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Architectural Innovation: A Clean Break from Tradition

When the first automobiles were conceived and designed, it was difficult for some people to take a forward-looking view of this innovation. The term “horseless-carriage” was an attempt to describe this new mode of transportation from a historical perspective.horseless carriageReady for road trials by September 1893, the vehicle built by Charles and Frank Duryea was the first gasoline powered automobile in America. The brothers had purchased a used horse drawn buggy for $70 and installed a 4 HP (horse-power), single cylinder gasoline engine.Just imagine what automobiles would be today, how they would look and function, if product designers and component engineers stayed with the notion that it’s a carriage -- minus the horse? Read More »

The Impact of Virtualization on Wide Area Networks — Part 2

In this posting we’ll move from server virtualization and its potential impact on both WANs and IT organizational structures to desktop virtualization (also known as VDI, or virtualized desktop infrastructure). The emerging set of VDI technologies and solutions has many benefits to offer, many ways to deploy, and even more complexity and interdependency across IT teams than server virtualization. Clearly desktop virtualization adds a new level of complexity to, and new operating models for, IT groups — technology-wise for supporting end users via the network, possible new types of devices used, and a further increased requirement for security. Read More »

Nexus 1000V Beta Feedback. Part 1

May 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm PST

With our Cisco Nexus 1000V beta wrapping up, I had a chance to ping a couple of our customers about their experiences testing the Cisco Nexus 1000V/vSphere combo in their environments. The excerpt is from Julien Mousqueton, who is the Technical Solution Architect for Groupe AGRICA, a European insurance and benefits company--thank you Julien for taking the time to answer questions.What was your overall impression of the Cisco Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switch?My overall impression of the Cisco Nexus 1000V is very positive. It fully integrated with the Cisco architecture that was already in place (CDP). The network team now no longer distinguishes between a virtual machine and a physical server; as such, with the Cisco Nexus 1000V, the network team is given full control of the network. The main impact was the possibility to solve network analysis problems between the various virtual machines. Finally, taking control of the new NXOS operating system was greatly facilitated by our team’s in-depth knowledge of the IOS.Will the ability to apply network and security policy to specific VMs/applications increase the number and types of applications you move to a VM environment? Why or why not? What other impacts do you see to your server virtualization plans?The possibility of applying our security policy to virtual machines is real, because we are going to give VLAN network segmentation to the network to partition our development, validation and production environments and make our DMZ secure (dematerialized zones such as our various websites for example) using n-tier architecture. This represents a very meaningful advance in data security.How easy or difficult was it for your network and server/virtualization admin to implement and access the features of the Cisco Nexus 1000V? Was their any significant training or change in operational procedures required? What do you see as the impact on day-to-day operations when you deploy this in your production environment?Our network teams liked the Cisco Nexus 1000V immediately, because it integrated with the Cisco architecture that was already in place and required no time to adapt. The transition was even easier when you’re already familiar with the Cisco world; taking control of the Cisco Nexus 1000V was simplified and intuitive.Based on the functionality delivered by the vSphere + N1KV, will you accelerate your datacenter virtualization plans--do you see a higher percentage of your x86 workloads being virtualized? Why?The process of virtualization of our datacenter will in fact accelerate. As such we will be able to virtualize our DMZ that previously has relied on physical architectures, and overall we will be able to virtualize everything that has been not possible in the past. We will hence be able to partition environments more easily in order to avoid impacting production environments.I have a couple more excepts to post in the near future. In the meantime, our engineering elves are putting the finishing touches on the software itself. While you are waiting, head on over to cisco.com/go/nexusnow and sign up for the free 60-day eval license

Data Center Security Update

May 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm PST

The fine folks at our ESE team are putting on what looks to be a very cool session on implementing security in the data center. The session is based on the information of the latest Cisco Validated Design and will reflect current best practices for the deployment and design of key technology innovations in the Data Center such as VDCs, VPCs, new STP features, VSS and Services deployment.Topics will include:

  • Security and the Virtualized Infrastructure
  • Deploying ASA, Network IPS, Application Services
  • Maintaining Policy Enforcement, Isolation, and Visibility
  • Security and Server Virtualization

The session is on May 8 at 8am (PT). To register for the session, go to here.BTW, for more info on the Cisco Validated Design program, check out http://www.cisco.com/go/designzone

Unified Computing System Manager Revealed (Part 1)

May 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm PST

OK, so it took a bit longer than I planned, but here is the first of a two-part walk-through of Cisco UCS Manager with Brian Schwarz. As context, I would also suggest you check out the prior two posts on UCS Manager here and here.Here is the embedded video, but I suggest you click through and look at the larger format video (to click through, mouse over the upper left corner of the running video and click on the word “facebook” when it appears).

The second video covers the service profiles in more depth.