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ACI for Splunk Enterprise: Enabling comprehensive application health

On January 13th, 2015, Cisco will celebrate the 1-year anniversary of its launch of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), a ground breaking SDN architecture.  It will include a public webcast with the participation of early ACI adopters and our ecosystems partners.  One of these inaugural partners was Splunk,  the Operational Intelligence company for all types of IT organizations.  At the webcast, Splunk and other partners will describe  a range of new solutions with ACI, that dramatically simplify Data Center operations. Here is a preview of Splunk’s solution.

A large portion of the data center operational effort is consumed in managing application health.  This includes:

  • Ensuring the end-user experience for distributed users with different types of performance needs
  • Discovering the physical and virtual resources associated with applications and the user experience
  • Detailed monitoring of resources and events in the infrastructure that affect application performance

These activities have become more complex as applications have become distributed, interconnected or cloud based because they cause applications to move, scale and evolve rapidly.

Splunk Enterprise can monitor and analyze millions of infrastructure events through logs and agents, in real-time. This can provide rapid visibility and isolation of infrastructure that affect application performance. Cisco has been collaborating with Splunk to combine the application visibility of Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure with operational analytics of Splunk Enterprise. The result is “Cisco ACI for Splunk Enterprise” a highly scalable application that is orderable immediately at Splunk.com.

ACI and Splunk have enabled a comprehensive view of application health with the ability to monitor the entire end-to-end environment in real time and proactively prevent issues from impacting end users.

ACI provides visibility to application health from the network perspective by tracking all network dependencies and events that impact application performance and security. Splunk complements Cisco ACI by bringing actionable intelligence across the entire data center infrastructure including storage, compute, virtualization endpoints, as well as application tiers and components provided by ACI. Splunk’s analytical and visualization tools provide real-time insights to data center teams to optimize performance and ensure security policies in a highly dynamic environment.

How does it work

Cisco ACI exposes a wealth of networking data previously inaccessible to Splunk. The Cisco ACI app for Splunk Enterprise gathers data from APIC (Application Policy Infrastructure Controller) including APIC network events, health scores and inventory of logical constructs (e.g. tenants, application profiles, end point groups) and physical constructs ( e.g spines, leafs, VMs).

SplunkACI_CentralizedApplicationHeath

This data is used to:

  1. Reduce resolution time with accelerated root-cause analysis
  • Splunk enables users to reduce the mean time to investigate/resolve problems up to 70%
  • Centralized management of operational health of ACI environment & underlying entities in real-time
  • Detect issues or anomalies in performance or response times and proactively resolve
  • For multiple tenants, quickly navigate to the source of problems using flexible per-role views, including 1) Help Desk view, 2) Tenant View and 3) Fabric view
  1. Provide Central Proactive Monitoring of Cisco ACI
  • Get real-time proactive notification of network traffic and device faults with location, affected objects.
  • Track trends and anticipate application impact
  1. Operational Analytics across the entire virtual and physical infrastructure
  • Optimize network capacity and prevent service deterioration with detailed visibility into fabric path degradation.
  • Meet compliance/security with user analytics, including authentication tracking reports.
  • Correlate data from Cisco ACI with data from storage resources, operating systems, applications, security devices, endpoint and more for enterprise-wide visibility.
  • Trace and monitor transactions through all tiers of a distributed application architecture
  • Gives application managers a perspective on the underlying Cisco ACI infrastructure’s effect on applications without being directly involved in ACI Ops.
  • Monitor key operational metrics such as end-to-end response times to ensure SLAs met.

As an example, a Fortune 100 company is using Splunk with ACI:

  • for operational visibility for their ACI cluster with ability to quickly identify faults and troublesome tenants and determine corrective action.
  • to provide centralized visibility as ACI expands across multiple data centers and for proactive monitoring to establish baselines and triggered alerts when key thresholds exceeded.

This approach to Application Health is part of the broader discipline of Application Performance Management (APM). According to Gartner, “By 2018, 60% of APM deployments will use and integrate data extracted directly from log  files alongside wire data and agent-derived data as a foundation for reporting, prediction, and analysis, up from less than 5% today.”  With our collaboration, ACI for Splunk Enterprise provides important new capabilities for  Application Performance Management.

Learn more about Cisco ACI for Splunk Enterprise here.  And register for Cisco’s webcast on January 13th.

