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The Cisco Live! Green Plan

Cisco Live! 2014 will take place in San Francisco from May 19 to 22. Cisco is no stranger when it comes to finding new and innovative ways to support green initiatives such as energy conservation, sustainability and the smarter use of fiscal and natural resources. In fact, it’s been a part of how we have been doing business for years.

In recent years, organizations such as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Greenpeace have ranked Cisco on top amongst other major IT companies.

Cisco Greenpeace
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Summary – Network Design for Automation

There has been a lot of recent online discussion about automation of the datacenter network, how we all may (or may not) need to learn programming, the value of a CCIE, and similar topics. This blog tries to look beyond all that. Assume network configuration has been automated. How does that affect network design?

Read my full article to find out more..

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Network Design for Automation

20140519-CISCO-spine-and-leafThere has been a lot of recent online discussion about automation of the datacenter network, how we all may (or may not) need to learn programming, the value of a CCIE, and similar topics. This blog tries to look beyond all that. Assume network configuration has been automated. How does that affect network design?

Automation can greatly change the network landscape, or it may change little. It depends on what you’re presently doing for design. Why? The reason is that the programmers probably assumed you’ve built your network in a certain way. As an example, Cisco DFA (Dynamic Fabric Automation) and ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) are based on a Spine-Leaf CLOS tree topology.

Yes, some OpenFlow vendors have claimed to support arbitrary topologies. Arbitrary topologies are just not a great idea. Supporting them makes the programmers work harder to anticipate all the arbitrary things you might do. I want the programmers to focus on key functionality. Building the network in a well-defined way is a price I’m quite willing to pay. Yes, some backwards or migration compatibility is also desirable.

The programmers probably assumed you bought the right equipment and put it together in some rational way. The automated tool will have to tell you how to cable it up, or it  might check your compliance with the recommended design. Plan on this when you look to automation for sites, a datacenter, or a WAN network.

The good news here is the the Cisco automated tools are likely to align with Cisco Validated Designs. The CVD’s provide a great starting point for any network design, and they have recently been displaying some great graphics. They’re a useful resource if you don’t want to re-invent the wheel — especially a square wheel. While I disagree with a few aspects of some of them, over the years most of them have been great guidelines.

The more problematic part of this is that right now, many of us are (still!) operating in the era of hand-crafted networks. What does the machine era and the assembly line bring with it? We will have to give up one-off designs and some degree of customization. The focus will shift to repeated design elements and components. Namely, the type of design the automated tool can work with.

Some network designers are already operating in such a fashion. Their networks may not be automated, but they follow repeatable standards. Like an early factory working with inter-changeable parts. Such sites have likely created a small number of design templates and then used them repeatedly. Examples: “small remote office”, “medium remote office”, “MPLS-only office”, or “MPLS with DMVPN backup office”.

However you carve things up, there should only be a few standard models, including “datacenter” and perhaps “HQ” or “campus”. If you know the number of users (or size range) in each such site, you can then pre-size WAN links, approximate number of APs, licenses, whatever. You can also pre-plan your addressing, with, say, a large block of  /25’s for very small offices, /23’s for medium, etc.

On the equipment side, a small office might have one router with both MPLS and DMVPN links, one core switch, and some small number of access switches. A larger office might have one router each for MPLS and one for DMPVN, two core switches, and more access switches. Add APs, WAAS, and other finishing touches as appropriate. Degree of criticality is another dimension you can add to the mix: critical sites would have more redundancy, or be more self-contained. Whatever you do, standardize the equipment models as much as possible, updating every year or two (to keep the spares inventory simple).

It takes some time to think through and document such internal standards. But probably not as much as you think! And then you win when you go to deploy, because everything becomes repeatable.

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Cisco IOx in Cisco Live 2014: Showcasing “fog computing” at work

HAK51833_rDevelopers, IT managers, CIOs, Networking gurus, operational technologists in the manufacturing, transportation, energy and other industries have been bombarded lately with many concepts, news and visions about M2M, #IoT, #IoE, Digital Enterprise and more.

Well, Cisco is doing more than just talking. During Cisco Live in San Francisco (#CLUS): we are showcasing, presenting and enabling developers, ISVs, customers and solution providers to have hands-on experience with IOx and start “creating” solutions using fog technologies. Read More »

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What CXOs Need to Know About the Cloud

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is changing the business and IT landscape, fueling unprecedented growth and disruption. As such, just thinking about cloud deployment is not enough. Organizational leaders need a cloud strategy to help future-proof their business and better meet objectives.

In fact, according to Gartner, organizations that continually monitor cloud computing trends and subsequently update the enterprise’s cloud strategy, will likely avoid costly mistakes and garner the most value from market opportunities over the next few years.

Cloudy Future SlideShow by Gartner

 As CXOs adopt cloud strategies, what key trends should they keep in mind?

Here’s a short list for consideration:

Trend #1: Prepare for Growing Cloud Workloads

Today’s world isn’t just a world of many clouds, but also a world of growing cloud workloads.

According to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index:

Annual global cloud IP traffic will reach 5.3 zettabytes by the end of 2017. By 2017, global cloud IP traffic will reach 443 exabytes per month (up from 98 exabytes per month in 2012).

Global cloud IP traffic will increase nearly 4.5-fold over the next 5 years. Overall, cloud IP traffic will grow at a CAGR of 35 percent from 2012 to 2017.

Global cloud IP traffic will account for more than two-thirds of total data center traffic by 2017.

In this video, find out how these growing cloud workloads are driving IT to become a broker of cloud technologies.

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