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Expanding the Nexus 7000 family

Cisco recently announced the Nexus 7009 chassis expanding the Nexus 7000 family to 3 chassis. To refresh your memory on the Nexus 7000 family, here’s a quick at a glance comparison.

I often get asked, why Cisco introduced a 9 slot chassis when we already have a 10 slot chassis. The simple answer is – customers asked for a smaller form factor Nexus 7000 switch that delivers the high performance and resiliency that the Nexus 7000 family is known for.

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A trend impacting Data Centers – “Consumerization of IT”

November 4, 2011 at 7:54 am PST

In my previous blog, I had written about the use of mobile applications in the data center.  Since then, I understand there is a new application for monitoring Cisco UCS on the Blackberry Playbook .  Is this a trend?  Is this a trend towards mobility or is it a trend towards consumerization of the work place?  Yet another term I have heard is “Prosumerization” of the Enterprise.  No matter which term is used by authors, the underlying shift is towards a simpler, user friendly approach to getting work done.  If that means using smart phones, then so be it.  Unlike my generation of workers, willing to put up with circuitous and acrobatic maneuvers to get things done, the younger generation is used to simpler interfaces and they are demanding the same from enterprise systems.

My one and a half year old niece who has grown accustomed to using iPhone Facetime to chat with my kids grimaced and acted surprised when she heard my daughter on the phone and did not see her face on a screen. I vividly recall having to wait patiently for hours to receive a subscriber trunk dialing call in order to talk to my parents when I was in college. The point is that we now have relatively sophisticated networks and tools, and user expectations are very high.  Enterprise users expect their tools to just work, like cars and smart phones (have you read the iPhone manual?). There is also an expectation that the network is always on and can stream high resolution video.

Do you use your personal phone to access your work email?  The line between work and home has blurred for most of us.  Thanks to the network, we work from our home offices and with colleagues half way round the world at odd times of the day. No wonder we like to use the same tools and gadgets we are familiar with.

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Why Hadoop? (Part 2)

Part 2

As discussed in my previous post, application developers and data analysts are demanding fast access to ever larger data sets so they can not only reduce or even eliminate sampling errors in their queries (query the entire raw data set!), but they can also begin to ask new questions that were either not conceivable or not practical using traditional software and infrastructure.  Hadoop emerged in this data arms race as a favored alternative to the RDBMS and SAN/NAS storage model.   In this second half of the post, I’ll discuss how Hadoop was specifically designed to address these limitations.

Hadoop’s origins derive from two seminal Google white papers from 2003-4, the first describing the Google Filesystem (GFS) for persistent, massively scalable, reliable storage and the second the MapReduce framework for distributed data processing, both of which Google used to ingest and crunch the vast amounts of web data needed to provide timely and relevant search results.  These papers laid the groundwork for Apache Hadoop’s implementation of MapReduce running on top of the Hadoop Filesystem (HDFS).  Hadoop gained an early, dedicated following from companies like Yahoo!, Facebook, and Twitter, and has since found its way into enterprises of all types due to its unconventional approach to data and distributed computing.  Hadoop tackles the problems discussed in Part 1 in the following ways:

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8 Simple Rules For Improving A Data Center

November 3, 2011 at 9:30 am PST

Data Center Deconstructed reader Eric Chou writes:  Good to see the knowledge sharing Doug. I read your book on building a Data Center a few years back and it was informative on the physical infrastructure piece.  I think it would also be informative if you can share some of the experiences or creative ways to increase efficiency when there are macro environment limitations.  I mean, outside of a select few companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Amazon), most companies are not able to build a Data Center from the ground up, buy the cheapest land near a lake or negotiate a jaw dropping electricity rate with the local government.  What can we do when we need to house 1/2 floor of servers in a 80-year old peering exchange that assumes 2 KVA per rack when designed?

That’s a great question.  As I often tell other Data Center managers, we can make any upgrades to our server environments we want to as long as there’s no downtime or cost.  I’m joking with that comment – mostly – but it is a common scenario.  Fortunately, there are several things that can be done in a legacy Data Center to improve its efficiency and reduce the likelihood of downtime without spending much money or disrupting the environment.

Here, then, are eight simple rules for improving a Data Center.

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Design Expertise to Exploit Evolutionary Fabric with Revolutionary Scale

October 26, 2011 at 4:44 am PST

“Terrific!  Fantastic!  Cisco have delivered yet more innovation and data center switching and unified fabric leadership.  All  these new features and capabilities!” …. BUT … (and you may be asking this question) …. “How can we exploit these new features quickly? I’m just too busy!”

Let’s face it -- these new data center capabilities are not much use sitting on your loading dock or drawing board.  You’ll know this better that me -- it’s one  thing to have new features available, it’s another challenge to exploit them by designing them into your architecture -- that is where the real skill comes in.  But you’re busy, are unbdoubtedly overloaded, and wondering how you can get it all done.

So how can we help you translate these excellent new features into your production data center?  How can you get access to our Cisco experts who have (each!) architected literally dozens of unified fabric designs?  Perhaps you don’t need or want a full multi-week design exercise -- what other options are available to you? What can Cisco do that is small, quick and provides you with the key expertise to guide your direction on unified fabric adoption and evolution?

Let me continue the theme of my previous blogs and show how Cisco Services can help you exploit these latest market-leading innovations.  I’m going to focus on how Design Reviews with our data center experts, through our Cisco Data Center Optimization Service (discussed previously here), could really take the pressure off you and your team and deliver real business benefits at the same time.

Cisco Data Center Optimization Service

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