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The 5 P’s of Cloud Computing

This week is Cisco Partner Summit. A week in which we roll out new products, new technology, new vision and new strategies for the 1000s of Cisco partners that help us deliver great IT solutions to companies around the world. One of the areas that we’re discussing this week is Cloud Computing and ways to help partners prepare to take their customers on the journey to transform their business.

While reading an excellent post this morning from Chuck Hollis at EMC, I started thinking about previous guidance that I’ve given to leaders, partners and customers about how to deal with the transitions within IT and how to align these to their new business needs. As Chuck also points out, while there is a technology component of this, often times the biggest areas of change come on the people side of the equation.

I call this framework “The 5 Ps of Cloud Computing” (from the non-technical perspective). It’s not tied to any companies, products or industries, but rather it’s a model that I’ve used in the past to help guide companies that are looking to solve some of their IT challenges with a Cloud Computing strategy. Read More »

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Virtualize Microsoft Enterprise Applications (Exchange, Sharepoint and SQL Server) on FlexPod for VMware

Few days back I blogged about how FlexPod for VMware is a great solution that can accelerate your cloud journey and help move beyond 30% virtualized datacenter (Test & Dev workloads, infrastructure servers, web servers etc.) to virtualizing enterprise applications (e.g. Microsoft, Oracle, SAP etc.), and finally -- implement a fully automated IT as a Service solution.

In lot of customer environments, Microsoft applications (e.g. Exchange, Sharepoint, and SQL Server) support a good portion of mission critical business operations. These Microsoft applications have traditionally been hosted on siloed, underutilized IT infrastructure and operational processes that were built based on the requirements of individual 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.

Here are some of the key operational benefits to virtualizing Microsoft Apps on FlexPod for VMware:

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The SAN Boot, soon will be making another LUN.

As part of some current SharePoint 2010 on FlexPod work, I have been setting up some VMware ESX servers to boot from SAN. After a few quick searchs I found a few very good posts online.

BootFromSAN101 with Cisco UCS
UCS Boot Whitepaper

I thought the BootFromSAN 101  post had a good outline. So I decided to take it a few steps futher and create a video on NetApp storage provisioning, Cisco Nexus 5000 zoning and Cisco UCS boot from SAN for VMware vSphere ESXi 4.1.

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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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