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Looking for Action? Cisco ACI at Citrix Synergy 2015 or Disney World – or Both

What attracts me to Orlando In the hot and humid month of May this year? There are numerous synergies from the Disney World to Orlando’s pristine nature that enhances my experience there. But the one I am really looking forward to this year is the Citrix Synergy 2015, a premiere event for Cisco Data Center Professionals and its Customers and Partners. After a hiatus of two years, I am happy to be back at this event, this time leading the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) strategy and showcase how ACI integrates with Citrix’s NetScaler, a market leading Application Delivery Controller (ADC) solution.

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The theme this year at the event centers around software-defined workplace and how it enables companies find new ways to work better. Cisco ACI aligns very well with this theme given that ACI is a market leading software defined networking (SDN) solution.

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Citrix Synergy Event 2015 is particularly exciting to me as our joint Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler solution has picked considerable customer momentum since its introduction into market last year. Woolworth, DU and several other top customers have given testimonials recently on their positive experiences with ACI-NetScaler joint solution, and I look forward to hearing more of these at this event. In addition, the visionary keynotes, technology training, access to industry’s top thought leaders and the customizable agenda and experience makes Citrix Synergy a valuable investment of my time year after year.

Where should you start? There is no better place than Mark Templeton’s keynote, to start the Synergy expereince. Mark kick-starts the proceedings on May 12 by sharing his unique perspectives on how Citrix is leading the transition to the “software-defined workplace” where true mobility transformation occurs, giving businesses and people new ways to work. Mark will cover areas of innovation across the Citrix portfolio, including product and solution updates with strategic partners like Cisco in virtualization, mobility, networking, cloud and more. Be ready for a few sneak peeks and surprises.

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After the keynote, the world of solutions beckons you with a  glittering collection of technology showcase from industry-leading vendors, and I want to welcome you to the Cisco booth #202 where it is action unlimited. This year we are offering solution demos and Mini-Theater presentations featuring Desktop virtualization, Networking and SDN, Mobility, and Cloud technologies to name the highlights.

 

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Cisco ACI – Citrix NetScaler joint solution features prominently at the Cisco demo Pod and the Mini Theater this year. Stop by our booth and get a live demo from our experts, and learn how to automate deployment of NetScaler L4-L7 services using ACI policy framework.  In fact, we can give you a modular walkthrough of the solution whether your interest centers around the ACI Fabric or Cisco APIC policy controller or Citrix NetScaler. In addition, we can provide you quick overview presentations at our Mini theater that runs round the clock. There will be daily presentations on the ACI-NetScaler joint solutions and I hope the theater experience will complement the insights you gain via demos. We also have white-boards to dive deeper into cross-architectural discussions, should you decide to explore further. There is never a dull moment at our Cisco booth this year as Cisco UCS with Citrix desktop virtualization, DAAS and Mobility demos offer a rich treat of latest in technology innovations from Cisco and its Partners. The Cisco Mini Theater also feature NetApp, Nimble and Nvidia partner presentations as Cisco and Citrix truly bring the best-of-breed solutions for different market segments so customers can choose specifically based on their Data Center needs.

There are other exciting engagement opportunities for you to explore ACI-NetScaler solution at the event.  Check out Session SYN 212, “Update on NetScaler and Cisco Integration” on May 13, 11 AM at the Valencia Ballroom A.  Raj Gulani, a power packed Citrix dynamo, will deliver this session and many of your questions about SDN, Application demands on infrastructure will get answered. So, I’d recommend this as a must-attend.

And my good friend Mike Brennan from my UCS marketing days is presenting at the Cisco sponsored session on the topic “Architecting your next generation workspace with Cisco & Citrix”. If you can spare an hour the afternoon of May 13, I’d suggest you attend this session in room W135B. Mike brings unique perspectives from a design and deployment perspective and has authored several Cisco CVDs on UCS-Citrix desktop virtualization solutions.  If you somehow have to miss this timeslot, Mike is doing another breakout on May 14 with Rob Briggs at the Citrix sponsored session on the topic, “Architecting Innovation with Cisco and Citrix”. There are also hands-on Labs, Geek sessions, and Citrix Innovation awards for attendees to take advantage of to get a broad experience.

