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August 2013 #SecureDC Twitter Chat Recap: SDN Security

Our first SecureDC twitter chat created some great industry dialog around security for Software Defined Networks (SDN) as well as using SDN to improve security. SDN is going through a similar hype cycle as seen with cloud and we feel that it’s important to focus more on education now and broader collaboration, so that users can benefit from the tremendous potential SDN holds.

More Education, Less Buzz

We kicked off our conversation by asking what are the most pressing issues around SDN were. @Joltsik, Principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, felt that users are confused with so much buzz, yet there’s little in the way of education.

@Raj_Samani, Chief Innovation Office at the Cloud Security Alliance and CTO at McAfee, went one step further indicating that greater transparency is also needed. However, @Jgreene3rd, Technical Lead for Data Center Security Technologies at Intel, noted that the upside of buzz is that it drives greater demand for availability, which in turn fuels education.

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SDN and Improving Security

@KenSBeck, Principal Engineer at the Cisco Security Technology Group Office of the CTO, led an interesting discussion on how APIs for programming the network at network speed will allow security intelligence to be much more dynamic and eventually part of the network itself. @shl_eax_1, Technical Lead Engineer at Cisco Security Technology Group Office of the CTO, further noted how global visibility of the network hastens the speed with which security issues get resolved.

@fsmontenegro elaborated on how SDN security can enable more intelligent, granular and efficient response, and that SDN improves security by adding policy exceptions at the network layer with redirect flow. @vernonxt, SVP for ICT Research at IDC, honed in on SDN enabling better policy management. @AndiMann, Vice President at CA Technologies, speculated with automation enabling embedded policy and preventing random changes, shouldn’t SDN be able to do the same.

SDN Impact on Regulatory Compliance

@alokmittal65, Chief of Staff for the Cisco Security Technology Group Office of the CTO, stressed the need for auditing, logging and monitoring of policy change events.

@Raj_Samani also noted that with greater proliferation of devices, the ability to achieve greater attestation on the endpoint becomes more challenging. @KenSBeck drew attention to leveraging network awareness of user, geo location, and device as contextual elements that can make attestations much more meaningful.

Wrapping Up

@KenSBeck, our host from the Office of the CTO at Cisco, closed with words of advice and a hint of what is in store.

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Keep the dialog going! Follow us on @Secdatacenter #SecureDC and join the conversation on LinkedIn Secure Datacenter Trends. For additional SDN resources, be sure to register today for our SDN Learning Seminars.

 

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Evolving Cisco’s Unified Computing System for Big Data and the Internet of Everything

Evolving Cisco UCS for Big Data and the Internet of Everything

Image credit: imediaconnection.com

In an earlier blog, I discussed the incredible success behind the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) in Darwinian evolutionary terms.  Since I wrote that blog three months ago, we’ve continued to grow rapidly and have strengthened our position as the #2 blade server player worldwide from 19.3% to 21.5% revenue share (per IDC 2CQ2013 server market tracker, September 2013), with 33.9% revenue share in the US.

Prediction – The #1 spot is well within our reach sooner than you may think.

As we grow our installed base with roughly 1,000 new customers every month, our conversations about the future of UCS have taken an interesting turn. Until now in what I’ll call the “UCS 1.0” phase, Cisco focused on virtualization and private cloud as the dominant use cases that were top-of-mind for industry CIOs and we struck a resonant chord based on our growth – just look at our numbers.

We were market makers with expanded-memory 2-socket Intel EX blades (remember the B230’s?), which were gobbled up like candy into large-scale VDI deployments much to the surprise of the industry. We also jump-started a very attractive RISC-to-x86 migration practice, including Cisco IT’s own production environment: a 40TB mission-critical database that ran on HP Superdomes – a “circle of life” moment for me since Superdome was my program from 1999-2003.

We’ll continue leading in customer value for our original design centers, but we are now focusing on market expansion with what we call “UCS 2.0”, expanding into data-intensive, mission critical, analytics and service provider cloud environments with an increased level of R&D funding and strong corporate support from our top executives.

Prediction – You’ll see us more focused on architectural solutions for key industry vertical markets with tuned solution environments that leverage Cisco’s wide portfolio and that of our partners.

One such act of support is the announcement today of our intent to acquire WHIPTAIL, a leading solid-state systems company that boasts the highest scalability in performance and capacity of any scale-out flash vendor on the market today.  WHIPTAIL systems span from single-node entry products to 30-node behemoths that drive almost 400TB’s of flash, 40GB/sec of bandwidth and 4 million random R/W IOPS – for starters.

Prediction: Cisco will unseat Infiniband with low-latency Ethernet fabrics. Check out our USNIC technology for starters…

In our customer interactions it became very clear they view application acceleration using persistent solid-state memory as a use case that belongs in the server tier, not the storage tier.

In an application-centric world, we started thinking not about server vs. storage infrastructure, but how applications viewed data – hot “important right now” data, warm “may be of interest data” and cold “let’s keep it around for background mining or compliance” data.

We arrived at the conclusion that UCS needed to be best-in-class at accelerating hot data layers. Hot data is closest to applications and therefore has high affinity for the server tier.  Hence WHIPTAIL.

Assertion: Flash is a “boundary technology” that can be viewed as part of the memory or storage hierarchy. With respect to storage it’s faster and more expensive per GB. With respect to DRAM memory it’s slower but cheaper per GB. It therefore allows cost/performance arbitrage for applications by applying an accelerated persistent data model that can save on DRAM and de-complicate underlying permanent backing stores.

