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ComputerWorld Article on Virtualization Trends

Just had a quick read through Eric Lundquist’s article on Virtualization trends. I provided some commentary back on his article, but it is generally a good read. I do feel the industry is over-reaching a bit on the term ‘Virtualization‘ though and trying to apply it to everything we do without consistent ‘purpose’ or end-state in mind. I tried to address this a bit in the paper I posted – which is coming along nicely based on everyone’s copious feedback btw. dg

Private Clouds are Real – Internetworking for the Cloud

Just read a very nice piece my Tom Bittman over at Gartner. I agree with Tom, the term Private Cloud, to mean the cloud computing principles and architectures applied internally to an enterprise to achieve economies of scale, simplified and standardized service offerings, scalable growth, and increased efficiencies is fundamentally real.Cloud computing architectures, whether public or private, or frankly ‘virtually private’ (private cloud extending into public infrastructure with enterprise control and trust established) will need a set of networking systems and architectures. As James Urquhart told me once, “you can move the servers to the cloud, you can move the storage to the cloud, but you still have to connect to the cloud.” Cloud Networking could be about building the networking architectures to support private clouds – LAN switching systems with the universal I/O characteristics to allow wire-once infrastructures, the multi-tenant segmentation to allow Layer-2 and Layer-3 isolation, and the operational management characteristics to enable cost-effective operations of a large-scale homogenized infrastructure.But what about ‘Cloud Internetworking’. Internetworking is the core of Cisco, it’s what we do. We link networks together. To me Cloud Internetworking is about enabling the Inter-Cloud, the federation of cloud computing systems between enterprise and provider and one provider to the next. Workload becomes portable, and the Cloud Internetwork embraces this portability and ensures that the elements of trust and control don’t break or disappear with the advent of mobile workloads. Additionally, the Cloud Internetwork ensures that as workloads move they are still reachable via the most efficient path. Lastly, the Cloud Internetwork ensures that enterprises have choices, providers have markets, and infrastructure interoperates.Internetworking is the first-name of Cisco’s core operating systems- Internetwork Operating System. It’s what we do. dg

Are we Ready for Energy as a Service

Not sure if everyone saw the release yet but it was a big one. Our CEO introduced Cisco EnergyWise at Networkers Barcelona on Jan 27, 2009. For me personally it was very gratifying to see this solution come to market as there have been a small core group of, well…energy-wise people pushing this tirelessly for many months. The real credit goes to the developers and you can see their take on things here.What they’ve done and in many respects what we’ve done as an industry is huge in the context of Green, energy, the economy and to organizational structures supporting the business. I personally see it as the first major accomplishment in the new Green IT market. Not the moon landing yet but its at the very least a Sputnik. Why you say? Well with a simple code upgrade to IOS, you can now use your existing Cisco network as the monitoring and control plane for energy for just about anything you can IP address. You also do this in more or less the same way you manage any Cisco network today. Sound too Ginsu to be true? More on the inner workings here. EnergyWise marries up with our Richards-Zeta acquisition also announced on January 27th. RZ will provide us with mediation into building management systems allowing for a complete picture of energy use enterprise-wide.What I am really curious about is are we ready to adopt energy as a service we manage? Network Managers already handle security, voice, load balancing, countless volumes of routing tables and so on. How will taking on what is arguably the most critical service for any business change what we are doing today? I’m interested in hearing some thoughts on how everyone thinks this will play out? Especially any Network Managers who are curious, skeptical or otherwise. Read More »

WAN Optimization and Visibility: Have Your Cake and See It Too…

It’s interesting that despite the fact that WAN optimization has gained a lot of visibility over the last 4+ years, there are still some generalization about the technology that prospective buyers need to be better educated on. Take this story in Network World today on the topic of WAN optimization having good upside in the current depressed economy.While the “upsides” of reduced WAN costs are well covered — especially as traffic volume continues to grow through VoIP, video, etc — the one caveat called out is “lack of visibility”, with the recommendation of “IT organizations should think twice about doing that if it means they lose visibility into what is happening on their network.” Read More »

Tons of Data Centers Closing?

I had an interesting Twitter conversation with Robert Scoble over the past week or so. Robert asserts that, “you must have missed the financial crisis. This is forcing TONS of companies to get rid of data centers or minimize them.”I respect this opinion. However I talk to a lot of people in this space and I do not intrinsically share this opinion. Here are some of my observations:What I Have NOT SeenAn example of a company getting rid of a data center without consolidating it into a larger facility.A reduction of workload, application, or storage requirements.Holistic outsourcing of an IT infrastructure to a cloud or hosted provider for a sizable business.What I Have Seen- Data Center Consolidation projects, sometimes coupled with a decommissioning, most started in the past five-years, yield tangible benefits by consolidating computing resources together, usually into denser, higher power, more available data center facilities.- Companies use Virtualization technologies to consolidate virtual machines onto a smaller number of servers that have the memory, CPU, and I/O architecture that enable greater workload consolidation. – VM’s proliferate like Tribbles throughout the enterprise driving workload demands back up quickly.- Enterprises look toward cloud computing offerings and holistic managed offerings to defer risk, capital expense, and achieve linear operating cost growth with workload/application deployment. I don’t disagree that the fallout from the economic crisis is real, of that I have no doubt. What I question is if it has forced the workload reductions necessary to actually reduce the IT Infrastructure required to support line-of-business operations. There is also the time-factor. Data Center builds take years, application migrations take years. We are not far enough into the financial crisis for it to have been the cause of a data center migration or decommissioning… yet.dg