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Build and they will come...

"If you build it, they will come" is one of those cliches that have been proved wrong over and over again throughout history. Cities, railway systems, buildings, airports, luxury residents and other such structures have been built, but barely or ever used. There are many interesting reasons for such failures - cost, location, convenience, surrounding dependencies to name a few, but all of these boiled down to some aspects of planning or lack thereof.

It is always fun to build something, say for example, a new Cloud infrastructure. Ok, I am sure you saw this Cloud association coming ! With all the technology and tools available to us, building a Cloud environment to meet our business needs is a challenging but interesting venture. Once this infrastructure is built, now what ? It is one thing to have a kick-"donkey synonym" state-of-the-art Cloud Data Center, but a whole different ball game to actually put users on it ! This is what I want to focus on, the "..they will come" part.

For most enterprise environments applications and data have evolved over time and it's fair to state that they have a very complex dependency model. At the same time, the network, servers, storage and other Data Center elements have also evolved. Cloud service providers, regardless of what flavor of Cloud (Private/Public/XaaS), will have to think about how to interface the new Cloud environment with existing, often legacy environments.

Migrating and on-boarding tenants and applications from an existing system to new Cloud environment is not an easy process. If this is not thought through and diligently planned, then you run the risk of a Cloud environment under-utilized or idle.

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FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud: 1st Solution Validated for Microsoft’s Private Cloud Fast Track Program

April 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm PST

We’re pleased to announce that that Cisco’s and NetApp’s new FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud solution is the first design validated by Microsoft for their updated Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 2.0 program.

Built on Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and System Center 2012 this new FlexPod offer helps customer reduce infrastructure and application deployment times from days to hours while helping them achieve greater utilization of their physical and virtual resource pools.

Various integration points of the solution were demonstrated for the first time this week at Microsoft’s Management Summit 2012 (MMS) in the Cisco booth as well as the NetApp booth.  Here MMS attendees learned about, and saw in real-time action, the extremely tight integration with System Center and Windows Server that both companies have engineered in the solution.

The Cisco UCS Management Packs and NetApp® OnCommand™ plug-in to System Center 2012 allowing customers to monitor and manage FlexPod and any applications running on top—from a single interface. Customers can then comprehensively manage NetApp storage systems and Cisco UCS from within System Center 2012, and they can automate compute and storage workflows across their cloud infrastructure.

To learn more details on the FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud architecture, please visit:  http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns1150/ns1154/ucs_flexpod_ms_netapp.pdf  

 

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Ready, set, go with Virtualization Experience Infrastructure - Hiren Desai

Ready…

Over a year ago, I blogged about the evolution of Enterprise Desktop environment and what it takes for an IT organization to evaluate a VDI project. Much has changed in a year – there has been an explosion of devices such as smart phones and tablets and employees and C-level executives are increasingly demanding access to corporate networks and data through their personal mobile devices. While it’s proven to be a productivity boon for employees, this consumerization of personal devices in workplace – the phenomenon known as Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) –  has forced IT and data center administrators to reconsider everything from network security to bandwidth capacity and is at the forefront of most IT administrators' business plans.

After listening to a wide variety of customers from many different markets, there is one thing that has become very apparent – it is all about apps, data, and a rich user experience. When it comes to day-to-day collaborative applications such as voice, video, and WebEx, they have to run seamlessly from a variety of devices. In short, the perfect storm of BYOD clients, rich media applications, access methods, and compliance requirements are influencing IT decision makers to re-evaluate their approach to desktop virtualization implementation. Many of our customers are looking for a solution that supports voice/video/collaboration in a VDI environment and asking for help architecting their datacenter, network and end point strategy so that they can accommodate richness of devices and various collaboration applications. While it is important to have a well-designed datacenter, we need to stay focused on user experience in a virtual desktop environment while building architecture that addresses security, management and faster provisioning.

Set...

Cisco’s Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) incorporates technology innovation in datacenter, network, collaboration applications, and end-point devices – a new Unified Workspace.

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Cisco, Citrix, NetApp and the World of Connected Devices…

April 18, 2012 at 9:30 am PST

Today’s Day 2 keynote at Microsoft’s Management Summit (MMS) here in Las Vegas focused on the world of connected devices and how IT organizations struggle at times to  deliver quality  services based on the demands of our anytime, anywhere, always on world.

One solution being demonstrated this week at MMS helps to resolve some of these issues. The Citrix XenDesktop on FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud solution is a joint effort between Cisco, Citrix, and NetApp in the Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) area. The solution helps to simplify, secure, and scale desktop virtualization on Cisco's agile data center infrastructure based on Cisco UCS while also incorporating storage assets from NetApp and desktop assets from Citrix.  All based on a Windows Server, System Center (including support for System Center 2012!), and Hyper-V environment.

This combination of technologies from Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft, and NetApp has produced a highly efficient, robust and scalable Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) for a hosted virtual desktop deployment. To learn more details about this new offering, please download the publicly available reference architecture at the link below:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/unified_computing/ucs/UCS_CVDs/ucs_xd56_flexpod.html

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Open Networking Summit, Day 2

April 18, 2012 at 9:19 am PST

So, the theme for the day was "Less Unicorns, More Ponies"

I have to admit, I could not attend some of the afternoon sessions--there is a define downside to going to a conference with your boss.

Anyway, we heard from a number of folks (a lot of SPs and academics) that are doing the hard work of trying to do useful real-world things with OpenFlow and SDN.  There were a fair number of successes but also a good number of struggles.  Kudos to the ONS folks for trying to present a balanced view as opposed to hosting a two-day OpenFlow pep rally.  So, sadly, the shine is starting to come off the SDN unicorn, but in the long run, this what needs to happen for the long term health of SDN.

Hands down, my favorite session was Igor Gashinsky from Yahoo! for a number of reasons: 1) it was darn entertaining, 2) I think hyperscale data centers present some the most interesting and demanding environments right now, 3) the use case was interesting, and 4) frankly, it allows me to make a point. :)

It seems that much of the conversation around SDN centers on the southbound conversation--the ability to program the hardware.  While that is certainly useful and interesting, at least as interesting and important is the northbound conversation--the ability to extract interesting information from the infrastructure and make it available to the controllers, applications, tools, etc.  In Igor's case, he talked about being able to extract info directly out of the switching hardware to facilitate troubleshooting--not an inconsequential task when you have 20K servers and 400K VMs.  Its a good use case but I also think its just scratching at the surface.

I believe its an interesting topic and one of the things that David Ward will dig into a bit further during his session this afternoon.

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