WHIPTAIL is a great fit with the fabric computing UCS architecture and also complementary to our C-Series rack mount servers and our SingleConnect capability in our UCS Manager that allows mixed-density blade/rack deployments to be managed from a common pane of glass.

Our intent is to fully integrate UCS computing and WHIPTAIL solid-state technologies over a Nexus fabric to create scalable persistent memory systems. That’s our vision.

Why? Because customers will be able to do things they could not before. Such as loading vast amounts of data in seconds and minutes, not hours or days – or – shrinking their performance footprint to a rack vs. 30 racks – or – accelerating Hadoop on all solid-state infrastructure – or – extending in-memory analytics to a scale previously not thought possible. That’s why.

As converged infrastructure advances as an ensemble computing architecture, boundary technologies like solid-state memory can be viewed as part of the memory or the storage hierarchy. Cisco’s point of view is to make it part of the memory hierarchy in the compute tier. That allows customers the best of both worlds – performance acceleration for applications while retaining their investment in permanent backing stores and simplifying their overall data center total cost of ownership (TCO).

To close on a Darwinian note, if UCS existed in the Cretaceous Period it would have been a Velociraptor  (meaning ‘swift seizer’)– sleek, fast and ferocious – eating everything in its path.  Velociraptors are believed to have hunted in packs, which is great considering the strong partner ecosystem that Cisco and UCS have built with industry leaders like EMC, NetApp and VCE as shining examples. We are committed to maintaining and expanding our hunting pack – more on that later!

if Cisco UCS existed in the Cretaceous Period it would have been a Velociraptor

if Cisco UCS existed in the Cretaceous Period it would have been a Velociraptor. Image credit: dark.pozadia.org

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Decoding Social Media Measurement

Have you ever felt like measuring social media was like a trying to crack a secret code? Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what data is important to measure out of all the information we are receiving.

September 26th Let's Chat! #Ciscosmt Twitter Chat

September 26th Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Twitter Chat

And as social media continues to become more of the way business is conducted, I’ve seen a shift in what experts are focusing on and recommending.

Join me and our special guest,  Charlie Treadwell, Manager, Digital and Social Media Marketing at Cisco, for a #Ciscosmt Twitter chat on Thursday, September 26th from 9-10am PT. As part of our monthly “Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series” chats, Charlie will share his listening, measurement, and monitoring expertise and we will:

  • Discuss ways to make sense of all the social media metrics
  • Share measurement, listening, and monitoring best practices
  • Identify metrics to focus on
  • Explore examples showing social media measurement’s impact on business
  • Determine how to make sense of all of the data
  • Review ways to up-level measurement practices in a company
Let's Chat! #Ciscosmt Series Measurement Twitter Chat

Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series

 

Let’s make this a really interactive session. Bring your questions for Charlie and share your own insights and examples throughout the chat or even prior to the session. We’re looking forward to your interactions!

 

For those that might be new participating in a Twitter chat, here are some quick details:

What is a Twitter Chat?
Twitter chats are scheduled gatherings of Twitter users to discuss a given topic, using a hashtag to keep track of conversation.

How do I participate?

  • There are many ways to participate in a Twitter chat. You can use a dedicated chat platform, (i.e. Twubs, TweetChat, Tchat.io, etc.), your favorite Twitter client (TweetDeck, Hootsuite, etc.) or you can even just user Twitter search to follow the chat hashtag.
  • We want it to be an interactive chat, learning from each other. Join in the conversation with your insights and experiences using #Ciscosmt. And also interact with others, re-tweeting, exchanging ideas, and commenting on other points of view.
  • Questions will be labeled Q1, Q2, Q3. If you are responding to a question, please start your tweet with the corresponding answer number “A1”.

Cisco Social Media Training Program Opportunity:

If you have any questions or are interested in other types of social media training, check out our complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program and follow the #ciscosmt hashtag.  To request  customized one-on-one team training sessions, email ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

We look forward to your insights here and during the #Ciscosmt Twitter chat!

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Wall Street and Data Analytics, They Are Only As Good As The Network That Connects Them

HPC on Wall StreetAt this years’ 2013 High Performance Computing on Wall Street once again the greatest minds from the financial services industry gathered to discuss the latest technology trends that give financial firms a technology edge in accessing information in real-time to better predict where markets are going and the best areas to invest.

Many vendors delivered their latest innovation data analytics software that can analyze market data in real-time, but without the right infrastructure, traders can be delayed in executing on that information. Trading smarter is the key underlying theme by which the fabric can provide greater transparency and enhance application delivery that impacts the business. Read More »

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Cisco Manufacturing Honored by Frost & Sullivan

Frost & SullivanI am happy to share the great news that the Cisco team received industry accolades last week when it was recognized by Frost & Sullivan for delivering a seamlessly connected enterprise collaboration solution across industry verticals.  The award, based on Frost & Sullivan’s Vision of the Future of Manufacturing Production 2.0 (Visi-MAP 2.0), identified the top 50 game changers in manufacturing hardware and software. The Visi-MAP 2.0 initiative uses this platform to identify companies that refuse to take a ringside spectator view of industry developments and instead, lead in the visionary innovation process.

I know I speak for the entire Cisco Manufacturing team when I say that we are honored to be recognized for our integrated, vertically relevant solutions for business and operations networks as well as our strong ecosystem of partners.  We have advanced our solutions greatly over the past few years and are excited for our future and continued growth. Our industry-leading solutions continue to set us apart from our competitors and we are excited that the industry is recognizing us as a leader.

Read More »

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