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How Cisco ACI Stands out from other Network Virtualization Solutions – Part 1

[Note: This is part 1 in a three part series of blogs discussing how Cisco ACI stands alone in the market. Part 2 | Part 3]

Customers are bombarded by network virtualization and SDN technologies. In many cases, they are conflicted by vendor claims and marketing hype. Rob Lloyd, president of Cisco Systems highlighted some of that in his blog ACI or NSX.

In this blog and subsequent blogs, we’ll expand on Rob’s blog and provide more color on ACI differentiators compared to competing network virtualization solutions.

1)  ACI Simplifies Diagnosis of Slow email AccessIn this episode, Joe Onisick highlights a scenario where IT received complaints from users experiencing slow email access and timeouts sending email with large attachments. As a network admin, going about debugging this type of complaint to determine the root cause can be time consuming and cumbersome especially in a mixed environment of physical and virtual applications.

With ACI, the debugging process can be simple and quick with real-time visibility into the fabric. By examining the healthscore dashboard and email app profile from a central managed location, APIC, a corrective action can be taken quickly.

In this case, they can easily see that a new tenant is introducing data into a Hadoop cluster running on the same infrastructure neighboring racks, which has created a hotspot on the fabric that is impacting the email platform. The vAdmin can modify the fabric policy to enforce a QoS setting that quickly fixes the problem.

Correlating the problem would have been difficult with competing network virtualization solutions because the physical network admin would have not found an easy way to identify the email traffic vs. other types of traffic, nor to spot the place of hotspot or reason.

Joe Onisick shows us this all in detail in this whiteboarding video

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Discovering Application-Server-Network Dependencies to Facilitate ACI and Application Migration

Earlier this month, I blogged about the challenges of Cloud Sprawl.  Let’s now turn to the challenges of “Application Sprawl”!If you are planning migration of applications inside or between data centers, or if you are planning a migration to Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), the understanding of your applications and how they tie to the underlying infrastructure will be top of mind.

If you are not sure precisely what infrastructure you have in your data center, if you are not sure exactly how many application instances are running in your data center, and what the component workloads are, if you are concerned about whether your network design best serves your application estate: you are not alone!

Let’s be honest, many organizations are in this position – so  read on to find out more on how the Cisco Application Dependency Mapping Service will help you!  And we’ll tell you more about some exciting technology we’re incorporating to help understand the application landscape, and your associated software costs, via automated analysis coupled with the expertise of Cisco Services consultants.

Cisco Application Dependency Mapping Service - Key use Cases

Cisco Application Dependency Mapping Service – Key Use Cases

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Turning Data Challenges into Business Opportunities

At the recent Gartner BI Summit in Las Vegas, there was a lot of discussion about the paradigm shift underway in business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Business’s need for agile data access and self-service, combined with IT’s inability to satisfy this need, is causing disruption to traditional models and shifting the balance of power from IT to the business.

While that is certainly true, it is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been building for more than a decade.

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FlexPod Adds UCS Director Management, Database, and Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Last quarter, we featured solutions with Microsoft and edge computing solutions with UCS Mini. This quarter, FlexPod built on UCS integrated infrastructure and NetApp storage continues its leadership with new designs for data center management, database platforms, and hybrid cloud deployments.

Recently released solutions include:FlexPod DC

FlexPod with UCS Director

Two new validated designs feature UCS Director and how it provides IT administrators the capability to accelerate FlexPod deployments and automate frequent operational tasks.  The automation and self-service mechanisms enable users to consume infrastructure without manual intervention for provisioning or configuration of pooled resources. This combination of standardization, workflow automation and self-service offered in a secure manner by Cisco UCS Director on a FlexPod platform, gives businesses the opportunity to offer IT-as- a-Service. Cisco ACI provides fabric and services automation based on the needs of the application. However, there are other parts of the infrastructure that are required for applications to optimally operate, which are outside the scope of ACI.  Resources such as storage, virtual machines, and physical servers are still very important to applications.  This is where Cisco UCS Director helps accelerate deployments by automating all of FlexPod’s resources into a single automated process. Read More »

IT Business Leaders Open Up at ONUG

This week, May 13-14, ONUG, or the Open Networking User Group, will meet at Columbia University’s Alfred Lerner Hall in New York City, NY.

Columbia-Campus_SM-300x200

ONUG is the leading user-driven community of IT Business Leaders, CTOs, network architects, especially including those implementing SDN, who are focused on leveraging the power of their engineering and procurement to influence the pace and deployment of open networking solutions.

ONUG

If you are planning on attending, I’d like to provide you with a quick overview of the activities Cisco will be participating in at the Open Networking User Group.

On conference day 1, May 13, the SD-WAN and the Virtual Network Overlay Working Groups will present their top ten findings and present their work.

Check out the SD-WAN Working Group Update with Cisco speaker, Steve Wood, Principal Engineer, Enterprise Routing, from 10:00-10:45 am.

Then during the Technology Showcase Break, meet Sumanth Kakaraparthi, Product Manager, Enterprise Routing and Bill Reilly, Technical Marketing Engineer, Enterprise Routing who will deliver an IWAN/SD-WAN Demo at the Cisco demo station.

Next, attend the Virtual Networks/Overlays Working Group Update with Cisco speaker, Mike Cohen, Director of Product Management, Insieme Networks, on May 13 from 12:00-12:45 pm.

Following these updates will be a luncheon presentation: “Faster WAN Delivery: Software Defined WAN-as-a-Service” on May 13 from 1:30-2:30 pm delivered by Cisco speaker, Jeff Reed, VP, Enterprise Infrastructure and Solutions Group.  Jeff will be joined by partner speakers: Jeff Gray, Glue Networks CEO and Matt Cook, Forsythe Sr. Director – Network & Workspace Solutions.

From 4:05-5:00pm, there will be a lively debate on “Closed vs. Open Source Software” moderated by Ernest Lefner, Bank of America, between Charles Giancarlo, Silver Lake, taking the Pro Closed position and Lew Tucker, Cisco VP/CTO for Openstack, taking the Pro Open position.  You can carry on the debates yourselves afterwards at the Cocktail Reception from 5:00-7:00.

The next day on May 14 from 2:45-3:45 pm there will be a Town Hall Meeting with leaders from Facebook, Ansible, Nuage, vArmour and our own, Mike Dvorkin, Cisco Distinguished Engineer, Insieme Networks, who will all speak on “Will the DevOps Model Deliver in the Enterprise?”.

Finally, that evening join us at a Cisco Sponsored After Party from 5:00 – 9:00 pm.

For Further Information

Cisco Intelligent WAN

ONUG Blog – VXLAN Comes of Age with BGP-EVPN

MP-BGP eVPN control plane for VXLAN – SDN is growing up

Cisco Border Gateway Protocol Control Plane for Virtual Extensible LAN

VXLAN Network with MP-BGP EVPN Control Plane

Follow ONUG

LinkedIn Groups Open-Networking-User-Group

Twitter ONUG

OpenNetworkingUserGroup.com

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