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The Features & Tools eventually become Valuable

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”.

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Cisco WAAS Delivers Breakthrough Innovations as a part of the Cisco Data Center 3.0 Initiative

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.

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Dealing with The Hype Around, and Transition To, Cloud

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.

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Announcement :Red Hat RHEL 6.0, Cisco UCS and VN-Link

Cisco Ed Bugnion, VP and CTO of the Server Access Virtualization Business Unit , announced today in Boston at the Red Hat Summit a stronger collaboration between the two companies  , with the upcoming support in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.0 on top of the Unified Computing System (UCS) of Cisco VN-Link technology (virtualization Awareness)
“Virtualization has been a big trend in IT over the past years”  said Ed Bugnion  “ not only from a software perspective but also for the underlined  hardware infrastructure – Our strategy  at Cisco is to accelerate the transition to a more virtualized data center environment. In that context we have been working  very closely with Red Hat  to combine the innovation that Red Hat is providing with the open source hypervisor with the innovation we have in UCS . Today we deliver a solution which provides better manageability, visibility and better performance for deployment of virtual machines “

“In collaborating with Red Hat and the open source community, Cisco creates the ability to have  a virtual interface associated with the virtual machine. Now for the first time the UCS Manager can see into a virtual machine the traffic generated and see them as points of switching on the fabric “ added Shrijeet Mukherjee, Cisco Engineering manager   UCS Virtual Interface Card

“At Travelport, we have deployed the Cisco Unified Computing System to reduce our IT footprint and deploy both virtualized and non-virtualized applications more quickly, which is essential in the dynamic travel industry,” said Steven Senecal, manager, global server engineering at Travelport, a broad-based business services company and a leading provider of critical transaction processing solutions to companies operating in the global travel industry. “As the Linux market grows, the integration between Cisco’s VN-Link technology and Red Hat’s KVM hypervisor represents a high-performance virtualization offering for the open source market from two industry leaders, and expands the choices for deploying virtualization on Linux platforms while enabling the same level of security and policy for virtual machines that exists for physical servers.” 

That’s definitely  great news for the open source community , but more importantly this announcement demonstrates again the willingness of Cisco to deliver a platform ready to work in an heterogeneous  environment, and the strong commitment to keep leading the necessary transition of the data centers to a virtualized infrastructure  in providing integrated platforms for both physical and virtual environments.  

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Cloud Leadership Forum…Real Perspectives, Not Marketing

As we all know, most “conferences” are tradeshows or events for vendors to reach out to end users.  This week’s Cloud Leadership Forum was actually a pretty open, honest gathering of 400+ IT professionals (from CIOs to architects to other IT functions) and senior vendor executives from Microsoft, VMware, Cisco, Juniper, etc.  As well as several of IDC’s top analyst VPs.


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