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Conversations about Cloud – “What about my Data?”

This week I had a separate discussion with a CIO of a large manufacturing company about Cisco’s Cloud Computing strategy and how we could help them with an upcoming transition in their Data Center equipment and facilities. My their own admission, they are a fairly conservative company and asked me to avoid any hype or hyperbole in this discussion. They just wanted to talk about the current state of IT.

I started the conversation with two pictures that I often use:

I always let customers know that the reality of today is there are many legitimate ways to deliver Cloud Computing services as an IT organization. Some of them can come from your internal systems (“Private Cloud”), some will come from commodity Cloud services (“Public Cloud”), some will come via Service Providers and Hosting Providers, and others may come from the SaaS offerings that Cisco provides (eg. WebEx, ScanSafe, etc.). The key to all of this is to determine what services their users, partners and business need, and then evaluate where to best deliver the IT services from. Some choices will be driven by time-to-market, others by cost, and still others by industry or government regulations. In the long-run, we fully expect that most customers’ IT portfolio will be delivered through a mix of Private and Public services. Cisco plays a critical role in this because of our experience helping customers through IT transitions for the past 20+ years, and because of the critical role the network plays in delivering Highly Available, Secure and Mobility-Aware experiences to users on any device or in any location. Read More »

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Conversations about Cloud – “What is Cloud Computing?”

Sometimes we spend so much time involved in the inner-workings of something (“inside the sausage factory”) that it’s valuable to occasionally come up for air to get a fresh perspective on things. I had one of those moments this week during a conversation with a Sr. Engineer at one of our customers. After a long whiteboard session about networking within their Data Center, he asked me if it was useful (YES!) and then he said he wasn’t sure how that had anything to do with Cloud Computing.  The rest of the conversation went something like this:

ME: That was great because you highlights many design considerations for building massively scalable data center networks. [SCALABLE]

HIM: Glad it was helpful, but please don’t tell me this is Cloud Computing. This is just the evolution of Data Centers because now VMs and Applications can be mobile.

ME: OK, what do you think Cloud Computing is?

HIM: Cloud Computing is the stuff on the Internet, you know, like Amazon AWS or Google. All the on-demand, self-service, *aaS stuff that marketing people talk about.

ME: OK, fair enough. Does your company (Enterprise -- Financial Services) use any Cloud Computing?

HIM: Are you serious, we have rules about where our data goes, how it’s accounted for and how it’s audited. You can’t do that in Cloud Computing. (NOTE: Not completely true -- Cisco is doing some important work in that space.) Read More »

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3-for-2: The FCoE Bandwidth Bonus

April 29, 2011 at 11:58 am PST

“Dude, you’re killing me!” my friend said to me.

I raised an eyebrow. “What did I do now?” Quick witted, I am.

“I know that you’re all over this FCoE stuff,” he said (actually, he didn’t use the word “stuff“, but you get the idea. “But what’s so great about a lousy 2G of bandwidth?” He sipped his beer, pausing for dramatic effect.

I was confused. “What do you mean, 2 Gig of bandwidth?”

“Look,” he said, sitting his beer down and enjoying his gotcha moment. “If I have 8Gb Fibre Channel and I move to 10Gb FCoE on my Interswitch Links, I’ve only gained 2Gb. I mean, what’s so great about a lousy 25% more?”

I shook my head. “You don’t get 25% more,” I corrected.

His smile broadened. “Aha! I knew it! There’s some overhead crap you gotta deal with, right? It’s even less than that.”

“No,” I said slowly. Now it was my turn to add dramatic effect. “You get 50% more bandwidth with FCoE.”

Every once in a while you get moments of pure schadenfreude. This was one of those moments. His moment of gotcha had spun around on him, and his look of dumbfoundedness was truly entertaining. Truly. Read More »

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Cisco UCS B250-M2 Blade is Finalist for Best of Show at Microsoft Tech Ed 2011

Guest Post from Rex Backman

More good news on the momentum of our Cisco UCS server platform came our way today as we were notified that our B250-M2 blade server series is a Finalist for Best of Show at Microsoft Tech Ed 2011 in the Hardware category.

Annually, the Best of Tech Ed awards recognize companies who offer innovative products for the industry. This year the judges reviewed 334 products and services submitted for the award and chose 47 finalists to be interviewed at the Microsoft Tech Ed North America 2011 conference in Atlanta, Georgia on May 16, 2011.  Winners will be announced at an invite only evening reception at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, May 18. 

“We received a record number of nominations this year—more than 300—and determining an array of finalists from that large, diverse field was difficult,” said Jason Bovberg, Senior Editor at Windows IT Pro®. “The mix of products and services from year to year is ever-changing and exciting, and we feel that our 49 finalists represent highly distinguished products and services in their categories. We look forward to our show-floor interviews, which will lead to the determination of winners. For all categories, as always, our judging process involves three criteria: strategic importance to the market, competitive advantage, and value to customers. Our winners will be particularly strong in those areas.”

This is a great confirmation of our Cisco UCS server family and shows Cisco’s continued growth in support of the Microsoft ecosystem and the importance of Exchange, Hyper-V, SQL Server, SharePoint, System Center, and Windows Server 2008 R2 environments. We encourage Microsoft Tech Ed attendees to stop by our Cisco booth #1614 at the show and see the B250 in action!

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Are you accelerating applications delivery in cloud?

A common discussion I hear a lot is around how to ensure application performance when accessed remotely over WAN from a centralized data center. At the same time, efficiently utilizing the limited network bandwidth available is key to customers. Cisco WAAS solution can help achieve both these objectives in a cost efficient way.

WAAS (Wide Area Application Services) is Cisco’s WAN optimization solution that helps accelerate enterprise applications delivery and data transfer in cloud. The key benefits that Cisco WAAS solution provides for enterprise applications are:

  • Improving end user experience for the global workforce accessing enterprise applications in private/virtual private clouds, resulting in enhanced productivity.
  • Improving efficiency (reduced bandwidth requirements/time) for remote replication of the enterprise application data to the DR site are

The requirement for optimizing WAN traffic becomes even more critical as customers continue to adopt data center virtualization and private/hybrid cloud to run their most demanding applications.

Deployment flexibility/options with Cisco WAAS

Cisco WAAS offers multiple deployment options (both physical and virtualized), and can easily plug into different architectures across your datacenter/private cloud, virtual private cloud at service provider, remote/branch offices, Backup/DR site, and mobile workforce. The picture below shows the different deployment options available with Cisco WAAS.

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