: Fortinet, who will be integrating their Fortigate firewall platform with ACI.

The Cisco ACI + FirePOWER solution enables real-time detection, mitigation and remediation for advanced security threats inside the data center by combining granular application visibility and control, threat detection, advanced malware protection (AMP) capabilities of FirePOWER NGIPS with ACI microsegmentation, advanced security service insertion, and L4-7 policy automation. To quickly summarize how this all comes together and a sample use case for ACI security, we created the following video:

Available in June, 2015, new ACI advanced security works to protect data centers before, during, and after attacks, dynamically detecting threats and automating incident responses. The Cisco FirePOWER family of security appliances consists of industry-leading NGFW, NGIPS appliances offering best-in-class threat effectiveness, superior visibility and global threat intelligence.

Attack Continuum

FirePOWER + ACI = Automated Security with Advanced Protection Across Attack Continuum for Physical and Virtual

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Cisco APIC wins Best of Interop 2015 award in SDN category

The Best of Interop Awards for 2015 were announced today at 5.30 PM, at the Interop Theater. Cisco APIC won the Best of Interop award in the SDN category.


To learn more about this unique product, you can refer to the following posts:

I want to extend my congratulations to the entire team at Insieme Network Systems Business Unit and recognize their hard work in developing this award winning Product.

Cisco appreciates the recognition from the Interop judges and it’s a great compliment to the recognition Cisco APIC is getting from its customers.

Please visit Cisco demo booths at the Expo Hall for a live demo of APIC and its integrated solutions with industry-leading partners.

photo 2

For more information on ACI


Cisco at EMC World: Stop, Win and Save

Cisco booth 221 at EMC World 2015: Stop, Win, and Save (SWS)

I’m looking forward to EMC World 2015 at the Venetian in Las Vegas where thousands of attendees will meet and learn about the latest in storage, networking, and solutions.  To that end of learning more,  this year it is easier and more rewarding than ever to engage with Cisco at EMC World. Just drop by our booth or attend a Cisco breakout session, learn about our latest products, technologies, and solutions, and win great prizes.

Stop at Cisco Booth 221

For attendees to learn more about Cisco technologies, Cisco offers demonstrations, a mini-theater, three breakout sessions and an area carved out for engineers unplugged.

Demonstrations cover the following Cisco products and solutions:

Our mini theatre includes presentations from Cisco and our technology partners. A quick summary of our theater content:

Dr_dre_earbuds_1 Dr_dre_earbuds_2


Engineers Unplugged offers another avenue to learn about Cisco technologies.  Engineers and technical marketers explain the benefits of Cisco data center technologies, while being recorded.  Attendees can listen to a quick conversation at EMC World or take in the video later at their own convenience.   #EngineersUnplugged: Episodes will be shot Monday through Wednesday.

In addition, Cisco hosts three breakout speaking sessions including:

  • Cisco UCS & EMC Solutions
    • Date: Monday, May 4th
    • Time: 1:30 – 2:30 PM
  • Transform Your Mission Critical Data Center With New Cisco MDS 9000 Family Innovations
    • Date: Tuesday, May 5th
    • Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM
  • Policy-Based Infrastructure Provisioning For VDM & Recover Point With Cisco ACI
    • Date: Wednesday, May 6th
    • Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM

After each of these breakout sessions, one winner will be chosen for a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Microsoft_Surface_Pro_3 Microsoft_Surface_Pro_4


Win More Cool Prizes

At the Cisco booth , winning happens in other ways:

  • After a few short questions at the registration desk attendees can win these great-looking Cisco hats:


  • Take a selfie wearing a Cisco UCS hat and also win a chance at a Dr. Dre Ear Bud, one winner per day


Perhaps most importantly is the long-term savings customer gain by moving to Cisco technologies.  One example is Cisco UCS servers and Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure.

Customers the world over have benefited as Cisco has seen its server customer base increase from zero to over 41,000 in a little more than 5 years.   In fact, Cisco UCS serves has grown extremely fast in nearly every dimension.



In addition, the UCS architectures and these differentiators deliver significant benefits to your organization:

  1. Save on software licensing costs
  2. Increase server availability dramatically
  3. Decrease server deployment errors
  4. Automate at all levels
  5. Cloud-proof your future infrastructure needs

Benefits Slide (cobble)

UCS Integrated Infrastructure take these UCS Servers benefits to the next level, combining UCS Servers, Nexus switches and UCS Director with EMC storage. UCS Integrated Infrastructure plus

  1. EMC Storage = Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX or Vblock

UCS Integrated Infrastructure _EMC World_II

UCS Integrated Infrastructure can really be thought of as the “Intel Inside” of Vblocks and Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX.   Much of the IP of a Vblock or Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX is contained in these Cisco technologies.

Cisco Integrated Infrastructure, Vblocks and Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX offer all the benefits of UCS Servers and more. UCS Integrated Infrastructure inherits all these UCS Server benefits of saving money, higher productivity, increased agility and integration and combines them EMC storage for even greater customer benefits of integration and fast deployment and faster time to value of complete solutions.

Please stop, win and save at Cisco booth 221 for EMC World 2015!