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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 9): Be Kind to Your Protocol

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, we hear from VMware’s Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) and Chuck Hirstius (@rexremus) as they discuss how to Be Kind to Your Protocol, including solutions to common problems and the art of tuning.

 

Welcome to 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
Andre Leibovici and Chuck Histrius on Engineers Unplugged at VMworld Barcelona.

Andre Leibovici and Chuck Histrius on Engineers Unplugged at VMworld Barcelona.

Do you agree with Andre and Chuck? Are you being kind to your protocol? Find more information on Chuck’s blog and Andre’s blog. Post a comment or a question here, or join the conversation with @CiscoDC on Twitter or Facebook.

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Cisco + Microsoft: UCS PowerTool for PowerShell Quick Start Guide

A truly “Better Together” story is the pairing of two strong management utilities – Cisco UCS Manager’s PowerTool offering with Microsoft’s PowerShell solution. Together they afford UCS System Administrators the ability to quickly automate and customize a multitude of management tasks resulting increased efficiency and quality utilization of IT resources and staff.

PowerTool is a Microsoft PowerShell module which helps automate all aspects of Cisco UCS management including server, network, storage and hypervisor management. A new PowerTool Quick Guide has been developed that can help jumpstart your learning and use of PowerTool with PowerShell. Available from Cisco’s Developer Network Community, http://developer.cisco.com,  the document can be downloaded here.

PowerTool incorporated with use of Cisco’s UCS Manager and Microsoft’s System Center portfolio can help speed your Microsoft oriented deployments be they FlexPod (Cisco + NetApp) or VSPEX (Cisco + EMC) infrastructure based or platform focused on Windows Server 2012, Exchange 2010, or SQL Server 2012.

Feel free to download the Quick Start Guide and start exploring the power of PowerTool for your Microsoft datacenter environments. To learn more about Microsoft on UCS, please visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

 

 

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What Is Cisco UNIFIED FABRIC? Why Should You Care?

Is your network ready to help you transform and be the strategic partner that you can be? Let’s face it… Today’s data centers are challenged with siloed resources and facilities… Limited scalability… Poor resource utilization… Growing complexity…Perhaps the biggest challenge is time.  When 80% of your resources are dedicated to “keeping the lights on” and managing all what you have, there is very little time left for innovation that benefits the business.

And the reality is that the role of IT has to change – from a cost center to a business strategic partner!  Why? Because there are increasing demands on IT to help your business differentiate in order to survive and grow in these rough economic conditions. And let’s not forget that the increasing cost pressures, technology changes, and the advent of game-changers like cloud are forcing IT executives to look at how to deliver IT differently. 

These growing demands put even more pressure on the shoulders of IT especially given the current state of your Data Centers. The data center network sits at the core of IT and is key to how IT can deliver services and provide value back to the business.

So what do you do?  The good news is that …

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Cisco’s Day One for SAP Sapphire/TechEd Madrid

Cisco’s Day One for SAP Sapphire/TechEd Madrid

Day one was a successful day for Cisco at SAP TechEd Madrid. Our booth was full most of the day with customers looking and discussing the solutions in our booth.

We had a FlexPod and VBlock rack in our both which attracted quite a lot of attention. We were able to explain both of these solutions to those who came by the booth. We also spent quite a bit of time talking about ITPA and how that solution enhances Cisco’s UCS server platform for SAP HANA and how this differentiates Cisco from the remaining certified hardware vendors for SAP HANA.

Cisco UCS is also represented in the SAP HANA Test drive area, where SAP is demonstrating application development on a Cisco UCS C460 platform for SAP HANA.