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As I write this blog, I just learned that the Cisco APIC has been adjudged the “Best of Interop 2015” in the SDN category. It is very timely, and a fitting testimonial to compliment the rapid customer adoption of ACI.  Cisco ACI-Citrix NetScaler has gained significant market traction and several customers in process of deploying the joint solution.

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The Cisco ACI-Citrix NetScaler solution is a key pillar of the Cisco-Citrix strategic relationship. In the past year, the joint solution has recorded several milestones in the form of customer proof-points, customer deployments and endorsements and Open standards initiatives such as NSH and Opflex at the IETF. Citrix NetScaler is committed to a robust roadmap in evolving the solution with ACI and stay tuned for more news from us at future events.

In closing I want to touch on the entertainment scene.  A customer appreciation event is scheduled for Wednesday May 13, at the Howl at the Moon Piano Bar and we look forward to seeing you there. The final night party on May 14, is another Citrix specialty as we all unwind, connect with friends, and experience an exclusive night for Synergy attendees only at Universal Studios Florida. I look forward to meeting you all in person next week.

Related Links

www.cisco.com/go/acicitrix

www.cisco.com/go/aci

 

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Cisco Live Milan 2015: Hi-Tech revisits City of Tradition and Fashion

When I first visited Milan last year in January, the occasion was Cisco Live and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Alpine city is known as much for its Hi-tech as it is for fashion and tradition. I am one of the lucky few in Cisco to be visiting this great city for a second year in row as Cisco Live Europe is all set to commence here next week. What is special this year? From a Cisco Data center standpoint ACI, Inter-Cloud, IOT and UCS continue to grab the headlines. Particularly, ACI has established itself as the dominant SDN technology with more than 1,000 plus N9K customers, 200 plus ACI customers and a growing eco-system of 34 partners in just one year. In this blog, I am going to present excerpts of what attendees can broadly expect to see and experience at the buzzing event, and I will take you on a tour of how ACI is ready to engage and enrich you.

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At the outset, I’d recommend that you attend all keynotes to understand Cisco’s strategy for the emerging technology trends and market transitions. Cisco Execs Carlos Dominguez and Jeremy Bevan kick-start the proceedings with an opening keynote on Jan 27 as they review the amazing things we have achieved in building the internet over the last decade and look at what we must do to build an Internet fit for purpose for the next decade. Don’t miss several technology trends keynotes occurring on Jan27 and 28. Soni Jiandani’s session scheduled for Jan 28 on SDN/ACI topic is going to be a sell-out. Come and listen to Soni to understand how ACI enables business outcomes and IT automation through the creation of an agile infrastructure.

Now I want to segue to ACI specifics. The last year has been phenomenal from an ACI eco-system momentum standpoint. F5 and Citrix, leading ADC vendors, have developed joint solutions with ACI and we have experienced several customer wins and success stories. F5 is a platinum sponsor and has a big presence at Cisco Live Milan this year to delight the 8,000 plus attendees. At the world of solutions F5 has dedicated demo stations to showcase multiple Cisco ACI-F5 joint solutions (featuring both BIG IP and BIG IQ), and F5’s engineers will be happy to explain via whiteboard how these solutions are relevant to your needs. Vincent Ng from F5, an expert presenter, has a technical breakout session on Jan 27 featuring ACI-F5 joint solution. Vincent’s expertise spans hands-on demos alongside lucid architectural illustrations, so do not miss this session.

Citrix has been a regular platinum sponsor at Cisco Live events. This year at Cisco Live Milan, Citrix has a large booth presence in the partner area. The key activities at the booth include joint solution demos featuring UCS-XD/XA, ACI-NetScaler, Mobility and Cloud among other major ones. Besides, David Potter and Christian Hietzschold from Citrix are doing a presentation on topic, “Delivering the best in SDN and ACI integration solutions.” If you happen to be in the DevNet zone, you may want to check out Citrix’s short theater presentations to get a well-rounded view of our joint alliance.

A10 Networks and Radware both have a presence in the WOS, showcasing joint solutions with ACI, thereby providing further evidence for the fast growing ACI L4-L7 eco-system.

At the World of Solutions (WOS) this year, ACI and Cloud take center stage in the Data center category. There are 10 demos showcasing ACI innovations and 6 on the Data Center Networking front. We also have an “Ask the Expert- Solutions Design Center” where Cisco architects will help address your data center, cloud, ACI strategy and design questions to accelerate ROI and reduce TCO. The ACI demos cover broad customer interest areas such as Analytics/Telemetry/Visibility, popular Cloud Management Platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Open Stack, Support for Multi-Hypervisors, Secure Application deployment etc. Our ACI subject matter experts will be on site to give you a real-life demo and explain how these are relevant to your needs.

