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Cloud vs Data Center

Was reading this really interesting article on Data Center Knowledge about Wall Street Grids. This is one of those applications that I am not sure will move to a cloud architecture. My reasons are as follows:1) Latency is of paramount importance in this space. The faster a transaction models, and transmits, ehte faster the trade may execute, and trading is a race. First come, first served. So these architectures tend to be hyper-optimized on transaction latency reductions.2) Corporations tend to not outsource areas of strategic advantage. I was meeting with the CTO of a large investment bank who commented- “IT contributed $7B to the bottom-line of our firm this year, talk to me about how we can grow that next year.” In Financial Services IT can provide tremendous strategic and sustainable competitive advantage. If a resoure is that critical to your business you usually don’t delegate or entrust it to anyone else.3) Growth rates in this area are larger and faster than many people realize. I know of an almost arms race between some firms where the number of servers is north of 10,000 for Monte Carlo simulations to build risk analysis infrastructure. What do you all think? Is this a space that lends itself to a cloud architecture, and if so- what properties and capabilities does the cloud need to offer in order to offer a credible service, and if the environment is that competitive how could the cloud provider sustain more than one customer?dg

FCoE and VMotion – the Perfect Relationship

Just read the following article published by Mario Apicella from Infoworld. Mario’s article espouses the value of FCoE in providing storage connectivity ubiquitously to a host. When coupled with an application such as VMotion that demands perfect state synchronization not having to move a huge runtime image speeds the move. Having all of the servers connected to a common infrastructures overcomes the addressing and segmented connectivity challenges imposed by a SAN island architecture.Mario- appreciate your testing, and validation that what we have here is a technology that is not only easy to use and real, but is also adding value to virtualization and VMotion.dg

Green as a Journey not a Destination

Whether you call it eating your own dog food or drinking your own Champagne, we at Cisco are lucky to have very dynamic IT and facilities teams that trial our solutions as we develop them. Going Green is no exception. We recently kicked of our project within Cisco data centers and labs to benchmark our operative efficiency in order to make practical, targeted reductions in support of a public commitment to cut our Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by 25% from 2007 levels through 2012. By any measure this is aggressive in that it is an absolute reduction with no fine print…That means owned and leased properties as well as employee travel. Our rough breakdown of emissions is as follows: 1) Labs and Data Centers = ~60% 2) Employee Travel = 27% 3) Other; including refrigerants, propane, diesel for gen-sets, etc.You will notice we have an ~ sign for labs and data centers. This is because without specific instrumentation (sub-metering, branch circuit monitoring and IP-enabled power rails) there is only so much you can tell about where your power is going. You know even less about how efficiently you are using said power. The first level of analysis we can do using The Green Gird’s Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric.So how are we framing this project that allows IT and Facilities to take better control of power consumption, capacity and growth? It is more simple than you might think. If you’ve worked with a spanning tree configuration, this is a breeze! We’ve basically broken this out into “digestible” phases that build upon each other. We’re lucky to have partnerships in some key areas to help us through it and a programmatic methodology through our Efficiency Assurance Program (EAP). Basically here is how we are approaching it today: 1) Establish electrical efficiency benchmarks for a pilot site including IT asset and system utilization (i.e. what is our server CPU utilization, some figures suggest the US average is ~20%) 2) Assign a balanced scoring to the pilot site that balances efficiency with risk and cost 3) Asses the IT and facilities architecture(s) to identify and prioritize improvements to net capacity, efficiency expressed as a percentage and growth projections 4) Develop new Standard Operating Environment (SOE) guidelines at the room, row and rack level 5) Develop new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) focusing on operative efficiency like regular IT asset utilization audits 6) Document it all in one place with the ability for users to easily make changes on the fly but governed by committee (Change Advisory Board as an example) 7) Assess the viability to scale the pilot across Cisco’s 52 data centers world wide (most of those are development data centers, lab/DC hybrids)What is clear up front is that there is no silver bullet for Green. Rather we are focused on taking a blended approach towards efficiency with all leading not bleeding edge technologies on the table. Virtualization is of course a front runner but we recognize that it has a big impact on our facilities as well. Improved collaboration experience to reduce employee travel like Telepresence is a great technology but if we didn’t address human travel habits through our booking systems we might be traveling just as much and using Telepresence on top of that. The list goes on but suffice to say, this is one of those areas where the often overused term of “holistic” really does apply. I talk a bit more about this on our upcoming Techwise TV event, airing August 21st. If interested you can register at how did we even get to this point? Over the last 18 months we’ve developed cross functional teams made up of what were in many cases people who had a personal interest in making their company a deeper shade of Green (one of those people happens to be our CEO). Lucky for us these folks also have strong business acumen and we’ve been able to sell the business case for doing this internally. This is where our Green Data Center Model Calculator was born from also found in the EAP.We will be making sure to share our progress within Cisco IT on how our Green journey is progressing. Drop us a note with any insight you might have to how this is ramping up at your company (even the political organizational stuff which we all know happens).Thanks for reading.

We Have a Winner

August 7, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

So Brian Cantor won my little uptime contest. Brian dug up a C5K that has been up for over 3,450 days. Brian says

“I work for an insurance company and this particular switch serves as an access switch in one of our call centers. It has mostly end users but there are some printers and a couple of servers. As far as I can tell, this switch has been chugging away since before the new millennium.”

Congrats Brian--fleece en route.Omar

The Google Service Oriented Virtualized Cloud as a Service

This post is really a test of title/hype versus content. My personal bet is that because of this title coagulating every term that is riding the hype cycle at warp speed it will become my most clicked through post yet. Anyone taking that bet?As for some useful content- here are a few of our more commented posts or other things I liked that I saw recently…Virtualization 2.0 -- Data Center KnowledgeMy Thoughts on Where Cloud Computing May GoI also liked James and Sam’s discourse on What is a Cloud? Anyhow, I’ll post back up in a couple weeks and see if my guess is right….dg