Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center

Algo Boost Series: Part 3 Commitment to Innovation with Nexus 3548

On November 5th I posted part 2 of the Algo Boost series with a fantastic discussion around Customer proof points on the Nexus 3548.  In our third and final segment in the series I interviewed Chih-Tsung Huang, Director of Engineering in the Server, Switching, & Virtualization Product Group to shed some light on Cisco’s continued commitment to innovate with Algo Boost technology.

GD: What is the primary difference between existing Nexus 3000 switches and the new Nexus 3548?  And how do we differentiate from the competition?

CH: As we all know, the current generation Nexus 3000 uses merchant silicon while the new Nexus 3548 uses a full layer 2 bridging and layer 3 routing Cisco ASIC – designed and built from ground up to optimize switch latency. Prior to the Nexus 3548 announcement, industry best was greater than 500 nanoseconds.

One of the stated elements of our corporate culture is “No Technology Religion”.  The underlying concept is that we have the freedom to choose the solution that allows us to best meet our customer’s needs and not get locked into ideological silos.

Cisco continues to invest and drive innovations and standardization efforts with the development of our own ASICs because this allows us to deliver a complete value add solution to our customers.  However, we do take advantage of merchant silicon in specific use cases where features and innovation are not needed.

GD: Does the introduction of Algo Boost indicate a complete shift away from merchant silicon?

CH: Absolutely not.  Cisco has and will continue to adopt a flexible silicon strategy, meaning we will buy off-the-shelf ASICs when they can immediately fill a market need, and we continue to add value through silicon innovation by designing our own ASICs. The Nexus 3548 is an example of a highly integrated Software, Hardware and ASIC solution that cannot be achieved with off the shelf components.

GD: It sounds like we are very much committed to developing our own ASICs. How many ASICS are used in Cisco Solutions today, and how much do we invest in R&D?

CH: Cisco has developed hundreds of ASICs to perform various forwarding functions in switches and routers.  Cisco has developed over 20 ASICs to power the Nexus portfolio alone. We have an annual R&D budget of $5.8 billion which is greater than Juniper’s entire revenues and roughly equal to the R&D budgets of HP and Huawei combined.

GD: Algo Boost clearly addresses needs in the financial sector. Are there any other segments that will benefit from these groundbreaking features?

CH: Since mid-2011, the Nexus 3000 family has had a significant presence in massively scalable data centers.  We believe these environments will see further benefits with the performance visibility tools we’re building into our portfolio, as well as the programmability and automation features in the Cisco ONE offering.

We also believe that there is an important role for custom silicon in the software-defined networking world. We feel that customers will continue to be willing to pay for advanced hardware innovation because of the value they derive from tightly integrating advanced software and hardware engineering.  Customers derive the greatest value from emerging software approaches, such as SDN, when they effectively leverage the underlying infrastructure which Cisco silicon innovation enables them to do.

Additionally, the 190 nanosecond ultra low latency of the Nexus 3548 switch enables applications to innovate not only to High Performance Trading Fabrics but also into Massively Scalable Data Center,   Software Defined Network, and beyond.

 

I’d like to thank Chih-Tsung for this valuable information. To see an actual Algo Boost powered ASIC, view the TechWiseTV segment below..

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SAP TechEd Madrid is a showcase for the Cisco UCS Server Platform

SAP TechEd Madrid is a showcase for the Cisco UCS Server Platform

Another November and another SAP TechEd in Madrid. Cisco will again be showcasing UCS as a preferred platform for all SAP solutions. SAP is again highlighting SAP HANA in the test drive area in Madrid, and Cisco will have their medium SAP certified C460 on display in the test drive area.

Cisco currently has several certified solutions for SAP HANA. SAP has aptly names these T-shirt sized. In the small T-shirt size, Cisco has the C260. In the medium T-shirt size, is the C460. In the large and extra large T-shirt size, Cisco had the B440 configuration with EMC and NetApp as the storage partners. But SAP HANA is not the only solution on display in Madrid.

Cisco will also have in their booth #1054, a VCE VBlock rack and a NetApp FlexPod rack. Both of these will be staffed by experts from VCE and NetApp.

The IT Process Automation team will also be represented in the booth. SAP is now selling this product as part of their price list.

Dr. Michael Missbach has 3 speaking assignments, one theater presentation and 2 Microforums.
Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Introducing the Solution Accelerator Community for Intelligent Automation for Cloud

We are excited by the demand for Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition designed for pilot cloud deployments.   Just Recently we announced the new version of our stack, Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) 3.1.  The release of Cisco IAC 3.1 continues to demonstrate Cisco’s commitment to enterprise customers and service providers to successfully deploy and manage their private, public or hybrid cloud environments.

