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Water, Water Everywhere; Nor Any Drop to Drink

7,929 miles (12,761 kilometers) separate Melbourne, Australia from Sacramento, California. Despite being half a world away from each other, these cities have a few  things in common – both are capital cities, both had a rich history during the gold rush, and both enjoy a riverside view.

These cities have something else in common: their data centers are the backbone for supplying clean water to their citizens. And each data center is owned, operated, and managed by the local government.

 “780 million people lack access to clean water  – that’s more than 2.5 times the population of the United States,” — Water.org

Governments in cities like Melbourne and Sacramento aren’t unique in their quest to provide clean water to residents but the way they use technology, specifically their data centers, to accomplish this is something other organizations can learn from. The data center isn’t just the backbone for clean water…it’s the cornerstone of any network.

Business Challenge

The challenges faced by Melbourne Water and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) are common to many organizations.

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Cisco Validated Designs for Cloud -Part 2 – Cloud Service Assurance

Last week Tom Nallen introduced the concept and benefits of the Cisco Validated Design – So  I asked today Laszlo Bojtos, System Manager for the Cisco Cloud Service Assurance validation effort, to illustrate this concept with the recently published Cloud Service Assurance for Virtualized Multi-Services Data Center 2.2 Cisco Validated Design.   This design guide is one of the recent CVD releases in the Cloud systems management and orchestration area.  You can view the complete portfolio of Cisco Validated Designs for Data Center and Virtualization on Design Zone at  www.cisco.com/go/designzone/datacenter . We will cover this topic in two chapters , with a second chapter  more focused on the integration of Cisco Intelligence Automation for Cloud.

Q: Laszlo, last time we heard that Service Assurance is critical for companies, organizations and service providers looking to deliver cloud –based services.  Why is it so important?

A: Enterprises and Service Providers need to ensure that DC/Cloud services can be trusted and service levels ensured, hence they need to use advanced service assurance tools to automate service monitoring and issue resolution.  Cisco Systems Development Unit (SDU) identified key enterprise and service provider data center and cloud service assurance requirements and selected Zenoss Inc for Cisco Unified Data Center management implementation.  Cisco’s Cloud Service Assurance provides both fault and performance management with service impact and root-cause analysis.

As a DC/Cloud domain manager, Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance (CSA) provides comprehensive monitoring coverage for data center infrastructure components and workloads, and tracks ever-changing relationships between infrastructure components and applications automatically.  Zenoss CSA understands how business services make use of cloud resources and provides contextual root cause analysis to provide clarity during event storms, and ties cloud projects easily into existing management processes.

Q: And customers can purchase Zenoss CSA from Cisco, right?

A: Yes, Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance (CSA) became a Cisco SolutionsPlus product from Zenoss  and was added to the Cisco price list in September, 2012.

Q: OK, I’ve done a little research on Zenoss CSA. What is the difference between the original Zenoss Service Dynamics product and Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance (CSA) from Cisco?

A: Zenoss CSA was built from the same proven code base that powers Zenoss Service Dynamics. We worked with Zenoss on additional ZenPacks (product adapters) and new functions for complete Cisco Unified DC (VMDC reference architecture) coverage. Then, we created a Cisco Validated Design through the verification of this Zenoss CSA package in Cisco Virtualized Multi-service Data Center (VMDC) lab facilities. It’s pre-built and pre-tested to deliver success rapidly. Additionally, Zenoss CSA is licensed and priced with the Cisco Data Center in mind.

Two key new Zenoss CSA functions are expanded monitoring coverage and auto-discovery of VMDC networking devices.  The initial release covers Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and MDS 9000 series platforms, as well as the Nexus 1000v and Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), and the Nexus 2000, 5000, and 7000 series.  It also covers the Catalyst 6500 series and Virtual Switching System (VSS) with the Firewall Services Module (FWSM) and the Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) modules.   The Cisco Aggregation Services Router (ASR) series is also included in the monitoring and auto-discovery scope of Zenoss CSA.

The diagram below illustrates how Zenoss Cloud Service Assurance simplifies data center & cloud infrastructure management and provides a single API to other management applications (orchestration, chargeback, service desk etc.).

 

 

 

Q: And best practices to set this up are described in the CVD, right?  Briefly summarize the key technical benefits of Zenoss CSA one more time for us, Laszlo.

