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Looking Back on Intelligent Automation at Cisco Live in San Diego

If you missed Cisco Live earlier this month or if you didn’t get a chance to see our Intelligent Automation demos and attend our sessions, you will want to read this blog!

It was the busiest event of the year for Cisco’s Unified Data Center and Unified Management team, with over a dozen breakout sessions and several theater presentations featuring our management software, as well as a call-out in the CTO keynote. Our experts, customers, and partners were actively talking about and demoing our software throughout Cisco Live.

One of our popular demos at the show used Hadoop and Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler to extract data from Twitter with social media activity at the event. This app runs a Hadoop MapReduce job every 5 minutes to track Cisco Live tweets, showcasing workload automation and big data. Check it out here.

The Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition was another hot demo at the event, with lots of interest from IT departments that want to get started quickly with a private cloud running on Cisco UCS.  Check out the recorded demo here and the theater presentation here.

For more Cisco Live highlights, here are some videos featuring some of the Intelligent Automation team, our partners, and customers:

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Accelerate UNIX to Linux Migrations with FlexPod – RedHat Summit 2012

Over the past years, with the growing success of UCS, the partnership between Cisco and Redhat  has been stronger and stronger. Cisco is a Gold Sponsor of the RedHat Summit 2012 in Boston, and the UCS platform has been once more again praised on stage in front of the 3000 participants . During his keynote address yesterday SAP Sybase’s Irfan Khan, senior vice president and chief technology officer, announced that  in two-tier SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) standard application benchmarks, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor running the SAP ERP 6.0 application achieved leading performance results  running on… Cisco UCS  servers *.

If UCS attracts more and more SAP customers, the Oracle customers can also rely on this platform to gain significant performances and reduce cost as they migrate from a Risc migration environment to Cisco UCS .Check the blogs from Cisco Timothy Stack on this topic.

One of the best way to achieve this migration from Unix to Linux, is certainly in deploying a solution such as Flexpod, presented at RedHat Summit 2012 by NetApp, which is a Silver Sponsor (see NetApp activities here) – So I ask  Jon Benedict  (@CaptainKVM) , oVirt board member and NetApp Sr Virtualization Solutions Architect to share with us what Flexpod can provide in this context.

“Anyone who has had to maintain a rigid, outdated infrastructure knows it’s a time-consuming and painful process. Prior to joining NetApp I was a Red Hat solution architect and led a mainframe migration project for a large financial services company running both Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Solaris. We were confronted with an issue that impacted both platforms; getting the issue resolved with Red Hat and the newer Solaris versions was relatively straightforward but custom-tweaked applications running on older, end of life platforms required a ridiculously expensive per system financial investment. A key outcome of the project was the requirement that the IT team create a plan for migrating older Solaris-based applications from UNIX to Linux.

FlexPod would have been a great way to handle this, but unfortunately this project was pre-FlexPod.

The Cisco Unified Computing System represents an ideal computing platform for Linux-based applications while the joint collaboration between Cisco, NetApp and Red Hat is key to accelerating this type of transition. Instead of just upgrading servers and the operating system, our pre-validated FlexPod data center platform enables you to modernize your infrastructure holistically with an integrated solution including Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp FAS storage. As my marketing guys love to say, “It’s a platform capable of meeting your needs today and scaling to meet your needs in the future.”  Like me, the comment looks fluffy but it’s solid.

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SAP IT Process Automation Powered by Cisco Software

Cisco’s Intelligent Automation  software helps our customers to achieve benefits such as lower TCO, greater efficiency, and greater business agility—without compromising stability, manageability, and security. Our automation software can be used for a broad range of IT processes, but we have a very unique and differentiated solution for the automation of SAP-related tasks. Last week, we announced a global reseller agreement that allows SAP to sell our Cisco Intelligent Automation for SAP software solution.

SAP views Cisco’s software as the preferred data center automation tool for SAP customers, and they are branding and selling our solution as SAP IT Process Automation by Cisco . With nearly 42,000 SAP customers worldwide, this is a great new channel opportunity for our automation software—and a great complement to SAP Solution Manager and Run SAP methodology.  It’s also a powerful example of the strong partnership between Cisco and SAP to meet our customers’ needs.

This video with my colleague Flint Brenton (senior vice president, Cisco Intelligent Automation Solutions) and Stephen Spears (senior vice president, SAP Application Lifecycle Management Software) provides an overview of the importance of this agreement and the value to SAP customers:

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Software Defined Networking for Service Providers: Data Center Fabric Analogies breakdown in the WAN

Lately I’ve been seeing some industry people trying to apply the principles of data center network fabric models to their Wide Area Networks (WANs), and implying that such can be extended through service provider WANs.  Data center fabrics and WANs are horses of very different colors with way too many differences for these perspectives to hold up.

Fundamentally they are different beasts with one more easily tamed than the other.   Data center networks generally have well known end points and well-ordered designs.

Multi-tenant Data Center Designs

Bandwidth within data centers is virtually unlimited relative to WAN bandwidth.  It is much more stable and constrained in its characteristics when it comes to things like latency, loss, jitter, capacity, restoration capabilities – all of which have significant influence on WAN services delivery.  The same data center network assumptions exist between each of the end points, which makes fabric modeling for data centers generally a good approximation and thus possible to use.

Some private WANs that interconnect data centers may align closely enough with a fabric model, making it a good enough approximation.  But this is a unique case and is essentially Read More »

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Learn How Enventis Generates Leads and Sales with Virtual Tour Video

Did you know that 93 percent of B2B buyers use search to begin the buying process (Source: Marketo). What’s more is that most buying cycles are 70 to 80 percent complete before companies are even willing to engage with sales people (Source: SiriusDecisions).

With statistics like that, wouldn’t you want to ensure your online assets provide the most compelling information about your products and services? After all, the goal is to get prospective customers to the finish line, preferably with you.

Enventis, a Cisco Gold and Unified Communications Master Specialized Partner, did just that.

They know prospective customers have a lot of options when it comes to selecting a data center for their network, server, and storage needs. Enventis also knows those prospective customers would have to travel great distances to visit their facilities located in Edina, Minnesota. So they created a virtual tour to help save on travel time and money, while providing an accurate view of what their data center looks like.

Want to see their tour? Watch the video below.

I chatted with Enventis Senior Marketing Specialist Elke Zimmermann about the making of the Enventis Data Center Virtual Tour video, the results that came out of it, and tips for creating your own virtual tour.  Read More »

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