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Citrix NetScaler Device Package for Cisco ACI goes FCS

The Cisco-Citrix partnership has expanded significantly in recent years from UCS-XenDesktop based Desktop virtualization solutions to span Mobility, Desktop as A Service (DaaS) and most recently ACI-NetScaler joint solutions. I have been fortunate enough to be part of this momentum. And it’s been fun. In this blog, I want to announce another significant milestone on the Cisco ACI-Citrix eco-system front. The Citrix NetScaler Device Package for Cisco ACI is now FCS. You may recall earlier in August, we started shipping Cisco APIC worldwide. Read Blog

Citrix NetScaler needs no introduction and powers some of the world’s largest clouds providing capabilities that smartly and affordably scale application and service delivery infrastructures without additional complexity. Cisco ACI delivers a centralized fabric control and automation framework capable of managing application policies. This framework allows resources to be dynamically provisioned and configured based on application requirements. Citrix NetScaler provides core network services such as load balancing, SSL, SSL-VPN, and firewalls that can be used by applications in an automated, programmatic and simple fashion.

Now let us segue to the Citrix NetScaler Device package integration with Cisco APIC. Citrix NetScaler integrates with Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) through open APIs and provides per-app, per-tenant L4-L7 policy configuration and dynamic service chaining and insertion. In addition, the integrated solution also allows exchange of intelligent telemetry information between NetScaler and APIC for application and tenant visibility.

The diagram below illustrates the integration architecture.


The Citrix NetScaler Device Package for Cisco ACI comprises a device Model and a device Script. The device Model defines the functions provided by NetScaler SDX/VPX/MPX such as load-balancing, content switching etc., The device Script provides the adapter functions required for NetScaler to communicate with APIC.

The Citrix NetScaler device package is now available for download

The advantages of deploying Cisco ACI + Citrix NetScaler solution is multi-fold. First and foremost it accelerates application deployment with reliability, security and multi-tenancy on existing NetScaler physical and virtual appliances. All of this without disrupting services operational best practices. Second, NetScaler’s built-in Autoscale feature proactively signals Cisco APIC when to add or drop application capacity. This capability allows customers to efficiently and seamlessly utilize their resources without any added downtime.

The delivery of NetScaler device package  is just the beginning of the Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler journey. Together, Cisco and Citrix are also focusing on driving  standard protocols and open initiatives. Our engineering teams are in the process of defining within IETF standards body, the Network Service Header protocol (NSH)  which defines service insertion specifications for application- and service-aware infrastructures.  We are also co-authoring the OpFlex, an extensible policy protocol that abstracts service policies independently from device-specific configurations and contribute to Open Daylight.

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Cisco Storage Networking market share edged up to #1 – Dell’Oro Report

Cisco market share has edged up to #1 position for the Storage Networking market (FC + FCoE segments), in calendar Q2, according to the recent Storage Networking share report by Dell’Oro Group, Cisco market share grew to 46.7%, up 5.3% from last quarter.

The market share gain was supported by several factors, including:

  • New SAN product introduction and clear roadmap
  • FCoE-capable products continuing to ramp up
  • Shift in customer buying trends as they acquired packaged solutions and end-to-end architecture to scale their datacenter
  • Convergence: NX-OS as single OS, and DCNM as single management platform to manage across LAN and SAN, resonated well with customers

Read complete report:

Demand for data center infrastructure is growing and it is very exciting to be involved with the next generation datacenter/storage products, technologies and solutions. The Storage infrastructure, an integral part of the datacenter helps to store, archive, retrieve and backup all types of data.  A high performing, scalable and flexible storage infrastructure is required to provide secure access to all devices, any time (24X7), globally. Cisco‘s architectural approach of combining storage, network, compute and management  helps to reduce cost and increase efficiency enabled customers to do more with less.

Datacenter continued to be very strong. Growth of over 30% year-over-year, demonstrate that customers continue to embrace our architecture approach in this critical space”. Cisco Systems’ (CSCO) CEO John Chambers on Q4 2014 Earnings Call

For more insight into  BU’s vision for storage networking, please check out this article (by Rajeev Bhardwaj, vice president of product management for Cisco’s data center switching), discuss about what role the networking giant sees storage playing in today’s evolving data center.

Watch Video: Picking The Next Storage Networking Protocol: Discussion between George Crump (Storage Switzerland)  and Nitin Garg (Senior Manager, Product Management, Data Center Networking, Cisco)

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Why ISVs Must Transform In SMAC Environment

In today’s era of SMAC – Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud based solution, Pay-Per-Use licensing and Dev Ops software development methodology, Independent Software Vendors (ISV) are facing major challenges on many fronts. ISVs strive to differentiate from their competitors and gain new customers, as well as retain existing customers and generate additional revenue from them. This shift is happening throughout the software developer market and has surfaced technological and business changes for ISVs.

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Introducing Cisco UCS M-Series Modular Servers with System Link Technology

Today, we are announcing a number of new UCS products.  But this is not just a product launch; it’s arguably the biggest product launch since the original UCS unveiling in 2009, both in terms of breadth and importance.  One of the products that we are unleashing is the Cisco UCS M-Series Modular Server, a brand new product line within Cisco UCS.

