Witnessing the advent and momentum of Open Source into the broader enterprise, and “the mainstream” Data Center, has been incredible. Many will look back and recall a time when Open Source was met first with a look of confusion, and following not too far behind, a reaction of fear. With that, consider how far we’ve evolved.
Taking a snapshot over the past few months, I reflect on some of the highlights from a Data Center and Cisco UCS perspective.
The Open Source Business Conference held not too long ago, centered the conversation around previously uncommon mates. “Open Source” and “Business” used in the same sentence once stirred some emotion, though not today. The notion now fuels curiosity and enablement, and both were alive and well in San Francisco with OSBC. Leaders in the space, spanning established household Data Center vendors were well represented in breakout sessions and thought provoking topics on the show floor, alongside the “up and coming” vendors in Open Source. Linux granddaddies Red Hat and SUSE also offered the Enterprise Linux perspective, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst taking the stage on the conference’s opening morning. Whitehurst acknowledged the event’s commendable 10th anniversary, and touted the innovation and collaborative successes of Open Source, while reflecting on Red Hat’s significance and market leadership. SUSE kept the Enterprise Linux subject current, presenting SUSE’s role in Big Data workloads, where attendees may have pondered “What would Big Data look like, and be today, without the success and progress of the Open Source movement?”
An “open cloud” panel featuring several notable figures in Open Source leadership for cloud infrastructure, including Marten Mickos of Eucalyptus Systems and Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud, shared insight on how today’s generation of Open Source leaders are shaping the future of cloud software stacks, infrastructure, and API (read: interoperability). This proved to be a fascinating discussion on project governance, expectations of Open Source, and how customers leverage Open Source to deliver the applications of tomorrow.
Open Source @Cisco
Cisco Open Source Days provide an opportunity to share, learn and grow. Cisco engineers and product teams descend on the San Jose campus packed with an agenda to share knowledge and best practices, new developments in the community, exchange ideas and share successes, and inspire new ways of delivering software and products. This year featured a cornucopia of topics that would make any card-carrying Open Source geek blush. Typically there are multiple tracks and this year included Big Data and Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Everything and a few select topics in the Networking and Data Center interest areas. Cisco teams have an incredible opportunity to learn and collaborate, which ultimately benefit the Open Source community and our customers. Attendees enjoyed thought provoking and engaging presentations, including appearances by Chris Wright from Red Hat, and Troy Toman from Rackspace within the Cloud track, as well, our very own OpenStack leaders within Cisco. Overall there were great takeaways on collaboration and innovation, project participation and furthering common goals through upstream contribution, and solving market problems through emphasis on differentiation rather than upstream code nomination. Another memorable moment, I personally enjoyed Chris Wright’s comical reference to the IFC television comedy, “Portlandia”, referring to the popularity of API’s with “Put an API on it”.
Open Source in the Cisco UCS powered Data Center
One of the most exciting aspects in my role revolves around connecting Open Source innovations with Cisco’s UCS x86 based platforms. Software and API enable many integration use cases most people are not used to expect from server and infrastructure platforms. “Software Defined” is used quite liberally these days, with ” Software Defined __Fill_In_The_Blank__ ” found where it probably shouldn’t be. I digress, Open Source is at the core of these “Software Defined” possibilities, enabling vendor agnostic API structures and interfaces as an alternative to traditionally proprietary closed-configuration products.
The conversation with customers today is less “Oh, Cisco makes servers?” and more about, “Help me learn more about your software integration capability in my Data Center infrastructure.” Once customers deploy UCS, they quickly realize the efficiencies and power derived by the Cisco UCS Service Profile, and the level of control and manageability not available with other solutions. For Data Center management requiring a view into their systems’ availability, the UCS XML API provides that ability, where the customer’s software may retrieve, configure and automate infrastructure that previously required manual intervention. We truly feel this enables a unique “Software Defined Infrastructure” way of managing applications, availability and user workloads through software, previously not seen without custom hardware and software integration.
It’s an exciting time for Open Source, and for computing platforms like Cisco UCS which provide an open and extensible ability to deliver on business demands of tomorrow. Exciting times are definitely ahead as customers increasingly adopt Open Source, its flexibility, advances, and innovations, into the broader enterprise and mainstream computing spaces.
How far have we come? Further reading: “From subversive to mainstream: Looking back on 18 years with Linux“
Tags: Cisco UCS, data center, datacenter, Enterprise, Linux, OpenStack, XML API
There are a number of trends that are impacting data centers today, many of which will have a profound impact on how businesses consume data center resources. These can provide a variety of challenges. Perhaps most obvious, is the fact that people and businesses are more connected than ever with the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets. These new devices are driving more applications, more users, and an insatiable appetite for network bandwidth. This blog will discuss a few of these trends and how Cisco is shaping its data center strategy to enable customers to meet these rapidly changing demands.
Another major data center trend that is driving change in the data center is the continued adoption of virtualization technologies. What’s interesting is that although server spending has remained relatively flat for over a decade, there is still a great deal of “head room” for companies to further adopt virtualization.
In fact, IDC studies show that many applications are yet to be virtualized as the chart to the right indicates. However, virtualization is driving complexity elsewhere including the network, software and storage. So what has created a more agile server, has not necessarily created a more agile system.
