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Watch this space for Data Center and Cloud Transformation – Exciting News – and if you are at the Gartner Data Center conference…

In Cisco Data Center Services, we’ve been building towards this for the past 3 or 4 years.  We’re formalised our approach over the past year.  Our early adopter customers have already given us terrific feedback.

And tomorrow I’ll start telling you all about this via a series of blogs.  Follow me on Twitter (@StephenSatCisco)  for a quick summary as the series progresses.

Now, if you are at the Gartner Data Center conference this week in Las Vegas, please do drop by the Cisco stand and seek out the Cisco Services team and my good colleague, Erik Vogel, a director in our Data Center Services practice team.  He’ll tell you all about it today!

So watch this space – you heard it here first!!  (Wow, I’ve always wanted to say that :-))

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UCS: Foundation for Cloud

A story came out today showcasing the platform built to power Xerox Managed Print Services (MPS), and it’s hard to describe better example of how Cisco’s data center technology comes together to help unlock the full potential of cloud computing.  In the lead-up to this release and the webcast that we’re airing this Thursday, I had the pleasure of working with Tom Force who leads up the architecture team at Xerox that built the MPS cloud.  What I heard him describe illustrates some of the fundamental differences in UCS that come into play for cloud builders:

  1. Fabric-centric design.   MPS is a cloud based service and hosts over a hundred applications.  Many of these are multi-tier apps and they benefit directly from the fact that every server in a UCS environment is connected to a single high performance, deterministic, low latency fabric.  This eliminates hops between servers and opens up the platform to support intense E/W traffic within the servers that collaborate to deliver services.   Contrast this to traditional architectures that put layers of switching between servers with in-chassis blade switching modules.  The performance gains were noticed and communicated by Xerox customers to Tom, and that is the end result that really matters
  2. Form factor agnostic design.  In UCS a server is a server is a server regardless of the shape of the box.  The Xerox MPS cloud leverages blade and rack servers as and where they make sense and the architects and administrators can manage them all in one abstracted pool of resources.  No other platform so fully eliminates the concerns of what shape the sheet metal is.
  3. A unified control plane exposed via XML API.  The MPS cloud is orchestrated with vCloud director.  The deep integration between UCS Manager and cloud platform SW enables automated discovery and configuration of new compute resources as they’re added to the system.  This creates the true elasticity and automation that a cloud of the magnitude of Xerox MPS demands.   Programmable pools of abstracted computing and network elements is what separates a robust cloud from one built on a brittle, manual infrastructure foundation.
  4. UCS Manager Service profiles:  Simplification of server image types and elimination of configuration drift as applications move from development through test, staging and deployment was a big win for the Xerox IT team.  Having a infrastructure that can be reliably and accurately provisioned and maintained, both in the primary and remote DR sites is another area Tom cited in our conversations.
  5. UCS Central:  this is recently released technology that allows customers like Xerox to manage multiple UCS domains across the data center and across geographies.
  6. I’m sure i’m forgetting something but I’ll go with 5 unique attributes for now.

You have to love it when a plan comes together. **

 

**Fictional rendering of Tom Force

This Thursday, the Xerox team is joining us for a dynamite webcast we’ve pulled together to talk about UCS and laying the right foundations for cloud.  James Staten of Forrester, who is THE MAN on cloud, helps us kick it off and we also have architects from FICO joining to talk about their private cloud design.   If you’re in the business of looking at infrastructure strategy for cloud computing this is one you don’t want to miss.

Check also Xerox case study 

 

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Cisco, Forrester, Xerox, Fico, address 5 foundational questions to build a successful cloud infrastructure

At the Gartner DC conference in Las Vegas, Cisco SVP and General Manager Data Center Group  David Yen delivered a key note speech yesterday highlighting the importance of a convergence infrastructure (starting with UCS)  for the deployment of cloud. (I will have very soon the opportunity to share more about David Yen’s presentation – Stay tuned)

As Cisco Jim McHugh, VP Unified Computing Systems Marketing,  stated recently  “Without doubt, one of the great appeals of cloud computing is its near limitless potential. The industry has painted a world of clouds that are elastic and adaptable, ready to respond to just about any business need in the future. Although each organization’s path to building clouds is (and should be) unique, not all paths will deliver on the full potential of the cloud.”

And Forrester James Staten, Vice-President , Principal Analyst, Forrester research , Inc.,  one of our webcast panelists on December 6, wrote :
“Since cloud became a household word, vendors and enterprises alike have jumped to declare victory on cloud with services and infrastructure implementations that really don’t deliver cloud value but have the same foundation: something we call “cloudwashing.” This is a dangerous gambit as you claim legitimacy but don’t activate the same economics, deliver the autonomy that cloud services offer to your internal users, and aren’t standardized or automated enough to deliver
transformative agility. In other words, you claim cloud but are achieving only incrementally better value

So here are 5 questions that you may want to address on your journey to the cloud

What is the role of open infrastructure programmability in achieving the full potential of the cloud ?
How the right foundation can help your cloud for true elasticity and scalability ?
What are the architectural decisions that can affect future speed of service delivery ?
Why clouds require extensive automation down to the physical layer?
What are the infrastructure capabilities that support resource distribution with complete transparency and simplicity?

On December 6 at 9:00 am PST , Cisco Jim Mchugh  and Forrester James Staten as well as
Jeff  Hanson, IT Engineering Lead, Fico Corporation
Rick Schlander , IT Engineering Lead, Fico Corporation
Tom Force, MPS technology Delivery Officer, Xerox Corporation
and Satinder Sethi, VP Data Center Solutions, Cisco
will debate  these questions during an unique webcast . (registration here)

Read More »

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My Other Computer is a Vblock!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was in London last week at a conference.  I picked up the badge shown  in the photo below, and it made me laugh, and I thought it would be a good image to pass on.  VCE’s Vblock was the only example of converged infrastructure on show there.

My Other Computer is a Vblock!

 

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Living with the Programmable Cloud

Private cloud is surrounded by its own mythos–some folks believe it doesn’t exist and some folks believe its something that will only be enjoyed by future generations.  So, Cisco IT is living proof that private cloud is something that is very real.  This week, tomorrow in fact, John Manville SVP for Cisco IT, will be presenting a session at Gartner Data Center on Cisco’s private cloud environment, Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services or CITEIS.  John will explain how Cisco has woven together all the elements (compute, network, storage, automation, orchestration, provisioning, etc) into a cohesive offering that serves our production workloads.  John will also share the TCO savings captured to date and how he sees CITIES evolving over the next few years.

Diagram  from the white paper “How Cisco IT Automated End-to-End Infrastructure  Provisioning In an Internal Private Cloud”

If you are at Gartner DC in Las Vegas this week, be sure to check out his session, The Programmable Cloud, tomorrow (Dec 4) at 1:45pm in Titian Ballroom SPS 28–he’ll also be at the Cisco booth (#432) after the session to answer questions.

If you are not at Gartner DC, stay tuned for a coming interview with John Manville, and meanwhile you  may want also to take advantage of our coming webcast o see how industry peers are doing to solve the very challenges Cloud adopters face. Tune in to the webcast UCS : Foundation for Cloud on December 6 at 9:00 am PST  to hear from Cisco UCS customers Xerox and FICO Corporation, about how and why they used it in their Cloud environments.

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