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DCI as an enabling framework for both Workload Mobility & Disaster Recovery using OTV and LISP

A couple of colleagues of mine wrote a  document on live Workload Mobility and Disaster Recovery for Tier-1 applications.   I think you should check it out and here’s a couple of key points that I want to highlight:

  1. A single physical Cisco, EMC, VMware infrastructure
  2. Both vMotion and SRM validated on same infrastructure
  3. Tier-1 Enterprise Applications tested

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LISP – Finding the Optimized Path for your Workload

Update: LISP solves the problem from client to server, IE Ingress Path Optimization.  FHRP solves the problem from server to client, IE Egress Path Optimization.  You can check out Egress Path Optimization here.

We recently published a Data Center Interconnect -- DCI-  related document on cisco.com and I wanted to get it in front of you.  Locator/Identifier Separator Protoc0l -- LISP -- provides the path optimization technology to forward transactions via the most direct path, ultimately meaning better application performance. The link for the LISP Virtual Machine Mobility paper is below.

As a side note, LISP can be used many other ways and here’s a pointer to one of  our LISP pages.

For our purposes in DCI, we use LISP for path optimization and we can see here why the  need arises. The box on the left shows an existing transaction that looks pretty direct.  The middle box shows the workload is now in a new data center but the transaction is suboptimal, it still goes through the firsts data center.  The box on the right shows the desired path, the direct path from user to workload withouth going through the first data center.  It’s pretty easy to see the need here for path optimization and the desire to have the direct path to the new data center location as shown on the far right box.

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Place Your Data Center Bets

June 8, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

Novelty bets are all the rage these days in gambling.  Bookmakers are laying odds and allowing side bets on the minutiae of major events ranging from athletic contests to national elections to royal weddings.  My favorite novelty bet from the 2011 Super Bowl:  how long would Christina Aguilera hold the note “brave” at the end of the National Anthem?  (It went nine seconds by my unofficial count.  Feel free to time it yourself.)

Can we get the Data Center industry a piece of this action?  Imagine the odds line for happenings in and around your server environment in the next six months: Read More »

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3 Best Practices for Protecting Virtual Environments

Virtual servers and storage environments need regular backups to protect them from downtime, data loss.

Smaller companies are adopting virtualization technologies more than ever, according to AMI-Partner’s “2010 SMB Virtualization Market Analysis and Assessment”. Small businesses are applying virtualization to their servers and storage infrastructure, which can drastically change how and where employees store data and access applications, quickly making virtual environments as important to a company’s day-to-day operations as its physical equipment.

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On Moving, Home Renovations and other Natural Disasters

Last week I was without Internet.

Compared to the people who have been without a home over the past several months through floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and tornados, it sounds rather trivial. I was only dealing with some renovations which involved moving my home office and waiting for the cable guy.

Still, to my 7 and 9 year old, not being able to connect to Moshi Monsters and Club Penguin was a big deal. As for me, I managed to get by, tethering to my iPhone and physically going into the office more than usual.

But it got me thinking about our reliance on the physical and what that means in the context of the cloud.

Following the floods up in Queensland, Australia, I heard a story about a cloud-based managed service provider. As the floodwaters receded, they hired a bunch of sales folks who went around to every small office and retailer in the region and told them to call before they spent their insurance money buying new computers.  Why buy a bunch of servers to run MYOB or Quicken and risk floods, fire and theft, when you can run everything including your POS out of the cloud?

But when you don’t have an Internet connection, the cloud is of little use.

Google is facing this exact dilemma with its upcoming Chromebook release, and is providing offline support for Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs—something they apparently have been running internally for the past several months. Interestingly though, based on both the Cr-48 pilot release and earlier internal conversations, it would seem that there is a view within Google that begins with the assumption of always-on connectivity to the cloud.  “When people use our Google Docs, there are no more files. You just start editing in the cloud, and there’s never a file.” And so offline support becomes the exception, instead of the rule.

Of course, when you hit that exception, knowing exactly how your business will continue to run is crucial.

Clearly, there are trade-offs to be made. Without an Internet connection, I can’t access my cloud based applications and data, but neither can I send and receive email or verify credit card transactions. What do I need to be able to do even in an offline state, and what applications are useless to me unless I’m online?

What are the options for WAN redundancy? When I learned about the Japanese earthquakes and tsunamis, I knew my friend was safe was from his Facebook postings. While he didn’t have power, his phone still worked. For individuals, perhaps tethering is the right solution; for a small branch, 3G backhaul as a failover option in the router may be more cost effective.

Ultimately, the answer will be that there is no single answer.  Not only is every business different, but each application and its use will be different. It’s only when you take stock of those applications that you understand where your own requirements lie.

I needed to stay connected to do my job while the renovation work was being done. But my kids… they read a book instead.

Stay mobile. Stay secure.

—Mark

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