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Avoiding “VMs Gone Wild” In Your Data Center [updated]

February 28, 2011 at 10:39 am PST

Last post I covered some of the basics around VM networking. But, as we all know, there is more to networking than just packet transport. One of the biggest challenges with VM networking is security policy enforcement. The fundamental nature of server virtualization introduces a new set of challenges for both network and security admin to ensure proper compliance with infosec policy because of things like VM mobility, VM sprawl and potential loss of transparency. With the introduction of the Nexus 1000V we gave network and security admins many of the security tools they were already familiar with with physical Cisco switches--this should not be a surprise, since the Nexus 1000V is a full NX-OS switch. Last summer, we built upon this functionality with the Virtual Security Gateway. This zone based firewall was specifically desinged to meet the unique challenges of VM environments. Click on the pic for a quick 3 minute tour of the VSG

To dig into this deeper,
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VM Networking 101

February 21, 2011 at 1:15 am PST

As server virtualization continues its takeover, increasing attention is being paid to how we connect all those virtual machines as they zoom around the data center. Because server virtualization breaks the one application/one server model, new tools are necessary to facilitate operations and management. Additionally, the fact that workloads are now mobile introduces new challenges.

Over the years, we have released a number of industry firsts for virtual machine networking, including the Nexus 1000V virtual switch for VMware vSphere, OTV to support inter-DC workload mobility, and FabricPath to better support VM-networking in the data center.

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there regarding the technologies and standards related to access layer technologies, so, for this post, I wanted to dig into the VM-networking and where the related IEEE standards are going. Specifically, I am going to look at our old friend 802.1Q and two emerging standards: 802.1Qbg Edge Virtual Bridging and 802.1Qbh Bridge Port Extension.
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Sunny day at Cisco Live London 2011

February 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm PST

Cisco Live Europe is back , in Excel London this year, under a sunny day . And the Cisco Data Center team, working diligently with partners such as  APC, BMC, Citrix, Commscope, EMC, Intel, NetApp, Panduit, Rittal, VCE built a 2 rows Data Center of the Future demonstration, which showcases  Cisco data center and partners solutions and products : Unified computing – Unified Fabric Secure Multi-Tenancy – Unified Network Services – DC Switching (Access, Core, Aggregation)

In addition of the Data Center of the Future, our visitors have the opportunity  to visit 14 demo kiosks covering solutions (see below)

Tonight I invited for a Daily Blogger Techminute in London 3 great bloggers  : Cisco Lisa Caywood, NetApp Tim Waldron, and CA Technologies Steven Guthrie- Please check this video, where each of them share some highlights of the day.

Cisco CEO and Chairman John Chambers key note was the highlight of the day  - John Chambers was just coming back from theWorld Economic Forum where he met leaders such as the UK prime minister, and shared their growing  interest for the solutions that Cisco and the other technology leaders have to offer to develop at an increasing rate the economy and the productivity of the countries. In his speech, as he did in Davos, John Chambers reaffirmed that “ The network changes the way citizens work, live , play and learn, transforming competitiveness through innovation and productivity”
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Why Ethernet Wins, Reason #82: OpenFCoE

January 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm PST

Over the decades, Ethernet has maintained its role as king-of-the-networking-hill for two reasons:  1) a multitude of companies continue to expand the boundaries of Ethernet’s capabilities to keep it relevant, and 2) the the economics of Ethernet make it hard other protocols to grow beyond niche uses.

Today’s Intel announcement of Open FCoE is a prime example of this.  Over two decades, we have taken Ethernet from a “best effort” protocol to one that offers sufficient reliability to carry storage traffic.  However, it is the economic implications of this announcement that make this truly interesting.

With the X520 family of family of products, Intel now gives folks a simple, easy path to simplifying their data center by converging data and storage traffic onto common infrastructure. While the attendant cost benefits of a unified fabric in terms of both capex (less infrastructure) and opex (power, cooling, operations) and attractive,  possibly the more interesting aspect of this announcement is the risk mitigation and design flexibility this announcement offers.
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Healthcare and the Data Center

January 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm PST

One of the things we have been looking at recently is what we can do to help healthcare providers with Cisco Data Center Business Advantage.  What we are finding is that DCBA has a lot to offer in terms of reducing costs, delivering new services and tackling requirements such as electronic records management.  But…don’t take my word for it--we have a video event coming up where you can hear directly from our customers.

The show features IT executives from Moses Cone Health System and Virtua, both are nonprofit healthcare organizations with multiple hospitals, clinics, and outpatient facilities.

  • Steve Horsley, associate CIO for Moses Cone Health System, who will discuss healthcare IT challenges and data center requirements for improving patient care and operational efficiency.
  • Michael Heil, manager of technology infrastructure for Moses Cone Health System and “Health IT Guy” blogger, will present his organization’s deployment of the Cisco Unified Computing System and Cisco MDS storage solutions. Heil will explain how Moses Cone has transitioned to an electronic medical records system based on the Cisco Unified Computing System platform and Microsoft Amalga, a real-time data warehousing application designed for clinical data. Heil will describe the project’s IT goals, solutions, and benefits, as well as expansion plans for the future.
  • Paul Krihak, manager of enterprise infrastructure for Virtua, will describe challenges and opportunities for healthcare IT and describe how his organization’s commitment to patient care is realized through technology. Krihak will explain how Virtua transitioned to two key data centers to support new applications, a new regional health information exchange, and an increase in digital images, and willdescribe how the data center architecture allows Virtua to move virtual servers between data centers, reducing expenses and downtime.
You can watch the show this Thursday, Jan 27 at 11am-12 at http://www.ustream.tv/ciscotv

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