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Raising the Bar: Cisco Unified Fabric

Contrary to the popular belief, not all vendors are equal when it comes to providing unified fabric.  To meet customer needs, unified fabric is no longer only about the convergence of SAN and LAN, unified fabric must also enable customers to build a scalable and intelligent multiprotocol network environment.

The days of monolithic data centers are gone  – customers are asking for purpose-built architectures to facilitate automated data movements and enable new business models as IT moves from a cost center to a business-relevant service center.

Unified Fabric and the Role of SANs : Cisco Unified Fabric combines innovation in LAN and SAN to build a converged, scalable and intelligent unified fabric to support your data center needs. 

 Cisco’s John McCool explores the compelling benefits of a Unified Fabric

So what does Cisco Unified Fabric brings to your data center?

Cisco Unified Fabric  integrates storage and data networking to deliver: transparent convergence, massive three-dimensional scalability, and sophisticated intelligent services.  Unified Fabric offers the best of both worlds (SANs and LANs) -

  • Delivering high-performance, highly available networks to serve diverse data center needs
  • Enabling users to take advantage of Ethernet’s economy of scale, extensive vendor community, and future innovations
  • Supporting lossless requirements to carry storage traffic (FC, FCoE, iSCSI, and NAS) over Ethernet

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Desktop Virtualization: Is it an evolution of Enterprise Desktop environment?Or, “Back to the

Desktop Virtualization: Is it an evolution of Enterprise Desktop environment? Or, “Back to the Future”?

Another day and yet another article predicting the death of traditional desktop infrastructure in the enterprise and its replacement with desktop virtualization. Is this for real? Or, one more hype cycle in the IT industry? I suspect that eventually these predictions around transition to an “alternate” desktop compute model in enterprises will come true but when? Are the so-called benefits of desktop virtualization to the IT departments in terms of desktop administration and cost of ownership real? Are there any pit-falls to adopting this alternate desktop compute model? Is desktop virtualization relevant and is it worth evaluating it? My research says, yes to all of the above!

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Another Cisco Server! Or, A Better Home for Some of Your Apps

Rashesh, or JT as he’s known around the office, talked on Wednesday about how your applications can find a “better home” in your data center—where they run faster, more efficiently, for less money. To break that down a bit more, let’s take a look at the newest entry into the Cisco server portfolio, the new UCS B230 blade server, or as Sean McGee has dubbed it, “The Goldilocks Blade”. This new entry in the Cisco server portfolio gives you more ways to optimize your infrastructure for specific application needs, always with an eye to your perennial operational and environmental constraints.

My teammate Scott Ciccone, who supports the server elements of the Unified Computing System, invited me up to join the fun at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco earlier this week. We had the B230 out with its cover off, and the sight of 32 DIMMs packed onto a two-socket, half-width blade drew plenty of curious passersby.  Scott’s quick overviews of the blade consistently turned into thoughtful 20 to 30 minute conversations, so I asked him to share a blog-size version of those discussions with you:

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How The Power To Say Yes IS Changing the Way Lots of Us Work – Already

Taking a slight diversion from my previous writing on cloud computing, one of my colleagues in the Cisco Services team described her view on cloud (thanks Susan!), which is very worthwhile sharing.  As she describes below, Susan outlines some of the challenges of working life, suggesting to me that not only cloud, but also Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, would – indeed are – revolutionizing her working life today, reinforcing the Power To Say Yes.


“For quite some time now, I’ve been dreaming about clouds, which, frankly, is no surprise.  I have special request of my cloud expert friends: Build me a personal cloud.  Here’s why…..”

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Raising the Bar Again on Data Center Switching

I really enjoy writing blog entries to provide more details after our announcements. Having done that for past few Nexus announcements, I’d like to continue the tradition & provide a bit more color to our switching part of the announcement yesterday. So before we go into the details of switching – what actually did we announce?

In a nutshell, we announced the evolution of our data center architectural strategy to the Cisco Data Center Business Advantage, which is really an architectural framework designed to help accelerate IT innovation and increase business impact essentially making IT as an enabler of business and a competitive differentiator. At the foundation of this architectural framework are three pillars — Unified Fabric , Unified Computing and new third architectural pillar Unified Network Services (UNS).We also announced key Innovations across the data center portfolio in each of these pillars.

So Cisco pioneered the concept of Unified Fabric in 2008. Since then we’ve continued to evolve Unified Fabric with continuous stream of innovations. Cisco’s Unified Fabric is a network-based approach to deliver systems excellence that unifies Ethernet switching, storage networking and intelligent data center operating system to provide convergence, scale and intelligence.

New switching innovations around this architectural pillar include 2nd generation Nexus 5500 platforms, new capabilities on the Nexus 7000 and Nexus 5000 series with FEX-link additions, Nexus 1000V and several enhancements across the Catalyst 6500 and 4900 portfolio.

First, let’s look at the next generation Nexus 5000 Series, the Nexus 5500 platform . The introduction of the Nexus 5000 Series in the year 2008 was the first instantiation of our Unified Fabric convergence strategy & it essentially changed the entire data center paradigm – Nexus 5000 Series has had tremendous success — with over 3000 customers worldwide. Cisco Nexus 5000 was the first product in the industry to introduce the concept of Unified Fabric to deliver Ethernet & Storage access layer convergence, high performance lossless Ethernet & VM-aware services.

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