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Best Practices for Application Delivery in Virtualized Networks – Part I

Earlier this year the Webtorials Analyst Division, co-founded by Dr. Jim Metzler, surveyed their subscriber base of IT professionals. Not surprisingly, 75% admitted that when a core business application degrades in performance, the end user notices before IT does. Therefore, 85% also believe that it is important, very important and even critical to senior managers that they take a more proactive approach to managing acceptable application delivery (See Figure 1).

Source: Metzler, Jim, “2011 Application & Service Delivery Handbook”, p. 14

Click here for the 2011 Application Service Delivery Handbook -- Cisco

Contributing to the challenges of ensuring good application performance are the very innovations that are meant to simplify business and IT operations. These include data center consolidation, virtualization and the wide variety of applications that IT must support– all of which creates operational issues for IT. Not to worry – there are best practices that IT organizations can implement as application delivery challenges continue to evolve. In Part I of this blog post on application and services delivery, I’ll share what I consider to be key learnings from Dr. Metzler’s comprehensive 129 page guide. We’ll start with some core challenges:

Key Application Delivery Challenges

Proliferation of different types of applications: Today, companies utilize a wider variety of applications than ever. Some applications are business-critical. Others enable other business functions. And still more applications support communication and collaboration. Not only do they vary in criticality, but they also vary in their demands on the network. For instance, video streaming, which causes a lot of strain on the network may be key on some occasions (think company-wide all hands meetings a la Apple’s tribute to Steve Jobs), but recreational during other times. IT managers must audit company-wide application use, pinpoint a select group of business critical applications and formulate and execute a plan for optimization.

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Part 4 – Finally – @ Garter Data Center Conference, London

December 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm PST

Time to close on this topic for me with a brief update from one of Cisco’s strategic partners, VMware, and one of our European customers, Colt.  You can find parts 1, 2 and 3 of my conference update in my previous blogs.

Colt are a European service provider, one of the growing number adopting Cisco Unified Computing (see Cisco UCS gaining serious steam).  A few of my colleagues in Cisco Data Center Services recently helped one of the Colt teams adopt the Cisco Unified Computing System for their cloud roll-out.  The Colt Data Center Services team were at the conference last week -- this part of Colt offer wholesale data center space and I talked to them about their Modular Data Center offering.

With VMware -- who need no introduction -- I asked what was top of mind for them.

You can see and hear from both companies in this short video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1zJdGPSV7c

Oh -- and finally, for a laugh -- being one of two Scots in the Cisco Data Center Services team, I really should point you to the latest VoD on why you should Choose the Right Network:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHLiiwdbKwM

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Part 3 – Cisco IT on Cisco Intelligent Automation – @ Gartner Data Center Conference, London

November 30, 2011 at 2:39 am PST

London's Big Ben at Night

Following on from my introductions to what is happening at this data center conference see part 1 and part 2), in this article I’ll talk more about something I’ve not really blogged about in my previous blogs (which is surprising given my NMS background) - data center management and Cisco Intelligent Automation.   I managed to catch up with a senior manager in the Cisco IT team, Rich Gore, who game me some terrific insight into their deployment of Cisco Intelligent automation.   And I’ll also relate some experience of my own on why, when it comes to the products you produce, you should always (as the US folks tend to say) “eat your own dog food”!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIXgiSs6kLM

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Does Converging the LAN and SAN Make Sense?

Why exactly would IT organizations want to converge their LAN and SAN?

For years, organizations have been running separate, parallel networks in their datacenter: an Ethernet-based LAN to connect servers, clients, and a storage area network (SAN) to connect servers to the storage pool. Collapsing these networks down to a single common network infrastructure could save capital costs by eliminating redundant switches, cables, networking cards, and adapters.    Customers could immediately realize cost savings by simplifying the network administration.

Organizations can achieve these benefits:

  • Efficiency.  Eliminate   infrastructure redundancy.
  • Agility. Provides the ability to set up, move, and change both physical and virtual servers faster to   easily respond to ever changing business needs.  
  • IT transformation. Enables datacenter consolidation, and supports a capacity demand model that help IT organizations do more with less.

 

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/case_study_Wellmont_Health.pdf

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Part 2 – London Gartner Data Center Conference, from an ancient Scottish castle to Big Ben

November 28, 2011 at 11:25 am PST

Big Ben in central London

Yesterday (see part 1) I started my discussion on the Gartner Data Center Conference with a picture of a castle close to my house; today I will start with what I saw as I emerged from the London Underground stop near to the conference hotel -- the iconic Big Ben and the UK Houses of Parliament.

In this blog, I will discuss some of the key data center questions and feedback that I heard from some of our customers at the conference  today.  I’ve also included a short video clip which shows some of the cooler technologies and solutions on show at the conference today, not just Cisco, but some of the other exhibitors too.

So what are some of the focus areas among the technology suppliers at the show?

For Cisco, with the new Cisco Unified Management  for Data Center and Cloud, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Data Center and Cloud is the focus of our main demo today, which we are showing alongside the Cisco UCS Manager.

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