The next major trend is that of Cloud Computing, with more business leveraging private, public or potentially even hybrid cloud models. Some actually forecast that there could eventually be a small number of mega data centers and companies will all leverage capacity exclusively from these since they can offer extreme efficiencies. The truth is, there are two ends of the spectrum, some customers will prefer to host their own infrastructure and others may choose to use Cloud providers exclusively. We are finding today that many customers are somewhere in the middle and choose their model based on the application needs.
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Tags: blade server, Blade Servers, Cisco UCS, Cisco Unified Computing System, Cisco Unified Data Center, Cisco Unified Fabric, Cisco Unified Management, rack server
Maybe you’re like me, looking for any excuse to hop on a plane to Boston! In this case, I happen to have a good one, Red Hat Summit, which kicks off on June 11th.
Cisco is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for the event and we’re showing up in full force with a larger booth, more demos, a Cisco keynote, breakout, and a number of new solution areas that we plan to showcase. We’ll have a number of product and solution experts available to share our view on how Cisco Solutions, hosted on UCS infrastructure, are building a better data center.
One presentation you should be sure not to miss is the Cisco Keynote on Wednesday, June 12th at 9:30 AM with Ram Appalaraju, Vice President of Technology, Products and Solutions Engineering at Cisco. It’s safe to say, Ram has an important role at Cisco. He is essentially responsible for delivering Cisco’s Unified Data Center strategy in the form of products and solutions. This will certainly prove to be a presentation not to be missed!
In addition, Han Yang, Product Manager for Cisco Nexus 1000V, will discuss the Nexus 1000V on KVM with OpenStack Integration. Since Han was one of the original Engineers developing the Nexus 1000V, this makes him uniquely qualified to present this breakout. This session will be held in room 312 on Thursday, June 13th at 1:20 pm.
Please see below for the four key solutions that Cisco is showcasing at the Partner Pavillion:
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Tags: Big Data, Blade Servers, Cisco UCS, Cloud Computing, data center, Nexus 1000v, OpenStack, rack server, Red Hat Summit, unified computing, unified computing system
Earlier in the week I had blogged about Cisco UCS in a world of open source computing. And now with Microsoft TechEd right around the weekend, I get to blog about Cisco UCS in a Windows world. Both are relevant now that Cisco is the #2 x86 blade server vendor worldwide with 17.6% of the market and in a statistical tie for #4 in the server category according to research firm IDC. So if you plan to be in New Orleans next week for Microsoft TechEd, or if you use Microsoft technologies in your data center will find the following very interesting.
Last year Cisco UCS Manager, the single point of management for UCS domains, was the Best of TechEd Winner in the breakthrough product category. If you use Microsoft PowerShell or some of the Microsoft System Center 2012 suite of products for management, you definitely want to check out the demos we will have at TechEd. The Cisco PowerTool for Powershell lets you use a comprehensive list of commands called “cmdlets” to manage all the components of a UCS domain. With Cisco UCS PowerTool, your operations team can tie together the management of storage components, computing components, and software applications into custom, end-to-end management solutions that are easy to use and easy to script.
If you use the Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, you can download the UCS Management Pack for System Center Operations Manager and monitor the health of Cisco UCS. With the Management pack you can
- Monitors Cisco UCS devices such as Cisco UCS blades, chassis, and rack servers.
- Correlate faults and events across bare metal and virtualized Cisco UCS infrastructure.
If you use the Systems Center Orchestrator, you can get the UCS Integration Pack for System Center Orchestrator and automate UCS Management. Read More »
Tags: Cisco UCS, Microsoft SCVMM, Microsoft TechEd, UCS Manager
A few weeks ago, I was at Cisco Open Source Conference 2013 – a conference hosted by Cisco where we had speakers from IBM, Canonical, Red Hat and Rackspace, among others. I learned a lot, specifically about the evolution of Hadoop and the OpenStack project. As a follow on, I collated different activities around Cisco UCS and OpenStack, which I will share in this blog.
Dr. Dan Frye, Vice President, Open Systems Development, IBM, head of the IBM Linux Technology Center (LTC) gave the keynote address at the conference. It was nostalgic considering the fact that I sat in the same aisle as some of the LTC team members in the IBM facility in Austin, a few years ago. His talk included some fascinating historical anecdotes and three lessons IBM learned about open source software development-
- “Develop in the open” (Don’t try to contribute finished software products, heed to feedback)
- “Don’t reinvent the penguin” (“Scratch your own itch” – interesting phrase to explain the behavior of communities which want to solve the problems at hand and not those perceived to be problems by external entities)
- “Work with the process” (The community process is usually an agile methodology with no assumptions on roadmaps and delivery dates)
These lessons are invaluable in light of the open source projects such as OpenDaylight (no pun intended) and OpenStack that Cisco is now an integral part of. According to Dr. Frye, these newer open source consortiums have the following characteristics:
- Larger number of initial members
- Quick starts
- Relatively large initial budgets
- Often require the commitment of a specified level of FTEs
Chris Wright from Red Hat expanded upon the principles and ethos of open source projects including release early, release often, iterative development and the culture of giving back. He contrasted the Linux kernel development project with the OpenStack project showing the relative speed of projects with the number of developers and commits by release. He gave a fantastic overview of the various Openstack component projects. He also identified two newly graduated projects namely, Ceilometer and Heat in the Grizzly release. I gave a talk on the requirements for the Ceilometer project, and you can find the slide deck on slideshare.
After attending the conference, I looked for projects within Cisco, which used OpenStack or contributed to it. Cisco is a major contributor to the soon to Read More »
Tags: Cisco UCS, Cisco UCS API, OpenStack, quantum, UCSM