Recent results clearly reinforce the growing understanding that Cisco has unleashed a more highly evolved and effective solution into the computing ecosystem. While the principles outlined by Charles Darwin in Origin of the Species can stir controversy, I find them to be an accurate model for technology evolution and quite useful for describing how we’ve arrived at this latest watershed in the x86 server market.
Our first observation would be the extremely rapid rate of customer adoption for Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS). Darwin would tell us that there must be significant advantage in “fitness to purpose” inherent to UCS that have driven this velocity. This is certainly true. Looking back at where we’ve been and how we’re positioned to go forward, here are key factors I see at play that create these advantages for UCS adopters:
- Primitive incumbents in the server industry attempted converged infrastructure by choosing to combine compute and storage first. Cisco chose to converge compute and fabric first. This is a critical threshold event because it turns out that most optimizations for virtualization and cloud are fabric-oriented. With our Virtual Interface Cards we made server NICs and HBAs part of the fabric, not part of the server, a significant mutation in computing design. Further, Cisco abstracted every single identity and configuration element for servers, network access and storage into a programmable software model -- inventing fabric computing with stateless servers. Simple. Flexible. Resilient. Advantage: UCS
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Tags: Big Data, Cisco UCS, cloud, Convergence infrastructure, Darwin, data center, Gartner, nexus, tco, x86
With Cisco Live! in Orlando on the horizon, we are kicking off the news cycles and technology innovation a little early. Today we’re teaming with our friends at Citrix to announce the expansion of our virtual networking portfolio and provide clarity around our strategy for application delivery controller solutions.
There are two key elements of this strategy:
First, Cisco will begin reselling and supporting a customized version of the popular Citrix NetScaler virtual application delivery controller (ADC) as part of our Cloud Network Services portfolio. Branded Citrix NetScaler 1000V, the Cisco version of the product will be fully supported by the Cisco Technical Assistance Center. We will begin selling the NetScaler 1000V when available in Q3 CY 2013.
Secondly, Cisco and Citrix have worked on joint development to tightly couple the NetScaler ADC into Cisco’s virtual networking framework. This joint development includes integration of NetScaler 1000V with the Cisco Nexus 1100 Cloud Services Platform, and the Nexus 1000V services integration technology, vPath.
Cisco’s Cloud Network Services strategy bridges IT to application architects, and with this Citrix NetScaler 1000V announcement, we integrate virtual applications to Cisco Unified Fabric, delivering scalable, reliable application services to users.
Why is NetScaler 1000V the right solution now?
Advances in cloud computing, data center consolidation, mobility and big data are imposing new demands on the network, along with a drive for greater network simplification and automation.
As virtual networking and programmable overlay networks evolve to meet these challenges, an equal evolution needs to take place in Layer 4-7 application networking services and security to support widespread virtualization, application mobility, cloud architectures and network orchestration.
Cisco’s solution to this challenge is Cloud Network Services, a portfolio of integrated, application-aware network services and security offerings designed for virtual and cloud environments. The Cloud Network Services framework eliminates the obstacles of physical service appliances to accommodate the requirements of virtual applications and cloud deployments, such as:
- Limited scalability of physical services in fixed locations
- Inconsistent application performance based on workload location relative to services
- Difficulty in inserting security and network services into virtual networks
- Lack of control over services and policies for applications deployed at cloud service providers
The NetScaler 1000V virtual ADC
NetScaler 1000V fills an important void in Cisco’s virtual product architecture for an application delivery controller solution to give applications critical performance enhancements, offload application servers, and to help guarantee quality of service and improve end user experience. These requirements are growing exponentially with the increases in bring-your-own-device (BYOD), client mobility, and cloud migration.
Virtual services can be more flexibly deployed to cloud service providers without modification, while relying on the same infrastructure and policies that they might have with corresponding physical appliances in their on-premises data centers. With NetScaler 1000V, customers can have consistency across their physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures, along with the Citrix NetScaler physical appliances.
The Cisco Cloud Services Platform
With the evolution to Cloud Network Services as the Layer 4-7 framework for virtual and cloud networks, organizations are increasingly looking for a flexible platform to deploy these virtual service nodes rather than use existing application servers. Cisco has created the Nexus 1100 Cloud Services Platform to address this need.
