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Top Things to Know About DFA Before Cisco Live Milan

January 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm PST

Two weeks ago, I presented a webinar on Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) and went over the allocated 1 hour to cover the content.  Yesterday, as I was doing follow up with a hands-on demo, I went over time too. This illustrates how rich DFA is, and how much there is to say about it! Dynamic Fabric Automation is an environment for data center automation that is centered on the CPOM (Central Point of Management), a set of services that are provided with the new Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) release 7.0(1).

The services available on the CPOM provide the following:

  1. Power On Auto Provisioning (POAP)
  2. Inter-switch link connection verification
  3. A single console for configuration
  4. Network Auto-Config Profile provisioning
  5. Message processing for external orchestrator
  6. Automatic host provisioning
  7. Embedded management for network monitoring and data collection

All of these services are provided using standard protocols and applications. For example, the POAP service uses DHCP, TFTP and SCP/SFTP, but using a combination of templates and a very intuitive and easy-to-use GUI, DCNM provides a simplified and systematic way of bringing up your data center fabric. The inter-switch link validation or cable consistency check allows the operator to verify the fabric connections against a predefined template and prevent unexpected connections to come up.

The Jabber process provides the single console for configuration, statistics and troubleshooting. Using any XMPP client, an operator can “chat” with the fabric devices; this approach offers the possibility to organize devices in chat groups that match their role, their location or simply some administrative set. With XMPP, a single command can be sent to multiple devices in a secure way.

The most important element of the CPOM is certainly the network profile provisioning. Read More »

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Cisco Live Milan 2014: Where Hi-Tech meets Fashion and Tradition

I am neither an AC Milan soccer fan nor a connoisseur of haute couture, so it will be no surprise if you wondered what I am doing in Europe’s fashion capital Milan, and that too in the middle of Milan’s wintry January.

Without further ado, I will break the suspense.  Yes, I am one of the few, chosen as Cisco Datacenter leads for the Cisco Live Milan event. You may be thinking I have the best job in Silicon Valley, as I hop from Melbourne to London to Milan to cover Cisco Live worldwide, over the years. You are right, I do have an enviable job, bringing together the best of cisco datacenter technologies that help customers achieve more value for their investment, and I also make sure to have some fun in the process. During this event, I will be bringing you real-time excerpts of the action in the show floor, via social media. In this blog, I want to provide all you Datacenter IT and Networking professionals, highlights of various activities we have on the menu.

Milan

If like me you are fortunate to attend, I am sure you are looking forward to attend the wall-wall keynotes on Jan 28, hosted by Cisco Executives Rob Lloyd and Rob Soderbery. Rob Lloyd will discuss how Cisco and the ecosystem of Cisco’s partners are uniquely positioned to connect the unconnected with an open standard and an integrated architecture from the cloud to end devices In addition,  you’ll have the opportunity to check out the latest innovations in Cisco ACI and Data Center Networking technologies. Let us pick up action at the Cisco Campus and Datacenter area in the World of Solutions.

CAMPUS OVERVIEW 06

Cisco ACI demos are at the center of all action in Datacenter switching. .These demos in particular highlight the growing significance of Cisco as a datacenter infrastructure provider. With the successful introduction of Cisco ACI and its seamless integration with Cisco UCS, FlexPod, vBlock, UCS Director etc, we are able to demonstrate why infrastructure matters and its relevance to applications. I strongly encourage you to check out the Cisco ACI-Open Stack demo that highlights the provisioning and orchestration of a multi-tenant cloud environment and virtual applications through Open Stack, as well as showing integration of Open Stack on top of the Cisco APIC interface. Many of you have been eagerly awaiting the integration of L4-L7 services from Citrix, F5 with Cisco APIC, and we have put together a demo that illustrates the set-up and insertion of multiple network services into an application network, and the routing of traffic to the required services and the virtual workload. Other ACI demos include those that showcase Cisco Nexus 9000 platform programmability and Cisco ACI integration with Hyper-v, but in the interest of time, I will let you discover the exciting details of these demos at your convenience. Besides ACI, we have Unified Fabric based demos focusing on Nexus 7k and Dynamic Fabric Automation, VXLAN integration with Nexus switching platforms etc, to illustrate the comprehensive portfolio of switching products from Cisco. You will not be disappointed at the demo floor as the best and brightest engineers from Cisco business units will be available to engage you in technical conversations.

