Having lived through both the Internet bubble in 2001 and the Housing/CDO bubble in 2008, we’re all too familiar with what happens when large inter-connected entities start having problems. It can often be like watching dominos fall. Things were really great when the systems appeared to be working according to the plan, but then “the plan” got sidetracked and bad things started happening that weren’t on the radar.
Thinking about today’s virtualized Data Centers, we don’t have any choice but to think about them as inter-connected entities. And these entities are more inter-connected than they ever were in the past. Sure, we’ve always connected servers to networks (internal & external) to storage, but now those inter-connections are more consolidated and less well defined.
Part of the reason to utilize any company asset, for CAPEX or OPEX purposes, is to accelerate the activities of the business. The other reason is to reduce or mitigate risk. And by definition, IT technologies can both accelerate the activities of a business and minimize some of their risk (loss of business to competitors; dependencies on physical locations for operations, etc.). But as anyone that works in IT knows, every decision surrounding IT usage (internally or externally) must also be balanced by the risk associated with the equipment or service itself.
Will it operate properly?
How does it handle unexpected events within the system?
How does it handle different types of failure?
Is it secure?
What happens if the vendor falls behind in technology or goes out of business?
How to upgrade or migrate as the technology or standards evolve?
Cisco Live 2010 is around the corner. The big annual Cisco event – June 27 to July 1st -will come this year in two flavors -Cisco Live , which will be in Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas -Cisco Live virtual, -- June 29 to July 1st -which offers an opportunity to visit the Cisco booth, including the Data Center of the Future demo (see below) and attend on line numerous speaking sessions
The theme of this year is “Knowledge is Power “ , which perfectly reflects the main purpose of the show – Thousands of visitors will attend hundreds of informative sessions, delivered by Cisco trainers and partners designed to educate them on new concepts and new solutions . In addition, Labs and demos (World of Exhibitions) will give an opportunity to go deeper .
As Cisco is developing more solutions for the computing/server market and for the cloud computing market , the data center presence is growing. This year the Data Center of the Future demo – a complete data center – designed with the participation of partners such as Vmware, EMC, Netapp, Intel, BMC, APC, Emerson, and Panduit. - will be a central piece of the Cisco main booth
The same DCoF demo will be available in Cisco Live Virtual ! We have made this year a specific effort to develop a series of activities (demos, sessions, chat rooms) to make the experience of Cisco Live more enjoyable – Well !Attending speaking sessions on line or chating with Cisco experts or Cisco executive in the comfort of your living room or your office is not by far the worst experience So if you don’t plan to be in Las Vegas next week, here is a sample of sessions that you can watch on line for free
Tuesday June 29th 10:00-11:30am John Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cisco 11:45 –12:15 pm Executive chat session with Carlos Dominguez Senior Vice-President, Office of the Chairman and CEO, Cisco 12:30-2:20 pm Bridging in the Data Center, with or without Spanning Tree 2:45 –3:45 pm Understanding of Application Performance and Network Usage in the Data Center – Ward Cobleigh, Business and Partnership Development Director, Fluke Networks Wednesday June 30th 10:30-11:30 am Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco 11:45- 12:15 pm Executive Chat Session withPadmasree 12:30 – 2:30 pm Cisco Announcing New Innovations for Breakthrough Data Center 3.0 Architecture 2:45 –3:45 pm Video: What Next? – Featuring Marthin De Beer, Senior Vice President, Emerging Technologies Group, Cisco Thursday July 1st 10:30-11:30 am Ben Mezrich,author “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal;” 12:30 –2:30 pm Planning the Migration to Cisco Unified Computing System or 12:30 –2:00 pm Data Center Customer Panel: Insights on Data Center, Computing, and Virtualization
One of the major event of the week will be of course the Cisco Data Center announcement on Wednesday June 30th at 12:30 pm PST If you want to watch it and be amongst the first to know about the evolution of the Cisco Data Center 3.0 register here
If you are going to Las Vegas here is a list of demos, programs and some of the speaking sessions that you don’t want to miss
For many years I worked in various roles within Cisco’s Enterprise Solutions Engineering (ESE) and Service Provider Solutions Engineering (SPSE) groups. Our job was to take all the different pieces and parts of Cisco equipment (and partner offerings) and mix them together into best practices. Like a chef making a multi-course meal or a great stew, it required all sorts of ingredients to get it just right. Some ingredients were highly visible (Routing, QoS, Security), while others were fringe elements but extremely valuable (GRE Tunnels, ERSPAN, etc.). At the end of the day, we were extremely lucky to have such a broad mix of features and tools to choose from to create our best practices.
Often times we’d present these solutions to customers or partners and they would question why so many features or tools were included. They’d question the cost of this or the need to learn that. These were all fair questions as the job of managing Data Center (or Network-Wide) resources is challenging enough without adding more layers or stuff to learn. We’d do the best we could to explain scenarios where this feature or that tool would come in handy. Sometimes we were successful, other times we’d get the, “whatever vendor guy, I’ve heard that story before”.
Software as a service and cloud computing offer greater IT flexibility and potential cost savings but place more of a burden on the WAN, as the applications are more distributed. This impacts application performance and creates a challenge for IT organizations that are focused on providing a good user experience and improving end user productivity. This situation not only impacts users in the branch offices, but also the growing number of mobile workers and home workers.
As WAN & application optimization vendors evolve their products to solve these issues, Cisco WAAS stands out through its systems approach to enabling cloud offerings and tight integration with the network and the data center infrastructure. Cisco WAAS accelerates applications and data over the WAN, optimizes bandwidth, empowers cloud computing, and provides local hosting of branch IT services, all with industry-leading network integration.
On June 30, at Cisco Live! the release of Cisco WAAS 4.2 will be announced as a key component of our Data Center 3.0 launch delivering key innovations in the areas of service agility with on-demand deployment, higher efficiency with cloud-optimized applications and IT cost reduction with expanded Microsoft Windows application hosting and greater resiliency with in-line clustering. Visit the WAAS team at the Cisco Data Center booth to learn about the latest WAAS features and see the demos and get your questions answered.
Got to admit (don’t tell my manager!), when I first became involved in cloud computing, I was more of a skeptic than an advocate. There was a lot of hype around (and still is), and proponents of the “cloud will solve all your IT challenges” approach perhaps don’t realize this mantra has been used all too often with technology innovation. I’m also concerned by the often singular view of cloud computing implicit in the various marketing initiatives across the industry – you would think that cloud was only about moving applications to third party cloud/software as a service providers.
So what changed me from a skeptic? First, does Cloud solve some real problems? And secondly, what does the market data tell us, with respect to both cloud computing as an approach, and the perceived challenges that we will all face as we deploy, and transition to, cloud.