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Unified Data Center IQ Challenge : Two more weeks to win

As a quick reminder , to participate to this 6 weeks challenge and have a chance to win every week a new iPAD , you want to visit our Facebook page. The questions are submitted on Sunday midnight PST, and answers have to be provided  at the end of the week . Participation is easy and fun and allow you to collect points to compete for the highest IQ score. This best Unified Data Center “brain” will be the winner of the Grand Prize (valued US $2000).  Every week-end , you can answer bonus  questions, which give you additional points to catch up for the Grand Prize

Just a quick note today to share  with our numerous participants to the contest that this week challenge will be extended to Friday midnight PST  (instead of Friday noon) due to an outage on Monday , which impacted the access to the questions most of the day .

It’s a pleasure to introduce to you our last week winner Trevor Roberts Jr. (@VMtrooper
Trevor is a 15-year veteran of the IT industry.  As an Architect for VCE, he helps customers see the value of Cisco Data Center Solutions for Virtualization and Cloud Deployments.
Trevor believes the programmability of the Cisco UCS platform, especially, facilitates DevOps personnel realizing automation and orchestration goals that are challenging to achieve on other platforms.  This versatility allows IT departments and businesses to respond much quicker to customer demands.  Further, Trevor is excited to see how Cisco’s Software-Defined Networking (SDN) initiatives will spur the next evolution of Data Center Automation.
In his free time, Trevor enjoys travelling and blogging about applications of Cisco UCS and Nexus 1000V for Cloud at www.VMTrooper.com

If you haven’t entered the contest this week in answering the questions on virtualization it’s your opportunity to shine and win a new iPAD.

The questions as usual are pretty easy with multiple choice – You just need one correct answer to be eligible to win the weekly prize – Check out – If you know one answer you’d better go right away to Facebook to fill the form – All what we need is your e-mail address and your choices

  • Part of the Cisco multi-hypervisor strategy for Cisco Nexus 1000V , which solution is currently in beta?
    • Nexus 1000V virtual switch on the Citrix XenServer virtualization platform
    • Nexus 1000V virtual switch on Microsoft Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012
    • Nexus 1000V virtual switch the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) open source hypervisor for Linux
    • Nexus 1000V virtual switch on the VMware vSphere hypervisor
  • Which Citrix solution Cisco will include in its “Cloud Network Services” portfolio
    • High-performance NetScaler MPX appliances
    • Multi-tenant NetScaler SDX platforms
    • Software-based NetScaler VPX virtual appliances
    • All of the above
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What the Supermarket taught me about Big Data

Author’s Note:  I have no kids.  I have friends with kids, who used to be in diapers.  The kids were in diapers, not the friends.  I’ve changed a few in my day, but not nearly as many as my friends have. And yes this has some sort of relevance to this story…

 

In every trade show or conference there’s someone talking about Big Data.  They talk about algorithms, CPUs, memory, software stacks, cabling, racks, ROI, TCO, nodes, names, federation, centralization, organization until you get “the pitch.”  I’m not really interested in the pitch for why someone’s product is better than the other, I’m more interested in the “What is the Problem that you’re trying to solve?”  This to me gets to the root of Big Data,or  the consolidation of a set of diverse data sources with a multitude of data types for which you’re attempting to determine relationships and patterns amongst it. Phew. Got it?

Me neither, but I like to think in examples and this is where it dawned on me in the grocery store.

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Cisco UCS Servers – Making Ben Franklin proud

In my first blog post, I highlighted some of the benefits being seen by customers using Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) from Case Studies. In posts two, three, and four, I discussed reduction in cabling, provisioning times, and power & cooling in more detail. Today’s post will highlight three customers and their reduction in operating costs where, to quote Ben Franklin, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

EDIF Holding SPA– “We have reduced our operating costs by 75 percent while renewing the technology in our IT infrastructure, and we can now offer better continuity of service and a faster response to our customers.” Samuele Cerquetti, CIO

Seven Corners Inc.– “The system paid for itself in less than a year by recouping the more than $1 million the company had been losing annually due to network outages. The company also achieved a $475,000 reduction in operating costs within the first six months of buildout and saved $84,000 instantly by not having to renew software licenses on a number of virtualized servers.”

Avago Technologies – “Ordinarily, expanding from two to three data centers would be expected to increase operational costs by 50 percent. ‘Our operational costs will actually decrease by 40 percent when we expand from two to three data centers.’” Shreyas Shah, Senior Director, Global Information Technology

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