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One Size – Does it Fit All?

One size does not fit all. Our customers’ needs differ greatly and they need solutions to address their unique business model. A good example of this is what I experienced recently. While I was at the coffee shop the other day, the owner came up to me and asked me a question about the network he uses to provide his customers with free Wi-Fi and keep his cash register and inventory systems on line.  While talking with him about the needs of his particular local coffee shop, I was again struck by how different his needs were compared to that of a large national chain shop or other businesses.  In I.T., we tend to lump customers into big buckets.  Coffee shops, general retail chains, health care, manufacturing…the thought is that each bucket has enough similarities to allow for a generic solution for each vertical market.  It’s a reasonable thought but it tends to break down when we get into the specific business needs of each company.

Each company has its varying operating models. The difference in their operating models allows them to create competitive differentiation.  That differentiation can be anything from lower prices to more generous service offerings to a greater variety of products. At Cisco, we recognize that the way our customers do business is a prime enabler to their success.  This is more than the operational end of the business; it goes all the way into the data center and the data center network.

Right now, there is a plethora of new ideas for the data center network, each one with it’s own merits and demerits.  One is the idea of the flat network.  Flat networks eliminate the layers of networking found in a traditional data center environment.  Additional layers of networking add to costs, cabling and the overall complexity of the network.  Traditional multi-layer networks also are not particularly suited to facilitating a virtualized server environment where east-west traffic and workload moves are prevalent.  Multi-tier networks tend to also be less adaptable for converged networking, where storage and general data traffic all flow on Ethernet with protocols like iSCSI and FCoE.   Flat networking may solve many of these problems while lowering costs.

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Cisco Switches Win IT Brand Leader Awards Third Years Running

IT Brand Pulse, a trusted source of data and analysis about IT infrastructure, announced the results of the November 2011 Brand Leader Awards survey. In this survey, respondents were asked which vendors they perceive as the leader in six IT categories: FCoE Switches, Converged Network Adapters, Storage Virtualization, Server Virtualization, Blade Servers and iSCSI Storage. For each category, respondents chose the brand leader in Market, Price, Performance, Reliability, Service and Support, and Innovation. 

Highlight: Cisco took the Market Leader award in FCoE Switches for the third straight year and nearly swept all six categories of brand leadership as well.  More info: Read the Press Release

November 2011 Brand Leader Awards

 FCoE Facts –  FCoE is part of Unified Fabric.

 However, Unified Fabric is not just about FCoE, it’s about multiprotocol convergence, it’s about scale and it’s about intelligence.  The same Ethernet connectivity can be used for NFS, CIFS, iSCSI, along with FCoE, it’s all about providing customer choices.

1)      FCoE is growing fast — and customers love the agility, efficiency, responsiveness, and cost savings from deploying FCoE

Why do customer love FCoE? 

  • Increases agility by raising bandwidth capacity for both LAN and SAN deployments
  • Improves efficiency by eliminating infrastructure replication beyond the access layer
  • Enhances responsiveness by providing the ability to quickly set up, move, and change physical and virtual assets.

FCoE momentum continues to accelerate with a current attach rate of 35%, which means that an FCoE license is being sold for 1 out of every 3 Nexus Top of Rack switches.   With director-class, end to end multihop FCoE now available on the N7K and MDS platforms, FCoE adoption is growing faster.

  • 10,000+ unique Nexus customers
  • DC Switching Leader: 76.1% market share (Industry analyst Estimate )
  • 10GE Leader: 73.8% market share ( Industry analyst Estimate )
  • Q4FY11 Y/Y Growth
    • Nexus 7000: 43%
    • Nexus 5000: 77%
    • Nexus 2000: 80%

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Cisco Data Center Customer Testimonials – Metrics for Success!

The recent public broadcast of the announcements of the second generation Nexus series and the ASA 1000V virtual firewall included an oustanding customer panel with Avago Technologies and HireRight. Feedback on these videos always points to the value of hearing from other customers, and viewers were particularly enthusiastic about this segment based on two great presenters sharing real world metrics for how they measure the success of their data center projects and the benefits they’ve achieved by working with Cisco.

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How to backup your Cisco Application Networking Manager (ANM)

Here are some steps to help with backing up ANM. This is useful for migrations, upgrades or restores.

Backing up ANM

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Design Expertise to Exploit Evolutionary Fabric with Revolutionary Scale

“Terrific!  Fantastic!  Cisco have delivered yet more innovation and data center switching and unified fabric leadership.  All  these new features and capabilities!” …. BUT … (and you may be asking this question) …. “How can we exploit these new features quickly? I’m just too busy!”

Let’s face it – these new data center capabilities are not much use sitting on your loading dock or drawing board.  You’ll know this better that me – it’s one  thing to have new features available, it’s another challenge to exploit them by designing them into your architecture – that is where the real skill comes in.  But you’re busy, are unbdoubtedly overloaded, and wondering how you can get it all done.

So how can we help you translate these excellent new features into your production data center?  How can you get access to our Cisco experts who have (each!) architected literally dozens of unified fabric designs?  Perhaps you don’t need or want a full multi-week design exercise – what other options are available to you? What can Cisco do that is small, quick and provides you with the key expertise to guide your direction on unified fabric adoption and evolution?

Let me continue the theme of my previous blogs and show how Cisco Services can help you exploit these latest market-leading innovations.  I’m going to focus on how Design Reviews with our data center experts, through our Cisco Data Center Optimization Service (discussed previously here), could really take the pressure off you and your team and deliver real business benefits at the same time.

Cisco Data Center Optimization Service

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