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Understanding FCoE and TRILL, The Easy Way

February 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm PST

Here we go again.

I’ve put it off, and put it off, and put it off, because every time I think about writing a piece about FCoE and TRILL I think to myself, “Okay, is this really something that enough people are going to care about to make a difference?” And then one day someone pipes up and brings up TRILL again, and thus the cycle begins anew.

I wonder if it’s related to the new zodiac signs or something.

Because I’m a person who likes to think in visual pictures, I’m going to include some pretty pictures here to help make sure I don’t miss anything along the way. I’ll also try to avoid some of the technical jargon and make it more approachable. Sometimes ya just gotta bring things back to basics. Read More »

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Addressing the Need for Cloud Service Assurance

The Enterprise Goal
Enterprises are continually striving to reduce their IT costs and optimize utilization of their compute resources. The demand for compute, storage and networking resources to support business applications can be difficult to predict, leading to risks of overbuilding or underestimation of demand. As a result Enterprises are looking to adopt cloud services that are available on-demand, and are flexible and scalable to meet their IT service needs in a predictable and cost effective manner.

The Service Provider Advantage
Communications service providers are in a unique position to meet the needs of the Enterprise for service assurance as they develop cloud services. With considerable experience in managing data centers, and with an IP NGN MPLS network spanning from their data centers to enterprise locations around the globe, as well as having back office systems, including billing and support, communications service providers have what it takes for success in the cloud services market. Given the critical role of both the data center and the network in application delivery the development of cloud-based services represents an opportunity for the communications service provider to work with the enterprise to help them overcome their challenges for delivery of business critical applications throughout the organization, while meeting their business goals to contain costs, protect data assets, and ensure employee productivity.

Leverage The Network
Too meet these challenges and deliver reliable cloud-services communications service providers can leverage their IP NGN MPLS network and data center assets and apply their considerable expertise and experience to deliver service level agreements that align with the business processes of the enterprise, so that the enterprise can adopt cloud services with confidence, knowing that their applications will have the performance and security that they need as they are delivered over the WAN.

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“Beyond Silos—Sounds Great. But How?”

So I go traveling for a few weeks and suddenly, it seems, everyone’s talking about moving “beyond silos”.  This is a subject near and dear to my heart, but I’m also a pragmatist. Many prescient sages have been warning for years of impending organizational shifts in IT—“Be prepared, or be doomed! Conquer your fear!” is the executive summary of many an article.  This is easier said than done, of course. What’s often left out is the “how” of leading an organization through such a transition, perhaps because until recently there were few case studies from which the prognosticators could glean best practices.

So here are a few considerations, and some examples of how to address them.

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But where in New York can one find an admin with bind, search, start and compare? An admin suitable for UCS. LDAP!!

These days we want unified everything including unified access. Hello ldap! LDAP gives us an easy way to access an existing, redundant and replicated directory. This is very useful when working within Secure Multi-Tenancy environments where granular control maybe maintained by multiple groups and at different levels or within different directories.

With the release of UCS 1.4 there are some new features for AAA support.

Active Directory group support – Groups defined in active directory can now be mapped into roles within UCS Manager.

Multi-authentication support – UCS Manager now supports concurrent authentication using different authentication schemes such as Active Directory, TACACS+ or RADIUS. Concurrent authentication with multiple instances of the same scheme, such as multiple Active Directory domains, is also supported.

Here is a quick video walkthrough of the setup.

http://www.youtube.com/user/CiscoCloudJourney

Thanks to Dave McFarland we also have good walk-through document and a video on demand via the Cisco support forum.

Document and Video

Cisco Validated Design (CVD) for Datacenter, Virtualization, and Cloud

As you plan to deploy mission critical business applications in cloud, the first thing that comes to mind is how can all the pieces of the puzzle (infrastructure, business apps, supporting tools etc.) be put together to get all the expected benefits and efficiencies, without introducing any negative tradeoffs. This requires that all the key differentiating technologies campaigned by the vendors to win your business should collectively work as a single solution, be scalable, easy to operate, and not introduce new complexities in your environment.

While individual technology focused documentation and scalability guidelines from vendors are great resource for getting in depth information about any particular technology, a lot of times they fall short of providing you the end to end solutions focused big picture. The most popular question I hear from customers is… “How would the Cisco Datacenter Business Advantage and our open ecosystem partner technologies work together as an end to end solution that provides value to more efficiently achieve the business objectives”? Few days back, I discussed the relevance of Cisco Datacenter Business Advantage technologies to your mission critical business applications.

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