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Your Guide to Cisco at Microsoft TechEd 2014

Platinum Sponsor BannerCisco and Microsoft have been working closely to integrate our data center solutions to provide agile, secure and scalable platforms for private cloud, hybrid IT and modern business applications. The Cisco team is looking forward to showcasing these solutions at Microsoft TechEd 2014, May 12-15,  in Houston, Texas.

We have a full line-up of demos, sessions and events that will highlight the unique benefits of the Cisco Unified Data Center for Microsoft environments and applications. If you’ll be in Houston for TechEd, drop by the Cisco booth to speak with Cisco experts and learn how you can take advantage of deep integrations between the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and Microsoft Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center, to deliver Microsoft applications in private or hybrid cloud environments.

Connect with Cisco in Booth 701

Learn about Cisco Data Center products and talk to Cisco solution experts in booth 701. We’ll be conducting live solution demonstrations on:

  • 3-D UCS demos featuring FlexPod and VSPEX for Microsoft Private Cloud and Applications
  • UCS Management with Microsoft System Center
  • Network Visualization with Nexus for Hyper-V
  • Cisco InterCloud Fabric
  • UCS Invicta Series Solid State Systems
  • Application Centric Infrastructure

You’ll come for the demos but you won’t leave empty handed. We’ll have exceptionally cool Cisco hats for visitors to our booth.

Cisco Showcase Sessions

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XMPP: A Power Tool in Your Tool Box

Extensive Message Protocol (XMPP) is an open standard protocol based on XML (Extensible Markup Language). XMPP is designed to transport instant messages (IM) between entities and to detect online presence. It supports authentication of IM application and secure transport of messages over SSL/TLS. In XMPP entities can be bots, physical users, servers, devices or components. It’s really a powerful tool that has great potential for system administrators to add to their toolbox because:

  • XMPP is powerful
  • XMPP with Python is only 12 lines of code – trust me, it’s easy!
  • XMPP only requires a single query for multiple nodes
  • Status message can be used to track host presence

The Power of XMPP

For those of you that are not familiar with XMPP, it not only supports one-to-one messaging between entities but it also supports multi-party messaging (which enables an entity to join a chat room for the exchange of messages with several participants). The messages can be text messages embedded in XML format but XML can also be used to send control messages between entities as we will see with the presence stanza in a bit.

XMPP is widely used; Google uses it (for its Hangout application – formerly google chat) and so does Yahoo and MSN. At Cisco, we use Cisco Jabber extensively to communicate internally. The XMPP client function is now integrated in the Cisco Nexus 5000 series with the release 5.2(1)N1(7) and the Nexus 6000 series with the release of 7.0(0)N1(1). XMPP is an integral part of the single console access for Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) which is a powerful framework described in my previous blog.

The new Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) 7.0(1) is delivered as an OVA file that can be deployed quickly on an existing VMware-enabled server. Although DCNM comes with a lot of features that simplify the deployment of the Data Center fabric, we can pick and choose any service we want to use independently – which is great since DCNM comes with Cisco Jabber XCP and is license free. If you already have a XMPP service installed (like Openfire or ejabberd), it will not be a problem because everything discussed here is valid on any standard XMPP implementation.

On NX-OS devices, the XMPP feature is activated by configuring ‘feature fabric access’ and is part of the Enhanced L2 license (ENHANCED_LAYER2_PKG). Once activated, the switch becomes a XMPP client that needs to be registered on the server. In order to register it, XMPP requires the use of fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) to identify the domain server. If the switch does not have access to a DNS service, I recommend that you use the switch management network for messaging and a static host–to–IP address mapping in the switch configuration.

The switch will use its hostname to login to the XMPP service. If your XMPP server does not support auto-registration, you will need to register the switch and the rooms in the XMPP database beforehand. The DCNM OVA requires users and groups to be created via the CLI, and example of this user and group creation is:

[root@dcnm-ova ~]# appmgr add_user xmpp -u leaf0 -p cisco123
User added.
[root@dcnm-ova ~]# appmgr add_user xmpp -u leaf1 -p cisco123
User added.

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Meet the latest additions to the Nexus 7700 and F3 Module Series.

Last July, Cisco announced the new Nexus 7700 switches (Nexus 7710 and 7718) as part of the Nexus 7000 Series, offering higher 40G and 100G densities and also delivering front to back airflow in a smaller form factor. Along with the new 7700 chassis, we announced the next generation F-Series modules, the F3 40G and 100G modules. From a feature perspective, the F3 modules combine the feature set of the F2 and M2 modules into a single module, making module selection, switching configuration and spare stocking much simpler.

