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Technology Promotes Education

The saying “you’ve gotta give credit where credit is due” is exceptionally literal for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Recently becoming recognized as one of the most successful academic institutions in the country, Liberty University can thank its ability to support the huge influx of students, faculty, and staff to the updated technology infrastructure of their data center.

With growth comes the need to accommodate the large numbers of people and resources – including IT support. The current IT systems were outdated and obstructing the potential for online expansion at the university. By implementing the Cisco® Unified Computing System™ (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® Processors, Liberty’s network became more flexible, scalable, and reliable. The virtualized and consolidated infrastructure is able to support the multitude of users, which is ideal due to the 85,000 students accessing the network from 95 countries around the world.

Cisco UCS has significantly decreased downtime for both students and staff, resulting in the ability to focus on education, not IT issues. Higher satisfaction, growing enrollment rates, and a unified network make for a promising future for Liberty University and its students.

Read the full article here.

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Big Data Top100 List

Updated 3/2/20313

Big Data is quickly becoming a critical priority for enterprises across all verticals.  Yet, there is currently a lack of any means of fair comparability of performance and price-performance of underlying platforms. The Big Data Benchmarking Community established last year to fill this void is announcing the efforts that have been undertaken thus far toward the definition “BigData Top100 List”.

 

 

References:

[1] BigData Top100 List
[2] Setting the Direction for Big Data Benchmark Standards
[3] Press-Release

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IP Address Managment and the Cloud: Cisco IAC now integrates with Cisco Prime for Service Providers and Enterprise

IP Address Management and the Cloud is a topic that requires solution architecture for every cloud deployment.  While Cisco IA for Cloud has a basic in-built IPAM system out of the box, often times we find customers need one of the worlds highest  scale IPAM solutions.   Cisco’s  Prime Network Registrar is one such product in this category.

The follow blog is from our guest Blogger, Jim Kao of the Cloud & Systems Management Technology Group Product Management team.

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) is a cloud management platform for Enterprise IT or Service Providers to build cloud services, such as IaaS. You can learn more about it here. The IAC solution supports a customer’s cloud journey by providing a solution that is extensible, scalable and easy to use in order to help them reduce the operation costs, optimize their resource utilization and efficiency.

One of the areas that are critical to customer’s infrastructure growth is IP Address Management (IPAM.) This is especially critical to large enterprise or service providers who need a scalable and extensible IPAM solution. Cisco Prime IPAM is the solution that provides strong IPAM management capability as described in Jamie Lerner’s blog.  With these two best of breed products both coming from Cisco and both aiming to give customers scalable management solutions, it makes perfect sense to build integration between the two products. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce an integration recently made available by our engineering team to integrate CIAC and Cisco Prime IPAM. This integration will be made available to customers as part of the latest release of IAC, 3.1.1.

To explain what we have done, the following figure shows the high level end-to-end use case:

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In this use case, it starts with a user ordering a virtual machine from a cloud built with Cisco IAC. This order is handled through the Cisco Cloud Portal (CCP) and Cisco Process Orchestrator (CPO). In the case where a customer has Cisco Prime IPAM, IAC will obtain an IP Address from the Cisco Prime IPAM.  Before IAC invokes the API to acquire an IP address, the Prime IPAM shows the first available IP address is 192.168.10.9, as shown in the following figure:

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Valentine’s Day Webcast – “An Introduction to OpenFlow”

What better way to spend Valentine’s day than to watch a webcast on OpenFlow and SDN, perhaps with your significant other? The last couple of years have seen considerable buzz around aspects of software-defined networking.  A significant portion of the early seed discussion was around OpenFlow.  As part of the Cisco Open Network Environment webcast series, this time on February 14th, 2013 at 9 AM PST, we take look at an :Introduction to OpenFlow”: What is it? How does it work? What are some of the potential use-cases?

Joining me in this discussion with be David Ward, Cisco CTO of Engineering and Chief Architect. At the time of recording David also wears the hat of the being the Chair of the Technical Advisory Group at Open Network Foundation (ONF). So he brings perspectives both as someone who’s driving the evolution of the protocol, as well as somebody guiding its implementation across several products within the Cisco portfolio.

Also joining the webcast to lend end-user perspectives will be Matt Davy, who is formerly of Indiana University, having been the executive director of the INCenter facility there. Matt’s recently moved onto a new role, but he built a lighthouse test bed around OpenFlow and SDN the last few years during this employment at the university. Matt will talk about campus slicing and his experiences around OpenFlow.  Providing service provider perspectives from NTT communications will be Yuichi Ikejiri, Director of the Network Technology Services division.

