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ACI Programmability Enables Cloud Tenant BC/DR Across Dual Data Centers

Ask any storage administrator trying to deploy Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) solutions between two data centers if it is simple  to get the networking set up for mission critical applications in a BC/DR scenario.  I am willing to wager you’ll hear the same tales I’ve often heard, that the storage team and the network team have a difficult time setting up the necessary network configurations for the storage replication application’s service level requirements between sites.  Equally important, there is also a complicated challenge with providing a duplicate infrastructure at the secondary site so that the application will be able to come up to restore the application to service  quickly (often referred to as the Recovery Time Objective, RTO).

Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure enables a novel solution to this problem which one of our ACI partners, World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT), recently deployed. It illustrates the power of the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller’s (APIC) and the ACI fabric’s open programmability. To appreciate this, let’s take a closer look at the problem.

There are cloud-based solutions to synchronize virtual machines between data center sites and storage solutions to synchronize databases and replicate files systems between sites. IT operations teams deploying BC/DR solutions fully understand the need replicate the application networks between the sites that are supporting the application as well.

Imagine you have a primary cloud data center with a vital multi-tier application which needs to keep running 99.9% of the time. Also assume that your primary site is dynamically adjusting compute, network and storage resources frequently in response to varying demand. At the secondary data center, your network operations teams have to maintain matching layer 2 and layer 3 network connectivity and L4-L7 network services for the application with the changes made at the primary data center. Replicating policy automatically at the network layer between data center sites is something new that a policy-driven data center makes possible.ACI BCDR

ACI BCDRSince the APIC exposes a REST interface that allows customers to add functionality on their own, WWT wrote a custom APIC solution to replicate the network policy for a tenant or an application between two data center sites to solve this common problem.   Read Ravi Balakrishnan’s blog on today’s Cisco Data Center blog for more insight into how they did this.

In this age of cloud, big data, social and mobile applications, enterprises find an ever growing majority of their revenues are dependent on the non-stop operation of their applications, data, and networks in their data centers.  As this solution from WWT shows, ACI programmability has enabled an innovative multi-vendor solution to the problem of replicating the application – its virtual machines, virtual disks, and supporting application network between data center sites.

Links

Cisco Data Center Blog: Federated ACI Fabrics for Dual Data Center Deployments – A Disaster Recovery ACI use-case

ACI Disaster Recovery Demonstration

 

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Announcing the new Data Center and Cloud Community!

It’s finally here- the new Data Center and Cloud community framework has launched! We created new content spaces for Compute and Storage, Software Defined Networks, Data Center and Networking, and OpenStack and OpenSource Software.

communitydatacentercloud

Cisco Data Center and Cloud Community Infrastructure

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Ready, Set…Cloud! Vblock, VxBlock and Cisco ACI usher in operational simplicity and software defined innovation for the cloud era

Complexity is easy. Simplicity is hard. Solving operational complexity has been one of the hardest challenges in data center and cloud build-outs. For customers, the challenge of interfacing with different infrastructure vendors and driving integration has been a significant hurdle in the past, slowing application rollouts. The success of the integrated Infrastructure approach has largely been due to focused efforts on behalf of multiple vendors to come together to solve this challenge, resulting in a new hyper-growth market category being created. According to IDC’s Q3CY2014 integrated infrastructure tracker, the integrated infrastructure market has grown to ~$5.5B annually and most analysts have this market growing at 30+ percent YoY.

A shining example of solving this huge challenge has been VCE’s Vblock offerings that have been on a stellar growth path. Nothing speaks better of this than customer success and market traction it enjoys –

  • VCE surpassed a $2 billion annualized demand run-rate for Vblock and Vblock-related products and services exiting Q3 2014.
  • Its sixth consecutive quarter of greater than 50% year-over-year demand growth.
  • Clear leader in integrated infrastructure systems according to Gartner and IDC
  • A leader in the Gartner, Inc. Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems, based on an evaluation of VCE’s completeness of vision and ability to execute.