In late January at Cisco Live Milan, we added to that announcement with the introduction of the Nexus 7706 and a 10G F3 module for the Nexus 7700’s.

The Nexus 7706 offers the performance and features of its bigger brothers the 10 and 18 slot chassis, but in a smaller form factor. The 10 and 18 slot chassis work great for large deployments where densities drive the chassis selection, however, talking with customers who have small/medium sized data centers, it was clear that they want the rich feature set of the Nexus 7700, but didn’t need 768 10G ports or 384 40G port densities in a single switch. Sure it gives them room to grow, but it also takes up real estate in their small data centers.

The small form factor Nexus 7706 with 4 module slots provides the ideal capacity for small/medium deployments. With up to 192 10G ports, 96 40G ports or 48 100G ports, the Nexus 7706 delivers more than enough switching capacity for today’s small data centers with ample growth capacity for future growth. We are also seeing customers leverage the Nexus 7706 for Data Center Interconnect (DCI) deployments, where high densities aren’t generally  required. Because of its versatility, we’ve seen significant customer demand for the 7706 since it’s introduction…actually higher than we originally expected.

7706 slide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Speak With Our Experts

Delivering unified management for converged infrastructure solutions, Cisco UCS Director is an award-winning choice for managing your vBlock, FlexPod or other converged infrastructure solution.  In previous blogs, I have mentioned the benefits of Cisco UCS Director:

  • How it abstracts the virtualization, compute, network and storage layers into a single pane of glass that reduces the complexity of managing your data center infrastructure
  • Speaking fluently to Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus and EMC or NetApp storage, how your organization receives the full functionality and benefits of the compute, network and storage layers.  As a stocking stuff, the hypervisor layer is included as well.  
  • Lastly, comprehensive management across physical, virtual and bare metal environments from a single pane of glass

Have you ever wondered if there was a way to see Cisco UCS Director in action — live with no strings attached?   

Well Virgina, there is a way for you to do just that.   I am not talking a canned demo or pre-recorded session available for replay.  A real, honest live demo —  and you can speak with our technical experts.     

Numerous sessions are scheduled over the next few months but the next two showings are:  December 17, 2013 and January 14, 2014.  We have two sessions each day to accommodate different time zones — choose the one that best meets your schedule. 

As work begins to slow down in preparation for the holidays, now is the perfect time to take an hour out of your day and learn more about Cisco UCS Director’s centralized automation and management capabilities. It will be an hour well spent.

To reserve your seat, register at:  http://bit.ly/I8Vhr3.    You can also learn more about Cisco UCS Director by going to:   http://buildprice.cisco.com/software/ucs-director

 

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Cisco and VCE: Infrastructure Will Always Matter

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Trey Leyton, VP & CTO for VCE, to discuss VCE’s momentum and how they use Cisco technologies to deliver a truly converged infrastructure and an incredible customer experience.

Last year, VCE achieved a $1 billion per year run rate with the VblockTM Systems portfolio. Customers have returned to purchase additional systems. Seventy percent of Vblock customers buy a 2nd and 3rd Vblock system. Why? VCE delivers a great customer experience. Vblock is a truly converged infrastructure, it is pre-integrated, factory built and tested, delivered as a single product with one phone number to call for support. A converged infrastructure such as Vblock requires a holistic management solution. Cisco UCS Director enables the automation and orchestration of converged infrastructures from a single-view portal improving IT efficiency.  These efficiency gains allow IT to spend much less time managing infrastructure.

Ninety nine percent of the time a Vblock system is operational within 48 hours of being delivered. A solution that is usable this quickly meets the requirements of both technical and business IT teams. The factory-integration and validation accelerates deployment, enabling IT technical staff to focus on driving innovation rather than installing infrastructure.  IT executives like that the infrastructure is operational faster to help drive the business forward.

Vblock Systems eliminate many of the challenges that consume today’s data center resources including planning, setting up and deploying infrastructure, and keeping infrastructure up to date. Basically, Vblock Systems can simplify every aspect of IT operations while boosting productivity and lowering costs.

Infrastructure will always matter if your goal is to deliver an elastic, automated cloud computing environment. The success and momentum of VCE with the Vblock Systems portfolio is proof that a truly converged infrastructure using  best-in-class technologies from Cisco (Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus Switches) and  EMC (EMC VNXe, VNX and Symmetrix VMAX) can help customers can get projects done faster, with better performance, higher availability and low total cost of ownership.

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