Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > Data Center

How Cisco’s data center is built on openness

As customers embrace cloud strategy to build an agile data center, one of the key pillars is openness. Why openness? To move fast, accelerate time-to-market, drive higher level of innovation and avoid vendor lock-in are some of the benefits to openess. What does open mean? In this case, open source, open standards, open interfaces, open API’s, open tools set including automation, orchestration and DevOps.

Come and join Cisco at ONS June 15-18, 2015 to learn how we’ve been in the forefront developing and contributing to the open source community. Hear our speakers Tom Edsall Data Center SDN Solutions  June 18 @ 2:00 pm, Mike Cohen at the partner theater June 18 @ 12:40 pm and others

See demos in Cisco’s booth on OpenStack, Group Based Policy GBP that enables capturing application requirements directly rather than converting the requirements into a set of infrastructure configuration updates, Open Dayligt, and more. In the solutions showcase section, you’ll see a service chaining demo with Avi and One Convergence.

What else are we doing to drive openness in the data center? BGP-EVPN control plane to define how VxLAN tunnel endpoints map MAC addressed to IP addresses in a multi-vendor environment, Network Service Header NSH offering a method to identify network service path, OpFlex is an extensible policy protocol designed to exchange abstract policy between a network controller and a set of smart devices capable of rendering policy, open SDN with ACI  and many more.

Tags: , , , , , ,

A personal big data journey

When I set out to plan a once in a lifetime US coast-to-coast round trip with a buddy of mine in a 40-year old single engine Cessna 172 aircraft under visual flight rules (VFR), it quickly became apparent to me that I was creating my very own personal big data project with a well-defined outcome.

Read on. I will explain what I mean by outcome.

Collecting data

The sheer amount of data I was collecting resulted in many spreadsheets with destination airport codes, elevations, traffic pattern altitudes and directions, runway lengths and configurations, radio frequencies and taxi procedures.


Just one of many data rich spreadsheets

It did not stop there: route planning included avoiding high terrain that I knew the aircraft – and pilot for that matter – would not muster, military operating areas and restricted airspace.

I researched seasonal weather trends along the planned route and destinations so I was well informed of what type of weather we could be confronted with along the way. Aircraft performance considerations were made: weight & balance, estimated time en-route, fuel consumption and cost, climb speeds, density and cruising altitudes, etc.

Finally, I spent countless hours on YouTube watching videos posted by like-minded general aviation pilots flying to the destination airports in my plan. I took notes and committed their shared experiences to memory. It was time well invested: I had a pretty good idea what to expect and what to avoid. It lifted any doubt or anxiety low-time pilots like myself often experience when flying to unfamiliar airports.

Getting organized

I organized all that data in a way that would allow me to make informed decisions about each flight.

  • On the ground I used the data to file flight plans, get updated weather briefings and quickly make informed ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ decisions.
  • In the air the, data I needed was easily accessible. It exponentially reduced my workload as pilot-in-command during all phases of flight, allowing me to focus on the fun stuff: aviating, navigating, and communicating with air-traffic control.

And that brings me back to the well-defined outcome for this trip: all this data – and more importantly – how I chose to use it gave me peace of mind that the outcome of each flight would result in a safe landing at each destination airport – one that my travel buddy and I could walk away from with smiles on our faces.

And smile we did

The result was an unforgettable experience: seeing the entire country from a unique perspective that only an airborne aircraft can deliver.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 11.05.03 AM

Flying over the Big Apple

Big Data, Big Opportunities

So here is my point: when it comes to big data projects, my personal big data journey pales in comparison to the amount of data an organization can collect and analyze to gain valuable insights to deliver better business outcomes or unique customer experiences.

The sky is the limit. But deciding on what data to collect, where, and how to store it – how to organize, manage and analyze all that data coming from an ever-increasing variety of sources requires careful consideration:

  • What insights are you expecting to gain from that data?
  • Where is that data coming from? Is it structured or unstructured data?
  • How do you manage that data securely in real-time?
  • How does it support game changing decision-making, add value to the business or create a unique experience for the customer that will have them coming back for more?

All that can no doubt be overwhelming, and unfortunately there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

But big data is real – it has become a business imperative. An absolute must if your business wants to remain relevant in your industry.

Statistics suggest that organizations and companies that successfully invest in, and execute on, a well-planned big data strategy will have a competitive edge over their industry peers. In some cases they will out perform them by 20%. Don’t take my word for it – just read the Gartner reports.

