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Achieving Data Center Agility in the World of Many Clouds

Here’s an amazing fact I heard the other day: global network traffic has grown 16-fold since 2005 – 16-fold!  Largely due to the booming popularity of on-demand video, and the explosion of mobile computing including smart phones, tablets, and the Internet of Things, this juggernaut is not going to slow down anytime soon.  Yet, no data center leader I know of has received anywhere near 16 times the budget or staffing levels to keep pace.

I meet frequently with IT executives. What they need the most to keep pace often comes down to one thing: agility.  Agility allows them to meet the organization’s needs on demand.  To scale, and to scale fast.  And to create an IT environment designed to quickly adapt to new technology trends, increase efficiency, fuel innovation, unlock intelligence, and minimize risk.

At this year’s Cisco Partner Summit we announced Cisco Global Intercloud, and at Interop Las Vegas we’re adding new Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) possibilities, all to help you as an IT leader become more agile.  As you move away from legacy systems, you need a strategy and a roadmap to transform your data center.  You need to migrate toward a more resilient infrastructure centered on the network, and evolve it along with the needs of your applications.

Cost pressures, technology changes, and game-changers like cloud computing are forcing IT departments to learn how to deliver IT services differently.  With Cisco ACI, we can help you increase the visibility, programmability, and automation of your physical and virtual networks from a centralized point of management, while helping to improve your financial and productivity metrics.

LifeCycleApproach

And, Cisco’s unique unified architecture for the data center redefines the economics of your IT operations, so you can spend more of your resources to deliver value to your business.  With Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), we can dramatically simplify your IT operations to help increase business agility, and reduce CapEx and OpEx.
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Three light beams that emanated from OpenDaylight Summit

February 21, 2014 at 5:30 am PST

Earlier this month, I attended the first ever summit on OpenDaylight (ODL) project in Santa Clara, CA. This near sold out event was largely successful by many standards. It brought together a large number of great minds to the table to solve some of the toughest challenges the networking industry is facing around Software-defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). The group announced a first major step forward with the first open source software release called Hydrogen.  The bulk of the credit goes to 154 contributors from Cisco, IBM, Ericsson, Red Hat, Citrix and others who wrote over a million lines of code in past ten months to make this happen.

The two-day summit was packed with a variety of sessions that were geared towards a diverse set of audience. The sessions varied from general topics to specific topics such as relevance of Open source software, NFV, LISP, standards, discussions on North and South bound APIs, developer tutorials for building applications & tool chain, using OpenStack with ODL, analytics, test automation, and a true story of SDN in production environment.

Of all these topics, here are the three important themes that stood out to me -

    1.      The importance of an Open Source, community initiative for SDN

The concept of Open Source software has been around since decades. It is fast catching up in the non-traditional realms of computer networking. For some, the concept of open source equates to free software. While this is partially true, I strongly believe that open=free is a misnomer. I have started to realize that open source and further, the collaborative initiatives like ODL is far beyond the notion of freeness. In my view, the most important thing that such an initiative does is to gather right minds to bring out bright ideas. The collective wisdom that emanates from such a collaborative initiative helps vendors develop a cohesive set of products that speaks a common language, and perhaps share certain fundamental design constructs to aid interoperability. At the same time, I believe that this collaboration helps to compress the infinite ways vendors can built products to a bounded, agreed upon set of behaviors and interfaces. Customers are real beneficiaries of such an open initiative due to this standardization and better product interoperability. As Vijay Pandey from IBM aptly said in one of his presentations, open source initiatives like ODL “promote innovation and raise the value bar.”

Cisco firmly believes in and supports such open source initiatives. Cisco is a platinum member of ODL project, as well as a Gold member of OpenStack Foundation. You can find more information about OpenStack at Cisco , and a rich set of Cisco Services to help you exploit and adopt OpenStack.

