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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 8): Stretch Clustering

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, storage industry luminaries Chad Sakac  (@sakacc) of EMC and Vaughn Stewart (@vstewed) of NetApp discuss the concept of Stretch Clustering, a topic they’ve been covering at tech events for awhile now. Check out their discussion here:

 

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
Collaborative Storage Unicorn, courtesy of Chad Sakac and Vaughn Stewart

Collaborative Storage Unicorn, courtesy of Chad Sakac and Vaughn Stewart

For more information on stretch clustering and all storage topics, be sure to check out Chad’s blog and Vaughn’s blog. Questions, comments, thoughts? Post them here or join the conversation with @CiscoDC on Twitter!

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Ask the Data Center Security Expert Series: Your invitation to participate!

I am pleased to be kicking off this Ask the Data Center Security Expert series at Cisco. This series is aimed at security professionals, partners, data center teams, and IT business decision makers and will address key security issues around virtualization, cloud and anticipated issues associated with trends such as the Software Defined Data Center. The series will take the form of blogs, videos, NetSec chats, and webinar panels. I have an array of expertise lined up ranging from key reseller and technology ecosystem partners, industry leaders and luminaries and internal Cisco experts. Stay tuned for the first in this series coming to you next week out of Singapore.

To get started, a little about me – I was very excited to commence a data center and security solutions marketing role at Cisco 3 weeks ago.  I have over 12 years experience developing holistic security solutions and have been focused on data center and cloud for the last 3 years.  I currently chair the Cloud Security Alliance Cloud Controls (CCM), an industry effort dedicated to harmonizing regulatory controls for decreased compliance complexity and also have been bridging efforts with other industry associations such as the Open Data Center Alliance. Read More »

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A post-Halloween guide to Cloud Maturity

Guest Blogger: Jamie MacQuarrie (@JMacQuarrie) has been working on Cisco’s cloud solutions, strategy and alliances since joining Cisco with the acquisition of newScale in April 2011. At newScale, he held product management positions focusing on data center automation and the evolution of traditional data centers to cloud operating models. Prior to joining newScale, he held product management positions at BMC Software and IT management positions at Washington Mutual bank. He started his career at Marimba, which was acquired by BMC Software in 2004.

We’re now into November, and though Halloween has come and gone, Cisco still has one last treat for everyone: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1.

There have been a number of blog posts on the veritable cornucopia of features in IAC 3.1, so instead I’ll offer up this fun look at cloud maturity and extend the Halloween season just a little bit longer.

So tonight at 3am, long after your kids have gone to bed and you’re wired from eating all of their candy, instead of surfing the web trying to find the bottom of the internet, let me suggest a few more productive activities:

  • Take a look at the Intelligent Automation blog posts
  • Figure out what kind of Jack o’ Lantern your cloud strategy resembles
  • Take your actual Jack o’ Lantern off your porch before it start attracting flies

And yes, that is a photo of a carved watermelon….It’s more popular than you might think.

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Algo Boost Series: Part 2 Customer Perspective on Cisco Nexus 3548

On October 5th I posted part 1 of the Algo Boost series with a fantastic discussion around the latency innovations on the Nexus 3548. Today, we announced that these units are now shipping to customers and the much anticipated wait is over to get this game changing technology! This is perfect timing as I introduce part 2 of the series with Errol Roberts, Distinguished System Engineer for the top Data Center accounts, to bring a customer perspective to the ultra-low latency Nexus 3548 in a High Performance Trading fabric.

[GD]  I know that you spend a lot of your time talking with customers. What are our Financial Services customers telling you about their environments and requirements?

[ER] When meeting with these customers, I like to ask a single question – “What value can an infrastructure company provide to high-performance trading workloads”.  Key points relating to the switching are captured by the following:

  • First, customers ask for a network solution and architecture that provides them with the fastest end-to-end functionality. Providing the “Lowest latency possible” is one vector, another vector being a rich “feature-set” answering the different architecture and network requirements end-to-end. Naturally there is a need for speed while at the same time providing the features within the same device. For example in collocated High Frequency Trading environments; the lowest latency being key; it’s not the only factor; support for the routing protocol such as BGP, multicast with PIM Sparse mode, ultra low latency SPAN at linerate with multiple ports; this is achieved with the technology called Warp SPAN.
  • Next, “Handle microbursts”. Volatility is correlated. When you are running cross-asset class, cross-liquidity venue strategies, there is often short-lived congestion that increases latency. These volatile periods are often the most opportunity rich.
  • Also, “Unique features”.  They want features like Network Address Translation to meet their business needs. You don’t want these features to add latency. In fact you don’t want to have any of the L4 or services applied on the network to add latency.
  • Next, “Flexibility and Programmability”. They want to control their traffic flow, mirror relevant traffic, have fine-grained flexibility and also have reactivity on events. Python scripting language is a good example of automation. With Python script, you can have the switch react on different environmental changes such as a sanity check when the device comes online as well as for example triggering emails when the burst happening at the buffer level exceed for example 10 nanoseconds.
  • In addition, facilitate “Precision Time”. You cannot control what you cannot measure. Without precision time, you invest in an infrastructure and just hope you get optimal performance. With precision time protocol you can keep all of your servers and network elements highly synchronized at the nanosecond level.  You can even measure the accuracy of the tool through a 1 pulse per second output port. Also, the Nexus 3548 can timestamp traffic with IEEE 1588, which allows analyzers to replay events.

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Cisco UCS Servers with World-Record Performance are now Smart Plays

If you haven’t already found your way into Cisco’s new online UCS Build and Price portal, there are some very interesting “Smart Plays” awaiting you.  You can check our new UCS promotions page regularly to find the latest UCS Server Smart Plays such as the UCS B200 M3 Value Smart Play, currently offered (limited time) at only $7600.  This includes two Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2650’s with 16 cores, 64 GB of memory, one VIC 1240 and one VIC 1280 virtual interface card offering a combined 80Gb of IO throughput in a half-width blade server.  This blade server is a real powerhouse in a compact package and now it’s offered at an exceptional price through Cisco Build and Price.

See the new line-up of Cisco UCS blade servers and rack servers with Intel Xeon processors that just claimed another eight new world-record industry benchmarks.

Cisco UCS Performance Brief

Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server
These same servers are now available at competitive prices as Smart Plays on Cisco’s new Build and Price portal. Download specifications, performance reports and compare blade server prices on these popular servers while they last.

In his most recent Blog on October 8th, Girish Kulkarni highlights several new World Record Benchmarks for Oracle E-Business Suite on the UCS B200 M3 Blade Server.  You can see all UCS Rack Server and Blade Server World-Record Benchmarks on our Performance Benchmarks page on Cisco.com.

 

 

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