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We also have Hands-on labs at the WOS that give you the opportunity to explore and evaluate a range of Cisco technologies, and our Meet the Engineer and Technical Solution Clinics give you access to the people who design Cisco’s solutions and give you the insight you need about your own environment and technical challenges. So stop by the WOS to explore new technologies and get answers to your unique questions.

In addition to the hands-on demos, we also have round the clock mini-presentations at the WOS Cisco Theater. This year we have three innovative ACI theater topics namely “Simplifying day-0, day-1, day-2 operations with ACI”, “Securing Applications with ACI” and “NX-OS Programmability and Automation”. The special draw at the WOS Theater is the topic of “Simplifying Operations with ACI”. This presentation will cover how application deployment can be accelerated and how easy it is to troubleshoot problems with ACI. To satisfy your broader interests we also have theater sessions on UCS, Cloud and Nexus switching portfolio. Check our WOS Theater roster in the agenda handout.

To your heart’s delight is how I’ll describe Cisco technical breakout sessions. Yes, we have more than 500 breakouts from industry recognized experts at the show. ACI breakouts feature prominently and ACI domain experts Carlos Pereira, Mike Cohen, Mike Herbert, Maurizio Portolani all co-present Jan 26 on topic ‘ACI-Policy Driven Data Center”. This session ranks at the top for me. If you are an Open Stack fan then you must look into the session “APIC Integration with Open Stack” presented by Sebastian Jeuk and Lijun Deng. Harry Petty is doing an ACI operations focused session PSODCT-2455. Data Center operators focused on tenant on-boarding, application monitoring and trouble-shooting will find this session very relevant, so mark this as a must-attend. There are many more breakouts and Lab sessions on ACI, and check out the session catalog for details. Another insightful breakout session PSODCT-1200 by Craig Huitema focuses on the Nexus switching portfolio and ACI and how together they enable a faster, responsive and flexible IT.

As a Cisco Live attendee you benefit from the opportunity to interact with your peers, Cisco staff and partner technical experts in both structured and informal settings. Our Welcome Reception and Customer Appreciation Event are the highlights of the week’s social calendar. Read more on the Social Events & Networking Onsite section. Our online communities on Facebook and Twitter provide year round access to like-minded individuals as well as valuable content, news and updates. We’d love it if you would join the conversation.

I can go on and on, but I’d never be able to cover all of the excitement in store. I’d leave some for you to explore on your own and our Meet and Greet ambassadors will be more than happy to assist you at the show. As for me, if time permits, I am planning on acquainting myself with some of the legendary artworks of MichelAngelo. Safe travels and a happy Cisco Live.

Related Links

www.cisco.com/go/aci

www.blogs.cisco.com/datacenter

http://www.ciscolive.com/emea/

www.cisco.com/go/acif5

 

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Automated PBR and Route Health Injection with RISE

RISE is an innovative architecture that logically integrates an external service appliance such as Citrix NetScaler or the Cisco Prime NAM so that it appears & operates as a service module within the Nexus 7000 Series switches.
RISE integration with the Citrix NetScaler provides features like Route Health Injection (RHI) and Automated PBR (APBR) which allow easy configuration to redirect client and server traffic to the load balancer.
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Automated Policy Based Routing (APBR)
Existing solutions to have server traffic return to the load balancer are Source NAT and PBR. Using Source NAT causes applications (server) to lose the visibility to client IP, burning IP address pool for Source NAT configuration and manual configuration. Policy Based Routing (PBR) requires complex initial configuration from the user (susceptible to human errors), configuration updates when a server is added or removed which can be cumbersome as the number of network devices and servers/VIPs grow.
  • Auto PBR eliminates the need for Source-NAT or manual PBR configuration in an one-arm mode design of load balancers
  • Preserves client IP visibility for applications/servers without the need for manual PBR
  • APBR feature allows the NetScaler to program policies on the N7K server-facing interfaces to redirect return traffic to the NetScaler appliance set up in one-arm mode
  • NetScaler passes information about real servers to N7K via the RISE channel and a policy is applied on the N7K interface through which the real server can be best reached
  • Since it is desirable to change the SRC IP to VIP for the return traffic, the APBR policies redirect traffic to the NetScaler IP without modifying the packet
  • The NS appliance will then direct the packet to the client by changing the source IP to VIP
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Please reach out to nxos-rise@cisco.com for more information on RISE features.
Resources

