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#EngineersUnplugged S4|Ep5: Secure the Infrastructure!

November 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm PST

We all know we need it, but no one wants to talk about. Today, we break through that taboo. Secure the Infrastructure! This bold declaration brought to you courtesy of Matthew Brender (@mjbrender) and Mike Foley (@mikefoley) as they talk about how to use a hardening guide, and how to execute security in the real world. This is a great discussion about people, policy, and how not to be “the person who puts ‘no’ in innovation.”

Roll the video:

And it wouldn’t be Engineers Unplugged without a unicorn, in this case a security unicorn. Please do not try this at home.

Matthew Brender and Mike Foley with a secure unicorn, complete with ninja star and high kicks. We all feel more secure now.

Matthew Brender and Mike Foley with a secure unicorn, complete with ninja star and high kicks. We all feel more secure now.

What are you seeing in the industry? Agree or disagree, post a comment, send a tweet, follow along using one of the methods below!

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

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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The Quickest Way To Get Started with ACI

November 19, 2013 at 10:26 am PST

By now, given all the launch and blogging activity activity over the past week or so, I am sure your understanding of and interest in Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) will have grown.   Many of you will be asking “how do I get started as quickly as possible?”, and “how can I free up some time and resources to investigate?”  You understand the “what” - now, as I blogged recently on SDN, it’s time to understand more about the “why” and take action on the “how”.   How then do you get off that start line as quickly as possible?

Get Set To Go With ACI

Get Set To Go With ACI

As with many things in life, it helps if you get help from someone who has “been there” and “done that”.  And that’s where Cisco Services comes in, as Scott Clark, the VP for our Data Center Services team, introduced  last week.  So let’s talk about why Cisco Services should be your partner in this application centric world, and what services can help you.

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How a Cisco IT Team Uses the CITEIS Private Cloud

My team maintains and supports Cisco IT’s internal implementation of the Cisco WebEx Social collaboration platform. Cisco employees use WebEx Social for internal collaboration and knowledge sharing in online communities, and as a central repository for documents, videos, and other information resources. Read More »

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Building a Trusted SAP HANA Data Center

SAP®HANATM is a next-generation database platform for real-time analytics and applications. Although the in-memory, columnar relational database debuted only recently (in June 2011), it has quickly become the fastest growing product in the history of
SAP AG. Already proven enormously successful for analytics, SAP HANA now supports SAP Business Suite, SAP’s flagship enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. It has also been identified as the focus for innovation for SAP. To prepare for
this eventuality, enterprises are considering ways to make SAP HANA “data center-ready.”

Since SAP HANA is the fastest growing product in SAP history, the data center needs to be trusted as well. Here is a chart on the requirements of SAP as it relates to SAP HANA

The Five Essential Characteristics of a SAP HANA Hardware Platform

SAP_HANA_whitepaper_22Oct2013_Figure1

Find the full story about how SAP HANA users are choosing the Unified Computing System server platform to build their trusted data center in this comprehensive white paper.

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Ecosystem for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Tackles Application Agility

November 8, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

Yesterday, Nov 6, Cisco unveiled details of the Application Centric Infrastructure with an ecosystem of partners that share our common view -- IT is in need of a transformation to create the Application Economy.   Some key technology leaders spoke about the application lifecycle impact of an open and centralized policy model for complete infrastructure automation, including configuration, operation, monitoring, and optimization.  I’d like to recap a few of those comments here today.

During the ACI announcement, Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President in Microsoft’s Windows Server and System Center Group (WSSC), said that

virtualization has unshackled applications from the hardware in the past.  But now with ACI we can do much more.  So first of all, we can have the applications be able to describe their needs for more rapid provisioningSo with the view we can get across physical and virtual, we can see what is happening with the application, we can optimize the infrastructure for the application, and do more rapid troubleshooting.

…the integration with Microsoft cloud OS and UCS is really remarkable.  Literally you have a common way to automate everything from the application, down to the operating system, down to all of the hardware level components.  But ACI gives us the ability to do some really remarkable things..

Imagine how Exchange, Sharepoint and Linc -- being able to be shipped with ACI policies that now describe out how exactly the network should be configured, how it should be optimized, and automatically be provisioned across physical and virtual in a holistic way.  That’s the kind of value we are going to be able to deliver together.

On The Official Microsoft Blog,  Satya Nadella, EVP, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft,  blogged:

“…These new solutions are designed to improve business agility and reduce cost by driving infrastructure automation in support of core business processes and applications. This next-generation infrastructure will deliver increased application performance, resource pooling, visibility, automation and mobility through:

· Converged ACI stacks that include fully integrated versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server, Exchange and SharePoint

I introduced the IT challenge posed by apps that behave differently in my earlier ACI post so now I want to point out that the new converged ACI stacks will fully integrate the operating system, orchestration, applications, server and network infrastructure to provide an enterprise customer with the application agility to rapidly deploy Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint, scale and upgrade them, and also to decommission them.

Many next generation distributed cloud applications are being written on open source platforms.  For a view on what ACI means to a leading open source cloud platform, OpenStack, let me quote what Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO of Red Hat, said at the launch:

…there’s a whole set of functionality that is required to run a portfolio of true production applications and be able to run a diverse set of applications and to make sure that you can actually guarantee the performance levels that you need. The great thing about ACI is it provides that really differentiated functionality that enterprises need, even on open platforms, but at the same time, it does it with open standards, open APIs, and an open ecosystem so that customers get the benefit without being locked in and maintain the flexibility they are looking for going forward.

For more on Openstack and ACI, see this video – Application Policy and OpenStack – which explains how the DevOps community can extend agile processes to network infrastructure.

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