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5 Top Challenges of SAN Design: View from our SAN Design Experts – Part 2

Last week, here, I started my 2 part blog on some of the top SAN design and deployment challenges we see.  As I mentioned, I put this together with help from my SAN expert colleagues, Barbara Ledda and Wolfgang Lang.  We are all part of the Cisco Services professional services team, where we experience first-hand the challenges of adopting new technologies including SAN.

Last week, we discussed the following challenges:

#1 Don’t assume that your server multi-pathing software is installed or working, or even licensed, or installed but never used/tested by your server team!

#2 Tendency to significantly over-estimate utilization on the SAN network. 

Lets’ now discuss our challenges #3 – #5, which will discuss interoperability, expertise and architectural details respectively.  Architectural details as it turns out is a key concern of some of you reading Part 1 of this blog – a few questions came in and you can view the discussion here (and thanks to my colleagues Venkat Kirishnamurthyi and Jing Luo for contributing to this discussion). With this in mind, you may find the Cisco MDS architecture discussion video here also useful.

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5 Top Challenges of SAN Design: View from our SAN Design Experts – Part 1

SAN Engineer

Look after your SAN experts!

One of the aspects I really enjoy about my job is that I get to learn from some of the world’s top network and data center design engineers, and I get to hear about technology adoption challenges across the world. If there is a complex network or data center design being worked by our customers, if our customers are under time pressure, or if our customers are facing key business or technical challenges, Cisco Services’ consultants are often called in to help.  Globally then, they experience first hand the challenges of deploying advanced technologies.  In this blog, in the same spirit as my OpenStack Deployment Challenges blog, I’d like to share their experiences on some of the most common challenges and misconceptions faced by our customers when building Storage Area Networks (SAN).  I’ll publish this in 2 parts – so look out for the concluding part next week.

Before continuing, I’d like to thank two of our SAN expert consultants, Barbara Ledda and Wolfgang Lang, for sharing their experiences and challenges.

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How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?! (Part 1)

In my role in Cisco Services, I’m more interested in the challenges of technology adoption and deployment than I am in speeds and feeds, statistics and technology fads.  I actively seek out case studies where technology goes wrong – admittedly most of these examples turn out to be issues around introducing and managing the technology, rather than the technology itself.  So I have to admit, I was fascinated by a recent  eWeek article (full details below) which discussed the huge proportion – the report uncovers evidence of up to 30%!! – of (physical) servers in enterprise data centers that are typically running doing nothing!!  Yes – up to 30% – even in these days of virtualization!

 

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

Yes, even in your data center, it’s probably a safe bet to say that you have some servers that are not doing that much information processing today!  In this part 1 of my blog, I’ll discuss the costs – obvious and hidden – of the idle server challenge.  And next week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you could and indeed should do about it!

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The Road to Hybrid Cloud: Microsoft Azure Certified with Cisco Cloud Architecture

Today marks another important milestone in our cloud journey together with Microsoft.

Back in March, Cisco and Microsoft announced a jointly engineered solution for service providers designed to dramatically improve the time to market with hybrid cloud services.  The power of the solution is the combination of Windows Azure Pack with Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure.  The result is a set of pre-packaged applications libraries that allow service providers to rapidly deploy services, reducing up-front costs and enabling faster time-to-revenue. In addition, the combined solution features automated provisioning, which enables service providers to set up a new tenant in two hours versus 12 when creating a new customer environment – a huge competitive advantage.

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Your Design Engineers Need Support and ‘Expertise on Tap’ Too!

If you are involved in designing, supporting or managing a data center, you will undoubtedly rely on technical support services from one or more vendors.  Running your data center, there is always the risk of a hardware failure or being impacted by a software defect.  While relatively rare, hardware does occasionally fail unfortunately.  However you undoubtedly have technical support in place to deal with such problems.  You may have invested in a few extra switches as backup, you may also have failover mechanisms in place.  Almost certainly you will have a support contract in place with your Cisco partner or with Cisco, so you have break/fix expertise on tap for when something goes wrong.   This is critical support for your business, no debate from me.

Engineer Under Stress!

Engineer Under Stress!

Now, arguably the most important resource you have in your data center is not so much individual switches, routers or servers.  It’s your engineers, those who design and support your data center.  If they have a problem, where and how do they get help?  Who helps them when they are stretched?  When business pressures are telling?  Of course, their colleagues and managers can and will help.  Where, however, can they tap into additional sources of expertise so that they can become even more productive for you?  This is where Cisco Optimization Services come in – including our award-winning Cisco Network Optimization Service (or “NOS” for short), Collaboration Optimization Service, and the one I’m involved with, Cisco Data Center Optimization Services.

 

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