So important is the M-Series that I thought it was worth a quick blog to help frame it and show both how unique it is, and how it’s changing the game and really defining a new class of server.

We named the product M-Series to highlight its modularity, but that is only part of the story.  We have also taken to using the term ‘disaggregated server’ to help describe it.  I think it is an apt term, but want to further elaborate, as that alone does not do the M-Series justice.

As cloud scale applications become more prevalent and evolve in the datacenter the infrastructure needs change too.  Attributes like scale, performance and lifecycle require more flexibility than a traditional server can deliver efficiently.   What M-Series does is separate the CPU and memory complex from the other subsystems that would make up a traditional server.  Thus, when matching a particular application’s requirements to server infrastructure, M-Series allows for the independent scaling of all of the subsystems.  No longer does the need for a few more cores and GB’s of memory dictate the need to duplicate the entire traditional server with more power supplies, more fans, more raid controllers, more network adapters, etc.  And the same holds true for upgrading subsystems.  The lifecycle of an Ethernet adapter is not the same as a RAID controller and not the same as a CPU.  M-Series frees customers from the constraints.

Cisco UCS M-Series Modular Server

Cisco UCS M-Series Modular Server

Simply taking a server apart or disaggregating the subsystems alone is not what makes M-Series a game-changer, but creating a fabric that extends the benefits of UCS Manager all the way into the server is.  What sets UCS M-Series apart is something we call UCS System Link Technology.   This silicon-based technology gives M-Series the ability to connect these disaggregated subsystems via a UCS System Link fabric and create a truly composable infrastructure.  With the policy-based provisioning, deployment and management of UCS, the application can be presented the exact amount of resources from each subsystem for truly a software-defined server.

Similar to how a hypervisor parses resources from a traditional server and presents them in a virtual machine, M-Series now can do that and more, but at a hardware level.  A collection of these new composite machines defined from the M-Series infrastructure is the most efficient and agile way to power the emerging class of cloud scale applications.  Cisco UCS M-Series with System Link Technology is defining a new class of server architecture to power cloud scale applications.

Please watch this space for more information on Cisco UCS M-Series, as we will dive deeper into this new and exciting product.

UCS Innovation for Core Data Center Applications

We have a number of exciting additions to the UCS family, which we are announcing today.  Application architectures are fundamentally changing, which is driving a change to the core infrastructure.   Today, you will hear about new innovations in the area of scale-out computing, which are optimized for the delivery of new applications, data analytics and the scale that is required to support these apps.

As part of this announcement, we are delivering significant innovations around what I’ll call the core data center applications.  Put another way, these are the more traditional applications that keep the business running and keep employees productive.  Cisco is announcing our fourth generation of our workhorse two-socket blade and rack systems as well as a broad set of enhancements to UCS Management.

Over the past five years, when I ask customers why they purchased UCS, it comes down to two key areas:  more power to drive applications faster and simplified management, which accelerates IT operations. Let’s talk first about the core data center platforms and the new innovations there.  Once again, Cisco is raising the bar on “enterprise class” stateless computing and performance.  Today, we’re announcing the Cisco UCS M4 series, which are optimized for the widest set of enterprise use cases.  Delivered through the new UCS B200 M4, C220 M4 and C240 M4, Cisco continues to deliver the highest performance CPUs, maximum memory and highest I/O performance.  Besides support for fastest and highest core count and memory, we have added significant flexibility to the platforms via modular LAN-on-motherboard (LOM), Modular HBAs and Flex Storage options.

In addition to the M4 generation of servers we are introducing our 3rd gen VIC technology.  This generation brings native 40Gb and advanced networking features such as NVGRE and VxLAN to UCS.  The latest VIC will also enable ultra low latency RDMA capabilities.. As really fast flash storage becomes mainstream and clustered applications gain popularity, high bandwidth, low latency interconnect technology will be required for applications to see the full benefit of performance  improvements.  With this technology, applications requiring low latency can see up to an 85% improvement without the complexity of building Infiniband fabrics.

As much as we like talking about performance (and believe me, we like that a lot), the biggest innovation UCS brought to the datacenter was a dramatically simplified management paradigm with our UCS Management portfolio.   Today, we’re announcing the addition of the software programmable ACI fabric through the Nexus 9000 and APIC into UCS Director.  UCS Director is also delivering a software development kit and open API to accelerate third party integration with Cisco’s technology partners.

Finally, we are delivering new application container support within UCS Director, which provides both virtual and bare metal isolation of workloads, automated with UCS Director.  Users simply request a container for a particular set of application components and UCS Director deploys the necessary infrastructure configuration required.  Taken together, UCS Director becomes an even more robust control point for IT infrastructure as IT customers can now request application services and have computing, storage and networking services (such as firewalling or Layer 4-7 switching) delivered across a programmable networking fabric.

Taken along with the M-series and the UCS C3160, this announcement represents a huge step forward in the UCS portfolio to enable customers to move faster into the new application paradigm while still supporting their core data center applications.



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