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Intercloud, The Next Internet Starts Here

Thirty years ago, two engineers – Cisco’s founders – solved a connectivity problem between two network islands on the Stanford University campus, and paved the way for three dramatic decades of Internet-driven innovation.

Today, there’s hardly an aspect of our lives that isn’t touched by the Internet. For large and mid-size enterprises, government and education, the Internet has forced major transitions and none has been more transformative than cloud.

Organizations are adopting cloud in all its forms – infrastructure-as-a-service to solve their workload requirements, software-as-a-service for new application needs – and they are leveraging the cloud to create new product and service innovations with mobile, collaboration and analytics solutions. According to industry analysts, the cloud market will top $144 billion in 2016 and has more than doubled since 2012. (Source: Cisco Market Estimates, July 2014)

The impact of cloud is unquestionable. Our customers and partners know they can leverage the cloud to fuel top-line growth by improving their business agility and reach, and by enabling new product service innovation for their customers and citizens. They also recognize that cloud can improve their bottom-line economics, foster innovation and drive economic growth and productivity.

But cloud is presenting as many challenges for IT departments and cloud service providers as it is opportunities.

Today, the lack of ability to connect public clouds, and to move workloads and associated policies between clouds, coupled with an inability to manage public and private clouds together as a single capability, prevents IT organizations from buying cloud services from any vendor they choose and managing these services as if they were part of their extended private cloud.

IT departments also need to enable business globally while operating within the constraints of national and regional regulations governing data privacy, security and data sovereignty. Today’s largely global (but not local) cloud solutions don’t provide this either.

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Data Driven Decision Making at Pfizer – A Case Study in Data Virtualization

Finding a molecule with the potential to become a new drug is complicated. It’s time-consuming. Fewer than 10 percent of molecules or compounds discovered are promising enough to enter the development pipeline. And fewer of those ever come to market.  At Pfizer, if it were not for data virtualization, it would be even more challenging.

Years of Data, Thousands of Decisions

The pipeline from discovery to licensing occurs in phases over 15-20 years, and few compounds complete the journey. The initial study phase represents a multimillion-dollar investment decision. Each succeeding phase – proof-of-concept study, dose range study, and large-scale population study – represents a magnitude-larger investment and risk than the one before.

Senior management and portfolio managers need to know:

  • Which projects the company should fund?
  • Which compounds are meeting Pfizer’s high standards for efficacy and safety?
  • What are scientists discovering in clinical trials?

Portfolio and project managers routinely make complex tactical decisions such as:

  • How to allocate scarce R&D resources across different projects?
  • How to prioritize multiple development scenarios?
  • What is impact of a clinical trial result on downstream manufacturing?

Before Pfizer adopted Cisco Data Virtualization, getting useful data to answer these questions took weeks or months.  Why so long?  The problem has several dimensions.  First, each phase of development generates massive amounts of data and requires extensive analysis to provide an accurate picture.  Second, data comes from Pfizer research scientists all over the world; from physicians; clinical trials; product owners and managers; marketing teams; and hundreds of different back-end systems.  Third, the scientific method is based on trial and error, with unpredictable results.  Thus no two decisions are alike and therefore the specific data required for each decision is unique.

Data Virtualization Provides the Solution

To support their decision-making needs, Pfizer needed a solution that would allow them to pull all this diverse information together in an agile, ad hoc way.  Cisco Data Virtualization – agile data integration software that makes it easy to access and gather relevant data, no matter where data sources reside – provided the solution.

With Cisco Data Virtualization, Pfizer’s research and portfolio data resides in one virtual place and provides “one version of the truth” that is available for everyone to use to address the myriad decisions that arise. Further, by applying virtualization instead of consolidation, infrastructure costs are also reduced.

According to Pfizer, “data virtualization is far less expensive than building specialized data marts to answer questions. With Cisco Data Virtualization, our portfolio teams get answers in hours or days for about one-tenth the cost.”

This data virtualization progress has not gone unnoticed. At Data Virtualization Day 2012, Pfizer was awarded the “Data Virtualization Champion” award for consistently achieving and promoting data virtualization value within the organization and across the industry.

Learn from other leaders in the industry and see who wins this year’s Data Virtualization Leadership Awards at Data Virtualization Day 2014 on October 1. Register now!

 

Learn More

To read more about this Pfizer case study click here.

To learn more about Cisco Data Virtualization, check out our page.

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Why the CFO Needs to Guide Technology Acquisition for Service Providers?

With telecom service providers (SP) increasingly using technology as a competitive differentiator, it is becoming important not only to acquire the right technology, but to acquire it in a way where it offers maximum benefit to the business.

Rapid technological advancements have made it necessary for service providers to be very nimble and frequently revise their offerings to suit customer requirements. Over the last four years, mobile service providers have exhibited cyclical—but, on average, declining—revenue growth patterns, according to a Cisco whitepaper ‘The Road to Cloud Nine’ published in February 2013. Overall, the momentum has Read More »

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Next Generation Data Center Design With MDS 9700 – Part III

This week is exciting, had opportunity to sit on round table with Cisco’s largest customers on an open ended architecture discussion and their take on past, present and future. More on that some other time let’s pick up last critical aspect of High Performance Data Center design namely flexibility. Customers need flexibility to adapt to changing requirements over time as well as to support diverse requirements of their users. Flexibility is not just about protocol, although protocol is very important aspect, but it is also about making sure customers have choice to design, grow and adapt their DC according to their needs. As an example if customers want to utilize the time to market advantage and ubiquity of Ethernet they can by adopt FCoE.

