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ACE Network: Experience the Newly Improved Cisco Jabber Universal Client

One client for all communications: That’s the idea behind the new Cisco Jabber and I’m seeing that benefit in my use of this universal communication client. I start the client when I begin my work and use it throughout the day for voice and video calls, to send instant messages to others on my team, and to join WebEx sessions or Cisco TelePresence meetings. In addition to these features, the client also supports Desktop Sharing and Presence, which lets me know the availability status of my teammates at all times.

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ACE Network: Cisco IT Supports a Network for Introducing New Services

IT departments are often caught between the requests of users who want the latest and greatest technology right now­—even if it’s not perfect—and users who value reliable and consistent IT services above all else.

How can you serve both types of users without wasting time, energy, budget, and everyone’s patience? In Cisco IT, we’ve done it by creating the Advanced Cisco Experience (ACE) network. Operating ACE separately from our production network, we use it to introduce new IT services and products to a group of technology specialists before we deploy those services company-wide. These services include new releases of Cisco unified communications, collaboration, video, and mobility technology products that our employees use to work the way they want, across different devices and locations, which drives gains in user productivity. Read More »

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vPath: The Secret Sauce to Enabling Virtual Network Services

Wow, there’s been a lot of news in the SDN and virtual networking space in the last week or so! VMware acquiring Nicira, and Oracle acquiring Xsigo are testimony to how important virtual overlay networks and virtual switching infrastructure has become for data center vendors, and how integral they are to each company’s strategy. Speaking of our own Nexus 1000V-based virtual networks, last week I provided an overview and some new resources on Virtual Extensible LANs (VXLAN) for Nexus 1000V virtual switches. That turned out to be quite a popular post, so I’m following up this week on another fundamental component of Nexus 1000V-based virtual networks, vPath, the secret sauce that allows us to deploy virtual network services in the data center.

What is vPath? Well, if VXLANs can set up secure tunnels over a shared, multi-tenant virtual network, vPath is a feature of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch that can redirect traffic to virtual application services before the switch sends the packets down into the virtual machine. Very important stuff, but how does it do that? I find that my blog posts are more popular the less I type, and the more I embed cool TechWiseTV videos that illustrate the concept, so I’m dusting off this classic from the TWTV team on just how vPath does that with our Virtual Security Gateway (VSG). Take it away Robb

But wait, there’s more… Read More »

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New Forrester Report Offers Insights to Deploying Virtual Network Services

An interesting new report has been issued by Forrester Research that provides a great deal of market research and insight into the challenges of the data center network supporting large-scale virtualization. The report provides a representative view about the types of obstacles organizations are facing and where they are making new investments, along with some recommended best practices. As usual, the application services infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges, i.e., how to replicate the layer 4-7 and security services that mission-critical applications require in a highly virtualized or hybrid cloud environment. While servers and networks have largely been virtualized, relying on physical firewalls or application controllers can undermine or limit the beneficial effects of virtualization.

Forrester starts by pointing out what benefits customers are looking for and where they see the greatest growth in virtualization going forward. Over the next four years, Forrester sees 500% growth in total virtual x86 workloads that will be hosted in private cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), where virtual servers are isolated between tenants, compared to 170% growth in private cloud pools in organizations’ own data centers. Forrester points out that overlooking virtual services can “negate private and public cloud investments”, however. 33% of their respondents indicated that they have difficulty integrating public services with internal virtual infrastructures, with 24% specifically citing “frustration with capability, agility and flexibility of traditional application delivery controllers (ADC)”. (see next table).

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Best Practices for Application Delivery in Virtualized Networks – Part II

As we start off this New Year, how about including a resolution to improve application delivery? In Best Practices for Application Delivery in Virtualized Networks – Part I , we covered key application delivery challenges that have come up due to the complexities of managing the many types of applications that enterprises use today, and further complicated by data center consolidation and virtualization. We then covered some best practices, courtesy of Dr. Jim Metzler’s 2011 Application Service Delivery Handbook, which recommended taking a lifecycle approach to planning and managing application performance.

A key step to the lifecycle approach is to implement network and application optimization tools, such as WAN Optimization solutions and Application Delivery Controllers, including server load balancers. Of course, these solutions are not new to the market and already address many of the needs that exist with delivering enterprise applications in virtualized data centers – namely, the need to ensure network reliability, availability and security for users accessing these applications. In this post, we will discuss a recent study by IDC, where IT decision makers across Europe and the US spoke out about their strategies for using server load balancers to deal with emerging challenges.

.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What important attributes do you look for in your server load balancers?

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