Duct tape is pretty amazing stuff because its versatile and easy to use. That being said, sometimes, that versatility and ease-of-use means it gets used at times when maybe it shouldn’t.
This thought came to mind a couple of weeks ago at VMworld. Over the course of the show, I had a number of conversations with folks about tunneling and overlay network. For many (mostly non-networking) folks, it seemed like the best thing since sliced bread—it gave them the holy grail—flexible, agile, one-demand connectivity without having to talk to the network folks.
From a networking perspective, its kinda funny, since the concept of tunnels is a decades old technology. It’s always played a legitimate role in a comprehensive networking strategy (MPLS and IPsec VPNs for example) so its cool to see an old concept find new applications.
However, lest we be lulled into blissful slumber by the unicorns playing lilting melodies through their horns, its good to remember, as with pretty much everything in IT, there is no free lunch. While overlays networks make life simpler for the server admin or the virtualization admin, there are a couple of things to bear in mind.
From an operational perspective, the overlay environment becomes a second network that needs to be managed—often a dumber, less instrumented network. Somewhere, someone still needs to maintain a fully functioning, highly available, secure, properly traffic-engineered network that underpins that virtualized connectivity. Think of this as the difference between your checkbook and your checking account—just because you can write a check doesn’t mean there is money in the account to cover it.
Now, if you are not a networking dude or dudette, your first reaction may be “why do I care?” Well, when you start seeing performance issues on your tunnel, you start to see intermittent drops on your tunnel, or you need to demonstrate auditable regulatory compliance, then you start to care. While some folks propose that the underlying network becomes irrelevant once you start using overlays, the truth is that the strengths and weaknesses (performance, availability, security, manageability, etc.) of the underlying physical network are going to manifest themselves in in whatever rides on top. While overlay technology is undeniably useful, having an approach that leverages the intelligence of the underlying infrastructure (assuming any exists) is going to pay off in the long run.
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Tags: Cisco ONE, data center, Duct Tape, networking, SDN, virtualization
What comes to mind when you think about the color blue? Whenever I think about the color blue in nature, I’m transported to the clear blue skies and turquoise ocean waves of Hawaii. For many people, the color blue has a restorative quality: It’s invigorating and puts us back in control of priorities. My affinity for “all things blue,” is why I was attracted to this story about Cisco customer, BlueWave Computing, LLC., a cloud services provider based in Atlanta, Georgia. BlueWave’s existing server and storage infrastructure had reached its limits and was creating performance and reliability issues. That’s when BlueWave decided it was time for a change. They worked with Cisco to reinvigorate their data center, making it ready for next generation of cloud services, and clearing the way for “nothing but blue skies ahead.”
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Tags: Cisco, Computing, cooling, data center, power, server, UCS
On Tuesday October 9th at 9:00 am PST , NetApp will join the conversation between Cisco and SAP on Cisco UCS Data Center Solutions for SAP® Solution. An opportunity to discover how the SAP HANA® platform on Cisco UCS gives organizations instant insight into business operations. Registration here for the 10/9 Webcast.
NetApp, as well as Cisco, will be also present October 15-18 at SAP TechEd Las Vegas. In preparation of these events, I asked Thomas Stanley, NetApp VP Global Alliances and System Integrators to tell us more about NetApp, Cisco, SAP partnership.
NetApp’s strong partnerships with both SAP and Cisco have resulted in over ten years of breakthrough innovations. Our partnership with Cisco has led to pre-validated solutions such as FlexPod. By combining SAP applications with the FlexPod architecture, we delivered the SAP applications built on FlexPod solution to help SAP customers smoothly transition to the cloud. NetApp’s collaboration with SAP started with the joint development of Adaptive Computing; then came NetApp’s SnapManager for SAP product; and more recently, the integration with NetWeaver Landscape Virtualization Manager. So it makes perfect sense that the three-way collaboration would extend to delivering a scale-out solution for SAP HANA. In fact, SAP used NetApp storage systems internally for the development of HANA.
The Cisco and NetApp Scale-out solution for SAP HANA combines the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) with the innovative NetApp unified storage systems to deliver a high-performance, scalable infrastructure that works right out of the box. Cisco UCS enables SAP customers to manage an overall SAP data center with one management tool, Cisco UCS Manager. Thus, the system delivers network simplicity in a smaller footprint, resulting in lower capital and operating cost. NetApp storage has delivered powerful, shared access solutions to “classic” SAP and SAP Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) customers for many years due to its infinite modular scalability, high availability, and overall ease of deployment. Now SAP HANA customers can benefit from the same persistent storage. Using a unified storage architecture, NetApp solutions create a single end-to-end foundation for dynamic data management that can scale from small to large without sacrificing application performance and service levels.
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Tags: Big Data, Cisco, data analytics, data center, FlexPod, netapp, SAP, SAP. HANA
This morning the winner of our first weekly raffle was picked amongst the 200 correct answers! This lucky and smart participant will receive very soon a congratulations e-mail and in a few days his/her Apple iPad!
The race for the grand prize is definitely on! But don’t worry !
If you didn’t participate this week , you can still win points in answering the bonus questions before the end of the week-end ! How ? very simple
Check right away www.Facebook.com/ciscodc for the Unified data center IQ tab – This set of questions are worth 30 points – A great way to catch up if you missed this first week or to boost your Unified IQ if you are already in the race .
Now you may want to know what are the results for the first set of questions
The questions were related to our September 19th low latency data center switch announcement – At this time , we launched a new technology called Algo Boost and a ultra low latency Nexus 3548 , breaking the barriers of 200 nanoseconds !
 What is Cisco’s Algo Boost?
A new Cisco ASIC, with unprecedented speed, performance and visibility
Check the blog announcement
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Tags: Cisco, Cisco ONE, data center, SDN, Unified Data Center
The Nexus 3548 with Algo Boost was announced last week and received a lot of positive buzz around this game changing innovation. To follow up on Berna Devrim’s Introduction Blog, I am introducing a multipart series that goes into more specifics by Cisco experts. As part 1 of the series, I recently had the opportunity to have a chat with Will Ochandarena about the latency enhancements. Will is a Senior Product Manager in the Server Access and Virtualization Business Unit. In this role, he is responsible for the Nexus 3548 switch, and Cisco’s low latency switching strategy.
GD: The Cisco Nexus 3548 switch with Algo Boost was announced on September 19th and received a lot of positive attention. Can you elaborate a little more on the latency that this switch can achieve? How does this benefit our financial customers?
<WO>: The custom switching ASIC in the Nexus 3548, codenamed Monticello, sets a new bar for switching latency. Our engineers worked tirelessly to eliminate unnecessary nanoseconds from the forwarding path, tweaking it down to as low as 190 nanoseconds (ns). Best of all, this latency is achieved even when we are doing full layer-2 and layer-3 switching, with features such as Network Address Translation (NAT) enabled. We actually went as far as to offer a few different switching modes, each with different latency and forwarding characteristics, in order to give our customers the most flexibility in their deployments.
In terms of the impact on our end customers, we consistently hear from companies in the financial community that switch latency has a direct impact on the profitability of their business. Trading firms – as well as the exchanges and other participants – gain significant business advantage if the supporting infrastructure enables them to acquire data and execute trades nanoseconds faster than the competition.
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Tags: Algo Boost, Algorithm Boost, data center, high performance computing, high performance trading, High Performance Trading Fabric, High-Frequency Trading, HPC, latency, Nexus 3000, Nexus 3500, Nexus 3548, Nexus 3K, ultra-low latency, Unified Fabric