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Cloud Computing and the question of Uptime

imageAll the dire predictions for the demise of cloud computing that came with yesterday’s GMail downtime were, to be honest, kinda comical. I mean, after all, its not like my Windows laptop ever needs rebooting or the Exchange server ever goes off-line.However, for cooler heads, it does bring up a good question: what are reasonable availability requirements for a cloud based app? Should they be any different (higher or lower) than for an app sitting on a server in your data center. Read More »

Convergence: Round 4

I recently read the opinion of the CEO from one of our competitors that FCoE is too costly and that the demand for convergence in the data center is slowing. It is hard to argue that worsening economic conditions might affect customer’s spending plans in the future.However, history has shown that network convergence saves money, both in capital and operational expenditures. Whether it was convergence of WAN technologies in the 1980s that led to the dominance of TCP/IP as the standard protocol for the Internet or the convergence of numerous LAN technologies to Ethernet in the 1990s that enabled the creation of hundreds of new products that have the now-ubiqutous RJ45 Ethernet jack.This past decade has been no different. The convergence of voice, video, and data networks has created a completely new industry and lowered the cost of communications for millions across the world. From Skype to Vonage to Telepresence, none would be possible without network convergence.So as we look forward to a new decade, why would we not expect data center networks to follow a similar path? And why would a certain CEO downplay convergence when he just closed a major acquisition that enables him to capitalize on it? Perhaps history is already repeating itself and he finds himself behind like many other competitors that clung to their legacy technologies a bit too long.If you’re curious about how FCoE and data center network convergence could save you money, check out our online calculator and plug in your real-world numbers and see if it makes sense for you.Also, be sure to check out this recent article from the FCIA that makes the case for FCoE.

A Plumber’s Guide: Great Architecture Needs Great Infrastructure, Part 2

Last week we discussed the role of the lowly plumber in building the Dutch country of the Netherlands, reclaiming land masses from the sea, and ensuring that the hardy Dutch traders had a port to call home. It is amazing that infrastructure, designed hundreds of years ago, can still be so valuable today if you have the right architectural vision and scalable engineering approach that turns the vision into a reality.My good friend Silvano Gai commented on this post wanting to discuss the plumbing value that was delivered in the great Roman aqueducts, some built two millennia ago that still serve the city of Roma today! Silvano, a Cisco Fellow and great technology architect, must also be prescient, because today’s installment of this series is about the aqueduct.The Roman aqueducts are certainly the most notable, and aqueducts have been particularly associated with Roman engineering. Aqueducts have been in use for thousands of years – in the 7th century BC the Assyrians built a 50-mile long aqueduct to carry water across a valley to their capital of Nineveh. The ability to carry water, vital for agrarian society, from a source such as a river, well, stream, spring, et cetera to the location where you want to grow a population center created the first utility.City growth was dependent then, and still is today, on available clean water. The cultural shift from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies was amplified by the engineering feat of irrigation, compounded again by the distance you were able to transport this vital resource.In essence the value of a utility is amplified or compounded by the distance you can effectively distribute the resource the utility provides. In the city of Rome the aqueducts totaled over 260 miles and set a standard of engineering that was not surpassed for more than a thousand years. A network of aqueducts built an area of seven hills into a metropolis that was the capital of an empire, and the most cultured city of its time. This network that carried water from its source to the client in Rome enabled Rome to support a population of 1,000,000 people in 44 BC to 120 AD – a number not again seen in Rome until the mid 1930s.Some myopic companies readily dismiss the value of plumbing – but just like the Dutch owe their land to good plumbing – we can all look to the golden age of Rome, and to the acceleration of a shift from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies and thank the lowly plumber for ensuring the world’s first utility was available to create the masses that created the civilizations we know, and many significant cultural, religious, and political icons.dg

Cloud Computing and Package Mobilty

So, I am a big picture kinda guy, for better or for worse, and, while there are a number of really smart folks working on the plumbing behind cloud computing, from a go-to-market perspective, I have been wondering about what needs to happen to cross that tipping point. Read More »

Techwise TV Episode 42 – EnergyWise

Stay tuned for this Thursdays episode of Techwise TV. I love their tagline “technology you can understand from geeks you can trust”. Let me tell you first hand this is true. Some background on how this show evolved I think is worth a post. So we had recently done TWTV episode 36 on our solutions in the Data Center that improve energy efficiency and whether I like it or not I’ve been branded as the “Green” guy here so immediately the red flags went up from the shows head geek Jimmy Ray Purser. His background is in systems engineering so he has developed the valuable skill set in that line of work of weeding through the marketing quickly. A funny post from Jimmy on his thoughts here.I was able to get Jimmy on board for episode 36 but then just a few episodes later we came back with another “Green” solution, Cisco EnergyWise. Again, it was a tough sell to Jimmy but we brought him around. Robb and Valeire on the show were slightly easier. Basically how I did it was by pointing out some simple facts that show the relevance of energy management:1) Energy is far and away the largest unmanaged cost of any business today2) Energy costs (the kind for wall outlet electricity) have almost doubled in the last 4 years3) Many analysts project that energy costs will soon become the first or second largest cost for large enterprises4) We are anticipating a 20% reduction (absolute) the first year we deploy EnergyWise (we paid $150M USD last year for energy)5) Cisco EnergyWise is part of IOS and is based on a cloud approach to energy managementThat and the fact we rarely even use the term Green in any of our technical discussions, opting for sustainability at the highest level and quickly jumping to energy and the emissions that correlate. Not to mention the possibiity of real regulations around energy use and the efficiency thereof are closer than they’ve been since the Carter administration. So make sure to check this episode out to get the straight scoop on EnergyWise with Jimmy beating us up for you. We also have John Parello on the show who created the core code for it and he talks through how this is based on a cloud approach.For our beloved network managers out there the good news is that we have also simplified the larger network management approach in this version of IOS. In the new approach we allow for tagging of assets in order to establish energy domains. We also provide for criticality levels and different power states to be assigned which ensures the approaches viability for data center operations. Read More »