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Storage Networking At Cisco

image I thought I would switch gears a bit and touch on one of the other pillars of the data center. Our storage environment continues to be a great story to tell and continues to be a source of interest with customers I brief. If you look at the numbers, they are pretty cool:

  • 125 MDS switches deployed globally
  • 12,000 ports in production globally, 10 petabytes
  • TCO driven from $0.12/MB down to $0.01/MB
  • Average amount of storage managed by an employee increased from 25 terabyte to 600 terabytes
  • Since 2001, storage utilization has increased from 20% to 68%

The Cisco IT storage story really highlights the benefits of Data Center 3.0 and the consolidate > virtualize > automate path. In this installment of the TechMinute, Sidney talks about how we manage this environment. For further interesting reading, here is a case study on how Cisco IT uses our SAN to automate the legal discovery process, and another case study on supporting our ERP environment.

Is HP Now a Friend or Foe of Cisco?

While I’ve seen a lot of kudos of our innovative Unified Computing System announcement in the last two weeks, I have been concerned by some of the “Cisco declaration of war” theme coverage. As someone here at Cisco, who has successfully worked with HP, this information seemed in accurate. So let’s set the record straight.

First of all, Cisco entry in the adjacent server market space with Unified Computing System is not about going after the competition. It is about catching a market transition or inflection point to help our customers unleash the power of virtualization in their data centers. The Unified Computing System addresses many of the pain points our customers have in managing and unleashing benefits of virtualization in their data centers.

Secondly, HP entered Cisco core switching business several years back with its ProCurve product line. Cisco and HP successfully continued their partnership in other areas in the interest of our mutual customers.

That said, what does the UCS announcement mean to Cisco-HP partnership? This brings us back to the title of my post. Well, in the interest of our customers, it is not going to be a friend or foe scenario in general. The reality is we will compete with HP with our Unified Computing System, however, other existing areas of collaboration with HP will continue. Read More »

Networking Virtual Infrastructure with VMware and Cisco

Here is a great technical session presented by Guy Brunsdon of VMware. It starts with a good foundation on networking in a virtual machine environment, followed by a discussion of the virtual distributed switch and the Cisco Nexus 1000V. For more on VM networking, check out Guy’s blog over at VMware.

Networking: Delivering More by Exceeding the Law of Moore

Doug and I were having an interesting conversation the other day, which I thought was worth sharing….In 1965 Gordon Moore postulated in a paper that transistor density would double approximately every two years. We’ve heard people question why networking does not follow Moore’s Law, presuming that it is behind the curve. It is easy for those without the domain expertise in any particular technology or IT area to try to force fit Moore’s Law in as a catch-all measuring stick for technology evolution. So, let’s take a look at the evolution of networking contrasted with the predictable transistor densities of Moore’s law.We have to pick a starting point, so we’ll start with 1994, it’s fifteen years ago and gives us enough iterations of Moore’s Law to see if there is a noticeable trend or not. In 1994 Cisco started shipping the Catalyst 5000 series of modular LAN switches- it had a 1.2Gb/s backplane based on a shared bus and had modules supporting 12-port 100Mb Ethernet and 24-port 10Mb Ethernet. We will baseline all assumptions on a 1994 starting point with a 1.2Gb/s backplane. We will double the performance every two years on the Moore’s Law row, and track historical performance of Cisco’s networking products on the Cisco Switching Row. Read More »

Unified Computing System Management Basics

As I have noted, virtualization introduces a couple of distinct challenges that directly impact its ultimately scalability as a solution. While virtualization offers a number of compelling benefits, it does introduce increased operational complexity. Because it is simple to add a new virtual machine (VM) and because we can move VMs across physical infrastructure, we see an uptick in the change requests that the network and storage teams must address to support this new flexibility. Additionally, because we see more use of automated live migration of VMs (i.e. VMware DRS), we need to the ability to automate the provisioning of the underlying infrastructure in a much more dynamic way. To us, it was simple: the management framework of the Cisco UCS should simplify and automate server provisioning and the network connectivity that the server requires. This allows companies to accelerate their virtualization plans. However, there was also one other key goal–we did not want to create any data center islands, so the Cisco UCS should easily integrate into the existing environment — no forklifts.

Read More »