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Learn about Unified Management in the Data Center and Cloud Booth at Cisco Live London 2013!

January 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm PST

If you haven’t heard about Unified Management, it refers to our portfolio of data center and cloud management software products. Cisco’s data center and cloud management software helps our customers to deliver IT services faster, more efficiently, and with lower total cost of ownership.

This year we’ve made it even easier for you to learn about these software solutions, with several demo stands on the expo floor and more than 17 breakout and theatre presentations.

We invite you to join us at Cisco Live London and learn more…

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Automate Migrating ESX Host Interfaces to Nexus 1000V

January 16, 2013 at 8:45 am PST

“We’ve tried, it can’t be automated!” I’ve heard this more times than I can keep track of and if you read my previous blog you will know that I just do not agree. I have written about automation with Linux utilities, UCS PowerTool, AutoHotKey, Excel, etc… 99.999% of operations can be automated. So when a customer tells me that something cannot be automated I usually respond with “Have you tried …?”

Here is the scenario; the customer has an automated build process for ESX hosts. At the point where the host is ready to be connected to the Nexus 1000V the process becomes manual. The customer would like to use VMWare PowerCLI to migrate the host interface but the Cmdlet to retrieve Distributed Virtual Switches, Get-VirtualSwitch, just returns the DVS objects,  there isn’t a Cmdlet to migrate the ESX vmnic interface.

Hold on a second, I know that VCenter knows about the Nexus 1000V because I see it in the interface. I know that VCenter can manipulate the Nexus 1000V because VCenter is where interface migration is done. I am fairly certain at this point that ESX interface migration from the VCenter vSwitch to the Nexus 1000V can be automated. But what to use to do it, there is no PowerCLI command like Set-ESXHostInterfaceToN1kv. This is typically where automation ends for many, sometimes you have to dive deep into the objects that the system manages and figure out what to do. Sometimes someone has already done a deep dive into something like what you are trying to do and maybe you can build off of their work.
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Journey to “Self-Healing” Enterprise Networks continued…

Last month in my blog Journey to “Self-Healing” Enterprise Networks, we discussed reasons why IT process automation solutions for network domain has not fulfilled its promise. Today we will first reason of the two – “Need for out-of-the-box workflow templates for rapid development of network operation process automation for quick-wins”.

In today’s high performance distributed environment, network is vital to maintaining an efficient business. Efficient, scalable and stable network environment requires time and resources from the organization. Information Technology (IT) environments encompass multiple advanced network technologies that include security and wireless for borderless networks, video systems for unified communications, and storage and virtualization management for flexible deployments.

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Journey to “Self-Healing” Enterprise Networks

Within IT & Network Process Operations community, automation started with the big hype and promise for “self-healing” solutions for systems, network, and process automation.  Remember the promise of “Robotics”!? Wouldn’t it be great to have our servers, systems, and networks solve their own problems? Leading to more stable systems and networks in which system administrators and network administrators would be free to work on higher priority activities and be more productive, improving the quality of Enterprise solutions. Though it is a noble goal, IT and network process automation did not deliver its full promise but instead started us in the journey towards the goal.

There are many reasons why IT process automation solutions for network domain has not fulfilled its promise. Many people have done in-depth analysis, which can be summarized as two big inhibitors for wide-spread adoption of automation in network operations:

  1. Need for out-of-the-box workflow templates for rapid development of network operation process automation for quick-wins
  2. In-depth understanding of complex network implementations with domain knowledge of the Enterprise processes and industry best-practices for support

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Cloud Computing and Cisco UCS

December 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm PST

In my blog last week I introduced a series of conversations in which Mike Spanbauer, Industry analyst at Current Analysis, Cisco Executives, Jim McHugh and Brian Schwarz discussed several topics.  One of the topics they discussed was the adoption of Cloud technologies by Enterprises.

More details on the specific study that Mike alluded to in the video can be found on the Current Analysis website.  Analyst perspectives are always valuable inputs to understand the trends.  At the Gartner ITxpo in Orlando this October, David Cearley, a vice president and Gartner fellow, discussed his vision of the top 10 data center trends of 2012 , and cloud computing was prominent among them. More analyst reports on Cisco Unified Computing System can be downloaded from the Analyst reports page on Cisco.com.

If you are interested in another analyst perspective, tune in to a webcast on December 6, at 9:00 am PST , to hear from James Staten of Forrester Research on their findings and analysis of the Cloud computing frontier.

Recognizing that Cloud computing is an important trend, I wanted to see how Cisco and Cisco UCS in particular facilitate a customer’s Journey to the Cloud.  First, I noticed that InformationWeek recognized Cisco CTO Lew Tucker as a pioneer in Cloud computing.  Second, I found a document by Cisco partner GTSI on the Cloud Maturity model which looks like a roadmap.  The Journey included Consolidation, Virtualization and Automation – three things the Cisco UCS excels at.

  1. Consolidation -- The converged server and network access architecture of the UCS promotes consolidation of resources.  The notion of server pools and network port channels allows furthers consolidation and better utilization of the resources.  The ability to run a large number of virtual machines on the same server as a result of superior performance enables consolidation of workloads on the same physical infrastructure. Read More »

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