One of the hidden gems at Cisco is the Internet Protocol Journal. The IPJ describes itself as “… intended to serve as an informational and educational resource for engineering professionals involved in the design, development, and operation of public and private internets and intranets. It does not promote any specific products or services, but focuses on issues facing the network designer or operator. The journal carries tutorial articles (“What is…?”) as well as implementation/operation articles (“How to…”). It provides readers with technology and standardization updates for all levels of the protocol stack and serves as a forum for discussion of all aspects of internetworking.”
The quality of the content is quite good and a subscription is free. One of the reasons I bring this up for our readers is the the current edition has a the first part of a two part primer by T. Sridhar on cloud computing. For those of you looking to come up to speed, it is a good vendor-agnostic intro to the topic.
There still continues to be an immense amount of confusion around what exactly constitutes cloud computing. As an example, over the last few days, there has been a spirited debate whether the Sidekick service Microsoft/Danger offered was a cloud-based service or not (I am not going to dig into that here, but I do happen to agree with Chris Hoff’s viewpoint).
A common question I get is if virtualization is an inherent and mandatory component of any cloud solution. I bounced this question up to our CTO’s office to get their take on things. Their perspective:
Cloud computing delivers IT resources on-demand and elastically, and many organizations would like to leverage these capabilities today. Compute virtualization established itself as a way to improve resource utilization, but has other characteristics that make it more broadly relevant to cloud.
To expound on this a bit further, Glenn Dasmalchi, technical chief of staff in the office of the CTO at Cisco, provides a summary of how cloud computing and virtualization are related, and what advantages are afforded to customers. He also touches on the network play with the cloud-virtualization linkage.
Thinking about test drives reminded me that my 12 year-old son will be driving soon (yikes!) which then got me thinking about other rites of passage he will soon encounter such as the roller-coaster experience of asking a girl out on a date for the first time and looking for that nod from her. Which then got me thinking—hmmm, that should get him ready if he ever ends up doing product marketing (twisted, I know).
You see, sending your product off to review is a lot like asking someone out--you embark with full confidence, but you still anxiously await the nod and smile. That’s how we felt when we gave eWeek’s Cameron Sturdevant free reign to poke, prod, test, and badger our new Cisco Unified Computing System B-Series blade server. After four days of kicking the tires and looking under the hood at every nook and cranny, Cameron had a smile on his face. (Whew…not that we were all that nervous, you understand…) But Cameron, in his own words, is “impervious to hyperventilating marketing hype.” (Not that we’d ever indulge in such language.)
You can read Cameron’s full review here as well as check a couple of slide show he put together of the hardware and the UCS Manager.
With Oracle Openworld running this week it’s a good time to think about the performance of applications over the wide area network (WAN). With the changing business environment IT organizations are re-architecting how they deploy enterprise applications. Oracle applications automate business processes and increase productivity, but in this new network-centric world their performance is being impacted by longer WAN links and inefficient Internet protocols resulting in reduced performance and decreased user productivity.
Globalization and outsourcing has created a workforce that is spread across the world. At the same time, to reduce IT costs resulting from the spread of regional systems, and to take advantage of large scale virtualized systems, organizations are centralizing their application and IT infrastructure in the data center. The result of this trend is that the distance from the end user to the application server has increased dramatically and the connection is often over links with limited bandwidth.
Well, boys and girls, I have got a couple of cool things to report on the Cisco Unified Computing System front. First, and foremost, I am happy to present the latest iteration of the UCS complementary to the blade server : the C-Series rack- mount servers.
The Cisco UCS C210 M1 server is a general-purpose, two-socket, 2RU rack-mount server. Housing up to 16 internal disk drives for up to 8 TB of storage, the UCS C210 M1 is designed to balance performance, density, and efficiency for workloads requiring economical, high-capacity, reliable, internal storage
The Cisco UCS C200 M1 server is a two-socket, 1RU rack-mount server designed to balance simplicity, performance, and density for production-level virtualization, web infrastructure, and other mainstream data center workloads
You can follow each of the product links for details, but here is a quick snapshot of the differences between the models. The C200 and C210 will be available in November and the C250 well be here in time to tuck under the Christmas tree of that special server geek on your Christmas list.
On the UCS traction front, Gartner has released their Blade Server Magic Quadrant. While licensing restrictions preclude me from showing you the quadrant, I can discuss the results. Gartner has placed us in the Visionaries quadrant, which we believe is great place for us to debut (the positions in the Quadrant are based on completeness of vision and ability to execute). Since we are newcomers to this market, this is a fair assessment as we have to prove ourselves against the incumbent vendors. As we continue to deliver product innovation and increase customer momentum, we expect our position in the Magic Quadrant to change over time.
Finally, Gartner noted that they see an uptick in the number of conversations that they are having around UCS--that there is a high level of market interest. I was have having coffee with my old boss yesterday (he is now back in the field) and he mirrored this sentiment--every one of his customers--and these are large enterprise accounts--is interested in the UCS, regardless of what they already have in place.