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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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New Analytics Solutions Drive Better Business Outcomes

In the Internet of Everything Era (IoE), analytics will occur throughout the network—from the edge, to the core, in the cloud, and everywhere in between. Cisco is uniquely positioned to deliver intelligent networking infrastructure that acts as a flexible data plumbing footprint and control plane, giving our customers the flexibility to send analytics to the data source for IoT use cases that require real-time insights—as well as data to the analytics for use cases that require historical data.

The most powerful analytics solutions apply the combined power of an innovative infrastructure and analytics software solutions that are uniquely designed to optimize one another. Cisco’s analytics-ready infrastructure has been proven to provide a high-performance, flexible, and efficient foundation for leading data management, data integration, and analytics software.

  • Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data is an industry-leading platform widely adopted in the industry that helps organizations deploy and scale Big Data applications faster to drive the revenue side of the business while significantly reducing risk and TCO.
  • Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data is the first and only platform to post certified results for the new TPC Express Benchmark HS (TPCx-HS), which was developed to provide enterprises with a vendor-neutral way to evaluate the performance and price-to-performance of big data implementations. Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data demonstrated outstanding performance and scalability at 1TB, 3TB, and 10TB scale factors.
  • Cisco UCS Mini, ideal for processing analytics at the edge and branch offices, has earned industry recognition for innovation in furthering the development of the data center industry with the InfoTECH Spotlight Data Center Excellence Award for 2014. InfoTech Award
  • And, Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and the Nexus 9000 also took home an InfoTECH excellence award adding additional proof of the strength of Cisco’s analytics-ready infrastructure. As analytics workloads increase in number, the network plays a critical role in ensuring that workloads are completed and insights are delivered on time, securely, and cost-effectively. Cisco ACI lets customers dynamically optimize cluster performance in the network, redeploy resources automatically for new workloads to improve utilization and lower TCO, and ensure isolation of users and data as resource deployments change.

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Making it easy to deploy Cisco’s Intelligent WAN

We continue to see great interest and momentum around our Intelligent WAN solution but there is one thing we are hearing loud and clear from our customers; the need for better tools to configure and manage branch sites and associated WAN connections. For those of you familiar with Cisco’s Intelligent WAN there are four main business outcomes that the solution promises to deliver:

  • Better Application Experience for Users
  • Robust Secure Access for Applications and Users
  • Lower IT Costs
  • IT Simplicity for Increased Agility

Management falls into the IT Simplicity bucket and many times while presenting our Intelligent WAN solution customers are already thinking about how they are going to reconfigure their network into an Intelligent WAN. One of the main concerns is that the more sites you have the larger the task. Quite often there are limited or no IT resources at the branch and the thought of sending someone onsite (truck rolls) to change or reconfigure the branch router can be an expensive proposition. So what can you do to take advantage of the cost savings provided by an Intelligent WAN?

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New Cisco APIC Software allows stretched ACI Fabric across long distances

In the world of Cisco ACI, there is never a shortage of excitement and action. Today, we are pleased to bring to your attention news about the latest Cisco APIC software release. If you wonder what’s hot of the press in APIC SW release 1.0(3f) for Nexus 9000 series ACI mode, there are quite a few.

The Stretched Fabric feature captures the headlines. For quite some time now customers have been asking for an ACI Fabric that can stretch across datacenters and over long distances. The new software allows for each leaf and spine, that participate in creating a fabric, to be located up to 30 KMs apart.  It also removes the restriction for every leaf to be connected to all spines. Let us take a close peek at the stretched fabric feature.

ACI Stretched Fabric Topology

Stretched ACI fabric is a single fabric. It is a partially meshed design that connects ACI leaf and spine switches distributed in multiple locations. Typically, an ACI fabric implementation is a single site where the full mesh design connects each leaf switch to each spine switch in the fabric.  This yields the best throughput and convergence. In multi-site scenarios, full mesh connectivity may be not possible or may be too costly. Multiple sites, buildings, and rooms can span distances that are not serviceable by enough fiber connections, or are too costly to connect each leaf switch to each spine switch across the sites.  Diagram below illustrates the stretched fabric architecture.

Transit Leaf Switch Guidelines

Transit leaf refers to the leaf switches that provide connectivity between two sites. Transit leaf switches connect to spine switches on both sites. There are no special requirements and no additional configurations required for transit leaf switches

Provision Transit and Border Leaf Functions on Separate Switches

The key benefits of stretched fabric include workload portability and VM mobility.The stretched ACI fabric behaves the same way as a regular ACI fabric, supporting full VMM integration. For example, one VMWare vCenter operates across the stretched ACI fabric sites. The ESXi hosts from both sites are managed by the same vCenter and Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS).  They are stretched between the two sites.

The ACI switch and APIC  software recover from various failure scenarios. Check out the failover scenario analysis for details.

Additional resources

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/switches/datacenter/aci/apic/sw/1-x/release/notes/aci_nxos_rn_1103.html

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/switches/datacenter/aci/apic/sw/kb/b_kb-aci-stretched-fabric.html

https://www2.wwt.com/video-aci-active-active-demo/

www.cisco.com/go/aci

 

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The Executive Value of Cisco’s Data Center Day

Cisco IT is excited to be hosting its third Data Center Day in Allen, Texas this year on April 14th. Last September, Data Center Day was attended by 144 customers from 75 companies. With registration now open this event is expected to fill up fast!  Read More »

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