When we renovated our kitchen, one of our top priorities was upgrading to gas appliances. The first step was to have the gas company determine if our current gas line could handle the extra load of a restaurant-grade range.
The same pre-implementation assessment is highly recommended, if not required, before adding a bandwidth-intensive product to a network. Let’s use Cisco TelePresence as an example.
You bring a customer to a live TelePresence session. They are wowed. They immediately see the benefits of a face-to-face meeting, and they are sold on how the TelePresence investment can pay for itself in a short period of time with the elimination of travel expenses alone.
They are ready! But is their network?
As your customer’s partner and trusted advisor, it’s your job to find out. An assessment of their network helps you mitigate risk by determining quickly what upgrades are required to ensure a successful implementation. It also helps you customize the solution by adding features and functionality that can help your customer—customization that might not have been identified without an analysis.
On the flip side, an assessment takes time. It costs money. It requires people, travel, and expertise. These things add up and can quickly eat into your profits.
On November 5th I posted part 2 of the Algo Boost series with a fantastic discussion around Customer proof points on the Nexus 3548. In our third and final segment in the series I interviewed Chih-Tsung Huang, Director of Engineering in the Server, Switching, & Virtualization Product Group to shed some light on Cisco’s continued commitment to innovate with Algo Boost technology.
GD: What is the primary difference between existing Nexus 3000 switches and the new Nexus 3548? And how do we differentiate from the competition?
CH: As we all know, the current generation Nexus 3000 uses merchant silicon while the new Nexus 3548 uses a full layer 2 bridging and layer 3 routing Cisco ASIC – designed and built from ground up to optimize switch latency. Prior to the Nexus 3548 announcement, industry best was greater than 500 nanoseconds.
One of the stated elements of our corporate culture is “No Technology Religion”. The underlying concept is that we have the freedom to choose the solution that allows us to best meet our customer’s needs and not get locked into ideological silos.
Cisco continues to invest and drive innovations and standardization efforts with the development of our own ASICs because this allows us to deliver a complete value add solution to our customers. However, we do take advantage of merchant silicon in specific use cases where features and innovation are not needed.
GD: Does the introduction of Algo Boost indicate a complete shift away from merchant silicon?
CH: Absolutely not. Cisco has and will continue to adopt a flexible silicon strategy, meaning we will buy off-the-shelf ASICs when they can immediately fill a market need, and we continue to add value through silicon innovation by designing our own ASICs. The Nexus 3548 is an example of a highly integrated Software, Hardware and ASIC solution that cannot be achieved with off the shelf components.
GD: It sounds like we are very much committed to developing our own ASICs. How many ASICS are used in Cisco Solutions today, and how much do we invest in R&D?
CH: Cisco has developed hundreds of ASICs to perform various forwarding functions in switches and routers. Cisco has developed over 20 ASICs to power the Nexus portfolio alone. We have an annual R&D budget of $5.8 billion which is greater than Juniper’s entire revenues and roughly equal to the R&D budgets of HP and Huawei combined.
GD: Algo Boost clearly addresses needs in the financial sector. Are there any other segments that will benefit from these groundbreaking features?
CH: Since mid-2011, the Nexus 3000 family has had a significant presence in massively scalable data centers. We believe these environments will see further benefits with the performance visibility tools we’re building into our portfolio, as well as the programmability and automation features in the Cisco ONE offering.
We also believe that there is an important role for custom silicon in the software-defined networking world. We feel that customers will continue to be willing to pay for advanced hardware innovation because of the value they derive from tightly integrating advanced software and hardware engineering. Customers derive the greatest value from emerging software approaches, such as SDN, when they effectively leverage the underlying infrastructure which Cisco silicon innovation enables them to do.
Additionally, the 190 nanosecond ultra low latency of the Nexus 3548 switch enables applications to innovate not only to High Performance Trading Fabrics but also into Massively Scalable Data Center, Software Defined Network, and beyond.
