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SDN: Are We There Yet?

True Story:  When my son was about 3, I took him to go see his first movie  in an actual movie theater.  They had just built a brand new theater near our home and he was suitably impressed with all the bright shiny lights.  Anyway, we got our popcorn and grabbed our seats just as the lights were dimming (you never really go anywhere quickly when an inquisitive toddler is involved). We got through the movie trailers, then, to my surprise, my son popped out of his seat and said he was ready to go home.  Being his first movie-going experience, he thought the trailers were the big deal and did not realize we had not yet gotten to the featured attraction.

I was reminded of this after watching some conversations around SDN and programmability unfold over the last few days.  If you believe to some of the folks out there, SDN is a settled matter–the technology is done, use cases nailed, and winning vendors already crowned.  All that’s left is for the janitors to sweep the popcorn off the floor.

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Unified Data Center IQ Challenge : The Learning Experience

As a quick reminder , to participate to this 6 weeks challenge and have a chance to win every week a new iPAD , you want to visit our Facebook page. The questions are submitted on Sunday midnight PST, and answers have to be provided not later than Friday 12:00PM  PST.  Participation is easy and fun and allow you to collect points to compete for the highest IQ score. This best Unified Data Center “brain” will be the winner of the Grand Prize (valued US $2000).  Every week-end (Friday noon to Sunday) you can answer bonus  questions, which give you additional points to catch up for the Grand Prize.

The winner of week 2 (questions about Cisco Open Networking Environment) was Mohamed Fawzy Saleh from Egypt  who won a new iPAD. Mohamed is a student, very passionate by network technologies . Congratulations Mohamed!
From my point of view , one of the best quality of the high tech population is the thirst to keep learning in a fast changing and demanding environment . One of the intention of this challenge (game?) is to suggest every week questions to stimulate your curiosity.

My ask this week for you as we are moving to the next bonus questions for this weekend  (Security – See below) and week 4 (Virtualization) of the challenge is to tell us what you think about the set of questions. Did you learn? Did you find the questions interesting ? Just as a reminder, and for the new participants, here are the topics we covered so far.  





Week 1
Oct 1-  Oct 4

Low Latency Switch

Algo Boost Technology – Nexus 3548

Berna Devrim
Gabriel Dixon 

Oct 5- Oct 7

Mission Critical Application

SAP Oracle Microsoft on UCS

Rick Speyer
Chip Lawson
Rex Backman

Week 2
Oct 8- Oct 11


ONE (Open Newtorking Environment)

Omar Sultan 
Gary Kinghorn

Oct12- Oct 14

Desktop Virtualization

VDI/VXI with Citrix and VMware

Tony Paikeday –
Jonathan Gilad

Week 3
Oct 15 – Oct 18

Unified Management

Intelligent automation for Cloud – SAP IT Process Automation – Cloud Management

Rodrigo Flores –
Wayne Greene –
Carolina Fernandez

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Feature Highlight in Upcoming Free Nexus 1000V Software Release: New Installer App

Response to the announcement of our upcoming Nexus 1000V software release, and that the Essential version will be free, has been overwhelming. We had so many requests for beta software that we had to cut off requests for now. [For those of you that didn’t get in on the beta release, we encourage you to download the trial version of the current Nexus 1000V software, and we will upgrade you for free to the new version when available.] But for those of you that can’t wait for the new version, our good folks over in the Nexus 1000V development team are providing us with some videos highlighting the new features.

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How Much is This Gonna Cost? Price Models for IT Infrastructure

Steve Watkins, Guest Blogger

Steve Watkins is a Consulting Systems Engineer for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  He came to Cisco as part of the newScale acquisition in 2011.  He has been helping customers manage the migration to IT as a Service (ITaaS) since 2004.


Showback and Chargeback have become increasingly hot topics for IT, especially infrastructure teams.  This is fuelled at least in part by the general acceptance of cloud computing, including private clouds and SaaS applications.   Chargeback (and even Showback) are great ways of affecting behavior of the consumers of IT.   It keeps consumers from demanding an unreasonable amount of services, and encourages them to use of what has already been invested in.  There is also a growing mandate from Finance to make IT accountable for its spend, or at the very least to justify any requests for further investment. So infrastructure teams find themselves in the unexpected position of defining prices for the services traditionally offered.   Most have no idea where to start.

Several vendors have produced offerings to help manage the showback/chargeback business case.  This post will not discuss any vendor in detail.  Instead, I want to talk about philosophy.

Broadly speaking, there are two major approaches to creating a price model for IT.  There is the Utility-based model, in which pricing derived from actual consumption of CPU cycles, RAM, bandwidth, storage, etc.  In this model, if you stood up a virtual machine for one week you would only pay for the actual amount CPU cycles and storage you consumed.

Alternately, there is Service-based pricing, which advocates a fixed price based on either the service itself or some other unit of measure such as hours, etc.  In this model, if you stood up a virtual machine for one week you would pay for how many hours the VM was active, whether you used it or not.

I always council my customers to adopt service-based pricing.  I think utility-based pricing is the wrong approach for IT departments, especially infrastructure teams.  Here are my reasons:

1.INFLEXIBLE – Utility pricing is asset based, and therefore assumes that the assets will remain more-or-less the same.  The model breaks down when you introduce changes, like renting infrastructure from public providers or changing service levels.  What about if I offer VDI next year?  That may mean two different types of pricing models, which gets even more complex.  A service-based pricing scheme works with all services.

2.POOR CAPACITY MANAGEMENT – by only charging for the CPU cycles you actually consume, it encourages users to stand up systems and leave them in place.. which is exactly what we don’t want.  Think of renting a car: you rent a car for 4 days but only drive it for a total of 3 hours, you still have to pay for all for days.  If I just paid when I actually drove it, I would keep it all the time.  We want to encourage users to return unused assets. Which leads to..

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Citrix Synergy Round-up: Cisco Previews Nexus 1000V on XenServer

In conjunction with the newly expanded partnership with Citrix, Cisco demonstrated its Nexus 1000V virtual switch on the Citrix XenServer virtualization platform based on the Xen hypervisor, with XenCenter integration this week at Citrix Synergy in Barcelona. This is another important milestone in Cisco’s multi-hypervisor strategy for its full Nexus 1000V virtual networking portfolio, following on the heels of our support for Microsoft Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 (currently in beta) and the demonstration of Nexus 1000V on the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) open source hypervisor for Linux at Cisco Live in San Diego earlier this year.

The demonstration at Synergy showed the consistent deployment architecture for the Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switch, NX-OS feature-set, operational workflows, and port profile based provisioning of virtual Ethernet ports (vEths) via XenCenter.  Two virtual workloads – Ubuntu server and Windows Client – were shown to interact with each other as in the diagram below.

But wait, there’s more…  Read More »

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