Or better yet, download the latest Unleashing IT Big Data edition. It is loaded with expert advice from leading Hadoop and analytics vendors that Cisco has partnered with to deliver custom tailored, validated, and secure big data solutions that easily scale as your business grows. It discusses strategies to help unlock that competitive edge. And it profiles organizations that are turning big data into big value today.

big data cover

So take a moment to subscribe to for full access to all of the contents. Unlike a single engine Cessna 172, it’s fast and free.

On Final

Jim McHugh recently posted this blog about a three-part virtual conference series on big data and analytics hosted jointly with Intel and several hadoop vendors. I think it’s worth a read and hope to see you attend our first session on June 17th. Check out the compelling agenda.

Also be sure to tune into Jim’s welcome video.

Last but not least, we are here to answer any and all questions you may have. Simply e-mail us at

May your big data journey take your business or organization to new heights and land it safely with a competitive edge.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Get the Big Ideas behind Big Data and Analytics

Big data and analytics are not just buzzwords—they have become business imperatives. There are examples in just about every industry and vertical where organizations extracting valuable insight from their data and innovating faster, enhancing customer experiences, and becoming more relevant in the market. Organizations that don’t have a data strategy are starting to fall behind – fast.  Big Data and Analytics_McHugh52911

To help you develop an impactful big data strategy we are doing a series of 3 Big Data Virtual Conferences. These complimentary events give you a chance to get the insider perspective on how to capitalize on the data your organization is already gathering, without even leaving your desk.

The first event, coming up on June 17, focuses on data warehouse optimization. Parts two and three, focused on operational analytics and business analytics respectively, will follow on September 9 and October 7.

Why you should attend

These events will provide you with the opportunity to virtually interact directly with subject matter experts and engage with our big data solution partners by attending their sessions. Each session will feature interactive chats so you can get answers to tough questions, discuss challenges, and gain valuable insights that can help shape your big data strategy.

You’ll get a chance to hang out in the various booths located in the expo hall and download valuable assets to read through at your leisure, as well as join in some fun games.

The first conference in the series – focused on data warehouse optimization – will cover the following topics:

Boosting data warehousing cost-efficiency with Hadoop solutions and virtualization

  • Effectively managing your infrastructure amongst the constant influx of data
  • Increasing security through data warehousing best practices
  • Optimizing your data warehousing to easily create actionable analytics

The best part is that you won’t need to leave your desk, battle traffic and find a parking spot only to realize that you parked 15 minutes away from the venue and there is not a coffee shop in sight for that much needed caffeine boost.

Did I mention these events are free of charge?

Make your plans today to join us for this event.

Upcoming Virtual Conference Events

Part 1: Data Warehouse Optimization

June 17, 2015 | 11 am – 4 pm ET / 8 am – 1 pm PT

Find out how to build a data storage framework that reduces costs and enhances access.

Part 2: Operational Analytics September 9, 2015 | 11 am – 4 pm ET / 8 am – 1 pm PT

Explore how virtualized data integration helps bring together different types of data, from different sources, and position it for rapid analysis.

 Part 3: Business Analytics October 7, 2015 | 11 am – 4 pm ET / 8 am – 1 pm PT

Discover how to turn your data into information that enhances business outcomes.

Thank you and see you there,

Jim McHugh
VP UCS & Data Center Solutions Marketing

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is Alive and Kicking!

On January 28, 2008, Cisco made headlines with the introduction of the market’s first Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) Switch, the Nexus 5000. Cisco also reached out to ecosystem partners and demonstrated FCoE capabilities with them at various industry conferences.   When we introduced FCoE, we knew that it would revolutionize and transform the LAN/SAN connectivity landscape and lay the foundation for end-to end-convergence in the data center. A unified data center was possible for the first time. Flash forward seven years, and FCoE is now thriving, growing and is supported throughout the data center portfolio.

On May 21st 2015, Cisco introduced 40G FCoE support on Nexus 7000 / Nexus 7700. We continue to innovate and invest in FCoE and Storage Networking in general. Attend this Webinar on June 23rd to learn more.

FCoE Evolution. FCoE roadmap to success

For a while, Nexus 5K was the only platform that could support FCoE, and some of our progressive customers (like Coca Cola Bottling Company), who deployed FCoE with Nexus 5K, in the access layer immediately reaped the benefits of convergence (See below for FCoE customer references). Our customer feedback was that FCoE benefits were extremely tangible, but they wanted even more. Could Cisco extend FCoE beyond access layer? Could Cisco extend it to the core and to the storage array?

