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Addressing the FCoE “Ready-For-Prime-Time” Question

October 20, 2011 at 7:33 am PST

My buddy Steve Foskett wrote a blog recently that talks about FCoE and 16Gb Fibre Channel. I want to say, for the record, that I like Steven, a lot, and normally I think he has a good grasp of the realities of new SAN technologies that emerge.

At the very least he has usually shown himself to be fair and balanced, even if not totally unbiased. In the many, many articles he has written I have never seen him knowingly write something to be untrue in his examination of technologies such as FCoE… until now.

For that reason, I can’t help but feel very disappointed. Read More »

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FCoE, Converging IT Teams, and… Penguins?

October 19, 2011 at 10:37 am PST

Recently flying on an airplane (which I’ve been doing a lot lately), I couldn’t help but notice the book the gentleman sitting next to me was reading.

Normally people tend to read, watch, or listen to something while on an airplane, so that wasn’t unusual, in-and-of itself. What was unusual was that this gentleman, obviously a professional businessman with grey hair and a many years of experience under his belt, was reading what appeared to be a children’s book about… penguins. Read More »

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Cisco and Intel : Enabling Collaboration and Innovation

October 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm PST

Intel blogger Sandhya Gorman is back this week to talk about Intel and Cisco leadership in innovation and collaboration .

“Two leaders I respect very much were featured at Oracle Open World 2011- Cisco CEO John Chambers and Intel GM Kirk Skaugen.  Both spoke on different days to separate audiences but the themes were strikingly synergistic.

Skaugen spoke about the explosion of data that will be sparked by the 15B connected devices expected to be in the hands of the worldwide population by 2015.  This year, connected devices produced 245 Exabytes (that’s a 10 followed by 18 zero’s) of data alone.  As we get to 15B devices, businesses will need to rely on the Cloud to manage all the data in order for them to focus their efforts on innovation and capturing market transitions.

Chambers expressed Cisco’s vision of collaboration and connectivity to foster innovation.  Businesses and consumers no longer will have to deal with 7 or 8 vendors, standalone devices and architectures to collaborate and realize the relevance of the all the exabytes of data we process.  Read appreciative comments on John’s presentation and watch it here

Interestingly, both Cisco and Intel are in a position of enabling collaboration and innovation from both a push and pull perspective.

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Announcing the Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall

October 18, 2011 at 9:06 am PST

This week Cisco is announcing the ASA 1000V cloud firewall, a product that we previewed at VMworld last month and in an earlier blog post. This video provides a very high level introduction to our latest virtual security product.

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Re-defining Fabric Scale: Thinking Beyond the “Box”

Today we are making a significant announcement with several new innovations across our data center and switching portfolio that showcase how our customers can build large scale-up and scale-out data center networks.  While the press release does a great job (thanks Lee!) of highlighting all the innovations across the Nexus Unified Fabric portfolio and the new ASA 1000v, two aspects of the announcement stand out quite prominently:

  1. Cisco is delivering the highest density 10GbE modular switching platform in the industry
  2. Cisco is delivering the most scalable fabric in the industry and, by extension -- on the planet! (we’re told planet sounds much cooler)

No. 1 above is fairly straightforward. With our new 2nd-generation F2 line card and Fabric 2 module, at 768 ports of 10GbE line-rate switching ports running NX-OS, the flagship Nexus 7018 in a fully-loaded configuration is simply the epitome of switch scale.

No.2 is where things get interesting, because we’re no longer thinking about just the “box” but rather, how we can weave different elements across the data center into a holistic “fabric”.  This systems-based approach focuses on multi-dimensional scale transcending the box and even the data center LAN, to span between data centers, while providing feature-rich fabric capabilities.  At 12,000+ 10GbE nodes supported as part of one Fabricpath-enabled system, and with the ability to support Fabric Extender (FEX) technology (plus L2 and L3 capabilities), this approach re-defines fabric scalability at 2X the scale and half the cost point of the next best claim in the industry. More important, it achieves this in an evolutionary manner for our 19,000+ NX-OS customers, offering investment protection for brownfield deployments while raising the bar for greenfield environments!

The Nexus platforms have been around for 3+ years, and over 500 customers have deployed FabricPath on the Nexus 7000 alone since its introduction about an year ago. It is a proven technology. With Fabricpath now coming onto the Nexus 5500 platforms, the momentum is likely to spike up with a mix of both size and scale. Like I said, things get interesting.

To make it more fun, our technical experts from the product teams have taken a data-driven approach and compared Cisco’s new innovations and our box and system-scale with others in the industry.

They looked at a couple of representative examples -- the first being, what it would take any other vendor to build a non-blocking 768-port 10GbE “switch”, with capabilities similar to what the Nexus 7000 could provide in a single chassis. The second example takes a look at what it takes to build a “fabric” with Cisco leveraging its Nexus portfolio and NX-OS to build that.

Take a look and let us know what you think. It is useful to note that most vendors in the industry today have no fabric capabilities to speak of, and the few that are attempting a systems approach, have really limited to no customer traction thus far. Our customers and key analysts tell us that Cisco has a multi-year innovation lead in this space, even as Cisco continues to focus on bringing the network, compute, storage and application services together with integrated management to drive productivity and efficiency across traditional IT and organizational silos.

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