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Open Networking with Cisco ACI and Open NX-OS

Over the last couple of years, Data Centers have become a key focus on networking innovations, particularly around the broad area of Software Defined Networking (SDN).  At Cisco, for nearly one year, we have been shipping our new way to build a Data Center with our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) solution. ACI relies on the vision of using a policy based methodology to enable network switches, services, and hypervisors to establish network connectivity among each other.

At the Open Networking User Group (ONUG), a survey reports that 3% of the networks run by ONUG members are built on open networking whereas 71% are not open at all.  The assessment of any system being declared “open” is a subjective term.  At Cisco we have built a foundational infrastructure in ACI, that relies on open protocols and programming constructs such as APIs, in order to provide a solution where the network becomes ‘invisible’ to the end user, and the network devices and services modules, such as firewalls, load balancers, physical and, virtual switches are automatically configured based on the end user intent. Read More »

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How Cisco ACI Stands out from other Network Virtualization Solutions – Part 1

[Note: This is part 1 in a three part series of blogs discussing how Cisco ACI stands alone in the market. Part 2 | Part 3]

Customers are bombarded by network virtualization and SDN technologies. In many cases, they are conflicted by vendor claims and marketing hype. Rob Lloyd, president of Cisco Systems highlighted some of that in his blog ACI or NSX.

In this blog and subsequent blogs, we’ll expand on Rob’s blog and provide more color on ACI differentiators compared to competing network virtualization solutions.

1)  ACI Simplifies Diagnosis of Slow email AccessIn this episode, Joe Onisick highlights a scenario where IT received complaints from users experiencing slow email access and timeouts sending email with large attachments. As a network admin, going about debugging this type of complaint to determine the root cause can be time consuming and cumbersome especially in a mixed environment of physical and virtual applications.

With ACI, the debugging process can be simple and quick with real-time visibility into the fabric. By examining the healthscore dashboard and email app profile from a central managed location, APIC, a corrective action can be taken quickly.

In this case, they can easily see that a new tenant is introducing data into a Hadoop cluster running on the same infrastructure neighboring racks, which has created a hotspot on the fabric that is impacting the email platform. The vAdmin can modify the fabric policy to enforce a QoS setting that quickly fixes the problem.

Correlating the problem would have been difficult with competing network virtualization solutions because the physical network admin would have not found an easy way to identify the email traffic vs. other types of traffic, nor to spot the place of hotspot or reason.

Joe Onisick shows us this all in detail in this whiteboarding video

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Discovering Application-Server-Network Dependencies to Facilitate ACI and Application Migration

Earlier this month, I blogged about the challenges of Cloud Sprawl.  Let’s now turn to the challenges of “Application Sprawl”!If you are planning migration of applications inside or between data centers, or if you are planning a migration to Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), the understanding of your applications and how they tie to the underlying infrastructure will be top of mind.

If you are not sure precisely what infrastructure you have in your data center, if you are not sure exactly how many application instances are running in your data center, and what the component workloads are, if you are concerned about whether your network design best serves your application estate: you are not alone!

Let’s be honest, many organizations are in this position – so  read on to find out more on how the Cisco Application Dependency Mapping Service will help you!  And we’ll tell you more about some exciting technology we’re incorporating to help understand the application landscape, and your associated software costs, via automated analysis coupled with the expertise of Cisco Services consultants.

Cisco Application Dependency Mapping Service - Key use Cases

Cisco Application Dependency Mapping Service – Key Use Cases

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Turning Data Challenges into Business Opportunities

At the recent Gartner BI Summit in Las Vegas, there was a lot of discussion about the paradigm shift underway in business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Business’s need for agile data access and self-service, combined with IT’s inability to satisfy this need, is causing disruption to traditional models and shifting the balance of power from IT to the business.

While that is certainly true, it is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been building for more than a decade.

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FlexPod Adds UCS Director Management, Database, and Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Last quarter, we featured solutions with Microsoft and edge computing solutions with UCS Mini. This quarter, FlexPod built on UCS integrated infrastructure and NetApp storage continues its leadership with new designs for data center management, database platforms, and hybrid cloud deployments.

Recently released solutions include:FlexPod DC

FlexPod with UCS Director

Two new validated designs feature UCS Director and how it provides IT administrators the capability to accelerate FlexPod deployments and automate frequent operational tasks.  The automation and self-service mechanisms enable users to consume infrastructure without manual intervention for provisioning or configuration of pooled resources. This combination of standardization, workflow automation and self-service offered in a secure manner by Cisco UCS Director on a FlexPod platform, gives businesses the opportunity to offer IT-as- a-Service. Cisco ACI provides fabric and services automation based on the needs of the application. However, there are other parts of the infrastructure that are required for applications to optimally operate, which are outside the scope of ACI.  Resources such as storage, virtual machines, and physical servers are still very important to applications.  This is where Cisco UCS Director helps accelerate deployments by automating all of FlexPod’s resources into a single automated process. Read More »