The Nexus 1100 Cloud Services Platform is a series of UCS-based appliances dedicated to running Cloud Network Service nodes. In addition to the virtual services listed above, the Nexus 1100 runs the management platforms for the virtual network, the Virtual Security Module (VSM), and the Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) application. The Cloud Services Platform can be dynamically configured to allocate its virtual CPUs to each service as needed based on current application and performance requirements. Current models of the Nexus 1100 series include the Nexus 1110-S and 1110-X.
vPath: The Secret Sauce to Enabling Services in Virtual and Cloud Networks
vPath is a component of the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch which directs traffic to appropriate virtual service nodes, such as firewalls or ADCs, in the right order for each application, independent of the topology of the network or the location of the network services. This allows for greater application mobility and more reliable service delivery. NetScaler 1000V will be integrated into the Cloud Network Services framework via vPath and will be a key differentiator against other ADC products.
As part of the Cisco-Citrix collaboration in next generation data center and cloud architectures, the Citrix NetScaler MPX line of high performing application delivery controllers will also attach to the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series switches. This capability will provide customers the benefits of higher resiliency, plug and play installation, improved agility, and increased leverage of both their switching and ADC investments.
All of the Cisco Cloud Network Services, including the Citrix NetScaler 1000V, will be on display next week at Cisco Live! Along with other announcements we have planned for data center and cloud networking, it promises to be a great event and we hope to see you there.
For more information, check also the press release here
Tags: 1000V, Cisco, citrix, cloud, Cloud Network Services, data center, NetScaler, security, virtualization, vPath
This blog shares some terrific news from my colleagues in Japan. Cisco took six awards at Interop Tokyo 2013 last week, including the top prize for Service Provider/Carrier segment with our new CRS-X core router which launched last week.
- CRS-X Grand Prix in SP/Carrier segment
- Nexus 6000 Grand Prix in DC segment
- Cisco CGR Grand Prix in IoT/M2M segment
- Cisco CMX Grand Prix in ShowNet Demo segment
- Cisco Nexus 1000V InterCloud Special Award in Cloud Platform segment
- Cat3850 Special Award in Enterprise networking
The breadth of these wins – across Read More »
Tags: Cisco, core, CRS-X, data center, Service Provider, Softbank, Tokyo Interop
Witnessing the advent and momentum of Open Source into the broader enterprise, and “the mainstream” Data Center, has been incredible. Many will look back and recall a time when Open Source was met first with a look of confusion, and following not too far behind, a reaction of fear. With that, consider how far we’ve evolved.
Taking a snapshot over the past few months, I reflect on some of the highlights from a Data Center and Cisco UCS perspective.
The Open Source Business Conference held not too long ago, centered the conversation around previously uncommon mates. “Open Source” and “Business” used in the same sentence once stirred some emotion, though not today. The notion now fuels curiosity and enablement, and both were alive and well in San Francisco with OSBC. Leaders in the space, spanning established household Data Center vendors were well represented in breakout sessions and thought provoking topics on the show floor, alongside the “up and coming” vendors in Open Source. Linux granddaddies Red Hat and SUSE also offered the Enterprise Linux perspective, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst taking the stage on the conference’s opening morning. Whitehurst acknowledged the event’s commendable 10th anniversary, and touted the innovation and collaborative successes of Open Source, while reflecting on Red Hat’s significance and market leadership. SUSE kept the Enterprise Linux subject current, presenting SUSE’s role in Big Data workloads, where attendees may have pondered “What would Big Data look like, and be today, without the success and progress of the Open Source movement?”
An “open cloud” panel featuring several notable figures in Open Source leadership for cloud infrastructure, including Marten Mickos of Eucalyptus Systems and Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud, shared insight on how today’s generation of Open Source leaders are shaping the future of cloud software stacks, infrastructure, and API (read: interoperability). This proved to be a fascinating discussion on project governance, expectations of Open Source, and how customers leverage Open Source to deliver the applications of tomorrow.
Open Source @Cisco
Cisco Open Source Days provide an opportunity to share, learn and grow. Cisco engineers and product teams descend on the San Jose campus packed with an agenda to share knowledge and best practices, new developments in the community, exchange ideas and share successes, and inspire new ways of delivering software and products. This year featured a cornucopia of topics that would make any card-carrying Open Source geek blush. Typically there are multiple tracks and this year included Big Data and Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Everything and a few select topics in the Networking and Data Center interest areas. Cisco teams have an incredible opportunity to learn and collaborate, which ultimately benefit the Open Source community and our customers. Attendees enjoyed thought provoking and engaging presentations, including appearances by Chris Wright from Red Hat, and Troy Toman from Rackspace within the Cloud track, as well, our very own OpenStack leaders within Cisco. Overall there were great takeaways on collaboration and innovation, project participation and furthering common goals through upstream contribution, and solving market problems through emphasis on differentiation rather than upstream code nomination. Another memorable moment, I personally enjoyed Chris Wright’s comical reference to the IFC television comedy, “Portlandia”, referring to the popularity of API’s with “Put an API on it”.
