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New Forrester Report Offers Insights to Deploying Virtual Network Services

An interesting new report has been issued by Forrester Research that provides a great deal of market research and insight into the challenges of the data center network supporting large-scale virtualization. The report provides a representative view about the types of obstacles organizations are facing and where they are making new investments, along with some recommended best practices. As usual, the application services infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges, i.e., how to replicate the layer 4-7 and security services that mission-critical applications require in a highly virtualized or hybrid cloud environment. While servers and networks have largely been virtualized, relying on physical firewalls or application controllers can undermine or limit the beneficial effects of virtualization.

Forrester starts by pointing out what benefits customers are looking for and where they see the greatest growth in virtualization going forward. Over the next four years, Forrester sees 500% growth in total virtual x86 workloads that will be hosted in private cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), where virtual servers are isolated between tenants, compared to 170% growth in private cloud pools in organizations’ own data centers. Forrester points out that overlooking virtual services can “negate private and public cloud investments”, however. 33% of their respondents indicated that they have difficulty integrating public services with internal virtual infrastructures, with 24% specifically citing “frustration with capability, agility and flexibility of traditional application delivery controllers (ADC)”. (see next table).

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Virtual Symposium #2: Cisco ONE

We decided to take advantage of the fine collection of smart people running around at CiscoLive in San Diego, and tape another in our Virtual Symposia series.  This one was a bit different than in that we started with a Cisco-specific seed topic and we did not take live Q&A due to the logistics of being live and onsite at CiscoLive.

I think the show turned out well–we have a wide ranging discussion on not just the Cisco ONE announcement but also SDN, network programmability and implications for networking folks.

This wide-ranging discussion touched on a number of topics:

  • Contrasting Cisco’s ONE strategy with SDN and OpenFlow in general
  • APIs, OpenFlow, and XML
  • What will people do with SDN in the future?
  • Distributed and autonomous versus centralized
  • Standards: IEEE vs. IETF, de facto and interoperability
  • VXLAN and the Nexus 1000V – Is 1000V SDN?
  • Operational and organizational impacts
  • Systems engineering
  • Thinking of networks as flows

The video is hosted on the Tech Field Day site.

As I noted last week, we will be hosting Virtual Symposia #3 (more on network programmability) and #4 (VM networking) later this month.  I should have the registration links up tomorrow.  We have a killer panel coming together and we will once again have most of the show dedicated to audience Q&A, so I hope you can join us for those.

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Your Cloud Journey and Roadmap with Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Part 3 of a 4 part series “Who moved the IT cheese while I was getting production back up?”)

Part 2 – How Agile is your Cloud?

Part 1 – The End of Big IT Architecture

(with contributions from my teammates Mike Eisenstein and Jim Kao)

This blog guides you through the considerations after you have taken the first step in your Journey to Cloud with the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition.

Once you have deployed the Starter Edition, you can take some time to experience the benefits and begin to start noting where you need your company’s cloud roadmap to go next.   What are the key things that you, your business, your users, and your operations need to take them to the next level?  Many of these will be in the next edition from Cisco, others will require building an integration into a system that is critical such as your ERP environment to enable chargeback.  Let’s break the discussion in some key areas:


Starter Edition works with UCS and vCenter.  While Cisco would like to see your entire datacenter filled with UCS and Nexus, we do realize that you may have other vendors on your approved buying list.  You may decide you want to leverage your Cloud Portal, Process Orchestrator, and Server Provisioner across a number of computing hardware vendors.   We have customers who provision both physical and virtual servers across Cisco and other vendors.  It is one of most common heterogeneous integrations that we do.  This allows the end user to order compute as a service with little regard to which flavor the physical server is.

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PacketPushers @ CiscoLive

So, if you are a networking geek of any sort, you should be listening to PacketPushers–for both the education and the sheer entertainment value.  This year, we tried something a little different with the PacketPushers team and had them join us onsite at CiscoLive.  Below are six of the podcasts they produced for us:

  • PQ Show 002 – Cisco Cloud Services Router With Prashant Shenoy
  • PQ Show 003 – Cisco onePK With Richard Pruss
  • PQ Show 004 – Catalyst 4500X and 4500E
  • PQ Show 005 – Cisco Nexus Updates With Ron Fuller
  • PQ Show 006 – Nexus 1000V Update With Han Yang
  • Show 107 – Cisco Software Defined Networking Strategy With Omar Sultan

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How Agile is your Cloud? (Part 2 of a 4 part series “Who moved the IT cheese while I was getting production back up?”)

Is your organization moving to a cloud model through a well thought out RFP with at least 40 requirements?  May I suggest that you rethink this model.   The RFP approach with a committee generated wish list may work in some situations, or even be required, but in general the IT shops that really differentiate themselves go Agile for the cloud.  What does that mean?

In our business unit we have turned the development of our Cloud Automation platform:  Intelligent Automation for Cloud to an Agile development methodology and process.   This means when I ask if we will have a certain feature in our 3.1 version, I get an unexpected answer:  we won’t know until close to the ship date.  Going agile means we work off a backlog of user stories versus a hard and fast set of features that MUST be in the release.  We can ship at anytime with the right methodologies in place.

This approach also works for our customers in building their clouds with our software stack.  Agile cloud builders have a set of cloud user stories that they are implementing and may release the updated version of the cloud functionality every quarter, or even every 2-3 weeks.   When relaying this approach that one of our customers is taking to another customer considering our solution, I could see a twinkle in his eye as he said:  I bet that could really help differentiate the value the IT organization provides.  He got that right.

We sell to customers who have RFPs and those who look for capabilities, roadmaps, and more importantly an alignment of vision and approach to cloud automation.   Many cloud builders look for vendors who will grow with their agile cloud and one that has an open and extensible model to build new use cases with.   Why is that of paramount importance?  If you think you know what your cloud needs six months from now, good luck.  If you bet on the fact that your business and technology requirements will change before you get to your next release of your cloud you will need an agile cloud builder methodology.

Back to responding to, SIGH, another RFP.

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