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The Most Successful Joint Venture in I.T. History

by Gary Moore, President and COO, Cisco & Howard Elias, President and COO, EMC Global Enterprise Services

Cisco President Gary Moore and EMC President Howard Elias, co-Chairs of VCE

The Most Successful Joint Venture in I.T. History. That’s how we, as co-Chairs of the VCE Board, think about VCE. We may be a bit biased, but we’re confident many others agree based on the tremendous success of VCE’s Vblock converged infrastructure (CI). In fact, we created the notion of CI with Vblock, and VCE has held the #1 position for as long as the analyst firms have been tracking it.

Given today’s news about EMC and Cisco jointly agreeing to change the structure of VCE going forward, we’d like to reflect back on its success and what is driving this change now.

Rewind to 2007 when Cisco was first entering the server business.  We began discussions around the best ways to deliver to customers the best-of-breed technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware into a single engineered solution that would pretty much be plug-and-play for customers.

Over the course of the following two years, we challenged our teams and ourselves to come up with the best way to commercialize our vision and serve customers.  There were the usual traditional resale and meet-in-the-channel programs, but we felt this could be a much bigger idea.  In the end, we concluded that this was the time to be bold, which led to the initial formation of the JV on October 30, 2009 now known as VCE.  We say now known because the original JV was called Acadia, based on Build Operate Transfer (BOT) services and then a Reference Architecture (RA).  But as any nimble startup does, you pivot your great idea to what customers truly want and value – and in this case it was a product, not BOT services or RA’s.  So VCE and the Vblock were born and the rest is truly history!  Consider these facts about VCE’s Vblock:

  • More than 2,000 deployed to date
  • Six consecutive quarters of greater than 50% year-over-year growth
  • #1 position for integrated infrastructure systems for two years running  
  • IDC study:  VCE customers are able to deploy new services five times faster, reduce downtime by 96%, and lower their annual datacenter costs by 50% with Vblock systems.

So what made this JV so successful? We’d like to think it was our combined market understanding concerning what customers truly wanted, our sincere partnership and enduring friendship.   All of those things are true, but it all starts and ends with the best technologies, combined with a maniacal focus on the customer experience and tremendous execution by talented teams.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved since it’s inception – with a special thanks and congratulations to the current team led by CEO Praveen Akkiraju.

So why the change now?  Because the best time to change and transform is when you’re at the top of your game.  The industry continues to move fast and evolve, and we want VCE to continue to grow and succeed in this environment.  It’s time for VCE to broaden its horizon and help customers in their journey to the Hybrid Cloud.  This has been our focus and we will accelerate our support to our customers.   We also want to signal to our customers that VCE is going to be around for the long haul.  And Cisco’s commitment to VCE continues in the form of a multi-year resale, support and engineering agreement. The partnership remains strong and VCE will be a vibrant channel for Cisco technologies going forward.  In essence, we started with a JV structure that has been wildly successful, so now it’s time to show commitment for the long term in a way that fits the business models of EMC and Cisco well.

It’s been a fun, thrilling and rewarding ride for both of us, but most importantly for our customers, partners and the VCE team. We would like to thank all of them for the confidence they have shown and allowing us to play a meaningful role in changing the industry!

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Six “Must-Do”s for Successful Ecosystem Marketing

Everyone is talking about it.  It’s not channel marketing, it’s not alliance marketing, it’s not product marketing.  It’s ecosystem marketing.  So what’s all the hype?

First, let’s talk about what the term “partner ecosystem” means.  A partner ecosystem is not just a list of partners.  It’s a portfolio of partners who are selected because of the value they add from one or more of these perspectives: technology, integration, influence, go-to-market, or market access. But it’s not just about Cisco, it’s about our partners and what they can gain from the relationship. It could be access to Cisco technology, association to the Cisco brand, or even access to the large sales force entrenched in IT organizations across the globe.

Ecosystem marketing seeks a difficult balance between touting the virtues of the whole ecosystem and showing the value of individual partner relationships. It’s a tightrope and often somebody feels slighted if you are not careful in your approach.

So, how do you get started and what makes for successful ecosystem marketing? Read More »

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Cisco and OpenStack: Juno Release – Part 2

The tenth OpenStack release codenamed Juno was released on October 16, 2014. This press release provides a good summary of what to expect in Juno. It also discusses important new capabilities included in the more than 340 new enhancements built in to Juno and highlights different usecases that showcase the diversity of workloads supported on OpenStack.

In the first part of the Cisco and Openstack Juno Release blog, I covered Cisco’s OpenStack team contributions to the Neutron project. Here I’ll provide details of our contributions to other OpenStack projects as well highlight our development efforts on StackForge. Cisco was the sixth top code reviewer for the Juno release across all projects in Juno release and is Foundation’s fifth largest company in terms of OpenStack membership.