Trio

Register here for this webcast:

As mentioned before, this is part of an educational series. If you’ve not watched the first in the series, entitled “An Introduction to OpenStack” – please feel free to register and watch it here.  The panel of Lew Tucker and Raj Patel below provide interesting perspectives on OpenStack.

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InterCloud Plus Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud

Cisco continues to roll out innovations that will enable the next generations of multi-cloud computing.  I’m a product manager working on Cisco’s Cloud Management software, and we’re all about the high-level, self-service, automatic provisioning of services that the end-user cares about.  The network just moves ones and zeros, and all protocols of interest (HTTP, SSH, RDP, SQL, etc.) work fine over TCP/IP.  The hypervisor takes care of putting that pesky motherboard chipset and storage bus into a black box, right?  The end-user doesn’t care about that stuff, or at least doesn’t want to have to care about it.

A common perspective, except among the engineers who manage the network, is that network infrastructure is a bunch of mysterious plumbing that “just works” and how it does what it does doesn’t matter.  Indeed, many vendors in the “cloud” arena would like to perpetuate this perspective on the network.  They would like you to believe a bunch of dumb pipes can carry traffic and that determination of the traffic (content, flow, etc.) is determined at higher levels in the stack.

In some cases, this is true, but operating this way doesn’t unlock anything new.  The model they describe would be brilliant if all of your network requirements were defined in 1998.  Few companies can afford to operate technology today like they did in 1998 and remain competitive.

Cisco is announcing a new Nexus 1000V (N1KV), and this one changes the game.  In brief, the Nexus 1000V is the foundation of the networking services that Cisco brings to virtual computing.  The N1KV can be managed using the same NX-OS commands and practices used to manage the Nexus 5K and 7K switches, and extends network control down to the VM and virtual port into which a VM is “plugged in”, even across different vendors’ hypervisors.

The N1KV is also the platform for additional L2 and L3 network services such as those provided by the vASA Firewall, vNAM, and VSG.  The new Nexus 1000V InterCloud extends this ability to cloud service providers, such as Amazon, but is “cross-provider” (in fact, it doesn’t even depend on the Cloud Service Provider).  For me, in my role as a Cloud Product Manager, this is an important new addition to basic networking capabilities, and is exactly the kind of thing that Cisco can and should do in its role as “Networking Giant” to open up the promise of hybrid or multi-cloud.

I have a mental image of what this can do, and I tried to put this into images to the right. Animation would have been better, I just don’t have the Flash skills to put it together for a quick blog post. I envision a virtual machine as a ghostly “physical” server tower with network cables plugged into it. These network connections can come from end-users in a client-server model, or any of our web-and-mobile constructs. After all, we still are end-users connecting to machines. Of course, the “client” for a compute function could be another compute function, so there is a network cable coming from another nearby ghost server. These ghost servers can today float from blade to blade thanks to most mainstream virtual machine managers (VMM) and a virtual switch like the N1KV, and the cords stay connected throughout. With the new N1KV, that VM can float right out of that VMM and into another VMM (such as across VMware datacenters, or even from VMware to Hyper-V), or out to a public or hosted provider. The cord just magically uncoils to remain connected wherever that machine goes! I love magic.

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The N1KV provides that cable that can float after its ethereal virtual machine.  It also provides the platform to maintain monitoring by the vNAM, even as the machine moves.  You simply can’t economically achieve this using basic dumb pipes. Add to this the new Virtual Network Management Console (VNMC) InterCloud management capabilities.  In order for that cord to stay connected, there do have to be network switches or routers along the way that understand how to make that network cable follow the machine.  VNMC InterCloud manages these devices, but adds another particularly important capability: actually moving the workload.

VNMC InterCloud adds the ability to discover virtual machines, and convert them to a cloud-provider’s instance format, move what could possibly be a fairly large set of files, and get that machine started back up in a far-away environment, with seamless network consistency. VNMC InterCloud is like a puff of wind that pushes the ghostly VM from my corporate VMWare-based cloud to float over to my hosted private cloud. Remember, ghosts can float through walls.

This is groundbreaking.  Workload mobility is one of those hard-to-do core capabilities required for all of us to realize the promise of multi-cloud, and it requires a network that is both dynamic and very high performing.  I’ve been looking forward to this from Cisco for some time now.

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