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How do you measure your Cloud Computing strategy?

In sports, when looking at the record books we often find that most of the records are held by current players. In most cases this get attributed to the fact that the games change over time and certain elements are emphasized over others. Maybe it’s passing over running in football, home runs instead of stolen bases in baseball, or dunks over jump shots in basketball. Whatever it is, we eventually accept that the new approach to the game is going to lead us to viewing measurements differently.

For some reason, that same mentality doesn’t seem to apply to changes in how we leverage IT technologies to drive our businesses. While we now live in a world where change happens at 2x, 3x and sometimes 5x what it did in the past, but we’re still using measurements that are centered in a world where IT is primarily focused on keeping the operations running and keeping the costs down. Measurements like Return on Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) are primarily focused on upfront costs of equipment or a level of labor that is often ignored after the initial ROI calculations are complete. But what happens when a new system is able to take on orders of magnitude more work them previous systems, which often happens with server virtualization projects, so IT handles more capacity? Do ROI and TCO really account for that increased productivity properly? Read More »

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Is Intel’s OpenFCoE announcement a big deal?

January 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm PST

In a word, “yes.”

A long time ago in another life, I worked for a CNA vendor before anyone had ever heard of FCoE. Used to keeping the worlds of Fibre Channel and Ethernet separate, it came to some of my colleagues as a shock that at some point you would not need to pay for Fibre Channel access in a host.

After all, they had (and still have) a thriving iSCSI HBA business, but for many customers the fact that iSCSI was ‘free,’ proved simply too attractive. Even today, most of the people I’ve spoken with who talk the talk with iSCSI casually mention that it’s ‘free.’

Free is a game changer. Read More »

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Why Ethernet Wins, Reason #82: OpenFCoE

January 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm PST

Over the decades, Ethernet has maintained its role as king-of-the-networking-hill for two reasons:  1) a multitude of companies continue to expand the boundaries of Ethernet’s capabilities to keep it relevant, and 2) the the economics of Ethernet make it hard other protocols to grow beyond niche uses.

Today’s Intel announcement of Open FCoE is a prime example of this.  Over two decades, we have taken Ethernet from a “best effort” protocol to one that offers sufficient reliability to carry storage traffic.  However, it is the economic implications of this announcement that make this truly interesting.

With the X520 family of family of products, Intel now gives folks a simple, easy path to simplifying their data center by converging data and storage traffic onto common infrastructure. While the attendant cost benefits of a unified fabric in terms of both capex (less infrastructure) and opex (power, cooling, operations) and attractive,  possibly the more interesting aspect of this announcement is the risk mitigation and design flexibility this announcement offers.
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Healthcare and the Data Center

January 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm PST

One of the things we have been looking at recently is what we can do to help healthcare providers with Cisco Data Center Business Advantage.  What we are finding is that DCBA has a lot to offer in terms of reducing costs, delivering new services and tackling requirements such as electronic records management.  But…don’t take my word for it--we have a video event coming up where you can hear directly from our customers.

The show features IT executives from Moses Cone Health System and Virtua, both are nonprofit healthcare organizations with multiple hospitals, clinics, and outpatient facilities.

  • Steve Horsley, associate CIO for Moses Cone Health System, who will discuss healthcare IT challenges and data center requirements for improving patient care and operational efficiency.
  • Michael Heil, manager of technology infrastructure for Moses Cone Health System and “Health IT Guy” blogger, will present his organization’s deployment of the Cisco Unified Computing System and Cisco MDS storage solutions. Heil will explain how Moses Cone has transitioned to an electronic medical records system based on the Cisco Unified Computing System platform and Microsoft Amalga, a real-time data warehousing application designed for clinical data. Heil will describe the project’s IT goals, solutions, and benefits, as well as expansion plans for the future.
  • Paul Krihak, manager of enterprise infrastructure for Virtua, will describe challenges and opportunities for healthcare IT and describe how his organization’s commitment to patient care is realized through technology. Krihak will explain how Virtua transitioned to two key data centers to support new applications, a new regional health information exchange, and an increase in digital images, and willdescribe how the data center architecture allows Virtua to move virtual servers between data centers, reducing expenses and downtime.
You can watch the show this Thursday, Jan 27 at 11am-12 at http://www.ustream.tv/ciscotv

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Unified Network Services for Cloud Service Providers

Services from the Cloud
Services from the cloud offer cost and efficiency benefits to businesses, but until now many customers have been hesitant to buy cloud services, especially for mission-critical business applications, because of concerns about security, performance, and availability. Cloud service providers need to address these concerns by offering network services for applications hosted in the cloud. Cloud service providers can use their data center and IP NGN assets to deliver these services, however, they need a new service delivery model offering the scalability, flexibility, and multi-tenant capabilities needed for cloud service delivery. Delivering cloud services requires efficiency and agility in the data center where applications are hosted. To support on-demand delivery of cloud services, network and computing infrastructures need to be virtualization aware, especially for services that increase the availability and performance of applications.

The Cisco Solution
To meet this need Cisco is delivering virtualized versions of network services appliances as a part of our network services solution. The Cisco® Unified Network Services (UNS) solution presents a new opportunity for cloud service providers to offer security and performance services as well as reporting and monitoring for virtualized applications and other infrastructure services such as BC/DR, VDI or Hosted Communications. Cisco UNS uses a platform based on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and Cisco Nexus® 1000V Series Switch to increase the scale and flexibility of cloud-based services and to help ensure availability and workload mobility. The Cisco UNS solution lowers the cost of deployment and enables rapid provisioning by removing the need for physical versions of these products and the requirement for racking and stacking, and power and cooling.

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