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Cisco Live: From the Presenter’s Prospective

This week was Cisco Live 2012 in San Diego and I had the pleasure of being able to present to our customers, clients and partners on the topic of FCoE.   There’s probably quite a few blogs and tweets about product launches, announcements from all parts of the ecosystem.  Any many of you, my readers probably sat in quite a few sessions  and walked the World of Solutions.  In this entry, I’m not going to talk about what I presented on, but I though I’d answer the question:

What is it like to present?  What do you see while you’re up there?

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Cisco live! Recap: Jimmy Ray Talks Virtual Overlays and “Programming” the Network

This week at Cisco live! in San Diego I had a chance to catch up with Jimmy Ray Purser and talk about Cisco’s strategy for programming the network, and specifically programming virtual network slices of a larger physical infrastructure:

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Cisco UCS Manager Wins Breakthrough Technology Award at Microsoft Tech Ed 2012


Thursday evening at Microsoft Tech Ed North America 2012 in Orlando, FL.  Cisco’s UCS Manager was awarded the Breakthrough Technology Award in the annual Best of Tech Ed Awards ceremony. This year companies submitted 260 submissions for Best of Tech Ed consideration. These were narrowed down to 46 finalists in 15 categories. The Breakthrough Technology Product award can be thought of as the ‘Best of the Best’ and showcases leading product innovation. Microsoft Tech Ed North America is Microsoft’s largest IT Professional conference with over 10,000+ attendees.

Here are the Judges comment on UCS Manager: “This year’s winner of our Breakthrough Technology award is Cisco’s USC Servers and UCS Server Manager. Cisco UCS Manager provides complete programmability for all low-level hardware, BIOS, and configuration settings for Cisco UCS Servers, enabling them to be quickly deployed, cloned, and managed—even remotely. Cisco’s USC Servers can also be fully managed using PowerShell or System Center Orchestrator.

Visit the Cisco Developer Network to learn about and download UCS PowerTool, the Microsoft PowerShell command line interface to UCS.  UCS PowerTool helps you integrate, automate, and orchestrate all aspects of UCS management including network, storage and hypervisor management.  

This is the second year in a row for Cisco technology to be recognized in the Best of Tech Ed Awards as last year our B series offering won the hardware category.

For more information on Cisco UCS and Microsoft solutions visit



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Storage Encryption Enhanced!

Lets keep things rolling lets talk about another great upgrade unveiled at Cisco Live San Diego 2012. With the latest version of NX-OS 5.2(6) on the MDS, Cisco has made some interesting changes to the Cisco Storage Media Encryption (SME) product. First, lets do a quick primer on SME for those of you who might not be familiar with the product and why you would consider it.

Cisco Storage Media Encryption is an in-line product that runs on the MDS storage switches that encrypts data at rest on tape, virtual tape, and disks. Encryption of data at rest is becoming more and more common as companies take additional steps to ensure the integrity of corporate IP and customer data. There are also a number of government regulations that require the encryption of data at rest, most notably HIPA regulations in the healthcare industry. Increased regulation requiring encryption of data at rest is likely as well.

SME does the encryption with encryption hardware engines built onto Fibre Channel modules on the MDS. SME is also managed with Cisco Data Center Manager (DCNM). This in-line, integrated approach prevents the performance bottlenecks caused by add-on encryption appliances and the integrated management with DCNM ensures ease of operation.

So what’s new?  The first new feature on SME is Master Key Re-Key. This feature allows customers to change the master key. When the master key is changed, all of the sub-keys are unwrapped and rewrapped with the new master key. This kind of operation allows customers to change the master key with minimal disruption to operations.

The second feature available with the latest incarnation of SME is Signature on Disk. In disk signature mode, you can take snapshots across LUNs during key-change operations. SME will automatically recognize these snap shots based on the signature. This simplifies snap shots and makes it easier to maintain both encryption and the backup safety of snap shots.

These features are available to anyone who as licensed Cisco Storage Media Encryption and is on NX-OS 5.2(6). Feature enhancements like these are part of Cisco’s continuing commitment increasing the value of our products to our customers. If you are interested in SME and it’s features, be sure to check out the Storage Media Encryption Design Guide for full details on how SME and these new features work.

Cisco Live Update on Intelligent Automation for Cloud – The Journey and How Cisco Partners Help IT Shops Get to Cloud

Being at Cisco Live was a very different experience for me this year.  Previous years I spent most of my time in the Intelligent Automation booth discussing functionality in the areas of service catalogs, portals, and orchestration workflows.  It was mostly a technical conversation of how to build private cloud catalogs and how to provision infrastructure.  This year my Cisco Live experience started off in talking to about 80 partners at the Cisco Connected Architecture Forum Summit; a very interesting crowd.   It was here that I talked about what Cisco IT and our Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit experience was in deploying private clouds for end users.  I discussed Cisco’s private cloud CITEIS, and our new product release Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition.   I discussed Physical and Virtual Clouds and there was much interest in the concept of a services portal and automation construct for both Physical and Virtual clouds, something that is enabled very elegantly with the UCS Manager API.  Partners asked great questions:  How quickly can they deploy this starter cloud?  How do customers chart out their journey to the cloud?  Where do they start and what do they do first?  Great conversations ensued…

Service Delivery Partners are a key strategy for the deployment of Cisco Cloud software stack.   Watch the following interview with Sydney Morgan of Cisco IT and Dave Kinsman from World Wide Technologies, a partner of ours in this area as we talk about the Journey to Cloud and our experiences on the deployment side.

I  spent the rest of Cisco Live talking to some great IT organizations about their cloud plans and journey that they are on.  Some interesting examples are:

Financial Services:  This customer of ours was focused on the deployment of cloud and the changes to the organization as they were coming off of Mainframe centric workloads, deploying them to x86 architectures on UCS.  How the application developers would use the newly minted cloud was top of mind.

Service Provider:  Many Cloud Service Providers are right at the intersection of business and technology:  what service offers can I offer out of the chute to differentiate my company?  Discussions around how our IA for Cloud technology stack and pre-built services and automation can make that easier.  We also discussed the need and desire to train up their staff to become service designers and workflow authors.

Manufacturer:  This customer is focused on operational efficiency and how automation software can reduce the mundane and routine tasks in operations.   Replication of system configuration in a standardized way allows their deep application support teams to focus on differentiating their business.

We are now in the thick of that Journey.

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