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Three Years On, FlexPod is Smarter, Faster, and Better.

This month marks the three year anniversary of Cisco’s partnership with NetApp and our development of FlexPod.  Over the years, we’ve experienced some tremendous growth, more than doubling new installations year-over-year, and now we have more than 3,000 customers globally.

Following the success of FlexPod Datacenter, FlexPod Express and FlexPod Select the solution is capping off the year with several technology enhancements. These include the automation of integrated infrastructure, business continuity solutions, and validation of new products and reference architectures.

Together, Cisco and NetApp are introducing four new FlexPod components that enable our customers’ continuing journey to the cloud:

  1. UCS Director 4.1 deeply integrated with clustered Data ONTAP.
  2. The addition of Citrix to the FlexPod Cooperative Support program.
  3. FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster
  4. FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Virtualized Multiservice Data Center 2.3

I encourage you to take a look at the short video we’ve created that gives more details of all the new components we’re announcing today.

Our friends at NetApp have written a great  blog post outlining the last two offerings, but I’d like to focus on the first two components – UCS Director and the addition of Citrix capabilities.

UCS Director Integration

New integrations with UCS Director and Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) provide automation and service catalogues, which help customers move toward delivering cloud services. Corporate IT maximizes benefits when its infrastructure can be commissioned within minutes in response to changes in demand. Cisco UCS Director views FlexPod as a single system and allows customers to rapidly deploy FlexPod by leveraging single element managers. UCS Director, in turn, will soon be natively integrated into Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud for a more comprehensive FlexPod cloud management solution.

With the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) cloud accelerator, UCS Director and FlexPod are integrated as a “node” in the cloud that can be used by cloud administrators to provision NetApp storage into virtual data centers.

Faster with Intel

Rapid deployment will be used to harness tremendous increases in FlexPod computing power. The newest FlexPod deployments will feature Cisco UCS built on Intel’s Ivy Bridge chipset.  We’ve introduced the Intel Xeon Process E5-2600 v2 product family on several servers.

“We like to say that Cisco and Intel are “Joined at the Chip,” because the innovation each company brings is incredibly complimentary. Cisco’s innovation in the data center is an extension of the company’s historic focus: connecting things. Cisco Unified Data Center and products like UCS are the outcomes of our drive to connect the pieces. When we join forces with Intel’s leadership at the computing core, customers see an unbeatable combination.”  -  Todd Brannon, Tick Tock Goes the Server Clock

Coupled with other UCS innovations, the solution has demonstrated great performance versatility and has set record-breaking industry benchmarks.

For enterprises that want to scale out this capacity, Cisco delivers UCS Central. UCS Central software manages multiple, globally distributed Cisco UCS domains with thousands of servers from a single pane.

Adding CItrix

Agile deployment and scale-out performance need the backing of a best-in-class support model. The FlexPod Cooperative Support program brings together the technology expertise of Cisco, NetApp and now Citrix. Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenServer and Citrix CloudPlatform are frequently deployed workloads in enterprises today. Customers will have direct access to Cisco, NetApp and Citrix engineers trained to rapidly address any operational issues.  By adding Citrix, FlexPod has the broadest IT and cloud management support, including Citrix CloudPlatform, Microsoft System Center, VMWare vCenter Orchestrator, CA Automation Suite for Clouds, and BMC Cloud Lifecycle Manager.

Combined, these advances in FlexPod technology will enable the platform to exceed the needs of the most demanding private and public cloud deployments.

We’re incredibly proud of the work that Cisco and NetApp have done over the past three years.  We are looking forward to an exciting future together as we use the FlexPod platform to continue delivering significant technology innovations to our customers.

 

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OpenStack@Cisco – Havana release and IceHouse Summit

Earlier in this month the OpenStack community came out with the biannual OpenStack release – Havana. According to the OpenStack Foundation, not only did Havana add close to 400 new features across Compute (Nova), Storage (Swift), Networking (Neutron) and other core services, it also provided users with more application-driven capabilities and more enterprise features.  Two new projects – Heat (orchestration) and Ceilometer (metering) were integrated into OpenStack during the Havana release as well.

