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Playing Well Together in the Data Center

February 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm PST

So I love being an evangelist, which is probably why its good that I am doing what I am. Back when we initially launched Data Center 3.0 we spent a lot of time preaching the virtues of “consolidation, virtualization and automation” and there are times I was certainly felt like I was wandering in the wilderness, but regardless, it was a lot of fun.


Fast forward a couple of years…I was working on an AR/PR deck and I was stuck by how much of what we talked about has turned into shipping product and implementable solutions.  While that is cool, what I find even cooler is that  that these solutions are not just Cisco-only efforts, but encompass technologies from a broad cross-section of partners.  Here are a couple of examples of the kinds of things we are doing with folks that are probably already in your data center.  First off, here is a recap of  what we are dong with VMware and NetApp on workload mobility--for a more in-depth look, check out this post by Brian Gracely.

 

Similarly, here is another doc on Integrating Cisco UCS with vSphere Distributed Power Management.

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Application Managed Services Differentiation: Cable & Wireless

Organizations are changing how they use the network to access applications and managed service providers are changing their network services to meet the challenge. As they centralize applications and access them across the WAN organizations need a network that delivers their applications with high performance and they need to see how their applications are performing. Managed service providers are meeting customer’s requirements by moving away from offering standard low feature WAN links and creating new innovative application performance management (APM) services that accelerate applications and provide customers with real-time information on the results that are being delivered.

In this video Steve Horwath, Product Manager at Cable & Wireless, talks with Stephen Makayi, Marketing Manager at Cisco, about the growing demand for application performance and the Cable & Wireless managed WAN optimization service, which provides customers with optimized application performance with advanced reporting, which in turn give customers information they can use to drive their business. Steve discusses how APM enables managed service providers to deliver an application-aware network with uptime guarantees for applications that changes the conversation MSPs can have with customers, from selling plain WAN links to providing application performance assurances, and putting the MSP in the role of a trusted advisor.

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Interested in Visiting a State-of-the-Art Cisco Data Center Based on UCS and Nexus platforms ?

February 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm PST

“Transparency” is definitely one of these words which describe very well  the Cisco culture. This is pretty obvious for a Cisco employee, but  I got many times positive feedbacks from customers on the willingness of the company to share with customers and partners, so that they  can benefit from the  experience of a large and innovative community. This is not different in the data center.
Some other companies on the market may have a different understanding of the communication around their data centers in maintaining a great secret about  strategy, architecture and operations, but at Cisco we strongly believe in the power of sharing knowledge.
I guess also that we are not afraid of the competition learning about our choices,  as we see ourselves as leaders and we do support actively and constantly standardization.

When at Cisco Live Barcelona at the end of January, I met Donald de Witte, Cisco IT Program Manager  and Rich Gore, Cisco IT Member of Technical Staff, who were present on the booth to talk to the visitors about the Richardson Data Center and the opportunity to visit immediately the facility.

As a  global and dynamic company, Cisco like most of the leading companies embarked on a consolidation and virtualization path several years ago, with a plan to move  from 50 data centers to 3 pairs of data centers. The Richardson Data Center is one of these brand new data centers, where Cisco IT has been able to take advantage of the new networking and computing solutions provided by Cisco engineers and partners, such as Unified Computing  and Unified Fabric.

So are you ready to meet the Cisco It team and visit the Richardson Data Center ?

 

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Fuji Television Uses Cisco WAAS to Accelerate their Vancouver Olympics Coverage

The Olympics give us a chance to marvel at and enjoy the performances of athletes who demonstrate their intense dedication to the pursuit of excellence and their determination in the face of fierce competition. The games are a worldwide event and with audiences in the home countries anxious to see their athletes’ performances national television stations also have a challenge that they must meet. Fuji TV of Japan is no exception. With a long history of Japanese participation in the winter Olympics and a large home audience to serve, they have set up shop in Vancouver. Making this trip can be a costly undertaking and given the distance back to Japan they needed help in keeping communications smooth and keeping costs down.

To communicate with the home office Fuji TV set up a dedicated line between the company’s data center in Odaiba, Japan and the Olympic Media Village in Vancouver, a distance of over 7500 km. This connection provides Intranet access enabling the on-site staff, including production and news employees, to access the head office file servers and use its systems. This long distance WAN access allows Fuji TV to avoid having to transport and install data and application servers at Vancouver and thus avoid the cost of additional on site staff to maintain these servers. By reducing staff the costs savings is considerable, including air travel, housing, transportation and food.

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To L2 or not to L2, that is the Question for VMotion:

This is a favorite question of mine (and a very contemporary topic), albeit asked in a different way;  Why do you need layer 2 for VMotion.  Those bearing the email signature of VCP, will be quick to show off their shiny new badge and tell you it is because of VMotion, because of a port group label, or some other VMware specific component.  In fact, there is a more fundamental reason.  It is called an ARP cache, IP Address, Default Gateway and DNS.  

Remember how hosts find each other – with IP a host looks to the IP address for the destination host, but remember we are speaking about L2 or to make it simple for this explanation, Ethernet.  This is accomplished by using the address resolution protocol (ARP) to bind a destination IP address with a destination MAC (because Ethernet is Ethernet and NOT IP – Pet peeve alert when someone refers to Ethernet as an IP network, but I digress).  Of course, the source host compares the destination IP with its own IP and mask, which determines whether you send the request to the default gateway – which in turn will proxy ARP for the destination host with its own MAC address, or to ARP on the local subnet.  To avoid a constant broadcast storm, clients cache this information for a period of time with the assumption that not much or nothing will change. 

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