Open Source in the Cisco UCS powered Data Center
One of the most exciting aspects in my role revolves around connecting Open Source innovations with Cisco’s UCS x86 based platforms. Software and API enable many integration use cases most people are not used to expect from server and infrastructure platforms. “Software Defined” is used quite liberally these days, with ” Software Defined __Fill_In_The_Blank__ ” found where it probably shouldn’t be. I digress, Open Source is at the core of these “Software Defined” possibilities, enabling vendor agnostic API structures and interfaces as an alternative to traditionally proprietary closed-configuration products.
The conversation with customers today is less “Oh, Cisco makes servers?” and more about, “Help me learn more about your software integration capability in my Data Center infrastructure.” Once customers deploy UCS, they quickly realize the efficiencies and power derived by the Cisco UCS Service Profile, and the level of control and manageability not available with other solutions. For Data Center management requiring a view into their systems’ availability, the UCS XML API provides that ability, where the customer’s software may retrieve, configure and automate infrastructure that previously required manual intervention. We truly feel this enables a unique “Software Defined Infrastructure” way of managing applications, availability and user workloads through software, previously not seen without custom hardware and software integration.
It’s an exciting time for Open Source, and for computing platforms like Cisco UCS which provide an open and extensible ability to deliver on business demands of tomorrow. Exciting times are definitely ahead as customers increasingly adopt Open Source, its flexibility, advances, and innovations, into the broader enterprise and mainstream computing spaces.
How far have we come? Further reading: “From subversive to mainstream: Looking back on 18 years with Linux“
Tags: Cisco UCS, data center, datacenter, Enterprise, Linux, OpenStack, XML API
How can you get your data center off to a smooth start? At the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit this week, I presented three data center innovations that hold the key to accelerating business securely.
Ease of provisioning
According to a recent Cisco IT case study, data center provisioning times have decreased from eight weeks to 15 minutes. Security must do the same to realize the full benefits of data center automation.
Often, businesses have trouble implementing this vision because of their existing IT. The people and their skill base, the processes they use and even the technology they have implemented, are very silo-based. It is not designed to integrate into an automated, on-demand model.
There are many challenges imposed by siloed technologies when you attempt to converge or virtualize these environments. A common issue is when storage and server platforms were not designed to work together. This necessitates expensive service engagements to build. Additionally, in order to hide the associated complexity, expensive management software has to be deployed to “simplify” infrastructure deployments. This approach just doesn’t work. The result is increasing complexity that makes the architecture brittle and costly.
At Cisco, we believe it is important to look for a solution that doesn’t look at technologies, processes, and people in isolation. You can enable a powerful IT by taking a unified approach and working with technologies that are designed to work together. Your IT can be a service foundation that redefines data center economics and delivers performance, reliability, and business innovation. Unification is the element that will deliver that.
Maximized Network Performance and Resilience
On a unified network, IT can ensure the highest levels of network performance and business continuity through:
• 8x performance density over competitive firewalls and up to 1.9 million new connections per second and 80 million maximum connections per second enables Cisco firewalls to meet the most stringent performance requirements
• Eliminating compromise, retrofits and disruption to network design via Virtual Portal Channel and FabricPath integration for increased efficiency
The third innovation that can streamline your data center and accelerate your business is actionable security intelligence. A secure network can differentiate by users and their multiple devices, differentiate applications, know behaviors and ultimately confirm IT policy is aligned with business. Building trusted chains that extend from the user to the application and are uniquely aligned to business context, can ensure efficiency and security.
Learn how Cisco can help you to leverage these innovations to accelerate your business securely.
Follow me on Twitter @e_desouza and discover my other presentation at Gartner in my previous blog Everything’s in the cloud : Now What?
Tags: Cisco, Cisco Security, Cisco Unified Fabric, data center, data center architecture, data center security, fabric, firewall, integrated security, it security, network security, secure infrastructure, security, security intelligence, virtualization, vPath