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Cloud delivers “wake-up call” to IT organizations

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“Industry leaders weigh in on the disruptive nature of the cloud, and the opportunity for IT organizations to become higher-value service brokers.

IT departments have lost traditional control over company systems. With cloud storming in, IT has been pushed aside to allow the entire corporation to overshadow what used to be solely IT’s job. But they’re fighting back by embracing new responsibilities—specifically, by becoming the decision-makers for when to buy, where to build, and what the depth of the cloud should be….

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Interop Redux: Focus on Virtual L4-7 Services with Embrane

April 14, 2014 at 5:30 am PST

Our recap of Interop 2014 continues with a focus on Cisco technology partner Embrane, who focuses on integration of layer 4-7 virtual services into cloud and data center networks, including its own virtual load balancer, firewall and VPN. Embrane describes its heleos platform and heleos Elastic Services Manager (ESM) solution as a virtual services lifecycle manager and orchestration engine, based on the ability to provision virtual security instances in minutes, automatically insert them in the network, assign rules and policies to a specific application, enable self-healing high availability (HA), and automate the licensing and usage monitoring for each virtual appliance.

Embrane was part of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) ecosystem at our initial launch last November, and at this most recent Interop also came out and endorsed ACI’s OpFlex protocol, which handles communication between network devices and the APIC controller. Embrane also recently announced the ability to provide its lifecycle management services to Cisco’s virtual security platforms, both the ASAv and Sourcefire. I had the chance to catch up with Embrane Founder, Dante Malagrino, in the Cisco booth at Interop and get a little deeper understanding of how Cisco is working with Embrane in these areas.

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Interop Redux: A Look at the New RISE Capability with Citrix NetScaler and Nexus 7000

April 11, 2014 at 11:00 am PST

Just prior to Interop about two weeks ago, Cisco unveiled its Remote Integrated Services Engine (RISE) on the Nexus 7000 series switch. Remote Integrated Service Engine (RISE) is a new protocol being added to the Nexus 7000 and 7700 platforms through NX-OS (software upgradeable to existing devices), that integrates external service appliances attached to Nexus 7000 Series switches with the same benefits as if the appliance was directly connected to the switch backplane, just like a dedicated service module. Initially, Citrix NetScaler Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) and the Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module (NAM) are the first services appliances that have integrated with RISE, and have been tested and Certified as “RISE-enabled”. With the announcement of RISE, we expect to develop an ecosystem of partners that will work with Cisco to take advantage of this technology, including other application services vendors and firewalls.

At Interop, I had a chance to meet up on the show floor with Citrix NetScaler Product Manager, Joe Peck, to talk about why Citrix is taking advantage of this new RISE technology.

But wait there’s more… Read More »

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Cisco UCS Power Scripting Contest Update #1

April 11, 2014 at 8:34 am PST

The scripts have started rolling in and I wanted to update you on what’s been posted to date. Maybe you could use them in your environment? To review these scripts and participate in the contest, head over to the Cisco Communities. Read More »

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The Napkin Dialogues: “Open”-ing up to SDN

April 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm PST

I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent individual. Well, perhaps “reasonably” is a debatable term; just ask my friends. Or my wife. (Then again, don’t ask my wife.)

Reasonable or not, though, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what all this “software defined” stuff is supposed to mean, and I have to confess it’s been a bit circular: it’s almost as if you have to already know the information you’re trying to learn.

So where are the Napkin Dialogues written for people like me? Is everyone a super-genius programmer-cum-networker-cum-programmer and I just missed the boat? People are throwing around these “Open” terms left and right (e.g., OpenStack, OpenFlow, OpenDaylight, etc.) as if it’s an “open” and shut case.

Well shut. The. Front. Door. I’m going to have to be on the receiving end of my own napkin then. For me, it’s been feeling like I’ve been dropped into the middle of a maze with the lights turned off.

[Screenshot of "Dark Maze" game by Zomg Games Studio]

[Screenshot of "Dark Maze" game by Zomg Games Studio]

Yeah, kinda like that.

If you already ‘get’ this stuff, feel free to help a poor storage networking guy along in his journey, because I already know this iceberg goes all the way down.

To someone who is familiar with tried-and-true Data Center designs, I’m just having a hard time getting my head wrapped around 1) getting from here to there, and 2) just where there is! Read More »

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