We have calculated an up to 50 percent energy saving, with commensurate reductions in cooling requirements. Overall our business case shows TCO falling by more than 40 percent,” says Ashi Sheth,  IT Director, American University of Sharjah

In order to support these requirements, in 2010 Cisco introduced new FCoE innovations, including multi-hop FCoE. Multi-hop FCoE enabled customers to deploy end to end FCoE and expand beyond access layer. Customers such as ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, Boeing Case Study Adventist Health Systems and others, were able to reap the benefits of multi-hop FCoE (see below for list of FCoE customers)

Cisco continued to innovate on FCoE and currently FCoE is supported across all the Nexus (2K, 5K and 7K), MDS and UCS platforms, with a future roadmap for the Nexus 9K. Fast forward to May 21st 2015, – Cisco announced the support of 40G FCoE across the Nexus 7000 and Nexus 7700 family, along with support for Spine and Leaf architecture.  FCoE is growing, is in great demand and we are investing in it to support customer requirements.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts turned to the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS®), Nexus® Data Center Switches, and innovative technologies such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to save money on power, cooling, cabling, and network infrastructure.

“Our tax payers work hard, and part of our goal to maximize efficiencies included maximizing funding to cut expenses and provide better service to our customers and citizens. Consolidating equipment and maintenance needs means employees can focus less on upkeep and more on developing innovative solutions for issues related to disaster recovery.” James Girardi, Manager of Enterprise Communications, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

FCoE is being rapidly adopted in the storage area networking (SAN) category as well.! Proof is in the customer adoption rate, customer case studies and the awards we received(IT Brand Pulse Award ). Cisco is technology agnostic and we keep on investing and innovating in multi-protocol SAN. We believe Fibre Channel will continue to exist, and it is not about FC or FCoE: it is about providing customer choices for their specific infrastructure needs. Strong support of FCoE across all data center platforms is a long term strategy to provide the right solutions to all customers, whether you are a small medium business, large enterprise or cloud provider.   Cisco provides all types of customers end to end server and storage connectivity, with a brand you can trust.

Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Why I Love Big Data Partner Series 6: Highlights from Cisco Live — Top Insights from Platfora

Our last but not least guest blog on “Why I Love Big Data Partner Series” is up! If you are on your way back home from Cisco Live, this would be a great read for your commute. Rob Rosen from Platfora will take us through how easy it is to uncover previously hidden threats with an integrated big data solution that dynamically analyzes large volumes of disparate security data from Cisco’s security portfolio. If you missed Cisco Live this year, Rob also did a great job summarizing some of the key highlights.


Rob Rosen 2 (1)

Rob RosenSr. Director Partner Solutions at Platfora, is responsible for developing Big Data solutions within Platfora’s partner community including Cisco, Hadoop distribution providers and Platfora’s growing channel partner team. Rob has worked in leadership capacities with technology leaders in the infrastructure and Big Data space including MapR Technologies, NetApp, Check Point Software and Sun Microsystems.


Highlights from Cisco Live: Top Insights from Platfora

It was a jam-packed week at Cisco Live and I had the opportunity to dive into the latest developments around big data analytics and security. It’s well known that as IT infrastructure has transferred to virtual cloud-based applications and storage, organizations need visibility and security to keep their assets and data safe. I saw a lot of impressive presentations and I was able to share our own technology in partnership with Cisco.

Highlights from this week’s conference:

  • John Chambers’ keynote: Everyone’s talking about it—and for good reason. As he welcomed the crowd to Cisco Live, Chambers focused on exactly how businesses get disrupted in the digital age. He urged attendees and organizations to not hesitate to scrutinize their IT infrastructure and adopt the new technologies they’d see at the conference.
  •  Collaboration across companies: There was a huge ecosystem of technology companies that partnered with Cisco for a presence at the event. It’s encouraging to see that these tech giants across all industries are collaborating with one another to develop more comprehensive solutions for customers. Cisco’s leading the pack as it models an inclusive approach built on partnerships—which is better for everyone in the long run.
  • Cisco Intercloud announcement: This is a particularly exciting partnership announcement for Platfora. Cisco’s Intercloud Ecosystem could be described as a hybrid “cloud of clouds.” For anyone looking to pull value from their stored data, manage files or do a huge variety of other vital business tasks, this development is huge.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,