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Cisco, NetApp & FlexPod – The Momentum Continues at Cisco Live Europe

January 31, 2012 at 9:23 am PST

by John Rollason, Senior Manager Product, Solutions & Alliances EMEA, NetApp

For many years the server market was dominated by the likes of IBM, HP/Compaq, Fujitsu, Dell, Sun and characterised by small market share shifts. True the market changed as rack and blade servers became popular, but most of the players recognized the shift and adapted.  Then Server Virtualisation technologies changed the market and Cisco disrupted it completely with the launch of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) in 2009. Today Cisco’s vision for server virtualization has been proven successful with more than 10,000 UCS customers and 54 UCS world record results. Customers obviously see the advantage!

Cisco’s innovation, vision and leadership are an ideal match with NetApp, a recognized leader and innovative in the storage industry. Over more than a decade of collaboration our companies have achieved a number of milestones including first native FCoE SAN storage solutions and first certified end-to-end FCoE solution for VMware environments.

Just over a year ago NetApp and Cisco introduced FlexPod, a pre-designed, pre-tested and validated Data Centre cloud solution built on modular and unified architecture composed of Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp unified storage systems running Data ONTAP. FlexPod components are integrated and standardized to help you eliminate the guesswork and achieve timely, repeatable, consistent deployments. FlexPod has also been optimized with a variety of mixed application workloads and design configurations in various environments such as virtual desktop infrastructure and secure multi-tenancy environments.

Today more than 500 customers across 33 countries are seeing the benefits of Cisco UCS + NetApp. In fact, I”ve blogged about European FlexPod customers including Accenture, Börse Stuttgart, Computacenter, Terremark, Guiness Partnership, Loughborough University, and many more.

This week at Cisco Live London 2012 you’ll have the opportunity to hear directly from several organizations transforming their infrastructures and businesses on FlexPod and talk with variety of partners activity selling and developing solutions built on FlexPod.  NetApp is a Platinum sponsor of Cisco Live and I’ll be at NetApp Stand P1 with the rest of the team for the 4th year. Highlights include:

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The Winchester House, Architectural-Led IT Strategy and Your Challenges – What You Told Us

January 31, 2012 at 5:59 am PST
The Winchester House

The Winchester House

A few months ago, after a my previous blogs discussing cloud computing adoption, I changed subject and authored a short series of articles around the challenges of adopting an architectural-led approach to your IT strategy in general, and data center design in particular.  (If you missed them, you can read them here: part 1,  part 2, and part 3).  The theme of these articles centered on the Winchester House in San Jose, California.

This house was extended by builder after builder, without any architectural blueprint.  Consequently, this house had many doors opening into blank walls, abandoned staircases, and other “features” — and it was in construction for year after year, with point additions compounding the problems. I then asserted that this analogy can apply to how IT architectures sometimes evolve -- bit by bit, without a formal blueprint or “grand master” plan, if you will.

Architecture-Led Facebook Poll Results 31 Jan 2012

Architecture-Led Facebook Poll Results 31 Jan 2012

I finished the series with a poll on our Cisco Data Center Facebook page - thanks to all of you who spotted the poll and took the time to respond.  The results were indeed interesting, so I thought I’d share back the results with you and discuss the implications.  As the diagram shows, you certainly told us loud and clear what your biggest issue was when it came to adopting an architectural-led approach to your IT strategy and data center design: “We don’t have clear enough business goals for IT” scooped 65% of your votes, way ahead of all other options (!!) -- so let’s discuss now in some more detail.

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Intelligent Automation at Cisco Live in London

January 30, 2012 at 6:15 am PST

Our team is excited and ready for a great week at Cisco Live Europe! We’ve been working on demos, speaking sessions, and social events for the conference – and it’s finally here.

I encourage you to meet us in the World of Solutions expo hall to learn more about Cisco Unified Management – featuring Intelligent Automation for Cloud and Network Services Manager in the Data Centre & Virtualization Demo Booth and in the CloudVerse Pavilion.

There are several conference sessions on intelligent automation and cloud computing. Follow us at @CiscoIA on Twitter where we’ll post updates and reminders about key sessions.

