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Is IT Automation the Key to Operational Excellence? Industry Analysts Think So

Businesses move quickly until they have to cross rough roads paved with technical challenges. That’s because even though data centers are sophisticated, the components that support most businesses still include far too many 20th century manual processes, silo based resources and administrators pressured to keep up.

Although automation can speed up IT, and your business,  many companies are wrestling with it. Please watch this video from Cisco and Forrester to understand why organizations are struggling with automation – see if it sounds familiar (I bet it will).

After you watch it, if you want send me a brief email about your experience with these issues. Read More »

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SDN Questions to Ask at the Gartner Data Center Conference

December 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm PST
London's Big Ben at Night

London’s Big Ben at Night

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Gartner Data Center conference in London.   I attended 3 different sessions on SDN-related topics.  Here are some of my observations from what was a very good conference.  Also, since the Gartner Data Center conference runs this week (w/c 1 December 2014) in the US, if you are going, here are some questions to think about when you attend the SDN sessions.

(1)    What does “lack of visibility” in Virtual Overlays really mean?

(2)    In multi-layer SDN, will SDN be cheaper than our current networking approach?

(3)    Are Vendors Guilty of Using NFV for SDN “Washing”?

(4)    If OpenStack is part of your SDN solution, can you help us on OpenStack?

(5)    What is the best hardware server platform for NFV/virtualised workloads?

(6)    How exactly does SDN deliver better network management?

I’ll cover a few questions today and some tomorrow.

Read More »

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Data Center Evolution – Nimble Storage Virtual Trade Show

It’s no secret that the heart of any business operation is the data center. And as business demands evolve, the pressure on IT to keep up means being more agile, scalable, fast, reliable and secure.

Many are turning to cloud based solutions; private, public or hybrid, and  implementing the latest technologies such as unified computing and flash storage.

So how do you prepare your data center for the onslaught of data, increased network traffic, and the insatiable demand for more processing power?

On December 2, Nimble Storage is hosting a virtual tradeshow to cover innovations in data center technologies to answer the above question and more.

Join Nimble Storage, Cisco, and other industry leaders to learn more about how you can evolve your data center, and strategically improve business outcomes.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 5.53.31 AM

Check out the event on Unleashing IT, and register to attend! As an extra incentive, there will be some exciting prizes being raffled for attendees. Best thing about this virtual trade show is that you will not need to leave your desk.

 

Network Services Headers (NSH): Creating a Service Plane for Cloud Networks

November 19, 2014 at 9:00 am PST

In the past, we have pointed out that configuring network services and security policies into an application network has traditionally been the most complex, tedious and time-consuming aspect of deploying new applications. For a data center or cloud provider to stand up applications in minutes and not days, easily configuring the right service nodes (e.g. a load balancer or firewall), with the right application and security policies, to support the specific workload requirements, independent of location in the network is a clear obstacle that has to be overcome.

Let’s say, for example, you have a world-beating best-in-class firewall positioned in some rack of your data center. You also have two workloads that need to be separated according to security policies implemented on this firewall on other servers a few hops away. The network and security teams have traditionally had a few challenges to address:

  1. If traffic from workload1 to workload2 needs to go through a firewall, how do you route traffic properly, considering the workloads don’t themselves have visibility to the specifics of the firewalls they need to work with. Traffic routing of this nature can be implemented in the network through the use of VLAN’s and policy-based routing techniques, but this is not scalable to hundreds or thousands of applications, is tedious to manage, limits workload mobility, and makes the whole infrastructure more error-prone and brittle.
  2. The physical location of the firewall or network service largely determines the topology of the network, and have historically restricted where workloads could be placed. But modern data center and cloud networks need to be able to provide required services and policies independent of where the workloads are placed, on this rack or that, on-premises or in the cloud.

Whereas physical firewalls might have been incorporated into an application network through VLAN stitching, there are a number of other protocols and techniques that generally have to be used with other network services to include them in an application deployment, such as Source NAT for application delivery controllers, or WCCP for WAN optimization. The complexity of configuring services for a single application deployment thus increases measurably.

Read More »

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Going Native with OpenStack Centric Applications: Murano

November 18, 2014 at 9:58 pm PST

Following on our previous discussion surveying the projects supporting applications within OpenStack, let’s continue our review with an in-depth look at the OpenStack-native Application Catalog: Murano, currently an incubation status project, having seen its functionality and core services integration advanced over the past few OpenStack releases.

OpenStack Centric Applications - Murano Logo

What is it?

An application catalog developed by Mirantis, HP and others (now Cisco), that allows application developers and cloud administrators to publish applications in a categorized catalog to be perused and deployed by application consumers. The selection of applications available within the catalog is intended to be that of released versions (ready-state) of applications (cloud-native or enterprise-architected), not application versions that are mid-development. Ideally, these are applications ready to be consumed and run by application users. Read More »

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