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USS Cisco Captain’s Log on Networking Tech Field Day 2

Captain’s log, October 27, 2011:

The USS Cisco took off for the Gestalt IT Networking Tech Field Day 2 with Captain Omar Sultan (see picture below, courtesy of, Data Center Solutions Sr. Marketing Manager, at the helm. Tech Field Day networking industry experts gathered on the bridge, cleverly disguised as the Cisco Cloud Innovation Center (CICC) Lab, for an informal, no-holds-barred conversation on recent Nexus portfolio announcements, the continued march towards automated provisioning of cloud services and ever-evolving VM networking technologies.

Captain Omar at Cisco Networking Tech Field Day 2

For those who weren’t at the event or haven’t seen the video recording yet, please excuse my unabashed geekiness, but you’ll have to watch the first minute of the video to get the above reference. As a new member of the Data Center Solutions Marketing team, this is also my first foray into the Cisco blog-o-sphere, so I hope to share some fresh viewpoints on the day’s events.

Several things were made very apparent during the Tech Field Day session:

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One Size – Does it Fit All?

One size does not fit all. Our customers’ needs differ greatly and they need solutions to address their unique business model. A good example of this is what I experienced recently. While I was at the coffee shop the other day, the owner came up to me and asked me a question about the network he uses to provide his customers with free Wi-Fi and keep his cash register and inventory systems on line.  While talking with him about the needs of his particular local coffee shop, I was again struck by how different his needs were compared to that of a large national chain shop or other businesses.  In I.T., we tend to lump customers into big buckets.  Coffee shops, general retail chains, health care, manufacturing…the thought is that each bucket has enough similarities to allow for a generic solution for each vertical market.  It’s a reasonable thought but it tends to break down when we get into the specific business needs of each company.

Each company has its varying operating models. The difference in their operating models allows them to create competitive differentiation.  That differentiation can be anything from lower prices to more generous service offerings to a greater variety of products. At Cisco, we recognize that the way our customers do business is a prime enabler to their success.  This is more than the operational end of the business; it goes all the way into the data center and the data center network.

Right now, there is a plethora of new ideas for the data center network, each one with it’s own merits and demerits.  One is the idea of the flat network.  Flat networks eliminate the layers of networking found in a traditional data center environment.  Additional layers of networking add to costs, cabling and the overall complexity of the network.  Traditional multi-layer networks also are not particularly suited to facilitating a virtualized server environment where east-west traffic and workload moves are prevalent.  Multi-tier networks tend to also be less adaptable for converged networking, where storage and general data traffic all flow on Ethernet with protocols like iSCSI and FCoE.   Flat networking may solve many of these problems while lowering costs.

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Cisco Switches Win IT Brand Leader Awards Third Years Running

IT Brand Pulse, a trusted source of data and analysis about IT infrastructure, announced the results of the November 2011 Brand Leader Awards survey. In this survey, respondents were asked which vendors they perceive as the leader in six IT categories: FCoE Switches, Converged Network Adapters, Storage Virtualization, Server Virtualization, Blade Servers and iSCSI Storage. For each category, respondents chose the brand leader in Market, Price, Performance, Reliability, Service and Support, and Innovation. 

Highlight: Cisco took the Market Leader award in FCoE Switches for the third straight year and nearly swept all six categories of brand leadership as well.  More info: Read the Press Release

November 2011 Brand Leader Awards

 FCoE Facts –  FCoE is part of Unified Fabric.

 However, Unified Fabric is not just about FCoE, it’s about multiprotocol convergence, it’s about scale and it’s about intelligence.  The same Ethernet connectivity can be used for NFS, CIFS, iSCSI, along with FCoE, it’s all about providing customer choices.

1)      FCoE is growing fast — and customers love the agility, efficiency, responsiveness, and cost savings from deploying FCoE

Why do customer love FCoE? 

  • Increases agility by raising bandwidth capacity for both LAN and SAN deployments
  • Improves efficiency by eliminating infrastructure replication beyond the access layer
  • Enhances responsiveness by providing the ability to quickly set up, move, and change physical and virtual assets.

FCoE momentum continues to accelerate with a current attach rate of 35%, which means that an FCoE license is being sold for 1 out of every 3 Nexus Top of Rack switches.   With director-class, end to end multihop FCoE now available on the N7K and MDS platforms, FCoE adoption is growing faster.

  • 10,000+ unique Nexus customers
  • DC Switching Leader: 76.1% market share (Industry analyst Estimate )
  • 10GE Leader: 73.8% market share ( Industry analyst Estimate )
  • Q4FY11 Y/Y Growth
    • Nexus 7000: 43%
    • Nexus 5000: 77%
    • Nexus 2000: 80%

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Cisco Data Center Customer Testimonials – Metrics for Success!

The recent public broadcast of the announcements of the second generation Nexus series and the ASA 1000V virtual firewall included an oustanding customer panel with Avago Technologies and HireRight. Feedback on these videos always points to the value of hearing from other customers, and viewers were particularly enthusiastic about this segment based on two great presenters sharing real world metrics for how they measure the success of their data center projects and the benefits they’ve achieved by working with Cisco.

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How to backup your Cisco Application Networking Manager (ANM)

Here are some steps to help with backing up ANM. This is useful for migrations, upgrades or restores.

Backing up ANM

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