There are so many opportunities to build private, public, and hybrid clouds with our Cloud Portal, Process Orchestrator, Server Provisioner and Network Services Manager.  Over a year ago we embarked on a journey to build cloud behaviors  into our product through  a concept we call Accelerator Packs which are XML  files containing the service catalog, data model and orchestration workflows that snap into Cisco IAC Starter Edition or Cisco IAC 3.1.  Accelerator packs extend Cisco IAC’s ability to manage multiple cloud environments such as Openstack, Amazon EC2 and VMware vCloud Director.   Accelerator packs were designed to meet the needs of our differing customers:  large service providers, or enterprises acting as a service provider, that desire completely custom behaviors, and other customers that are looking for pre-built and Cisco supported cloud-in-a-box solution.

Our platform is like the iPOD.  When installed and turned on you have a blank slate, no music ships with that iPOD.  Our automation packs are like the music and video files that upload and then your iPOD comes alive.  With our 3.0 Starter Edition and the 3.1 release, we have productized many playlists for a starter and enterprise grade cloud.  This means more than 70 pre-built portal services and over 150 orchestration workflows.  But wait, there is one more thing:   Cisco Advanced Services, Cisco partners and customers can build their specific content to extend the productized behaviors and content.  It can be transportable from one instance of Intelligent Automation for Cloud to another for leverage and integration.

How do we encourage sharing between all the 100’s of folks building content for this platform?

We are introducing the Solution Accelerator Community Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  Anyone with a Cisco.com registration can access this site.

This will be the place for Cisco, Partners and Customers to post, download, improve, upload content for sharing within the community.  This content can only run on the Intelligent Automation for Cloud software, so if you would like purchase a version of the platform for non-production test and development use, please go here.  While the solution accelerators are NOT open source, the use of this site is governed by these terms of use.

We have placed our Multi-Cloud  solution accelerator on this site and we are extremely proud of our integration with Openstack (and Amazon AWS and VMware vCloud Director).

Tags: , , , , , ,

Superheroes of the Cloud Part Four: Every Cloud Service Provider needs a Cloud Cheerleader

I am of often surprised by how much interest Intelligent Automation for Cloud receives from Service Providers and enterprises that are building ITaaS.  I come across another individual who fits the mantle of Cloud Hero, someone who really stands out in their drive and passion to transform their organization and achieve a pragmatic cloud for their stakeholders.  Enterprises have choices to either build their own private cloud their way (which many are doing) but they can also choose to leverage a service provider as well.   There is a broad ecosystem of players in this space from of course Amazon, Rackspace, to traditional Telco’s to more focused and nimble smaller cloud service providers.  How you as a service provider (or a cloud architect at your enterprise) think about and drive your organization toward the right choices for your cloud is absolutely critical the adoption, revenue, and ease in operational excellence.

Do you compete at the low end – what some call a commodity cloud?  Do you go after complete multi-tenancy based upon Cisco Network architectures and compete on functionality?  Do you think through how you are going to sell services and what your value proposition will be?  Are there creative angles that you can enable with your Cloud Orchestration framework?  Which of your internal systems do you really need to integrate with?  All are great questions.   Producing a revenue generating (or charged back private cloud) requires the attention to a multitude of details.  Organizations need an energetic individual who speaks their mind and can lead an organization the right balance of business, technology, and ultimately success in monetizing the cloud.

This cloud hero is Karl Marsh, Staff Manager, Tools & Orchestration at Windstream Hosted Solutions, http://www.windstreambusiness.com/

Previous Superheros:

Superhero 3:  Ravi Rajamani and Brian Krug of Cisco Advanced Services.

Superhero 2:  Johan Milbrink of Presideo Networked Solutions

Superhero 1:  Ryan Carrico of Paypal

 

Tags: , , , ,

Cisco Validated Designs for Cloud – Part 3 – Flexpod

Over the past two weeks, Tom Nallen introduced the concept and benefits of the Cisco Validated Design , then Laszlo Bojtos,  illustrated this concept with the Cloud Service Assurance for Virtualized Multi-Services Data Center 2.2 Cisco Validated Design, with a specific emphasis on the integration with Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud .

This week I talked with John Kennedy, a Cisco engineer who put a lot of energy on the FlexPod CVDs.

“So John, what is FlexPod ?
FlexPod is the result of collaboration between NetApp© and Cisco to create a cost-effective, scalable solution for cloud applications as well as standard virtualization support.  The FlexPod(t), a pre-defined, pre-tested solution, includes the compute, networking, and storage customers need in a validated (as in CVD) package. But unlike other validated solutions, FlexPod can be scaled up or out, not just one or the other.

What need does FlexPod address ?
It’s probably been a while since you had to source a motherboard. Many of us have done this in the past, in order to get desktop computer system that met our needs. Pre-configured systems were limited in their abilities, and custom design was beneficial.

But choices of personal computer systems have increased, and most folks don’t need to customize anymore, preferring to buy an entire computer system that’s been tested and designed to meet their needs. On the other hand, customers want to be able to expand the system they have to keep up with new technology, or to add capabilities.

Customers need to support multiple types of applications and have multiple purposes for their infrastructure, and the Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for FlexPod reflect that need. The architectures have been validated by engineers from both companies to ensure performance and stability.
But that’s just the beginning. The Cisco Validated Design documents include multiple configurations with multiple types of application and operating systems  Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,