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Cisco’s Data Center Fabric Continues to Innovate

October 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm PST

As my niece was snapping away pictures on her digital camera, I told her about the ” back when I was a kid stories”; when you would have to be careful about the sun over exposing your film and having to anxiously wait days to see them.   I then rampaged on about how you would HAVE to go to the library to look up information for book reports, how my tape player always jammed on my favorite part of the song, and the video recorder my dad had was so heavy he’d use his shoulder to leverage the weight.  Amazing how dramatically technology is changing, information being only a click click away.

People are now living in the time of “faster” -- data, video, photos, social media, the demand is growing exponentially higher by the day.  How are networks keeping up with these demands? I’ll tell you one thing, it’s not sitting on the same data center configurations from 5 years ago, heck not even a year ago.   Listening to the requirements of customer’s needs,  data centers need to have scalability, flexibility, and speed to rapidly move across networks.

Today, Cisco has announced several industry leading innovations in the Nexus switching portfolio that spans across the Unified Fabric portfolio.  Please join us on October 25th at 9:00 a.m., PT to hear from industry analysts, customers and Cisco executives speaking in more detail about our product portfolio enhancements: “Evolutionary Fabric, Revolutionary Scale”.

Please also check out a great blog by Shashi Kiran, Director of DC/V on this topic: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/re-defining-fabric-scale-thinking-beyond-the-box/

To learn more: http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=500209

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What would you do with the world’s most scalable data center fabric?

For starters, you could download all 250 million photos posted daily on Facebook in 114 seconds or stream 4,500,000 3.5GB Netflix movies simultaneously.

In case you haven’t heard the news, Cisco has announced several new data center innovations today that enable the world’s most scalable data center fabric.But why do data centers need scalability? Today’s data centers span a wide range of requirements– from small and medium businesses to large enterprises, Service Providers, architectures that support cloud computing and specialized applications, like high frequency trading (HFT). Trends such as “Big Data” environments that manage huge data sets and the increase in video data traffic require today’s data centers to scale from a few hundred to several thousand server nodes.

Nexus 7018 Fun Facts

While all of these fun facts are great, stepping back and looking at what this means for our customers is really what it’s all about. So we asked Cisco data center fabric customer RackForce, ICT service provider, what they’d do if they had the most scalable data center fabric. Check out their video response:

You can read about Cisco’s news at:
Cisco Network Innovation Enables the Most Scalable Data Center Fabric on the Planet
Re-defining Fabric Scale: Thinking Beyond the “Box”

Learn more about Cisco’s Unified Fabric on October, 25th at the “Evolutionary Fabric. Revolutionary Scale.” webcast and send us your comments on what you would do with the world’s most scalable data center fabric.

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Cisco is First Partner to Announce Oracle NoSQL Database Solution on Cisco UCS

At the recently concluded Oracle OpenWorld 2011, Cisco announced a comprehensive “Oracle NoSQL Database” Solution on Cisco UCS that helps organizations deploy Big Data solutions quickly, with configurations that scale easily and predictably as demand dictates. Cisco UCS is the first platform partner certified for “Oracle NoSQL Database” and we are very excited about that.

The Cisco solution for Oracle NoSQL database is fully tested, certified and designed to meet your scalability requirements with a modular, easy-to-deploy Cisco UCS  infrastructure that accelerates time-to-value and reduces risk.

Oracle NoSQL Database is a new product from Oracle – a distributed, highly-available key-value storage platform for large-volume, latency-sensitive applications or web services. It is built based on Oracle Berkeley DB Java Edition High Availability storage engine. It can provide fast, reliable, distributed storage to applications that need to integrate with extract, transform, and load (ETL) processing.

The  Joint Ciso-Oracle solution on Cisco UCS platform offers enterprise robustness and stability with the Oracle NoSQL database as the underlying storage engine . The solution is based on the proven data center architecture using Cisco UCS™ C-Series Rack-Mount Servers powered by Intel® Xeon® processors. Customers can choose to deploy Cisco UCS C200 M2 or Cisco UCS C210 M2 servers depending on their business needs. Cisco Nexus® switches support the high-bandwidth and low-latency needs of Big Data solutions, improving infrastructure agility and scalability at lower costs, without arbitrary restrictions.

Check the Oracle NoSQL Database on Cisco UCS Solution presentation for additional details.

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Cisco and OpenFlow

October 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm PST

With acolytes of open networking flocking to the Open Networking Summit this week, folks have been pinging me on what Cisco has been doing on this front recently.  So, if we look at open networking in general, we were pleased to have made some significant contributions to the Diablo release of OpenStack--for more details on that, check out this post by my cohort, James Urquhart.

On the OpenFlow front, I went to the source--our lead smart guy on our OpenFlow efforts--David Meyer.  David is a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco Systems, where he works on future directions for Internet technologies such as OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking.

Omar Sultan:  So, David, what is new with Cisco and OpenFlow since we joined in the Open Networking Foundation earlier this year?
David Meyer: Well, probably the most notable news is that we have announced that we will be providing OpenFlow support on our Nexus switches.

OS: Wow--that will surprise a lot of people--folks are gong to wonder why we would want to do this--its counter-intuitive…
DM: Not really--Cisco had always embraced disruption--we don’t always get it right on the first shot, but we usually get it in the end.  Take server virtualization as an example--while we may not have been first off the line, we now have the broadest and strongest portfolio of virtualization networking technologies in the market.  Critics only saw the short-term impact to our switching revenue (less ports sold) but we saw the transformational value of virtualization. We see SDN in a similar light--as the next evolution of networking and we see OF as an excellent mechanism to drive maturation of both the technology and the underlying thinking.

OS: Do I sense a bit of hedging about OpenFlow in its current state in that last response?
DM: Well, we believe that the OpenFlow specification needs to be fleshed out a bit more before its truly production ready--that’s why I am here.


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STP is not the problem, but FabricPath will fix it!

Few years ago, in order to interact with the audience, I started a Cisco Live presentation involving some Spanning Tree design with three questions:

  • Who hates the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)?
    This one is easy. You could sell ice blocks to an Eskimo based on the ubiquitous hatred for STP. Here, I got a good 90% of the hands in the air.
  • Who has a good understanding of STP?
    More personal question, but this is Cisco Live, with networking experts all over the place. Some 60-70% hands were raised.
  • Who thinks that the root bridge can block a port?
    Audience stunned! Some were shaking their head, with a negative expression, the others suddenly realized they had an urgent email to check or looked away. Among the more than 100 attendees, only one person in the front was frantically raising his hand. Too bad for him, there was no prize.

I drew two conclusions from this:

  • First, giving the impression that you’re thinking your audience is made of idiots is not good for your session evaluation.

FabricPath, Dilbert-style

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