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Cloud Computing and Cisco UCS

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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Help! I Need to Respond to All These Cisco IOS Software Vulnerabilities and I Cannot Scale!!!

No software is immune to security vulnerabilities. The time between the discovery and disclosure of security vulnerabilities and the availability of an exploit is getting shorter. This imposes pressures on network security professionals and information technology (IT) managers to quickly respond to security vulnerabilities or apply mitigation in their network. Many organizations are struggling to keep up-to-date with the constant release of new vulnerabilities and software fixes. At the same time, they are under pressure to provide near 100% availability of key business services and systems.

Note: Cisco has a very robust vulnerability management process. This process is described in detail at Cisco’s Security Vulnerability Policy. The Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) manages the receipt, investigation, and public reporting of security vulnerability information that is related to Cisco products and networks.

As an example, every time Cisco discloses a security vulnerability for Cisco IOS Software (or any given product), network security administrators have to identify affected devices and (in numerous cases) upgrade such devices. These activities can take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the size of the organization. For instance large enterprises and organizations may have thousands of routers and switches that need to be assessed for the impact of any given vulnerability.

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If you can do it in UCS Manager GUI, you can do it in UCS Manager API!

If I have said it once, I have said it at least a thousand times. No figure of speech here, completely one hundred percent literal. What have I said? “If you can do it in UCS Manager GUI, you can do it in UCS Manager API!” Whatever “it” is.

When do I say this? Whenever I talk about the UCS Manager to customers or coworkers, there is almost always the question, “Can this be done via the API?” To which I always reply “If you can do it in the GUI you can do it in the API.” Not sure if that is grammatically correct, but my point is made. That is the power and the ease of the UCS XML API.

The UCS Manager graphical interface is built on the XML API. When developing a script and you’re not sure how to do the action, what the call is, what the correct parameters are, etc… Just look at how the UCS Manager does it and you’re good. How do you look at how UCS Manager does it? Use Wireshark or some other packet capture tool and see what’s going on, what is getting passed from the UCS Manager client to UCS Manager. Done, no secrets, no convolution, no obfuscation.

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UCS PowerTool One Liners

This will probably be my shortest blog ever! Perhaps it is really a bloglet, whatever the case here’s what I’m doing. A question was posted in the Technical Discussions forum of the UCS section of the Cisco Developer Network

I have an environment consisiting of 20+ chassis … I’d like to be able to get the number of open blade slots on each of these.

I’m sure there has to be a command i can put together for this.

Any ideas?

Here’s my response:

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The Missing Manual: CVRF 1.1 Part 2 of 2

This post is a continuation of The Missing Manual: CVRF 1.1 Part 1 of 2.

Praxis: Converting an existing document to CVRF

Now it’s time for some XML! Let’s take what you’ve learned and manually convert the Cisco RVS4000 and WRVS4400N Web Management Interface Vulnerabilities security advisory into a CVRF document. Please note that this process is meant to be instructive and somewhat of a stream-of-consciousness-narrative of how to manually build your first CVRF document. It is expected that, by and large, this process would itself be automated and CVRF document producers would have in-house code to parse their own documents and emit CVRF.
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