I’d like to thank Chih-Tsung for this valuable information. To see an actual Algo Boost powered ASIC, view the TechWiseTV segment below..
SAP TechEd Madrid is a showcase for the Cisco UCS Server Platform
Another November and another SAP TechEd in Madrid. Cisco will again be showcasing UCS as a preferred platform for all SAP solutions. SAP is again highlighting SAP HANA in the test drive area in Madrid, and Cisco will have their medium SAP certified C460 on display in the test drive area.
Cisco currently has several certified solutions for SAP HANA. SAP has aptly names these T-shirt sized. In the small T-shirt size, Cisco has the C260. In the medium T-shirt size, is the C460. In the large and extra large T-shirt size, Cisco had the B440 configuration with EMC and NetApp as the storage partners. But SAP HANA is not the only solution on display in Madrid.
Cisco will also have in their booth #1054, a VCE VBlock rack and a NetApp FlexPod rack. Both of these will be staffed by experts from VCE and NetApp.
The IT Process Automation team will also be represented in the booth. SAP is now selling this product as part of their price list.
Dr. Michael Missbach has 3 speaking assignments, one theater presentation and 2 Microforums. Read More »
In the months since I attended the Smart Cities event organized by Qualcomm and CommNexus in San Diego, the buzz about “Smart Cities” and the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless technologies has only grown louder and more intense. Which Smart City-relevant innovations are under development inside Qualcomm?
Known primarily for mobile chipset technologies, Qualcomm is working to optimize wireless networks and sensors that support M2M solutions and, ultimately, Smart Cities of the future. An often-overlooked part of this initiative is the company’s work in preparing the wireless industry for the imminent tsunami of data that will come when countless “things” equipped with M2M wireless sensors—part of the “Internet of Everything”—hit wireless networks. Qualcomm calls it the 1000x Challenge, referring to wireless industry predictions about a 1000x increase in mobile data usage between 2010 and 2020.
From Qualcomm’s perspective, a “smarter grid“ employs digital wireless technologies that allow utility companies to safely and securely deliver prepaid electric services that save homes and businesses money through real-time monitoring of power usage over existing cell networks, thus reducing deployment costs for the utility and saving energy for the planet. At the same time, smarter grids enable customers to better manage their own energy usage.
One recent Smart Grid example is Qualcomm’s work with Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States. The success of this collaboration has enabled Duke Energy to install hundreds of thousands of communications nodes, which interface with electric and gas meters, line sensors, transformers, and other end points, meters, sensors, and distribution automation equipment, and optimize energy usage in five states.
Working with ECOtality, a maker of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, Qualcomm participated in The EV Project, the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charge infrastructure in history. The project, now in nine states plus the District of Columbia, leverages cellular technology incorporated into charging stations, enabling EV car drivers to easily find charging stations with their smartphones. Moreover, the solution allows users to reserve stations as well as receive alerts users when the charge is finished or if it the charge has been interrupted.
Another exciting development, also involving EVs, is Qualcomm Halo’s teaming with Renault and Delta Motorsport in London. Qualcomm Halo, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, produces wireless charging mats that enable EV drivers to simply drive up and park over the charging mat—no exact alignment necessary (e.g., you have to line up your electric toothbrush perfectly on the charger in order for it to charge). Initially, the benefit is no longer having to deal with tangled charging cables. But looking beyond that, Qualcomm Halo envisions embedded chargers in the roadway. Even further out is the idea that these mats could be built into the road and connected to the overall Smart Grid. Depending on the time of the day, more or less energy resources could be devoted to that specific roadway, effectively channeling energy to where it’s needed most.
A recent blog by Sue Nolin discussed the EtherNet/IP Network Infrastructure on display in the joint partner booth at Automation Fair this week.
In this video Paul Didier, Cisco’s Solution Architect, tells us about the partners in that booth and how their combined technologies provide the core foundation for successful standard IP network deployments in a plant environment.