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Chuck Hollis, EMC VP of Global Marketing and CTO, on FCoE, Virtualization and Cloud Computing

May 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm PST

Cisco will be present at EMC World 2009 and on the web at “Live at EMC World” Bill Marozas ,Cisco Director Storage Networking, took this opportunity to ask Chuck Hollis, Vice -President Global Marketing, and well known EMC blogger tough questions “Chuck Hollis here from EMC. I was asked to “guest blog” for Cisco on a few topics that I found interesting. image I hope you find the questions (and answers!) thought provoking! Q: What is your view of the evolution of the Storage Networking industry? In particular, how do you see the use of transfer protocols evolving in the data center? I think we’re all pretty agreed on the end state of storage networking: Ethernet wins – period. It won’t happen overnight, but the outcome is inevitable, if you think about it. The more interesting questions revolve around the “how” and the “when” of this transition, rather than the final outcome. Right now, enterprise data centers are intrigued about the potential of converged Ethernet data center fabrics for their next generation architectures, and in many cases are building it into their long term plans. As a result, I think you’ll see a healthy co-existence of FC and FCoE for many years – traditional storage networking infrastructure working alongside newer converged Ethernet infrastructure using the same switches, management tools, etc. Very few customers would ever consider a rip-and-replace approach. A related debate is “what storage protocols will we see on this converged wire?”. For us at EMC, this really isn’t a religious debate, and more a case of customer preference driven by specific use cases.

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Switch Architectures and Highways

Since Cisco first introduced the concept of oversubscribed Fibre Channel modules in the storage networking industry with the MDS 9000 Family, there has been quite a bit of confusion between oversubscribed and blocking architectures, often incorrectly using the two terms interchangeably. I’m going to use a simple analogy with the highway (where I spend too much time on, because of my commuting) to try to explain the not-so-obvious difference. Read More »

Architectural Innovation: A Clean Break from Tradition

When the first automobiles were conceived and designed, it was difficult for some people to take a forward-looking view of this innovation. The term “horseless-carriage” was an attempt to describe this new mode of transportation from a historical perspective.horseless carriageReady for road trials by September 1893, the vehicle built by Charles and Frank Duryea was the first gasoline powered automobile in America. The brothers had purchased a used horse drawn buggy for $70 and installed a 4 HP (horse-power), single cylinder gasoline engine.Just imagine what automobiles would be today, how they would look and function, if product designers and component engineers stayed with the notion that it’s a carriage -- minus the horse? Read More »

The Impact of Virtualization on Wide Area Networks — Part 2

In this posting we’ll move from server virtualization and its potential impact on both WANs and IT organizational structures to desktop virtualization (also known as VDI, or virtualized desktop infrastructure). The emerging set of VDI technologies and solutions has many benefits to offer, many ways to deploy, and even more complexity and interdependency across IT teams than server virtualization. Clearly desktop virtualization adds a new level of complexity to, and new operating models for, IT groups — technology-wise for supporting end users via the network, possible new types of devices used, and a further increased requirement for security. Read More »

Nexus 1000V Beta Feedback. Part 1

May 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm PST

With our Cisco Nexus 1000V beta wrapping up, I had a chance to ping a couple of our customers about their experiences testing the Cisco Nexus 1000V/vSphere combo in their environments. The excerpt is from Julien Mousqueton, who is the Technical Solution Architect for Groupe AGRICA, a European insurance and benefits company--thank you Julien for taking the time to answer questions.What was your overall impression of the Cisco Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switch?My overall impression of the Cisco Nexus 1000V is very positive. It fully integrated with the Cisco architecture that was already in place (CDP). The network team now no longer distinguishes between a virtual machine and a physical server; as such, with the Cisco Nexus 1000V, the network team is given full control of the network. The main impact was the possibility to solve network analysis problems between the various virtual machines. Finally, taking control of the new NXOS operating system was greatly facilitated by our team’s in-depth knowledge of the IOS.Will the ability to apply network and security policy to specific VMs/applications increase the number and types of applications you move to a VM environment? Why or why not? What other impacts do you see to your server virtualization plans?The possibility of applying our security policy to virtual machines is real, because we are going to give VLAN network segmentation to the network to partition our development, validation and production environments and make our DMZ secure (dematerialized zones such as our various websites for example) using n-tier architecture. This represents a very meaningful advance in data security.How easy or difficult was it for your network and server/virtualization admin to implement and access the features of the Cisco Nexus 1000V? Was their any significant training or change in operational procedures required? What do you see as the impact on day-to-day operations when you deploy this in your production environment?Our network teams liked the Cisco Nexus 1000V immediately, because it integrated with the Cisco architecture that was already in place and required no time to adapt. The transition was even easier when you’re already familiar with the Cisco world; taking control of the Cisco Nexus 1000V was simplified and intuitive.Based on the functionality delivered by the vSphere + N1KV, will you accelerate your datacenter virtualization plans--do you see a higher percentage of your x86 workloads being virtualized? Why?The process of virtualization of our datacenter will in fact accelerate. As such we will be able to virtualize our DMZ that previously has relied on physical architectures, and overall we will be able to virtualize everything that has been not possible in the past. We will hence be able to partition environments more easily in order to avoid impacting production environments.I have a couple more excepts to post in the near future. In the meantime, our engineering elves are putting the finishing touches on the software itself. While you are waiting, head on over to cisco.com/go/nexusnow and sign up for the free 60-day eval license