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Gorilla Nation and Cisco ACE Virtual Contexts – and More!

This customer’s testimonial brings to my mind this commercial from the 1970′s:

If you’ve had a laugh, or if not, the case study is about Gorilla Nation, an integrated digital media company that focuses on vertical publishing and advertising sales and services, has leveraged the powerful multi-tenancy features of ACE to lower OPEX, reduce power and cooling, and eliminate device sprawl, all while maintaining SLAs and delivering high performance in a massively scaled environment.

Cisco Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) and Cisco VIC

What is VM-FEX? VM-FEX is the consolidation of the virtual switch and physical switch into a single management point.

This sounds funny to say, but it amazes me how many people still use standard VMware vSwitches.  In the enterprise there are just too many things that can be missed on standard vSwtiches and we need consistency. This consistency is obvious when port group names need to match identically or vMotion will fail. Last time I went through the VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage class we were working on the standard vSwitch configuration, which utilizes some interesting port group failover order setting which include overrides. So, I zipped through my sheet and was waiting for the instructor to ask for answers. After a few other students I spoke up and proceed to explain my complex but accurate vSwitch configuration.

You remember this diagram from class right??

And the override settings?

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Innovate on the Cheap

Innovation is inextricably linked with the old adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again!”  Great entrepreneurs concur that in order to drive real innovation, corporations must cultivate originality by giving employees the freedom and resources to introduce new ideas, methods and processes.

So I began to wonder, what are some great ways that an enterprise can balance the hard costs and the opportunity costs of fostering innovation with the more practical demands of the balance sheet?

A few weeks ago, I heard James Urquhart talking to a customer about their cloud strategy and he said some things that I thought were very powerful.  He was talking about the flexibility of Cisco UCS and how it allowed for inexpensive do-overs.  You can buy the hardware and try something on it at small scale.  If it shows promise, you can scale it up to meet the full market need.  If it doesn’t work, the hardware can quickly be recaptured and repurposed for the next innovation.  Repeat, redo, retry, redesign—cost effectively “try, and try again.”

As the conversation went on with the customer, we came to recognize the same benefit of a well-engineered orchestrator as the common point of interaction of all the pieces of IT.

New services in the cloud are more than just building a new VM template or vApp and then cloning it on demand.  The move toward ITaaS means bringing in new purpose-built technologies (such as IT chargeback, application configuration management, network flow management, industry-specific compliance reporting, etc.), and integrating them with existing OSS/BSS products you already have (ticketing systems, network monitoring, email, etc.).

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Cisco FabricPath – Scaling your data center network

Recently, I was having a discussion with some customers about how data center networks are being redefined by convergence and virtualization, and how Cisco FabricPath is helping IT staff scale their data center networks to make them more agile for virtualization deployments. If you’re not familiar with Cisco FabricPath technology,  it’s a superset  of the IETF TRILL standard with added features. Cisco FabricPath allows you to build out highly scalable, multi-path layer 2 networks without Spanning-Tree.

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Building “Business Ready” Cloud Computing Networks

Over the last few months, the big trend in Cloud Computing has been a dramatic shift from “talking” to “building”. Companies in every industry are taking the next steps to deploy their strategies to deliver more efficient IT services for their business, with the goal of delivering the services in the best possible manner regardless of the source (Private Cloud, Public Cloud service, Hybrid capabilities).

But companies looking to deploy Cloud Computing or expand their existing footprint face several challenges:

  • How to deal with on-going support for legacy applications (such as this or this) while beginning to deploy new virtualized or cloud-based applications?
  • How to ensure consistent levels of Security, Auditing, Compliance, and Quality of Service across the range of applications (old and new)?
  • How to build out Cloud Computing infrastructure in a way that is consistent and able to easily grow as demand grows?
  • How to deal with potential migration from one source of services (internal or external) to another without having to completely re-architecture the underlying infrastructure?
  • How to deal with concerns about stability of external Cloud Computing services that are outside of their control?

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