In fact, you may have to choose between some great breakout sessions being held at the same time. Here are a few of the key sessions that feature Intelligent Automation:

  • Inside Cisco IT: Elastic Infrastructure Services -- ITMCOC-2568 (Tuesday, Jan 31, 14:15 pm)
  • Converged Infrastructure and Orchestration with Vblock and Cisco Intelligent Automation -- BRKSPS-2202 (Tuesday, Jan 31, 14:15 pm)
  • Cloud Automation -- BRKNMS-2659 (Friday, Feb 3, 9:00 am)
  • Create “Network Containers” in a Multi-Tenant Data Center -- BRKNMS-3999 (Friday, Feb 3, 9:00 am)
  • Orchestration of UCS via Cisco Process Orchestrator -- BRKDCT-3105 (Friday, Feb 3, 11:00 am)

At Cisco Live this week, you’ll learn how our Unified Management solutions deliver intelligent automation for intelligent infrastructure solutions in a Unified Data Center approach:


When you’re ready to unwind after the big first day, join the data centre team at 18:30 for a meet-up at the W XYZ bar in the Aloft ExCel Hotel next to the conference.  Here’s your personal invitation.

And for even more fun, play the Cisco pinball in the World of Solutions! There are prizes for high scores every day, with a pinball challenge on Wednesday at 16:00 – follow @CiscoPinball on Twitter for details.

We look forward to meeting you – enjoy the conference!

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Free Free Free Cisco UCS Development Free Free Free

January 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm PST

The other day I was “making” breakfast for my daughter, as I poured the cereal from the box I noticed that the “toy” was the box. The box had a game board printed on it and you had to cut it out along with the game pieces and the die. The game instructions were printed inside the box, so I ended up with a whole bunch of cardboard snippets and the game.  She was so excited to play the game, so we played the game, it was an arduous journey but I stuck it out because that’s the kind of dad I am. When we finished playing, my daughter with her eight years of life experience remarked, “You just don’t get anything good for free anymore!”

Anymore?!! How many reference points could she have in her eight years?  Myself, being a little older, I have some more experience with “free”, and sadly I have to agree with her that the free you get today is not as good as the free you used to get, to the point where seeing the word free no longer excites me.

Well I have found some exceptions to that rule. As a developer for a couple decades now I have used many development tools and environments. Along the way either I or my employer had to pay for those tools, but now almost every development product I use is free and not cheesy cereal box game free but full featured with community support and add-ons to extend the capabilities of the product.  That’s the kind of free to get excited about.

Why get excited?  Well take for instance the Cisco UCS Manager; it has an XML API that is communicated with via XML documents in an HTTP post. Every tool I use to write applications that interface with the UCS Manager is free. That’s great you say, but you still need a UCS Manager and to get that you need a UCS Fabric Interconnect and you need chassis, blades, adaptors, memory, disks, etc. and you start to think things like “the UCS we just ordered isn’t here yet” or “the UCS systems we have are all production and we can’t test our scripts against them.”

Don’t despair because Cisco has released a UCS Emulator for the 1.4 and 2.0 versions of the UCS Manager firmware.  The UCS Platform Emulator (UCSPE) has significant capabilities to enable UCS Manager development, things like hardware configuration importing from a live system, exporting of a configuration and the ability to build an emulated UCS system like the one you just ordered. In addition to the emulation capabilities the UCSPE also includes the UCS Object Model documentation, example scripts, Visore (the object browser) and more. Don’t know what the Object Model is or concerned you need more information on the XML API, check out these docs.
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The Cisco SAP Business Warehouse Appliance is Here

Cisco IASBU has recently launched an update to their  In-Memory appliance offerings.  Cisco IASBU has certified  additional Cisco UCS based systems that now support an entry level SAP BWA appliance with SSDs for storage.  In addition, in order to broaden even more coverage, a 12 and 16  blade configuration for SAP BWA that uses NetApp storage.  However, what is really driving buzz is the inclusion of the Cisco Intelligent Automation (IA) for In-Memory as part of all the BWA offerings.   The same core technology  that drives the Cisco IA Cloud orchestration solution. This new automation content supports SAP BWA for Wave 2 customers  (non-traditional SAP  customers), SAP BusinessObjects (BOBJ)  and will serve as a foundation for SAP HANA 1.0 automation content.

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