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Avoiding “VMs Gone Wild” In Your Data Center [updated]

February 28, 2011 at 10:39 am PST

Last post I covered some of the basics around VM networking. But, as we all know, there is more to networking than just packet transport. One of the biggest challenges with VM networking is security policy enforcement. The fundamental nature of server virtualization introduces a new set of challenges for both network and security admin to ensure proper compliance with infosec policy because of things like VM mobility, VM sprawl and potential loss of transparency. With the introduction of the Nexus 1000V we gave network and security admins many of the security tools they were already familiar with with physical Cisco switches--this should not be a surprise, since the Nexus 1000V is a full NX-OS switch. Last summer, we built upon this functionality with the Virtual Security Gateway. This zone based firewall was specifically desinged to meet the unique challenges of VM environments. Click on the pic for a quick 3 minute tour of the VSG

To dig into this deeper,
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Cisco’s Unified Fabric in the Data Center

Our industry certainly loves its buzzwords.  For a while, everything was about “virtualized this” and “virtualized that” in the data center.  Then there is a current love affair with “cloud”.  It seems the next hot buzzword might turn out to be fabric.

For Cisco, “fabric” in the data center has defined our data center strategy and vision for the last three years.  With the introduction of the Cisco Nexus family in January 2008, we also announced the concept of Unified Fabric as a fundamental building block for the data center.  We offered the simple vision of a single fabric to link all the network, compute and storage resources in a data center as a mechanism to not only reduce TCO but also improve agility and flexibility.  Since then, we have released a steady flow of products and technologies to deliver on the promise of Cisco Unified Fabric by simplifying the infrastructure with convergence, improving its ability to handle virtual and physical scale and increasing the intelligence of the fabric to increase agility and lower operating costs.

While initially hesitant, customers and industry experts are beginning to see the merits of Cisco’s vision, especially in the age of virtualization and cloud.  Meanwhile, other vendors in the marketplace are left to play catch-up.  In a November 4, 2010 independent report titled “Q&A: Networking Landscape, Q4 2010” Forrester Research, Inc. commented that:

“To Cisco’s credit, it saw the data center evolution way before any other networking vendor and started to build a set of products and solutions directed at a converged and virtual world.”- Forrester Research, Inc.

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The Year of the Hybrid Cloud

2010 saw a lot of attention, coverage, and interest building up around the private cloud.  IDC’s “IT Cloud Services Survey” conducted in the second quarter of 2010 showed that “those who find private clouds more (and much more) appealing than public clouds outnumbered those who find private clouds less (or much less) appealing by over 5 to 1.”

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Want to successfully move beyond 30% virtualized datacenter?

Virtualize Tier-1 Enterprise Applications on FlexPod for VMware

In today’s competitive environment, companies have to innovate rapidly to stay ahead of their competition, improve profitability, create new services and revenue streams, and reduce risks by adopting cost efficient business models.

The increased business pressure has a direct impact on the IT organization to innovate rapidly and efficiently meet the ever demanding business needs. At the same time, CIOs are struggling with the legacy, siloed, underutilized IT infrastructure and operational processes that were built based on the requirements of individual enterprise applications and processes. The end result is increased total cost of ownership and inability to help business be more agile, introduce new services, and achieve operational efficiency.

Why move enterprise applications to Virtual Infrastructure and Private Cloud?

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Evolving the Data Center to Private Cloud

All too often, vendors talk about products or features when customers really want solutions and “how do I get there?” models for evolving their business. Cloud Computing is a topic that definitely falls into the latter category because it isn’t a single piece of hardware or software, but rather it’s a new way to align business needs with technology capabilities.

For many companies, Cloud Computing represents both an opportunity and a challenge. From an opportunity perspective, it potentially represents a chance to leapfrog your competition by leveraging technology as a core driver of new business models. This would create a compelling business differentiation and it’s most likely what every CIO will be talking about in 2011. From a challenge perspective, it introduces some new types of change that your company will need to address, such as:

[WARNING] It’s very possible that this post could get slightly lengthy, so if you’d like the cliff-notes version, check out Cisco’s Enterprise Private Cloud homepage and click on the short video at the top. 3 minutes could save you months or years on your Cloud Computing strategy.
Evolving the Data Center to Private Cloud

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