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The Network is Changing – Is Your Network Cloud-Ready?

Today’s IT organizations face a broad set of challenges today.

  • How to deal with the proliferation of end-user devices? (smartphones, tablets, etc.)
  • How to deal with the proliferation of virtualization and it’s new operational model?
  • How to adapt to requirement for new application traffic patterns (east-west, VM mobility)?
  • How to manage the edges of their networks as work/life locations blur?
  • When do they decide to deliver a business need via internal resources vs. external resources?
  • With all this technology change happening so rapidly, how do they align their teams?
REGISTER for WEBINAR #1 in a SERIES of CLOUD-READY NETWORK discussions.
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The Facts about Innovation Leadership in Networking.

I just arrived home from a couple of days visiting customers in Asia and I was a little surprised by all the attention around Cisco’s increased competitive posture. It seems some people are surprised Cisco is calling out its smaller networking competitor by name, although I’ve heard few mentions of their Wall Street Journal cartoon advertisements ridiculing Cisco a while back. I guess that didn’t count.

Here’s the issue. If you’re going to claim innovation leadership in networking, you better be prepared to back it up with facts.

What matters most to customers is whether their networking partner is ready right now to help them adapt to, and benefit from, the massive network-centric changes that are transforming their businesses and their customers’ businesses.

My recent trip to Asia provided some great examples of exactly what I’m talking about:

First, Mobility is red hot. Tablet growth is exploding as the shift from the PC to new consumer based devices accelerates. With our service provider customers, the new Mobile Packet Core is THE number one conversation. The Cisco ASR 5000, combined with our CRS-1 and CRS-3, is the most innovative technology available to handle this explosion of mobile data and develop new services to help service providers monetize mobile content.

Twenty of the world’s top twenty five mobile operators are already deploying the Cisco ASR 5000 and this number is only going to increase. We also hear growing interest in Asia for SP Wi-Fi as an alternate method to address the escalating requirements for mobile bandwidth and data services. For sure, there’s a lot of competition for the mobile packet core and SP Wi-Fi, but our smaller competitor from Sunnyvale just doesn’t seem to be relevant in these conversations.

Cloud is on fire as enterprises accelerate their migration to private cloud to capture the economic, operational and agility benefits. In this area Cisco innovations have rocked the industry. Let’s check the facts. From a decade long position of undisputed leadership in data center switching based on our flagship Catalyst family of Ethernet switches, Cisco led the market with the first purpose built data center core switch and operating system, the Nexus 7000 with Cisco NX-OS software. Then we led the market with the introduction of Unified Fabric on the Nexus 5000, the first to consolidate data center networks over FCoE. We also introduced the first data center fabric extension on the Nexus 2000. And the Nexus 1000 was the industry’s first distributed virtual switch for VMware environments. The Nexus 3000 ultra low-latency switch has achieved immediate success in financial services customers and at massively scalable data centers.

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Management of dynamic virtualized data centers

September 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm PST

As a resident of Austin TX, I got to experience a record setting heat spell and drought this summer. Not to mention, some of the worst forest fires which are yet to be contained.  I was fortunate to escape the heat in the last week of August and attend VMWorld 2011.

One of the themes at the conference was Desktop Virtualization -- desktop access through a range of devices and access to cloud-based virtual machines. This is a timely issue in light of the June Cisco Visual Networking Index report which predicted that there will be twice as many networked devices as people on earth by 2015. With the proliferation of devices such as the iPhone and iPad, it is not inconceivable that workers will use the same devices in the office as well as home.

Another theme at the conference was management of servers and desktops including provisioning, ongoing maintenance and automation to meet service level agreements.  VMWare’s CTO in his keynote also mentioned that some of their biggest investments are around operations management of the virtualized environment.

Not surprisingly, another theme at the conference was Cloud Computing.  Whether virtualization is required for Cloud Computing can be a topic for heated debate.  Although virtualization is not an integral part of the NIST definition of Cloud Computing, the resource-pooling characteristic of Cloud Services is enabled by virtualization.

These themes prompted me to revisit a study by Forrester Research Cisco sponsored on the basics of management for Cloud Computing.  Although it was aimed at Cloud Management, the basic steps and concepts should be valid for any data center on a journey towards a dynamic, connected world.  The paper is titled “Elements of Cloud Service Orchestration”. A closer look under the hood is warranted even though the term “Service Orchestration” has taken a life of its own, with Wikipedia calling it a buzzword.  A webcast on the top is also available. What do you think service orchestration means in the context of data center management? I am very interested in your feedback.

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Conversations about Cloud – “What is Self-Service IT?”

Every once in a while (here, here), I have the same conversation enough times with customers that I find it useful to bring it to the blog community. Last week at VMworld 2011, I had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time speaking with customers and partners about Intelligent Automation and what it means for IT to deliver self-service capabilities to their customers (internal, contractors, etc.). During the conversations, a number of questions came up over and over again: Read More »

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Build Clouds, Be Awesome, Win Prizes!!

We know you’re interested in Cloud Computing because the “Data Center / Cloud” blog is one of the most popular here at Cisco.

We know you’re building efficient, scalable, automated Cloud Computing environments because we’ve seen the market-share growth in our Nexus and UCS product portfolios.

So why not bring together two things that you’re already passionate about for the opportunity for fame, fortune and a great opportunity to interact with more Data Center professionals looking to improve their skills, knowledge and ultimately their businesses? If you’re interested and have some unique ideass, go check out the “Conquering the Cloud” Challenge from the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA). The ODCA is a consortium of the largest companies in the world focused on building better Data Centers, so you know the competition is going to generate some exciting ideas.  Read More »

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