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#EngineersUnplugged S3|Ep13: Software Defined Storage Continued!

September 18, 2013 at 10:42 am PST

Welcome back to the final episode of Engineers Unplugged, Season 3! It’s been quite a ride. This week, we take another viewpoint on the hot topic of software defined storage with Mike Slisinger (@slisinger) and Vaughn Stewart (@vstewed). Starting from the application owner’s perspective, this is a great 101 on the choices made on the road to the data center of the future. Let’s listen in:

Better stick to storage, not unicorns! Art by Mike Slisinger and Vaughn Stewart.

Better stick to storage, not unicorns! Art by Mike Slisinger and Vaughn Stewart.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

How far up the unicorn scale is your data center in regard to software defined storage? Post a comment below!

Thanks for your viewership and support of Engineers Unplugged. We’ll be on site at VMworld Barcelona, camera and whiteboard markers in hand. If you’ve got show ideas or questions, tweet me @CommsNinja.

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As Cloud Empowers Lines of Business, Challenges for IT

As the key delivery model for the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy, cloud is helping to drive sweeping changes across nearly all aspects of our lives. But while the growth trajectory of cloud has been carefully charted, there has been comparatively little insight into its impact on IT organizations. To gain a better understanding, Cisco® Consulting Services, in partnership with Intel®, undertook an extensive global survey of 4,226 IT leaders respondents in April-March 2013 to investigate cloud-driven IT change.

The Impact of Cloud on IT Consumption Models” study explored the dramatic changes affecting IT at all key consumption lifecycle stages — how businesses plan for, procure, deploy, operate, and govern IT. This is part two in a four-part blog series that will explore some of the findings of this study and discuss how today’s IT leaders can prepare for the new model for IT.

One of the clearest expressions of this cloud-driven change is the emergence of lines of business (LOBs) — human resources, sales, R&D, and other areas that are end users of IT — both as direct consumers of third-party cloud-based services, and as ever more prominent influencers of companies’ IT agendas. This represents a major paradigm shift from decades of IT tradition, when IT itself set the agenda and made all planning and procurement decisions.

Read More »

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ONE + ONE = 6: The New Enterprise Programmability Math

In my last blog I discussed how Cisco ONE Enterprise Networks Architecture fits with the Cisco ONE. Let’s now look at how the new Cisco ONE Enterprise Architecture provides at least 6 significant benefits to Enterprises. ONE + ONE = 6!

Problems that Enterprises are facing:

As enterprises are consolidating their IT infrastructure into private cloud (enterprise data-centers) or public/hybrid clouds they’re realizing massive economies of scale in application deployments. Further, they’re taking advantage of XaaS (Software/Infrastructure as a Service) offerings from Cloud Service Providers with Pay As You Go models that increase the speed of deployment and the agility of their business critical applications. This is a major shift in how applications are now being delivered over the WAN to their end-users in branch offices and on mobile/BYOD devices. IT consolidation and virtualization in the data-center are placing a lot of requirements on the enterprise WAN. Business agility and end-user and customer application experience are imposing critical requirements on the WAN. The major challenges that enterprises are facing with cloud migration are: Read More »

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Why virtualizing the Network is not the same as virtualizing the Server?

VMware launched NSX, its Network Virtualization platform at VMworld last week. In his keynote, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger portrayed Network Virtualization as a very natural extension to what VMware accomplished in Server Virtualization. However market fundamentals and early drivers for Server Virtualization are not quite the same as Network Virtualization. Hence any comparison and contrast between the two should be understood and weighed on in their respective contexts.

The drive for Server Virtualization fundamentally was an attempt to address the growing gulf between faster rate of technology advancement in server space relative to customer ability to utilize the excess capacity. It was a trend that was driven by the focus towards gaining efficiency in an era where cost was becoming important. Over nearly a decade now Server Virtualization has accomplished this goal of better utilization of assets:  And server utilization levels have increased by a factor of 4 over the years.

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Networks in the data centers today however do not suffer from this excess capacity problem. If any, the problem is the reverse – user demand for networks capacity continues to outpace what is currently available. As long as there remains a growing gulf between user expectations for capacity relative to technology advancement there will remain opportunity for vendors to innovate in this space. In other words unlike the server world, network virtualization does not shift the value away from the underlying infrastructure.

Server Virtualization is transforming IT by providing greater business agility. Goal of Network Virtualization should be to bring similar business agility for the network. However, this goal need not require complete decoupling of the virtual network from underlying physical network as some vendors may lead you to believe. Any goal of gaining agility by completely decoupling physical and virtual network can only be done with some confidence, by significant under-provisioning of the physical network. For if the bandwidth is plenty the overlays have less dependency on understanding or integrating with the underlying infrastructure. This shortsighted approach, which focuses on business agility, but ignores business assurance, will increase the network capital expenditure and operating expense spend over time. Note that even in the server world where compute efficiency was attained, the benefit did not come at any capex or opex savings. Capex savings attained on server hardware was offset by increased cost of virtualization software. And we have seen opex continues to increase over the last decade.

As IT increasingly begins to take on a service centric view, more intelligence will be needed at the edge – physical or virtual edge.  Cisco’s launch of Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) last July, address this view of an optimized fabric infrastructure with a more intelligent network edge that can enable any network anywhere, supporting transparent mobility for physical servers and virtual machines. Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) takes this a step further by enabling application-driven policy automation, management and visibility of physical and virtual networks. They however also integrate the physical and the virtual network for an agile service delivery that also assures full lifecycle user experience.

 You may want also to read on this topic

Dynamic Fabric Automation : http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns945/dynamic_fabric_automation.html

Shashi Kiran’s blog :  The Next Paradigm Shift: Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) gets ready to rumble 

Padmasree Warrior’s blog : Limitations of a Software-Only Approach to Data Center Networking 

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Clouds are Rolling into the Hotel Industry

Hospitality 3The hotel industry has traditionally managed IT applications and network infrastructure locally on property, which led to higher costs associated with having local resources on premises.  But now, many hotels have realized a need for greater operational efficiency and an ability to meet guests’ Wi-Fi needs. A virtual server seems to be the solution.

According to Gartner Inc., approximately 60 percent of servers will be virtualized by 2014, up from 12 percent in 2008.  Clearly, we are starting to see large businesses across multiple industries realize the benefits of virtualizing their server workload.  For example, one benefit is that IT executives are able to cut down the costs of storing data through physical hardware, which is both a costly and inefficient method. Without physical hardware, an on-site IT staff is no longer necessary which also reduces operational costs. Additionally, offloading information to the cloud helps free up bandwidth for guests and customers alike to utilize – a benefit very helpful to hoteliers that put the guest experience first. Read More »

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