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Does Virtualization Improve Security?

We all know that the virtualization and cloud megatrend is a game changer for data centers, leading to profound shifts in everything from IT services and business models to architectures. Business benefits include reduced capital investments, new revenue growth opportunities, and the greater efficiency, agility and scalability demanded by globalization.

Enterprises have held back from making the transition to virtual and cloud environments primarily because of the inherent security risks and concerns.

Targeted attacks and security breaches are getting more sophisticated. The Verizon Security Threat Report for 2011 showed that 3.8 million records were stolen in 2010, and 94% of this data came from servers (an increase of 18%).

As security concerns are the primary barrier to making this transition from virtualized data center to cloud, we must rethink how security fits in to these new architectures and develop new security tools to ensure the secure transfer of information.

For enterprises to confidently seize the business benefits offered by data center virtualization and the cloud, security must be seen as the art of the possible, not as a hindrance.

Watch below as I explore the challenges and leading practices for securing virtualized environments today, and into the future.

Please join me also for  a special webcast  “Defending the Data Center “ today at 10:00 am PDT /1:00 pm EDT /17:00 GMT – To watch register here 

 

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Deloitte Ride Across Britain – Cisco and Others Raising Funds for Paralympic Athletes

If you’ve read my previous blogs on data center services, you may be surprised to know I sometimes have a life outside work!!  In a departure from my previous blogs discussing data center servicescloud adoption and IT architecture transformation, here is some news on a major Cisco UK and Ireland “Giving Back” initiative, where myself and over 60 colleagues are taking part in various stages of a 963 cycle “Ride Across Britain”.

You can read more here on our Corporate Social Responsibility blog.

For a quick summary, have a look at the scary route profile below and also some of the wonderful scenery we’ll cycle through as we raise funds for ParalympicsGB.

Route profile - The hills we'll face on Friday!

Route profile - The hills we'll face on Friday!

 

Loch Tulla, near Glencoe - some of the amazing scenery we'll cycle past

And when I get back, as well as posting some photos and new of the journey, I’ll tell you more about the latest in Cisco Data Center Services land!

 

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IPv6 in the Enterprise Data Center – Why is it important

Why is it important to start thinking about IPv6 across your entire network especially the data center?
Remember the term Y2K? The panic and haphazardness that was there to ensure every single device and application was compatible with Y2K? I see IPv6 as a similar situation except that there is no impending date forcing you to adopt it.

The more you wait, the more you lose time to develop IPv6 architecture with ease and peace of mind so that things are done right. And if not done way ahead of time, then you may end up doing things quickly to ensure the business is operational with a poorly designed and operated IPv6 network.

The Next Generation Data Center
IPv6 is becoming ever increasingly important and critical with the success and proliferation of mobile devices and other such applications that require enormous addressing needs. Lot of customers are taking the first step to enable IPv6 in their Internet edge, Campus and WAN edges, but very few customer are realizing the importance of enabling IPv6 inside their data centers.

I came across few such customers that are eager to enable IPv6 inside the data center but have not done any planning or design. Before coming to the reasons why they are eager, it is nevertheless important to say that IPv6 is going to be the protocol of the future.

As an Advanced Services Solutions Architect for the Data Center Practices team, one of my jobs is to deliver planning and designing workshop for customers who are looking into building their “next generation data center architecture”. The word Next Generation is enough to tell them that they should start not only planning and design but most importantly start assessing their data center devices and design to enable IPv6.

My Experience with Customers
In this post, I want to share my experience with customers who are seriously planning to take the next step of building the next generation data center, yet are completely skipping IPv6 in their planning phase. For most of these customers, replacing the Catalyst platform with the newer Nexus platform is extent of building the next generation data center in their minds.

Others want to use the newer, cooler features in the Nexus platform like vPC, VDC, OTV and FabricPath. Agreed, that these features and architectures would entitle their data centers to be called “next generation” but the actual plumbing of the new data Center is still the same: IPv4.

Change the Plumbing, its time
In my view, the real next generation architecture is where you enable the new plumbing system inside the data center and be ready to shift to the enormous and powerful protocol when the business needs you to.

Migrating or integrating IPv6 is not a job that will take few days or months. It will take serious planning and effort to ensure that the expertise in-house is familiar and comfortable with the gigantic protocol whose similarity with IPv4 ends at the first three letters used to represent both the protocols: IPv 😉

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Unified Fabric for a Backup Server

Outside of that large, black, monolithic machine in the middle of the datacenter referred to as the mainframe, there aren’t that many servers that require as many network and storage connections as the backup server.  It’s not really sexy, it’s not computing Pi, generally doesn’t run a hypervisor and is bought with one goal in mind, move data. Not just some data, but a lot.  These machines often move all of the data in your datacenter off of disk and onto tape, either real or virtual.  In many datacenters, these backup servers are sometimes the only non-x86 platforms left due to their ability to contain high numbers of HBAs for SAN connectivity and NICs for network connectivity.   They’re like the tractors of the datacenter. Read More »

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Cisco Build and Price Gives Customers Access to Blade Server and Rack Server Prices

It’s no secret that Cisco Unified Computing Sytem (UCS) has had some tremendous success in terms of customer adoption.  In just three short years, UCS is nipping at the heals of IBM for the #2 spot for Worldwide x86 blade server revenue with 15.2% market share, compared to IBM’s 15.4%.  In fact, Cisco now has over 15,000 customers that have moved from legacy architectures to a more “Unified” approach, combining compute, network and storage access into a single, easy to manage solution. 

 So what’s missing? 

Well, believe it or not, until now it was relatively hard to do business with Cisco.  Quoting and ordering took days instead of minutes.  Well Cisco is changing that with the release of its new online presence called “Cisco Build and Price“, offering direct access to blade server pricing and rack server pricing.

A Simple Approach to Building and Pricing Cisco UCS Servers

Read More »

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