Flexibility

Moreover flexibility has to be complemented by seamless integration where customers can not only mix and match the architectures/protocols/speeds but also evolve from one to other over time with minimal disruption and without forklift upgrades. Investment protection of more than a decade on Cisco director switches allows customer to move to higher speeds, or adopt new protocols using the existing chassis and fabric cards. Finally any solution should allow scalability over time with minimal disruptions and common management model. As an example on MDS 9710 or MDS 9706 customers can choose to use 2/4/8 G FC, 4/8/16G FC, 10G FC or 10G FCoE at each hop.

Multiprotocol Innovation

Let’s review each aspect of flexibility at a time.

 

Architecture:

Cisco SAN product family is designed to support Architecture flexibility. From smallest to  the largest customers and everything in-between.  Customers can grow from 12 16G ports to 48 ports on a single 9148S. They can grow from 48 16G Line Rate Ports to 192 16G Line Rate with MDS 9710 and upto 384 ports on MDS 9710. Finally having seamless FC and FCoE capability allows customers to use these directors as edge or core switches . With the industry leading scalability numbers, customers can scale up or scale out as per their needs. Two examples show how customers can use Director class switches (9513, 9506, 9710 or 9706) based Architecture for End of Row designs. Similarly customers can orchestrate Top of Rack designs using Nexus fixed family or MDS 9148S.

Examples of Edge Core Designs with MDS ToR and EoR

If they want to continue with FC for foreseeable future or have sizable FC infrastructure that they want to leverage (and have option to go to FCOE) then MDS serves their needs. Similarly they can support edge core designs, and edge core edge designs or even collapsed  cores if so desired.

 

FC Edge Core and Edge Core Edge

 

If customers need converged switch then Nexus 2K, 5K and 6K provides the flexibility, ability to collapse two networks, simplify management as shown in the picture below.

FEX and Nexus Edge Design Options

Speeds

Customers can mix and match the FC speeds 2G/4G/8G, 4G/8G/16G on the latest MDS 9148S, and MDS 9700 product family. With all the major optics supported, customers can pick and choose optics for the smallest distance to long distance CWDM and DWDM solutions in addition to SW, LW and ER optics choices. In addition MDS 9700 supports 10GE optics running 10G FC traffic for ease of implementing 10G DWDM solutions based on ubiquitous 10GE circuits.

Protocol

FC is a dominant protocol with DC but at the same time a lot of customers are adopting FCoE to improve ROI, simplify the network or simply to have higher speeds and agility. Irrespective of the needs and timeline MDS solution allows customer to adopt FCoE today or down the road without forklift upgrades on the existing MDS 9700 platforms while leveraging the existing FC install base.

FCoE Flexibility

The diagram above shows how customers can collapse LAN and SAN networks on the edge into one network. The advantage of FEX include reduced TCO, simplified operations (Parent switch provides a single point of management and policy enforcement and Plug-and-play management includes auto-configuration).

Another example to allow non transition less disruptive for customers Cisco has supported the BiDi optics on the Nexus product family. This allows customers to use the the same same OM2, OM3 and OM4 fabrics for 40G FCoE connectivity and still don;t have to rip and replace cabling plant.

BiDi Option

For customer who are not ready to converge networks but want to achieve faster time to market, higher performance, Ethernet scale economies can use separate LAN and SAN network and use FCoE for that dedicated SAN .

Evolution path from FC to FCoE

Coupled with broad Cisco product portfolio means that customers have the maximum flexibility to tune the architecture precisely to their needs. Cisco product portfolio is tightly integrated, all the SAN switches use same NxOS and DCNM provides seamless manageability across LAN, SAN, Converged infrastructure to Fabric Interconnects on UCS.

Broad Product Portfolio

From the last 3 blogs lets quickly capture what are the unique characteristics of MDS 9700 that allows for High Performance Scalable Data Center Design.

24 Tbps Switching capacity, line rate 16g FC ports, No Oversubscription, local switching or bandwidth allocation.

Redundancy for every critical component in the chassis including Fabric Card. Data Resiliency with CRC check and Forward Error Correction. Multiple level of CRC checks, smaller failure domains.

In next few days lets put this all together to see how customers can deploy scalable networks that allow them to Scale Up or Scale Out in a non disruptive way.

To learn more about the MDS 9148S please join us for a webinar.

“In business, words are words; explanations are explanations, promises are promises, but only performance is reality.”

Harold S. Geneen

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Up, up and away! Cloud a Major Topic at IBC 2014

IBC 2014, the conference and exhibition hosted by the beautiful city of Amsterdam, in the generous confines of the RAI facility, came to a close last week. The exhibition, spread across 14 halls and spanning 5 days, attracted more than 55,000 attendees to see the latest offerings and technological advances of over 1500 exhibitors. It’s an exciting place to be… there is a tangible buzz generated from the proximity of so many industry experts and enthusiasts, from veteran business leaders to smart start-up engineers.

My overwhelming take-away from the event was of the continued pervasiveness of the cloud and the cloud services ecosystem. Media management in the cloud, transcoding in the cloud, metadata in the cloud, playout in the cloud, archive to the cloud, cloud DVR, cloud UI rendering, cloud collaborative editing and post-production… and more. The barrier to entry for service providers to launch new, cost-effective, value-add features has never been lower, leveraging the scalability, reliability and efficiency gains that cloud computing together with the SaaS model enables. The movement from hardware to software services is also a driving force behind a slower but inevitable transition, that is, the adoption of IP for the end-to-end video signal path from camera to cutting room to consumer.

At the Cisco Booth

cisco-advanced-advertising-tv-audience-analytics

I was privileged to be exhibiting on the main Cisco stand, demonstrating a product which I’ve helped develop. Videoscape TV Analytics is a cloud service which provides deep insights into the viewing population: both who they are and how they use your service.  We are able to predict Read More »

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