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Cisco Application Velocity – A Cisco Validated Design

Cisco Advanced Services has been involved in quite a few Data Center Migration projects over last couple of years. One common theme in most of these migrations was that the projects were never limited to infrastructure migration to shiny new devices. Statements of work almost always included improvements and customization to routing, configuration of QoS across the Data Center Interconnect and the WAN circuits, and to provide some level of instrumentation to validate the traffic flow across multiple different paths. While these requirements seem like a logical extension of any Data Center migration project, fulfilling these requirements was never straightforward.

In most of the customer environments, by looking at the Network topology, we could easily determine safe upper limits of client to server traffic. The real challenge was to determine traffic between the web front-end servers and the application and/or database servers – the east/west traffic.  Some wild assumptions were made in some cases since the data was either not available or was inadequate. This lack of network traffic profiling made QoS provisioning very difficult on WAN circuits and almost impossible on the Inter Data Center links.

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News@Cisco Week in Review and Look Ahead: April 11-15

TGIF! Busy week? Us too! Check out some of our top news stories of the week.

1.)  Cisco Opens New Green Data Center in Allen, Texas

Cisco today announced a new green data center in Allen, Texas, with an architecture that deploys Cisco’s entire data center technology portfolio — computing, switching and data storage access — to support Cisco’s internal private cloud and deliver IT as a service. Read more about the construction here.

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Cisco – Focusing on the Service Providers’ Success

The Cloud market is certainly heating up.  Last Thursday’s announcement from Dell of a $1B (US) investment in 2011 to enter the Cloud hosting market had me reflecting on their new direction. Dell is beginning a two-year build-out of ten data centers around the world to serve enterprises’ public and private Cloud needs. Earlier this year in a similar move, HP announced a set of new Cloud services they are offering ranging from consultancy, Cloud services, and equipment. These options included an “Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute” which will deliver private Cloud services directly from HP’s data centers to end-customers.

There’s a striking difference between Cisco’s strategy and those of HP and Dell.  HP and Dell’s strategies will be challenging for some of their customers, especially service providers.  Cisco’s strategy is to enable our customers to provide cloud services, whether service provider, public sector, or enterprise.

On one hand, HP and Dell are providing data center packages to enable SP Cloud delivery. On the other hand, both are investing to deliver Cloud services directly to end-users and bypass the service providers. While this is likely to further stimulate Cloud competition, it is directly competitive with service providers who wish to offer their own Cloud services.

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Data Center Domination

April 15, 2011 at 8:57 am PST
Chillin'

Chillin'

Strong title perhaps…but thats the kind of over the top messaging I have been practicing now that I am technically on a marketing team.  Today is the big day -- all the hard work of a great many people that spent the last several years dreaming, designing and then building what appears to me as the most advanced, eco-friendly data center as yet conceived…(there I go again).  Lots to promote here so bear with me -- first and foremost -- be sure and tune in today as they stream the grand opening event featuring our own Rebecca Jacoby and John Manville -- you can catch it live on the uStream channel: http://www.ustream.tv/ciscotv from 2:30 to 3:15 Central Time. (cause its in Texas!).  Jimmy Ray recently penned a nice run down of our own recent visit to this high impact low profile data center in his blog -- I thought I would share a couple of my favorite things.

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Data Center Constructed!

April 15, 2011 at 5:01 am PST

 

Overture, curtains, lights…

We’re formally opening a new Data Center today here at Cisco.  In light of that, let’s forgo Data Center Deconstructed’s usual video Q&A and spend some time kicking the site’s proverbial tires.

Located in Allen, Texas, the new Data Center is a tier 3 facility with a 38,000 sq. ft. (3,530 sq. m.) hosting area and powered by redundant 10 MW feeds providing 5.25 MW of capacity for IT.

An overhead view of Cisco's new tier 3 Data Center in Allen, Texas.

I participated in several of the design meetings for the Data Center and am enthusiastic about a lot of the features that have been incorporated into its design.  (No surprise, the facility uses all of the green strategies I discussed in Energy Efficiency Makes Two Kinds of Green and then some.)  A few of my favorite features:

  • The active-active configuration.  The Allen Data Center is linked to another tier 3 Data Center in Richardson, Texas, so each facility is a primary Data Center that also serves as a secondary facility for the other.  Cisco calls the pair a Metro Virtual Data Center – I call it really hard to knock offline.  (We like this model so much that we’re planning to build similar pairs in other theaters.)
  • The server cabinets.  As shown in the image below, the Data Center’s cabinets have exhaust chimneys that allow hot air generated by hardware to flow into a plenum space and avoid mixing with incoming chilled air.  This helps the cooling system operate more efficiently.  (We used a similar design in our Richardson Data Center, too.)
  • A rotary UPS.  If anything in a Data Center’s standby infrastructure is going to fail it’s the batteries, so I’m happy to dispense with a static UPS at this site.  The rotary UPS contains a large, spinning flywheel and in the event of a utility power failure that kinetic energy will supply several seconds of ride-through power, long enough to transfer the Data Center’s electrical load to standby generators.

Enclosed cabinets with vertical exhaust ducts (chimneys) help isolate hot and cold airflow.

These are some of my favorites, but they’re just part of what this Data Center has to offer.  For a deeper look, check out the interactive videos and detailed case study about the facility.  Happy viewing!

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