With its UCS Integrated Infrastructure solution approach Cisco has been literally in the midst of all of this action. Cisco UCS, Nexus and MDS switches have been key components of the integrated offering along with innovations from the other companies.  Customers have loved the operational benefits as they scale their cloud build outs. Last October next-generation “ACI-ready” Vblocks were introduced allowing customers to further accelerate their journey to SDN and cloud.

And now it is time to raise the bar even further. As VCE introduces VxBlocks in addition to the flagship Vblock offering, as well as vScale architectures and VCE Vision 3.0, Cisco and VCE are together committed to build on the past success as we align our sights to the future –

  • VCE and Cisco are committed to drive open, future proof converged infrastructure solutions through the GA shipments of ACI-Ready Nexus 9K enabled Vblocks and Cisco UCS. We already have 100+ joint customers in production.
  • VxBlocks will be featuring Nexus 9K as their default networking platform to support all their different flavors of SDN within their integrated infrastructure, even as Cisco UCS will continue to be their default compute platform. As of Cisco’s last fiscal quarter, there were over 1700+ Nexus 9000 and Cisco ACI customers, making the Nexus 9000 one of the highest growth products within the company even as new Cisco APIC customers shot up to over 300+ within two quarters. Cisco UCS has been on a tear in terms of market share worldwide and has continued to set world record benchmarks.
  • The Vscale Fabric is ACI enabled and includes the Nexus 9000s as the networking component of the fabric.  This  allows customers to choose ACI and get the added benefits of such.  If a customer chooses to deploy ACI in the fabric then the APIC would be a deployed as an add-on.   The Vscale architecture also uses MDS as the SAN fabric enhancing the convergence capabilities.

 What Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Brings to Vblocks and VxBlocks:

Cisco ACI is all about operational flexibility and choice. For example, customers can enjoy the  benefits of the Nexus 9396 in a standalone mode, or deploy it as an ACI leaf configuration. This is called “ACI-ready”. They can also be “ACI-enabled”, which means the Nexus 9396s are ACI leafs connected to spines and APIC clusters all part (provisioned and supported) of a Vblock or VxBlock.

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#CiscoChampion Radio S2|Ep 8. ACI with @Malhoit

CiscoChampion2015200PX#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’ll be talking about ACI with Cisco Technology Evangelist Lauren Malhoit and Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer Carly Stoughton.

Listen to the Podcast.

Learn about the Cisco Champions Program HERE.
See a list of all #CiscoChampion Radio podcasts HERE.

Cisco SMEs
Lauren Malhoit, @malhoit, Cisco Technology Evangelist
Carly Stoughton, _vCarly, Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer

Cisco Champion Guest Hosts
Michael Aossey, @aossey, Solutions Architect
Chris Nickl, @ck_nic, Cloud Infrastructure Architect Read More »

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Flipping the 70-30 IT OPEX Model On Its Head

In today’s always on and connected, Internet of Things environments, IT is taking center stage to optimize business operations.

Many IT organizations allocate 70% or more of their budgets to simply keeping their operations up and running. It’s been like this for a long time, and there are many good arguments for this approach. After all, when IT stops working, business grinds to a halt.  The penalty for failing to keeping things moving is often swift and unpleasant.

ScottClarkDCBlogMarch2015quoteAt the same time, most CIOs will admit that they are increasingly being pulled in several directions at once.  In addition to keeping the uptime ball in the air, as a CIO you must juggle an accelerating onslaught of new demands.  Like the push towards video, mobile, data analytics, and cloud.  Plus the exponential increase in Internet traffic that means your networks never seem to be fast enough.  And no IT executive wants to see their organization on the evening news in connection with the latest data security breach.

As a CIO, you should be asking your IT vendors how they can help reverse the 70-30 ratio in your shop without downgrading its performance.  How do you transition to spending less on day-to-day operations?  And, what’s the best way to direct a bigger share of IT resources toward addressing the expanding needs of the internal lines of business with more innovative solutions? Read More »

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