RISE At A Glance white paper: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/collateral/switches/nexus-7000-series-switches/at-a-glance-c45-731306.pdf

RISE announcement blog: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/rise

RISE Video at Interop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HQkew4EE2g

Cisco RISE page: www.cisco.com/go/rise

 

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Enabling Data Center Services with RISE : Remote Integrated Services Engine

Data Centers are becoming increasingly smart, intelligent and elastic. With the advancement in cloud and virtualization technologies, customers demand dynamic workload management, efficient and optimal use of their resources. In addition the configuration and administration of Data Center solutions is complex and is going to become increasingly so.RISE

With these requirements and architectures in mind we have a industry first solution called Remote Integrated Service Engine (RISE).  RISE is a technology that simplifies provisioning, out of box management of service appliances like load balancers, firewalls, network analysis modules. It makes data center and campus networks dynamic, flexible, easy to configure and maintain.

RISE can dynamically provision network resources for any type of service appliance (physical and virtual form factors). External appliances can now operate as integrated service modules with Nexus Series of switches without burning a  slot in a switch . This technology provides robust application delivery capabilities that accelerate the application performance manifold.

RISE is supported on all Nexus Series switches with services like Citrix NetScaler MPX, VPX, SDX and Cisco Prime NAM with many more in the pipeline.

Advantages & Features

  1. Simplified Out-of-Box experience : reduces the administrator’s manual configuration steps from 30 to 8 steps !!
  2. Supported on Citrix NetScaler MPX, SDX, VPX, and Nexus 1KV with VPX
  3. Supported on Cisco Prime Network Analyzer Module
  4. Automatic Policy Based Routing – Eliminates need for SNAT or Manual PBR
  5. Direct and Indirect Attach mode integration
  6. Show module for RISE
  7. Attach module for RISE
  8. Auto Attach – Zero touch configuration of RISE
  9. Health Monitoring of appliance
  10. Appliance HA and VPC supported
  11.  Nexus 5K/6K support (EFT available)
  12. IPV6 support (EFT available)
  13. DCNM support
  14. Order of magnitude OPEX savings: reduction in configuration, and ease of deployment
  15. Order of magnitude CAPEX savings: Wiring, Power Rackspace and Cost savings

For more information, schedule an EFT or POC Contact us at nxos-rise@cisco.com

Resources

RISE press release on Wall Street Journal : http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140408-905573.html
RISE At A Glance white paper: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/collateral/switches/nexus-7000-series-switches/at-a-glance-c45-731306.pdf
RISE Video at Interop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HQkew4EE2g
Cisco RISE page: www.cisco.com/go/rise
Gartner blog on RISE: “Cisco and Citrix RISE to the Occasion”: http://blogs.gartner.com/andrew-lerner/2014/03/31/cisco-and-citrix-rise-to-the-adc-occasion/

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ITD: Intelligent Traffic Director

Data traffic has grown dramatically in the recent years, leading to increased deployment of network service appliances and servers in enterprise, data center, and cloud environments. To address the corresponding business needs, network switch and router architecture has evolved to support multi-terabit capacity. However, service appliance and server capacity remained limited to a few gigabits, far below switch capacity.

ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) is a hardware based multi-Tbps Layer 4 load-balancing, traffic steering and clustering solution on Nexus 7xxx series of switches. It supports IP-stickiness, resiliency, NAT (EFT), VIP, health monitoring, sophisticated failure handling policies, N+M redundancy, IPv4, IPv6, VRF, weighted load-balancing, bi-directional flow-coherency, and IPSLA probes including DNS. There is no service module or external appliance needed. ITD provides order of magnitude CAPEX and OPEX savings for the customers. ITD is available on Nexus 7000/7700 series in NX-OS 6.2(8) or later. It is available for demo on Nexus 5k/6k. ITD is much superior than legacy solutions like PBR, WCCP, ECMP, port-channel, layer-4 load-balancer appliances.

Example use-cases: Read More »

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