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Halloween can be scary. Automating your network doesn’t need to be.

Some random, yet strangely connected, thoughts the night before Halloween…

  1. Zombies can be scary:


  1. Death Metal* can be scary:

Click here to listen.

  1. Learning new skills and using new tools to automate your network can appear to be scary if you don’t have a coding background. But that doesn’t need to be the case…

In a previous blog post, I discussed Cisco’s SDN Strategy for the Data Center. I mentioned that it is built on 3 key pillars: Application Centric Infrastructure, Programmable Fabric, and Programmable Network. Regarding the 3rd pillar, I wrote that network programmability has largely been the domain of big Web SP’s, and/or those whose propellers seen to spin faster than others. However, the reality is that tools are available that are useful for networks of pretty much any size, and the tools are within reach of pretty much everybody.

Rather than rattle off a list cool features that are part of Programmable Network (some of which are summarized here), I thought it more useful to consider common things network people actually do on a daily basis, then show how we can apply programmability tools to do those things with, for lack of a better phrase, “the 3 S’s”:

  • Speed – enabling you to do things much faster;
  • Scale – enabling you to do things to a much larger group of devices; and
  • Stability – enabling you to make far fewer errors (thereby also increasing Security…oops, now that’s 4 S’s…)

In upcoming posts, we will consider use cases such as switch provisioning. For example, you need to put a bunch of VLANs on a bunch of switches. Unless you have a battalion of minions to carry out your wishes, this can be a tedious, time consuming task. There is a better way, and we’ll show you how.

What’s that? You say you’re a network geek, but you moonlight as a server admin? You’ve been using Linux tools to monitor and troubleshoot servers and want to use the same tools for the network? Okay, we can cover that too because tools like ifconfig and tcpdump are all part of the party.

If you can’t wait for the future posts and/or you want to dive deep, this recorded webinar should tide you over.

Anyhow, I need to go carve a pumpkin now…Happy Halloween!

*For music aficionados…Yeah, I know – the link was Heavy Metal not Death Metal, but I used one of my own songs…and this is about as close to Death Metal as I get. That whole guttural screaming thing never worked for me…

Photo compliments of



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Composable Infrastructure, Part 3: “What is it??”

“Did you say compostable infrastructure? That means using a biodegradable cardboard chassis that can go in the compost bin, right?”  :)   This conversation is more common than you think right now as people are introduced to this for the first time.   So what exactly does composable infrastructure mean?  Perhaps the best description I’ve heard comes from James Leach who recently told me “our customers need us to wrap code around the server, not sheet metal.”   I think that concept gets at it pretty well, and no surprise since he’s one of the people behind our M-Series Modular Servers and Cisco System Link technology.  Still, it’s early days for this concept in the industry and many customers we talk to haven’t been exposed to the term.

We took some time recently to interview Jed Scaramella from IDC to help explain it all.  Here’s another segment in that series, this one focused on answering the question, “What is Composable Infrastructure?What Is CI Screen Capture

Composable infrastructure is is emerging out of two trends: disaggregated servers and software-defined infrastructure. Both are prerequisite capabilities: you need be able to take humpty dumpty apart AND put him together again. Disaggregation is where we unbind local shared storage and network I/O from the processor and memory.   Subsystems are no longer bound by the server chassis or the traditional motherboard. Then, with a unified control plane and API, these physical and logical resources are pooled and management software composes the resources on demand, so the system can be created to conform to the unique requirements of the workload. That’s the software-defined part.

Path to “Infrastructure as Code”

While many are just beginning to talk about composable infrastructure as a future strategy (“Houston, we have a vision…”) Cisco has been executing on disaggregated systems and software defined infrastructure since the introduction of UCS, through three key areas of innovation:

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NetApp Insight 2015 Recap: FlexPod Delivers Application Optimization and Simplified IT


At NetApp Insight in Las Vegas, Cisco and NetApp teams came together to celebrate five years of integrated infrastructure leadership with FlexPod. We also introduced new FlexPod capabilities and solutions designed to simplify IT and enhance application performance.

In the video below, Jim McHugh, VP of Cisco UCS and Data Center Solutions Marketing, and Lee Caswell, VP of Product and Solutions Marketing at NetApp, discuss our partnership, success, and new FlexPod solutions.

At Insight, we introduced capabilities that make FlexPod simpler to buy, simpler to deploy, and simpler to own. These new capabilities benefit IT at the edge or in branch office locations where this is a need to have solutions delivered and deployed quickly with minimal administrative expertise required. There also continues to be a focus on helping applications run at their absolute best. The combination of Cisco UCS, Cisco ACI, and NetApp All Flash FAS as the new FlexPod foundation for enterprise applications (i.e. SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle) can deliver outstanding performance resulting in better business outcomes. Read More »

ACI at Openstack Summit Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo, Japan.

The OpenStack Summit is a four-day conference for developers, users, and administrators of OpenStack Cloud Software. It’s a great place to  learn about how Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) makes it better to Build – Deploy – Scale – Connect your OpenStack based applications.



Why should ACI be used with OpenStack

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Cisco at IBM Insight 2015: Showcasing Industry-leading Technology for Big Data and Analytics

Note:  Cisco’s Mohammed Ahmed of the Cisco IBM Alliance team was the key contributor for this blog post

In the IT industry we understand that customer confidence and respect is a leading reason that customers choose IBM and Cisco solutions and  services. Cisco and IBM have earned this trust over the years by each having deep technical expertise; global resources; and world-class support that few companies can match. With an almost two-decade history of working together, our success in the market together is demonstrated by more than 25,000 shared customers.

Cisco and IBM strive to work together to deliver innovative solutions to meet our joint customer needs – Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, the IBMBigInsightSolBriefData Center, the Internet of Everything (IoE), and Collaboration are just few examples.

Recently, Cisco and IBM added another strategic solution to the list “Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data with IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop” to help customers maximize the value of their big data and leverage business insights from it.

The Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data (CVD Link) with IBM BigInsights has been jointly tested and validated by both companies and provides a flexible, industry leading platform affording enterprises to fully leverage the latest open source technology together with the powerful SQL on Hadoop and Analytic capabilities.  The solution highlights are:

  • Powerful and high performance SQL on Hadoop designed for enterprises that require greater SQL standards compliance, performance, concurrency, and security
  • Highly scalable analytics for Data Scientists, Business Analysts to explore, discover, analyze and build advanced predictive models
  • Comprehensive enterprise-grade infrastructure using Cisco Fabric Interconnects and Rack Servers optimized for BigInsights

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