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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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Tweetchat with Cisco: Cloud Strategy Readiness and Economics

May 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm PST

Interop, Citrix Synergy, SAPPHIRE, EMC World .. May is definitely the month of the conferences . What are the common buzzwords for all these shows ? Cloud, Virtualization, Networking.

No surprise :  Enterprises, service providers, small businesses, and governments are looking for cloud solutions to solve some of their biggest business and technology challenges.
A solution to these challenges requires an approach that fully integrates the three pillars of cloud: cloud applications and services, data centers, and networks.

Cisco enables a world of many clouds  by connecting people and organizations within a cloud, between clouds, and beyond the clouds to the end user.

If you attended or plan to attend these shows,  you had or will have the opportunity to listen to Cisco experts and Cisco partners.

But here is an additional opportunity

Pat Adamiak, Senior Director of Cloud Solutions Marketing at Cisco Systems, will be available tomorrow Friday , May 11 from 9 – 10 a.m. PT to discuss trends and opportunities around cloud strategy readiness and economics during an unique Tweetchat *

In this role, Pat has global responsibility for marketing Cisco’s overall cloud solution portfolio, with a particular focus on telecommunications, cable, and media service providers. Pat played a core leadership role in the development and launch of Cisco’s overall CloudVerse strategic framework and offerings and is a frequent spokesperson on cloud.

So join the conversation with @PatAdamiak  on Twitter using the #CiscoCloud hashtag,

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What does a 4 year old have in common with Cisco?

February 28, 2012 at 11:29 am PST

“Ow mommy, my leg huuuuuuuuuuurts,” complained my 4 year old.  After a quick examination and check-in with the doctor (read: I opened a book written by Dr. Sears and consider that a check- in with “the doctor”), I determined the problem was simply growing pains.

Growing pains don’t apply only to small children and adolescents. They apply to small companies and large enterprises alike. And like the growing pains you experienced when you were 4, 12, and 18 years old, they can cause physical (in the form of operational costs) and emotional (in the form of stress) pain for your business.

For my 4 year old the solution to growing pains is a kiss, hug, and maybe some chocolate ice cream. Most businesses (all businesses? There is always an exception) need more than a band-aid; businesses want a long-term solution to business challenges with measurable results. One of the most common “growing pains” for businesses is controlling operating expenditures.

Recent research shows that up to 75 percent of enterprise IT costs are operating expenditures (Gartner ITKMD, January 2011). Let’s explore how Cisco has significantly grown its infrastructure while reducing operating costs.

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Workload Automation, Job Scheduling, Applications and the Move to Cloud

In an earlier part of my career I learned the extreme importance of Workload Automation, aka Job Scheduling.  Workload automation is the oldest IT technology on the planet coming from the need to schedule jobs on an IBM Mainframe.   Job Scheduling has evolved from driving JCL (Job Control Language) to Workload Automation where the Scheduler stitches together batch and real time activities across mainframes, proprietary OS systems, x86 systems, applications (both packages and commercial off the shelf such as SAP or Oracle or Informatica) and now web service enabled applications whether they be onsite or in the cloud.  Walk into the operations center of any data driven company and you will see multiple screens where operations are monitoring the state of these jobs.  Why are they so critical?  Over 50% of all transactions that occur on this planet are batch in nature.  They are scheduled based upon specific times or based upon dependencies being met.  These workloads can be a complex  and interrelated set of activities.  Effectively these job streams are the business processes that drive modern enterprises.

Without these jobs companies don’t get information (and large amounts of it) in the right place at the right time.  Most companies today could not close out their financial quarters without enterprise schedulers to move data from their disparate systems into a consolidate place for either the general ledger to close out or for a critical Business Intelligence report to run to drive placement of the correct product into the specific physical location to serve the global economy.  Workload automation tools open and close stock exchanges and process all the transaction data from trades.  They also drive compliance checks.  This is important stuff for the global economy!  This was my realization in touring key operations centers and realizing that half of the big monitors were covering the movement of batch data in the enterprise.

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Partnering with Cisco helps Savvis set the bar for enterprise cloud

February 2, 2012 at 9:53 am PST

We invited Mike Taylor, Vice President of global infrastructure engineering and operations at Savvis, to provide his insight on Savvis’ journey to the cloud. Read below for what he has to say. Check out related blog for an additional perspective.

If you’ve been following the cloud services market, you’ve likely heard the term “enterprise cloud” proclaimed by various vendors. But really, what does that mean? How do you differentiate an enterprise cloud from a mass market option?

At Savvis, a CenturyLink company, we love talking about our enterprise cloud offerings and what distinguishes them from the mass market clouds that continue to flood the marketplace.

First, let me be clear: In some areas, enterprise and mass market clouds are the same. Benefits for both include flexibility, quick provisioning of compute power and a virtualized and scalable environment. However, it’s important to note that enterprise clouds also provide a range of security options, unprecedented speed-to-market and vastly improved collaboration between the end-user and the vendor.

Savvis’ enterprise cloud is a VMware-based service differentiated by an array of built-in security features, as well as many optional managed security capabilities. Savvis built its cloud solutions using the same trusted suppliers – including Cisco – used by enterprise customers in their own data centers. Our cloud services are divided into tiers, providing different levels of performance and availability for different types of application needs. These services are delivered in a multitenant way and can also be delivered as a single tenant.

So how do you realize the promise of enterprise cloud infrastructure? My colleague Steve Garrou, vice president of global solutions management at Savvis, recently shared on the Savvis blog a list of items that should be addressed when considering a move to enterprise cloud. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are the items that Steve outlined:

Decide whether you are going to maintain two infrastructures or consolidate.

  1. Understand what applications are currently running in the existing environment and expectations for moving certain solutions to the cloud.
  2. Analyze the architecture of the application environments.
  3. Determine how much capacity you need to run the applications; are the capacity requirements seasonal or variable?
  4. Assess compliance and security requirements.

Years ago – before “enterprise cloud” was common terminology – Cisco and Savvis shared a vision for a cloud service that offered enterprise-required services, not simply compute virtualization. That vision became reality two years ago when we launched Savvis Symphony Virtual Private Data Center, one of the industry’s first enterprise-class, multi-tenet cloud solutions. A key element of the cloud architecture was the Cisco Unified Computing System.

Partnering with trusted companies like Cisco helps Savvis set the bar for enterprise cloud. I recently sat down with Cisco to talk about our collaboration. You can see the results of those conversations in the case study and video.

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