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Announcing True Director-Class Multihop FCoE

For months people have been asking me what I’m doing, and it’s been difficult to hold something like this under my hat because I’ve been really excited about this.

How the time has flown. I joined Cisco in June of last year, and on my first day my manager told me that I was going to be working on a new product – an FCoE blade for the MDS 9500 Series Fibre Channel Directors. Read More »

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On the Nature of Innovation

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Soni Jiandani about the nature of innovation at Cisco.  For those of you who know her, you know she knows a thing or two about bringing innovation to market.  Soni is currently a VP in the Server Access and Virtualization Business Unit. In a prior role, she was Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s LAN and SAN switching business unit within the Data Center, Switching and Wireless Technology Group, where she was responsible for the industry leading Catalyst modular switches and a comprehensive portfolio of intelligent SAN switches.

Omar Sultan: Soni, you often refer to the “Cisco Innovation Edge” – What does this refer to?

Soni Jiandani: Specifically this refers to our ability to introduce technology innovations more quickly than the rest of the industry that deliver quantifiable benefits to our customers.  This really speaks to our culture of being a customer-centric company. Throughout our history we have maintained a close collaboration with our customers in order to understand their current requirements and vision for how technology can benefit their business in the 3-5 year time horizon.  By listening and then applying our technology expertise and experience of over 2 decades, we have been successful in driving many innovations into our architecture through custom silicon development.  At the same time, we are often leading the charge to drive these innovations through the standardization process and providing engineering support for plug-fests and industry-wide interoperability efforts.  We do this because we believe it is in the best interests of the customers, the industry and Cisco.

A recent example of this is Fibre Channel over Ethernet, a technology which is helping customers to save up to 50% on their data center infrastructure and operation by consolidating equipment and networks.  We were the first company to introduce FCoE switching products in 2008 in our Nexus data center switches.  At the same time we were helping to lead several industry-wide efforts which resulted in Lossless Ethernet and FCoE becoming official IEEE / INCITS standards in 2009.  Our custom silicon development allows us to introduce innovations more quickly to our customers, allowing them to benefit through cost savings and more agile infrastructures.  Once these innovations become standard and required by customers, they may then make it into merchant silicon; but often this can be several years later.  That’s a significant “Cisco innovation edge” that delivers real value to our customers maximizing investment protection.  We are on an innovation treadmill here. As we standardize Cisco innovations, we are constantly investing in the next set of innovations.

OS: There are a number of competent companies out there that make merchant networking silicon, so why does Cisco continue to commit R&D resources to make our own chips?

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Cisco Adds Service Catalog and Self-Service Portal Capabilities Through Acquisition of newScale

Today, Cisco announced the acquisition of newScale, a leading provider of self-service portals, service catalogs, and IT lifecycle management software. newScale’s software helps organizations deliver the IT storefront that enables self-service for delivery of cloud, infrastructure as a Service, and traditional IT services. We’ve been talking to a lot of customers about their cloud efforts and find that they are looking for Cisco to take a leadership position in the cloud market, and help them define and build out their capabilities. The newScale acquisition adds the ‘front-end’ to Cisco’s cloud computing offerings.

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UCS, Zenoss Monitoring and the Cloud

If you’re not already familiar with Zenoss, maybe you should be. They’re one of our UCS monitoring partners. As a relatively young management company (founded in 2005) with a service provider heritage, they’ve had the benefit of being able to incorporate virtualization management into their products from the get-go, with an eye to supporting *aaS environments.

Zenoss’ interest in being a “single pane of glass” for intelligently monitoring physical and virtual infrastructure together provides a natural point of alignment with UCS. The very flexible nature of the UCS platform, as well as the unified management construct and single API for Zenoss integration, make this a pretty straightforward combination, with clear applicability for cloud environments. Zenoss Enterprise reports help Cisco UCS administrators identify things like blade capacity and availability so administrators know which service profiles should be moved where.

You can read more about the Zenoss-Cisco UCS integration here. You can also attend an upcoming webinar featuring Zenoss’ Floyd Stirmling, Cisco’s Mark Balch, and industry analyst Michael Coté of RedMonk for more insights into our collaboration. Register here to attend “Building the Cloud” on Thursday, April 7th at 10:30 am Pacific time.

Crazy Cabling Contest Winners

So, we have some winners for our Crazy Cabling Contest. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to submit an entry and took the time to vote. It was a hard-fought battle, but here are the victors:
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