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Nexus 1000V Updates Bring Scalability and Cloud Readiness to the Network

For anyone who has ventured to a tech conference, flown into an airport or even driven down CA highway 101 this past year, it’s clear that cloud is still top of mind for many technical and business decision makers. We believe this means that enterprises are no longer just talking the talk, but are looking deeper into their networking infrastructure to see if they are ready to meet the challenges of cloud, virtualization and workload mobility. At Cisco, it is our job to help build clouds that can handle elastic demand and efficiently use the  networking infrastructure at both a virtual and physical level. This week, we are announcing several key upgrades to the Nexus 1000V family that bring scalability and cloud readiness to the network.

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Announcing the new Nexus 1010-X Virtual Services Appliance

January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm PST

Nexus 1010-XCisco is announcing this week a new member of the Nexus 1000V virtualization infrastructure portfolio, the Nexus 1010-X virtual services appliance. The new Nexus 1010-X is an extended version of the existing Nexus 1010 appliance, and represents a larger, more scalable and cost-efficient configuration for larger data center deployments and cloud applications. What is a virtual services appliance and why should customers use it? The Cisco Nexus 1010 and 1010-X provide improved management, scalability and visibility in environments running the Nexus 1000V virtual switch and the VMware vSphere hypervisor. Read More »

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Managing Data Center Assets

Its hard to believe that almost an entire month has gone by since the beginning of the year.  The year has been off to a great start for Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) now serving 10,000 customers.  Reaching the 10,000-customer milestone is an achievement for relatively new and innovative platform.

Generally asset management implies financial management but this discussion is focused on operational management of the data center components. Typically, in Data Centers, different teams manage servers, networks and storage.  These teams have cursory knowledge of each other’s domains.  This organizational structure hinders data centers from obtaining higher efficiencies and agility.  Data Center Management tools that allow automated workflows with enforcement of policies set by domain experts reduce time needed to effect changes and hence increase agility.   Unified server, network and storage infrastructures with proper management capabilities improve overall efficiency, reduce data center complexity and promote better resource utilization.  With Unified infrastructures the server management teams can make informed decisions on application workload placement based on their visibility into the network setup and policies set by the Network domain experts.  For example, a server administrator could place more sensitive applications on servers that are connected to very secure network segments, or place bandwidth hungry applications on network segments with spare capacity.  If network managers need to move network segment capacity around they would need the equivalent of network hypervisors.  These decisions which affect multiple domains could be manually executed or orchestrated with systems management tools.  The crowning glory would be for the end customer of the IT service to request infrastructure services from a catalog and get access to it instantaneously.  A Forrester Research paper that Cisco sponsored even shows a maturity model for service orchestration within a data center.  Where do you think your organization is on this maturity model?

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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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