 

 

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Cisco Connects Data and Analytics

Billions of devices are changing how organizations compete and disrupting traditional data management and analytics.

This Internet of Everything world presents an exciting new opportunity to discover and take advantage of market, customer, and operational insights. And by making sense of captured data quickly, organizations can take action at that point, in that moment, in ways that differentiate versus competitors and drive significant new business value.   TimeWarnerCable’s intelligent home initiative is one example.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 4.51.42 PM

But all this data is massive, messy, and everywhere, spanning many sources – cloud, data warehouses, devices – and formats – video, voice, text, and images.  To address this challenge, new solutions beyond traditional data warehousing and even big data are required.

Cisco Enters the Data and Analytics Market

When Cisco acquired data virtualization market leader Composite Software in mid 2013, Cisco signaled a clear intent to begin connecting this data via intelligent networking the same way it connected LANs; the Internet; voice and video over IP; and more in it’s 30 year history.

And with our December 11, 2014, Connected Analytics Portfolio announcement, Cisco adds a rich suite of analytics solutions that help organizations capture insights that create new opportunities, simplify business operations, enhance the customer experience, and resolve potential threats.

New Methods for the New Challenges

Today’s analytic solutions need to advance beyond traditional methods that move data to a warehouse or data lake before commencing analysis.  Cisco’s Connected Analytics Portfolio provides analytics with immediate access to data, as well as brings analytics to the data – no matter where the data resides on the network.

Further, Cisco is uniquely qualified to implement analytics at the point of data, because so much of the data worldwide resides on our networks, providing the ideal platform for embedded analytics.  Along with 30 years of networking experience, Cisco now has the data and analytics tools, software, and services to help our customers instantly capture, analyze, and interpret critical data out to the network edge.

 

Learn More

Visit our Data and Analytics website to learn more.

Join the Conversation

Follow us @CiscoDataVirt and @CiscoAnalytics.

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#EngineersUnplugged S7|Ep2: FlexPod 101

December 17, 2014 at 11:24 am PST

In this episode, Emad Younis (@Emad_Younis) and Melissa Palmer (@vmiss33) give us the highlights of the FlexPod solution, from the parts to the implementation, with plenty of real world examples.

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.

Quick programming note: This is the last episode I’ll be blogging about, but never fear! There are many great episodes to come, brought to you by my friend, co-host, and colleague Lauren Friedman (@Lauren). Be sure to enjoy a marathon of episodes over the holiday break, and prepare your unicorns!

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Cisco UCS is now Hortonworks “Operations Ready”

Cisco has been working closely with Hortonworks in delivering turnkey Big Data solutions that expedites the time to market for our joint Big Data Hadoop customers. Cisco’s industry leading UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data, is designed to deliver performance at scale for a wide variety of Big Data workloads. We are working with Hortonworks to integrate Cisco UCS Director Express for Big Data with Apache Ambari, to provide a fully automated solution to deploy and manage Hadoop hardware, networking and the Hortonworks Data Platform. It is built on the solid foundation of the highly successful UCS management platform and the award winning UCS Director orchestration engine.

Today, we are excited that Cisco UCS is HDP certified and Operations Ready. The integration with Apache Ambari allows customers to now deploy and manage their Hadoop clusters in a reliable and consistent manner. The Operations Ready designation is a new certification introduced by Hortonworks to provide the additional assurance that the tool has been integrated with Apache Ambari APIs. Cisco UCS with Hortonworks delivers a fully validated solution and reduces the complexity of managing Hadoop clusters. Cisco is committed to bringing industry leading solutions for Big Data to market, in partnership with Hortonworks and other ecosystem partners.

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The Economic Impact of a VersaStack Solution

December 16, 2014 at 11:17 am PST

I’ve written a number of blogs on the economic value of Cisco UCS and how it is changing the economics of the datacenter. Now, for the first time we performed a TCO comparison of our new VersaStack solution and how it stacks up versus the competition. The VersaStack solution combines the innovation of Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure which includes: Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), ACI-ready Cisco 9000 Nexus switches, Cisco MDS switches, and Cisco UCS Director— with the efficiency of the IBM Storwize storage system.

Referencing the VersaStack for Data Center Design Guide, each vendor analyzed their parts of the solution and then combined the results into an overall TCO study. What were the results? Read More »

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