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With VPLEX and OTV, Cisco, EMC and VCE change the Mobility and Disaster Recovery Game (Part2)

Today, Cisco Live “World of Solutions ” (the show floor) opens at 4:30 pm PDT  in San Diego Convention Center.  One of the marquis demos has been shown at EMC World with a lot of interest.

This blog is the second part of a two part blog dedicated to this Mobility and Business Continuance demo, created by Cisco, EMC and VCE.  In part 1 (read blog here) I invited EMC Colin Durocher (@OtherColin) to share with us his perspective on the demo.  As promised,  I come back today with more details on the demo,  including a video interview conducted by Cisco Daniel Bogda (@dabogda) with EMC Craig Chapman (@VirtualChappy)  and VCE Tom Chatham (@tchatham).  I asked also Tom, who already wrote here, to bring  his  perspective on the demo.

Tom Chatham is a Principal vArchitect with VCE Corporate Engineering responsible for delivering VCE solutions, customer solution testing, technical marketing events and evangelizing private cloud. 16 years of experience in the industry, most of that time spent focused on storage, virtualization and unified computing. Including extensive network infrastructure, systems architecture and business continuity.

“VCE is excited to kick things off this week at CiscoLive! Between our big booth, speaking sessions, and demos we’ve got a ton to talk about (
Like we did at EMC World,  for this year’s  CiscoLive! show VCE wanted to kick it up a notch with LIVE demonstrations of all the cool technologies we have at our fingertips.

Daniel Bogda, Craig Chapman, Tom Chatham

We have a number of VblockTM Systems going to Cisco Live! (and VMworld in August) so it made perfect sense to show off our Workload Mobility Solution. Besides, isn’t cloud all about the ability to offer services from anywhere?

We have three Vblock 300 systems located in the VCE, EMC and Cisco booths. An additional network aggregation rack has been added to each Vblock system to house Nexus 7010 switches, EMC RecoverPoint appliances and EMC VPLEX engines. Panduit provided 1000 feet of fiber trunk cable containing 6 pair of fiber, which has been hung from the ceiling between booths.

The Nexus 7010 switches are providing our core network services, making each booth it’s own data center. RecoverPoint and VMware Site Recovery Manager are handling traditional long haul disaster recovery. VPLEX Metro is providing Active-Active storage clustering capabilities. This is the ability to stretch a VMware vSphere cluster between two sites today, and up to four in the future.  VPLEX Metro provides storage array block level LUN consistency and data availability while OTV on the Nexus 7000 series switches provide layer 2 network services.

Diagram: VCE Vblock WLM plan for CiscoLive!

Let’s take a step back for a moment and look at what makes this “cool”. Traditionally, migrating data and applications in or between data centers involves manual steps and data copies, where IT would either make physical backups or use data replication services to handle getting the data from side A to side B.

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Cisco Live DCV Social Media Activities: Connect to Your Community

Cisco Live 2012 is almost here. Hello San Diego! Time to make the difficult decision regarding partitioning luggage space between  tech and clothes. The informal Twitter poll indicates tech is winning. Don’t forget the chargers, because there’s a lot going on.

Bacon and Waffles Tweetup on Tuesday!
Bacon and Waffles Tweetup on Tuesday!

Now that I’ve got your full attention, here’s a rundown of some of the social media activities happening at Cisco Live this year.

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Cisco’s Data Center and Cloud Team at Gartner IT Summit this Week

Will you be at the Gartner IT Infrastructure Operations and Management Summit in Orlando this week?  The Cisco data center and cloud team is.

We’ll be featuring our Unified Data Center and Unified Management solutions, including UCS and Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  And our experts will be on hand to discuss key topics including data center virtualization, desktop virtualization, and private cloud.

Even if you won’t be at the event, you can get a preview by watching this 20 minute video webcast on how to get started with a private cloud. Register and view the webcast here.

And if you are going to the Gartner summit this week, here are some Cisco activities that you won’t want to miss:

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Cloud – CIO Insights (Video)

Rebecca Jacoby, Cisco Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, discusses Cisco’s journey to the cloud. Cisco is running a private cloud as a utility and is moving toward an inter-cloud approach. This capability will give Cisco the business process opportunity to source services from multiple places and deliver them seamlessly to employees in a flexible, cost-effective manner.

To view the complete interactive, please visit

For more information on Cisco IT’s journey to the cloud:
Cloudy With a Chance of Data Center Savings
Parting Clouds and Being Real About Virtualization
ITIaaS Clouds Over ITIL

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Can it be Self Service without Automation?

Leading IT shops like to have a single pane of glass that is the IT storefront to all employees.  This is a very noble goal.  Having worked at a few large companies this is indeed a moving target as supporting the end user employee can mean a lot of different entry points, contexts and presentation technologies.  When it comes to have a central location for ordering services it is very important to on board all of the employee based and data center services in a consistent fashion.   Some of the key use cases include employee on boarding (and off boarding), virtual desktops, virtual machines and physical servers in the datacenter and access to applications.  Typical IT departments may have several hundred orderable services, many of which are bundled (think of employee on boarding).

Interestingly some organizations first drive towards a common catalog and then automate what they can afterwards.  At first you can take orders through the service catalog and then work the tasks to fulfill the request through manual process tracking.  Alternatively I have seen some shops say that they will only put services in the catalog that can be automated.  Then there are all the intermediate cases.  Organizations deploying automated request management have many issues to consider and standards to be set.

Can we declare victory when a process is mostly manual but yet orderable from a catalog in four clicks?  Perhaps…

Your end users are happy.  They can see where their request is in the process flow.  Kind of like going to and seeing where that DVD is on its journey to your house.   But that package took 3 days to traverse its journey.

Considered an automated fulfillment or provisioning process.  In my above analogy, you are no longer dealing with DVDs shipping to your house but on demand video streaming.  A simple click sets into motion many automated processes that deliver the movie to your device.  For end user services this means your remote access is provisioned with a simple click, your Linux server and application stack is delivered in less than 15 minutes for use.  Key to making that happen is a full automated process.  Is that achievable in all cases?  Perhaps….

In most cases what we are provisioning requires a northbound API (an programming interface above the fulfillment system) to accomplish the instantiation of the service.  Oftentimes, in legacy environments the target system is so dated or under invested-in that an API does not exist.   It is pretty hard to automate a process that can only occur through a human interfacing with the system.

People ask me the question:  So What? We have found that by automating processes we can save on average 30% of the process cost.   Multiply that by tens of thousands of requests and it will really add up.

Investing in Self Service requires investing in automation and in some cases, wrapping an API around a legacy environment in order to get the desire result:  IT as a Service, delivered at the speeds needed by  our end users.

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