This Nova blueprint was completed in Juno and provides support for configuration and provisioning of instances with SR-IOV port connectivity.  The implementation generates SR-IOV specific libvirt domain and network configuration XML for the instances as well as includes the capability to schedule instances based on the compute nodes SR-IOV capabilities.  One of the key use-cases for SR-IOV is Network Function Virtualization (NFV) that requires high performance traffic throughput in and out of a virtual machine providing network services (Virtual Network Function or VNF).

We proposed and implemented support for metering Network Services in Neutron using Ceilometer. This included new pollsters and notification handlers for Load Balancer as a Service (LBaaS), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) and VPN as a Service (VPNaaS). The metrics are categorized into Provider or Service Level, providing different level of details. Provider level metrics help determine the type of implementation and its feature, whereas the Service level metrics provide more granular metric details on the service health and consumption. Separately, instance metrics were enhanced as part of this blueprint to support read and write metrics per instance disk device.

In the Cinder project, Fibre Channel Zone Manager allows FC SAN Zone/Access control management in conjunction with Fibre Channel block storage.  It has a pluggable architecture and we contributed the Cisco FC Zoning plugin that automates creation, deletion and modification of zones in zonesets.  Zones are configured automatically as part of the active zone set for the specified VSAN in the FC SAN to provide a more flexible and secure way of controlling access.

Enhancements to Horizon to enable configuration of  IPv6 subnet modes is also part of the Juno release. This allows tenants to configure address and Route Advertisement (ra) mode for their subnets through the user dashboard. Neutron supports multiple IPv6 address configuration modes including SLAAC and DHCPv6 (both Stateful and Stateless modes).

StackForge

The Cisco OpenStack team has been actively developing across different projects on StackForge as well. This provides an excellent platform for OpenStack related projects to make use of OpenStack project infrastructure and also continue to collaborate in the open.

OpenStack Services Puppet Modules -- One of challenges that we hear about from our OpenStack customers is how to make OpenStack more manageable and deployable.  There are several different deployment options for OpenStack and we have tremendous experience with automating the underlying system and service configuration via Puppet. We work with customers, partners and the community to enhance Puppet modules for OpenStack services and integrate with Cisco infrastructure as well.  We also recently announced, in collaboration with RedHat, Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure that combines Cisco’s server, switching and management technologies with Red Hat’s enterprise-grade OpenStack platform.

Group Based Policy (GBP)– Currently staged on StackForge, this project aims to provide policy abstractions that extend the current Neutron API resources and introduces a declarative policy driven connectivity model that presents application-oriented interfaces to the user. The Group Based Policy framework implementation provides the flexibility for new API resources – End Points, End Point Groups, Contracts and Classifiers – that can be mapped to existing Neutron resources or passed directly to a third party controller.  In addition to a mapping driver that supports all existing Neutron plugins, Cisco will also be releasing a driver to directly integrate GBP with its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller.

Nova Solver Scheduler – For resolving complex constraints based on policies and business rules, we have been collaborating with the community to develop a smart Nova Scheduler driver that models compute placement as a supply and demand problem.  The intent is for the Solver Scheduler to integrate with the Gantt project that is aiming to separate out the Nova scheduler as a standalone project.

Summary

Cisco’s OpenStack team contributions are across numerous projects in OpenStack. Our aim is to work with the community, with our customers and partners to enable more successful OpenStack User Stories, resulting in a win-win situation. We are going to be presenting several general sessions that were selected as part of the community voting process at the upcoming Kilo Summit in Paris. You can find more details in this blog post and we look forward to seeing you there!

You can also download OpenStack Cisco Validated Designs, White papers, and more at www.cisco.com/go/openstack

 

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SP Network Transformation at the Cisco Live Cancun World of Solutions

October 21, 2014 at 1:30 am PST

By Igor Dayen, Manager, SP Product and Solutions Marketing  Igor-Dayen

The excitement starts on November 3rd in Cancun, Mexico where Cisco is holding our next Cisco Live event. A great opportunity for the service provider community to study with industry experts, get inspired, and understand how Cisco’s Open Network strategy can fast track their growth.  In the World of Solutions the SP booth is hosting numerous demos and live equipment which tell the story of how Cisco is helping carriers address their business requirements.

Cisco Live is known for the extensive number of breakout technical sessions, and Cancun will be no different. Hot topics such as NFV and SDN will be extensively covered. Read More »

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Cloudbusting

In the same year Cisco was founded, Kate Bush recorded the hypnotic Cloudbusting, one of her most iconic songs and music videos.  Conceived by Terry Gilliam and featuring Donald Sutherland, there is a strikingly poignant moment in the video where Bush’s character is ‘cloudbusting’ with her father and she first realizes that adults are fallible.

Cloud Myth Busting Read More »

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