Michael Missbach, who manages Cisco’s SAP competency center in Walldorf Germany, was the leader in two Microforums on Tuesday. The first was SAP on the Cloud and the second was a Microforum with TUI Travel’s (HotelBeds) CIO Mr. Garcia. He was able to discuss his installation of SAP on Cisco UCS as well as his use of SAP HANA on Cisco UCS and how this architecture design saves him approximately 150,000 Euros a year. Read the story here 

Cisco UCS, SAP and HANA on Cloud from Cisco Data Center

 

There were also meetings with Portugal Telecom, Almaviva, and Korea Telecom during the day, all of which were very productive

Besides the customer meetings, there were numerous meetings with different partners during the day

Cisco hosted the Vblock party in our booth late in the day, which attracted a big crowd culminating with the entire crowd chanting “Cisco sells Servers” which could be heard through the exhibit hall.

Overall we had over 200 visitors to our booth.

Overall, a very successful day for Cisco

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Algo Boost Series: Part 3 Commitment to Innovation with Nexus 3548

On November 5th I posted part 2 of the Algo Boost series with a fantastic discussion around Customer proof points on the Nexus 3548.  In our third and final segment in the series I interviewed Chih-Tsung Huang, Director of Engineering in the Server, Switching, & Virtualization Product Group to shed some light on Cisco’s continued commitment to innovate with Algo Boost technology.

GD: What is the primary difference between existing Nexus 3000 switches and the new Nexus 3548?  And how do we differentiate from the competition?

CH: As we all know, the current generation Nexus 3000 uses merchant silicon while the new Nexus 3548 uses a full layer 2 bridging and layer 3 routing Cisco ASIC – designed and built from ground up to optimize switch latency. Prior to the Nexus 3548 announcement, industry best was greater than 500 nanoseconds.

One of the stated elements of our corporate culture is “No Technology Religion”.  The underlying concept is that we have the freedom to choose the solution that allows us to best meet our customer’s needs and not get locked into ideological silos.

Cisco continues to invest and drive innovations and standardization efforts with the development of our own ASICs because this allows us to deliver a complete value add solution to our customers.  However, we do take advantage of merchant silicon in specific use cases where features and innovation are not needed.

GD: Does the introduction of Algo Boost indicate a complete shift away from merchant silicon?

CH: Absolutely not.  Cisco has and will continue to adopt a flexible silicon strategy, meaning we will buy off-the-shelf ASICs when they can immediately fill a market need, and we continue to add value through silicon innovation by designing our own ASICs. The Nexus 3548 is an example of a highly integrated Software, Hardware and ASIC solution that cannot be achieved with off the shelf components.

GD: It sounds like we are very much committed to developing our own ASICs. How many ASICS are used in Cisco Solutions today, and how much do we invest in R&D?

CH: Cisco has developed hundreds of ASICs to perform various forwarding functions in switches and routers.  Cisco has developed over 20 ASICs to power the Nexus portfolio alone. We have an annual R&D budget of $5.8 billion which is greater than Juniper’s entire revenues and roughly equal to the R&D budgets of HP and Huawei combined.

GD: Algo Boost clearly addresses needs in the financial sector. Are there any other segments that will benefit from these groundbreaking features?

CH: Since mid-2011, the Nexus 3000 family has had a significant presence in massively scalable data centers.  We believe these environments will see further benefits with the performance visibility tools we’re building into our portfolio, as well as the programmability and automation features in the Cisco ONE offering.

We also believe that there is an important role for custom silicon in the software-defined networking world. We feel that customers will continue to be willing to pay for advanced hardware innovation because of the value they derive from tightly integrating advanced software and hardware engineering.  Customers derive the greatest value from emerging software approaches, such as SDN, when they effectively leverage the underlying infrastructure which Cisco silicon innovation enables them to do.

Additionally, the 190 nanosecond ultra low latency of the Nexus 3548 switch enables applications to innovate not only to High Performance Trading Fabrics but also into Massively Scalable Data Center,   Software Defined Network, and beyond.

 

I’d like to thank Chih-Tsung for this valuable information. To see an actual Algo Boost powered ASIC, view the TechWiseTV segment below..

 

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