One area of focus in Havana for Cisco was on the Neutron project.  This included contributions to enhance the Neutron Cisco plugin framework, feature additions to the Nexus plugin for physical Cisco Nexus switches, introduction of the new Cisco Nexus 1000v virtual switch plugin and actively leading and participating in the design of the Neutron Modular Layer 2 plugin framework. This datasheet captures more information on the new features of the Cisco Nexus Neutron plugin (for physical switches) for OpenStack Havana. Cisco’s contribution in these and other areas, such as Layer 3, Firewall and VPN network services are reflected in this Stackalytics  report of Neutron contributions for the Havana release.

 pie  table

We are now just a few days away from the OpenStack IceHouse Summit taking place in Hong Kong. Cisco is premier sponsor for the Summit and is also participating in several sessions and panels to make the Summit a success. To secure a slot in the General Session track at the Summit, interested candidates including Cisco’s OpenStack team submitted speaking proposals in August that went through an OpenStack community voting process. The details of the proposals can be found in this blog. Based on these results, Cisco’s team is now leading or participating in 10 session and panel discussions. The following table (sorted by session timings) captures details of the accepted sessions –

Track Session Details
General Session Panel: The CTOs of Cloud November 5 2:50pm -- 3:30pm
AsiaWorld-Summit-Hall 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Apps on OpenStack OpenStack for Enterprise Developers: Should they care? November 5 3:40pm -- 4:20pm
SkyCity Grand Ballroom A&B (SkyCity Marriot Hotel)
Related OSS Projects Panel: OpenDaylight: An Open Source SDN for your OpenStack Cloud November 6 11:15am -- 11:55am
Skycity Grand Ballroom A&B (SkyCity Marriott Hotel)
Strategy OpenStack, IaaS and the Future of Application Aware Infrastructure November 6 12:05pm -- 12:45pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Panel: The Future of Networking in the Cloud November 6 2:00pm -- 2:40pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Product & Services Deploying OpenStack with Cisco Networking, Compute and Storage November 6 3:40pm -- 4:20pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Panel: Agile Networking with OpenStack November 6 4:40pm -- 5:20pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Operations Deploying federated Openstack deployments on ipv6 backbones Experiences, Directions and Architecture November 7 9:00am -- 9:40am
Expo Breakout Room 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Community Building Panel: Ideas, tools and examples for OpenStack Groups November 8 9:50am -- 10:30am
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Technical Deep Dive OpenStack Neutron Modular Layer 2 Plugin Deep Dive November 8 11:00am -- 11:40am
Expo Breakout Room 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)

In addition to the above General Session tracks, the Cisco OpenStack team is also leading the design sessions in the Neutron project on Connectivity Group extensions for applications, Modular Layer 2 plugin, Network Function Virtualization with Service VM’s and Services Framework.  An enhanced constraint based solver scheduler will also be discussed with the community within the Nova project. The schedule for the general sessions is here and for the design sessions here. If you are interested in attending any of the general or design sessions be sure to mark your calendar.

Finally, we are showcasing in the demo theater “Scaling OpenStack with Cisco UCS and Nexus” on Wednesday, November 6th 12:40pm-12:55pm and will be present at the Cisco booth (booth B6 in the exhibit hall) with the following demos  –

Demos

Quad Hours

  • OpenStack UCS demo
  • N1KV demo on OpenStack
  • Seamless-Cloud on OpenStack demo
  • Constraint-based Smarter Scheduler for OpenStack demo (short demo here)
  • Tuesday, November 5th from 10:45am to 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 6th from 10:45am to 6:00pm
  • Thursday, November 7th from 8:00am to 4:00pm

We are excited to be there at the OpenStack Hong Kong Summit and we hope to see you there as well ! For latest information, visit us here.

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Now is the time to refresh to Cisco UCS!

October 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm PST

Intel estimates1 that one-third of the servers in production are more than four years old. At first, one might think that it is great to get this much service out of a capital investment, but the operational costs to run these outdated servers would pay for a complete technology refresh increasing performance and reliability while reducing total costs. How is this possible? With the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 v2 product family and Cisco’s Unified Computing System. Read More »

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