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Extend flexibility in Your Data Center Architecture with the Data Center Fabric.

“Fabric computing is a fixture on the radar screen of many IT groups, driven by the increased penetration of virtualization and prospects for cloud computing.As virtualization penetration increases, IT organizations will deploy virtual machine (VM) mobility, which will demand more attention to a fabric-based infrastructure that better integrates server, storage and networking for greater agility and faster time to deploy.”  Based on this observation, Gartner George J Reiss and Andrew Butler organized recently a survey to evaluate which vendors are the most credible and ready to address the challenges of virtualization and cloud computing.

Cisco pioneered the vision of Ethernet-based “Unified Fabric” for the data center and has been shipping products to support that vision for over three years. Subsequently it introduced Unified Computing and Unified Network Services, all of which have formed the building blocks for Cisco’s Data Center Fabric.  Competitors have validated Cisco’s vision by scrambling to deliver their own versions of the Fabric.

On March 30th starting at 9:00 am PST, Cisco executives and experts , partners and customers  will supplement this Fabric vision and showcase its evolution, while bringing multiple proof points to bear. And in a pure Cisco spirit, to enrich a very open conversation, we invited the Senior Analyst Andre Kindnesss from Forrester Research who wrote recently about “The Dark Horse In The Datacenter Fabric Race?” and the Program VP Data Center Network Services Cindy Borovick from IDC to share their vision.

If you want to be among (or amongst) the first to know what’s cooking at Cisco, this is your chance ! This event will be live and we hope to hear from you.

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Preventative Medicine or Emergency Surgery? Healthcare and the Cloud

While Cloud Computing is getting the majority of the headlines within the IT industry, it could easily be argued that no industry is going through as much change as Healthcare. Whether it’s Healthcare reform in the United States, the rollout of Telemedicine solutions (by corporations and municipalities), or online collaboration to educate and discuss outbreaks and crisis, the business of keeping people well is going through radical change. Not only are the economics of Healthcare being forced to change, but so to is the technology that allows doctors to deliver care, medical records to be stored and researchers to find the next cure.

This past week I had the opportunity to present at the NCHICA “Health Information in the Cloud” along with experts from industry, technology, law and standards-bodies. The conference focused on many aspects of Healthcare + Cloud, including HIPPA standards, Legal and Compliance considerations, Security, Deployments in Public vs. Private Clouds, offerings from Managed Service Providers and real-world case studies (presentations can be found here and here). The presentation we gave focused on the infrastructure required to build Private Cloud.

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“FlexPod for VMware” Partner Success Stories, new CVDs and more…

There has been huge customer and partner interest in FlexPod for VMware since its launch in November 2010. The key FlexPod values that are resonating well with the customers are:

  • Flexible ITaaS platform built from simple, unified compute, fabric, and storage infrastructure
  • Simplified purchase and flexible scale out model accelerates journey to private and hybrid cloud
  • Cisco CVD based architectures and channel partner enabled deployment services for both the base FlexPod infrastructure and layered Tier-1 enterprise applications (Microsoft, SAP, VDI, etc.).
  • Centralized management enabling streamlined operations
  • Open management framework allowing simplified integration with 3rd party orchestration tools
  • Streamlined response to identify and quickly solve potential issues, enabled by cooperative 24/7 support model

I want to highlight that the CVD Program has been around for over a decade and has proved its worth time and again to help design and deploy next generation network architectures across the globe.

What do Channel Partners have to say about FlexPod for VMware?

Here is a short video by Paul Sorgiovanni, Data Management Practice Manager at Empired (one of the leading FlexPod global partner based in Australia). In this video, Paul explains how FlexPod for VMware has been extremely helpful in making their customers successful, and helped Empired evolve as a trusted advisor for their fast growing customer base.

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An Update on UCS C-Series Management

Yesterday we released an update to the UCS C-Series Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) firmware, v1.3(1c). The C-Series CIMC is the mechanism for managing UCS C-Series servers in standalone mode, that is, as standard x86 rack-mount servers, independent of a unified computing environment.

Cisco has integrated features natively into the C-Series CIMC to avoid the use of host agents running on the main server operating system. Host agents can tax the main CPU and be complex to manage in terms of licensing and version management. Cisco UCS C-series drives SNMP messaging directly from the CIMC port, providing monitoring capability without the need for agents running on the host. Other features include enhanced HDD/RAID  and power monitoring and a Quick Start Utility Pack for easy BIOS/CIMC/LOM firmware upgrade—via a web GUI.

When we released UCS Manager v1.4 back at the end of December, one of the big pieces of news was the ability to manage B- and C-Series together. The C-series CIMC uses the UCS MIBs to give users a consistent management experience whether deployed as part of a UCSM system or in a standalone deployment, so there is no learning barrier to transitioning from a standalone environment to a unified computing deployment at a later time.

To download the C-Series v1.3(1c) firmware, go here (log-in required).

And by the way, the UCS Platform Emulator for UCS Manager v1.4 is now in general availability and can be downloaded here, if you want to test out managing your C-Series servers from UCS Manager.

New Trends in Data Center Fabric and Cloud Computing: March 30th

Amazing how many conversations on data center fabric happened over the past months with more “heat ” in the last 4 weeks . But as an innovative thought leader in network, and as we extend our footprint in data center, with a vision and execution that more and more companies embrace, we have been very eager to clarify some concepts , which have been  misrepresented by competitive fud – See the recent blog from John McCool – when at the same time we keep delivering what we promised.

On March 30th at 9:00 am PST , we invite you to join us for  an unique live  event called   “Evolutionary Fabric , Revolutionary Scale “ – It will be an opportunity to better understand how IT organizations can handle in a nondisruptive way Dynamic Data Center and Cloud environments using Cisco technologies, solutions and architecture. You will see how Cisco continues to evolve its standards-based fabric portfolio and provides architectural flexibility to deliver any application, across any location, at scale in a simple and secure manner.

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