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Live Webcasts: FlexPod for VMware

Cisco, NetApp and VMware will be hosting live webcasts on Jan 20th and Feb 17th 2011 to discuss the new FlexPod™ for VMware solution jointly developed by the three companies.

For those of you not familiar with FlexPod, it is a unified, pretested, and validated solution to simplify your data center transformation and journey to the private cloud. It is built on a flexible, jointly supported infrastructure that can be easily scaled and optimized for mixed application workloads in virtualized, and secure multi-tenant cloud environments.

Industry leading Cisco Unified Computing System, and Nexus Unified Fabric, along with NetApp Unified Storage and VMware vSphere are the essential components of the FlexPod solution.

Detailed information on FlexPod for VMware can be found here, here, and here.

Click here to register for the live webcasts. Experts from the three companies will be supporting the webcast to answer your tough questions via live chat.

In a follow on blog, we will discuss the FlexPod solution in detail and what it means for your plans around moving applications to cloud.

Monitoring UCS with SolarWinds

As a follow-on to my post on Tuesday, over the next several weeks I’ll be spotlighting various UCS management partners to give you a better sense for what we’re doing with whom.

Today, let’s take a look at Austin-based SolarWinds.  SolarWinds recently released v10.1 of their Orion Network Performance Monitor product, which includes dedicated support for UCS I/O.  Why use Orion NPM in conjunction with UCS Manager?  UCS Manager exists to configure and manage service profiles within a UCS domain (which can span across many chassis). As part of that ongoing management, it collects statistics on system health in order to support system tuning, ensure availability, etc. What SolarWinds brings to the game is the ability to do higher-level aggregation and analytics, across not only multiple UCS domains, but also putting UCS and also Nexus1000v activity into context with upstream network devices.

SolarWinds has a really nice live demo here.  My SolarWinds colleague Brandon Shopp has also written  a blog to help put some context around the UCS elements you can see in the demo.

Hello from Abhinav Joshi

Hi,

This is Abhinav Joshi, recently joined Cisco as a Solutions Architect in the Systems Architecture and Strategy Unit (SASU). My key role at Cisco is to strategize, architect, and evangelize end to end solutions as it relates to running enterprise apps (Exchange, Oracle, SharePoint, SAP, VDI etc.) and industry vertical apps in private and hybrid clouds. This gives me an opportunity to work very closely with our key open ecosystem partners (e.g. VMware, Microsoft, NetApp, EMC, Oracle, Citrix etc.) and drive joint solutions to help customers more efficiently meet their ever evolving requirements and achieve business agility.

I am very excited about my new role at Cisco and looking forward to use this blog as an opportunity to share the good work we are doing. Also, I am very much interested in open discussions and feedback so that we can better enable your journey to the cloud.

A little bit of background about myself…

I have over 11 years of industry experience with over 9 years focused around data center consolidation, virtualization and cloud. Before joining Cisco, I worked as a Virtualization and Cloud Solutions Architect at NetApp for 3 years where I played a key role in the development of end to end solutions and strategies around VMware vCloud Director, VMware View, MS Apps on VMware, Backup and DR for virtualized apps, Cisco/NetApp/VMware SMT solution etc. I was a regular contributor to the NetApp Virtualization Effect blog. Thanks for all the interesting conversations and feedback on my blogs :).

Prior to working at NetApp, I worked as a Solutions Architect at PPC, helping Federal customers with data center consolidation, and server & desktop virtualization with VMware, EMC, NetApp, and IBM solutions.

I am a VMware vExpert 2010, VMware VCP (3 and 4), and also holds certifications from EMC, NetApp, and SNIA. I hold MS in Systems Engineering from University of Maryland – College Park and BS in Chemical Engineering from Nagpur University, India.

Looking forward to great conversations as you shape your virtualization and cloud strategies for 2011 and beyond.

Follow me on Twitter @abhinav_josh

I <3 Fibre Channel

January 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm PST

I was reminded this week of how much perception is driven by perspective.  In this case, it was because of our advocacy of FCoE.  I was exchanging messages with one individual who interpreted this as an attempt to undermine Fibre Channel (FC) and send it to an early grave.  At the same time I was exchanging messages with someone else who felt we should not be wasting out time on FC and be spending more time and effort on IP-based storage.  Needless to say, I found the contradiction entertaining, but I thought it might be worthwhile exploring these sentiments a bit.

“Doesn’t Cisco want to get rid of Fibre Channel?”

This one is easy--nothing could be further from the truth.  We are committed to FC for the long haul because, simply, our customers are committed to FC. At the end of the day, in the enterprise, FC is still the standard against which other solutions will be judged for performance and availability. Even if customers make the decision to adopt IP-based storage, there is going to be a huge amount of data thats going to stay in the FC domain.  It may stay put or be migrated slowly as part of normal refresh, but the end result is that FC is not going away anytime soon. From our perspective, we will continue to invest in FC as long as our customers tell us its important.  Lest you doubt that, look at the updates to our Cisco MDS family over the last year and also remember that we still sell gear with Token Ring interfaces.

“Why spend time on Fibre Channel protocols?”

This is a fine question.  To paraphrase bank robber Willie Sutton, we’re investing the time in FCoE because that’s where the data is.  One of our primary data center design tenets is a unified fabric at the access layer for its TCO and functional benefits. We are agnostic about how you do that, whether its via IP-based storage or FCoE.  From a practical perspective, as noted above, for most enterprise customers, their data is sitting in an FC domain, so any convergence strategy needs to take that into account. And while the storage folks may not care what we are doing at the server access layer, they are certainly not looking for their lives to be made any more complicated.  Hence, we have FCoE.

At the end of the day, storage strategy shouldn’t be technology-dependent.  The next-gen data center is going to need to support the ability of apps to grab data wherever it happens to be sitting: on IP-based storage, FC-based storage, or in a cloud somewhere, which is what we are ultimately helping our customers prepare for.

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Cisco Completeness of Vision and Execution Ability in the 2010 Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controller

Cisco’s placement was evaluated on both completeness of vision and the ability to execute in the “Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controllers (WOC)” authored by Severine Real, Andy Rolfe, and Joe Skorupa and published in December, 2010.

Gartner 2010 MQ

2010 Gartner MQ for WOC

In addition to our position in the 2010 Gartner MQ Report, Cisco introduced WAAS 4.3 software in December 2010, which provides a rich and comprehensive portfolio of innovations such as virtual WAAS (vWAAS), WAAS central management for the WAAS Express, and improved optimizations for Cloud (SaaS) applications like Microsoft Office 365.  These most recent innovations and significant customer wins in the recent quarters showcase Cisco WAAS market leadership.
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