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VMworld is upon us, and so is View 5!

VMworld is upon us, and this week marks the official announcement of VMware’s View 5.0.  Read More »

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A New virtual ASA: On Full Display at VMworld in Las Vegas

August 29, 2011 at 10:32 am PST

At VMworld this week in Las Vegas, Cisco will be providing a preview of a virtual implementation of our ASA security appliance. A “preview” implies that we aren’t ready to announce ultimate pricing or availability, but we are demonstrating a strategic direction for the ASA product line. Earlier, I alluded to important new advances in our virtual security story upcoming at VMworld in the comments section of a recent blog post I wrote responding to HP criticisms of our Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) product.

With security concerns being the most frequently cited obstacle to large scale virtualization projects and adopting cloud computing models, Cisco will be greatly enhancing its industry-leading virtual security infrastructure with this product. The new virtual ASA introduces a wide range of security services that have not been available from Cisco before in a virtual form factor. The virtual ASA will enable more sophisticated security policies that better align with business and compliance needs in the virtual data center.

Some of the key aspects of this new virtual ASA product:

  • The ASA family is one of the most deployed and trusted security products in the industry, with over 15 years of security experience and more than 1 million appliances installed, and now is available in a virtual form factor for greater flexibility in the data center
  • Virtual ASA runs the ASA feature set, so important capabilities such as VPN , NAT, and much more will be available in addition to firewall capabilities
  • The Virtual ASA will run on top of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch, fully leveraging the VM and traffic visibility provided by the Cisco virtual fabric, as well as optimal traffic steering to the security node from the VM and virtual switch

Rather than replacing our VSG virtual firewall, the virtual ASA will be a strong complement for the current VSG capabilities. The virtual ASA includes security functionality most often deployed at the edge of an organization and the edge of the data center. As such, it is better suited for North-South traffic into the data center and virtual applications. VSG, with its greater visibility to VM-specific and application attributes, enforces security policies between applications and virtual machines, and is more East-West traffic oriented.

Across the whole ASA product line, customers will be able to get consistent functionality, management and policy enforcement across all form factors (stand-alone appliance, modular blade, and now virtual instances). And with Nexus 1000V integration, Virtual ASA customers will also get consistency in management, provisioning and service routing with Cisco’s other virtual services including VSG and vWAAS. At a minimum, this should alleviate all objections that we just offered a virtual firewall and not other key security services.

If you are in Las Vegas next week, we encourage you to come by the Cisco booth (#700) for a look. If not, stay tuned for more details…

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Data Center Management

August 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm PST

As a new member of the UCS Marketing team and a self-proclaimed data center efficiency evangelist, I keep an eye on developments in the operations and management of data centers.  I looked at the Data Center Decisions 2011 survey special report on searchdatacenter.com and saw some interesting results.  According to the survey, Data Center managers are most often turning to “off the shelf “ Systems Management tools for automation.  They rely on these tools for routine tasks that can be automated, but still don’t trust them to automate responses to changes in the environment, such as thresholds being crossed. This has been the general consensus for a while (years, really) and it is not surprising.  It takes a lot of effort to build trust.

Although automation and productivity increases were cited as reasons to purchase Systems Management software, tools were actually purchased for performance management, monitoring and capacity management. So, customers only paid for Systems Management tools that helped in service assurance and meeting business commitments.  I expect capacity management, an area where customers currently spent their dollars, to become less important in a cloud-computing environment. Do you agree?

The survey on virtualization showed that VMWare was by far the leading hypervisor this year as in 2010.  With VMWorld 2011 just round the corner it will be interesting to see how VMWare intends to help customers with the VM sprawl issue.  Personally I think that attaching a monetary value to a running VM in a data center will fix some of the sprawl problems.  This means anyone who requisitions a virtual machine pays a certain rate from the moment it is provisioned until it is de-provisioned.  What do you think? Another challenge to virtualization highlighted in the survey was performance of a virtual server.  I expect a number of developments to be unveiled at VMWorld 2011 on this front.  See you at the conference.

VMworld 2011… Here I come!

So, VMworld 2011 is upon us and Irene is bearing down on us. (For those RTP based)

Here is a list of a few sessions I think are hot topics at VMworld this year.

Performance and Scalability Enhancements in VMware vStorage VMFS 5
A Deep Dive on Virtual Distributed Switching and Cisco Nexus 1000v by Jason Nash -- Twitter (@nash_j) (Session Twitter hashtag: #VSP2757)
Innovating Together: How Cisco and VMware Collaborate to Build the Cloud by Soni Jiandani  (Session Twitter hashtag: #SUP1010)
Deploying vCloud Director with Cisco Nexus 1000V (Twitter hashtag: #HOL25)
Read More »

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Cisco UCS: Data Center Problem Solver

It’s been said that marketing is telling the truth attractively.  My spin on that definition is that “telling the truth is the most effective form of marketing.”  That’s exactly how I approach life here in the Marketing organization at Cisco. Read More »

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