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FCoE: The Standard is Here

So, after a lot of hard work by a number of individual across the industry, I am happy to say that on June 3rd, the FC-BB-5 working group of T11 has completed its work and unanimously approved a final standard for FCoE. Today, the plenary session of T11 approved forwarding the FC-BB-5 standard to INCITIS for the publication process as an ANSI standard. For more details on the efforts to date, check out my post from March. You call also pull down a copy of the standard from here. As I noted earlier, this was an industry wide effort, but, personally, I would like to call out the efforts of our Cisco folks, Joe Pelissier, Landon Curt Noll, and Claudio DeSanti, the latter serving as chairman of the working group.So, what comes next? Well, for folks that have bought the Nexus 5000, as noted in the March post, the current hardware is compliant with the standard. There will be software updates to handle things like implementing the the final version of FIP and the like.We are also making good progress on the Ethernet front. As many of you know, FCoE relies on a set of extensions to the current Ethernet standards to make Ethernet serve as reliable transport. These extensions are also progressing through their own standards process:imageFinally, last month, the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab hosted an interoperability plugfest for IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging (DCB). Testing was held in two phases. Initially, participants completed individual tests for specific DCB features such as Priority-based Flow Control (IEEE P802.1Qbb), Enhanced Transmission Selection (IEEE P802.1Qaz), and DCB Capability Exchange Protocol (IEEE P802.1Qaz). After that, participants built a large DCB-based network and tested higher layer protocols such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet and iSCSI. Participants in the PlugFest included Cisco, Dell, Finisar, Fulcrum Microsystems, Intel, NetApp, QLogic and Spirent Communications.As the Ethernet Alliance, sponsor of the PlugFest notes in its press release:

The plugfest results were impressive considering that this was the first time multiple vendors had participated in testing products based upon the IEEE 802.1 DCB draft standards. Participants were able to demonstrate effectively the interoperability of their products and participate in a lossless Ethernet fabric simultaneously on the same network. These plugfests help to review the IEEE 802.1 DCB draft standards and to create interoperable products.

There is a white paper with details on the interoperability testing that is due to be published by the Ethernet Alliance in the near future.

Unified Computing System News

Today at Cisco’s Partner Summit, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior and other Cisco executives are discussing the company’s strategy to accelerate go-to-market plans for unified computing with channel partners. The strategy includes new IT Career Certifications in Data Center Management, new programs for channel partners, and the expansion of the Unified Computing System family to include a new C-Series Rack-Mount Server. The news is being announced at the Cisco Partner Summit press conference that is webcast live from 9:45-10:30 a.m. PDT/12:45-1:30 p.m. EDT: Partner Summit Data Center News Update. You can read further details on the news in the press release: Cisco and Partners to Accelerate Data Center Virtualization.

Unified Computing System In Production, Redux

Since our initial announcement of the Cisco UCS, there has been a great deal of interest, skepticism, and speculation about this new platform. Though the system won’t start shipping to customers until the end of June, Cisco IT has had it deployed in production for a number of months now in one of our existing data centers, where we have been using to run several production and business critical apps to ensure it got a thorough and realistic workout. Since hands-on details are currently scarce, we thought folks might be interested in a first hand account of the very first deployment of this technology. So, we recently held a live Internet TV broadcast and Q&A session with John Manville, VP of Information Technology, Network and Data Center Services at Cisco, and Chris Hynes, director of IS, Network and Data Center Services at Cisco. If you missed the original broadcast, you can find the archive here.If you have any other questions, post them as comment to this blog post and I’ll see if I can get them answered for you.

Cisco Unified Computing System–Not Just For Virtualization

I had a good chat with a customer the other day about our Cisco UCS solution–they are very intrigued and are bringing them in-house to evaluate. As I was wrapping up, someone asked me an interesting question–they see UCS as a great platform for their VMware environment, but what about the rest of their apps–the vast majority of their apps are not virtualized yet. Great question–luckily, we have an answer for that scenario too–its called…..Cisco UCS. So, while there has been a great deal of focus on the UCS as the über-platform for server virtualization, the reality is that it is also a great platform for your regular workloads as well. Cisco UCS Manager allows you to do bare metal provisioning of each server blade so you can still take advantage of Cisco UCS for all your workloads, not just your virtualized ones. It does not make a difference if you are loading a hypervisor and multiple guests on the blade or a single OS and application. In either case, you can take advantage of the UCS stateless computing model, the extended memory architecture, killer performance and simplified management, cabling and infrastructure. And, as you virtualize more and more of your applications, you can do it, in place, on your existing UCS platforms, such as UCS blade server. Nothing could be simpler.

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More Nexus 1000V Beta Feedback

In the next in our series of mini-interviews with Nexus 1000V customer, we have thoughts from Olivier Parcollet, IT Architect at SETAO. Those of you who went to VMworld Europe might have seen Olivier join Ed Bugnion during his keynote. Thank you, again, Olivier for your time.What was your overall impression of the Cisco Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switch?Cisco Nexus 1000V fills the gaps that existed in virtual infrastructures and allows full control of both the physical and the virtual aspects of machines. The Cisco Nexus 1000V allows greater granularity of virtual machines on the network, an overall view of administration of the network, and allows network administrators to take control of the virtual machines. Finally, even though it is still in a beta version, I was impressed by the flawless operation of the Cisco Nexus 1000V. Read More »