 

    2.      What and how much to Standardize (North and South bound APIs)

In the summit, there were several interesting debates on what to standardize and how much. With regards to how much, I am with Guru Parulkar’s mantra to “standardize as little as possible.”

One of the core capabilities that SDN brings to the table is the notion around exposing interfaces from control plane to the infrastructure layer (South Bound APIs or SBI) and to the application/business layer (North bound APIs or NBI).  We talked about using common approach for design constructs above, and the APIs are central to the constructs. However, if we (are somehow able to) standardize every hook into the system, we are forcing the industry to take a “single” approach to solve the underlying problems. Additionally, I believe that such an approach will not only go against the very notion of openness, but will also hinder innovation and ability to provide unique experiences.

If we talk about SBI, we rightly need some standardized ways to abstract some of the infrastructure complexities. I learnt that ODL will include support for SDN open standards such as OpenFlow, VxLAN, PCEP etc. Similar to SBI, can we standardize the NBI’s as well?

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Cisco InterCloud and Cisco Services: Accelerating Cloud Adoption

Written by Krishnan Subramaniam, Director (Migration Services practice), Cisco Services

According to repeat surveys by IDC, the bad news is that challenges of cloud – security, data privacy, System Integration/migration, and legal issues – have not changed in more than five years.  The good news is that, finally, with Cisco’s cloud evolution announcement, we now have solutions.

Top challenges remain the same, but reported slightly less often

 1

2013 IDC Services Group Survey: U.S. Professional Services Opportunities Related to Cloud Services, Doc #239862, March 2013, N = 421, IDC, 2012 Cloud Professional Services Survey  N = 402, IDC, 2009 Cloud Professional Services Survey  N = 364, Note: in 2009 Survey Legal was not offered as an option.

Cisco’s InterCloud portfolio helps to overcome some of the main technical challenges.

It is important to understand key features of InterCloud to understand how it helps tackle technical concerns. Cisco InterCloud:

  • Provides a network bridge between the enterprise IT and service provider’s cloud over a secure path and creates a private network resembling the corporate network within the cloud provider’s space. In essence, the workload that will be migrated can retain its original IP address.
  • Provides Read More »

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IT’s New Role in Strategic Cloud Services

As cloud-enabled services transform IT departments everywhere, your path to success as an IT professional was made easier today with Cisco’s announcement to expand its cloud portfolio. With Cisco’s comprehensive cloud portfolio offerings, you can easily and securely combine workloads to manage cloud services across different clouds. By increasing your flexibility for strategic sourcing of cloud-enabled IT services, you can increase your influence as a trusted business partner to your stakeholders. And, as you take on these new strategic roles, Cisco and our channel partners can help you and your organization gain control of cloud services.

While defining and deploying a comprehensive cloud architecture presents tremendous opportunity for IT chiefs, this task is not without its challenges. Successful cloud implementation requires a cloud governance model fueled by strategic vision and a holistic approach that addresses all aspects of your data center and IT operations in the new application economy fueled by cloud.

ScottClark

Cisco: Cloud, ACI and the Application Economy

Following on the heels of our launch last fall of Application Centric Infrastructure, our enhanced Cisco Services for cloud portfolio provides strategic assistance to transition to a cloud governance model within your organization based on business outcomes. With our solutions spanning the plan, build, manage, and go-to-market phases of the cloud project lifecycle, Cisco Services has been recognized as an industry leader in cloud services by both IDC and Forrester.

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SDN Adoption Challenges: My Wrap Up For 2013

December 23, 2013 at 11:34 am PST

2013 was the year I started working on SDN -- specifically in the area of devising professional services for Cisco ONE and Application Centric Infrastructure, ACI.  A few months ago, I used a compendium to summarize my Cisco Domain TenSM blogs.  This was well received, so  I thought it would be a good idea to wrap up the year with a summary of my 2013 journey into the SDN world, and in particular the adoption challenges I learned about along the way, some of which are illustrated in the diagram below.

SDN Adoption Challenges

SDN Adoption Challenges

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