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Cisco Live, Day 1

June 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm PST

So, I wrapped up CiscoLive Day 1 with a chance to catch up at the end of the day with Fred Nix of EMC (@NixFred) and Vaughn Stewart of NetApp (@vStewed). While the conversation covered a number of topics, not all them appropriate for a corporate blog, we did commit this part of the conversation to tape.  I think this segment  highlights a couple of things.  First, how our ecosystem of data center partners is second to none--these guys are rock stars and they represent equally cool companies.  Second, I think this really shows how much IT has evolved and the lines have blurred so that folks like EMC and NetApp are able move beyond their storage roots and deliver comprehensive infrastructure solutions to our customers through their vBlock and FlexPod offerings, respectively.

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VSPEX at Cisco Live 2012 and How You Can Find Out More

June 12, 2012 at 7:17 am PST

Integrated stacks are grabbing more and more attention on the market -- Omar Sultan introduced VSPEX on this channel two months ago (read his blog here ) .  After EMC World, Cisco Live 2012 is a great opportunity to learn more about this reference architecture.  Here is  a quick note from  Brian Gracely (@bgracely) , Director of Marketing at EMC .

“Last April, EMC introduced VSPEX Proven Infrastructure, an easy on-ramp to private cloud for those businesses that need a flexible, yet simple, complete virtualization solution.

For those that may be unaware of the new launch, VSPEX are reference architectures proven by EMC and Cisco and packaged and delivered as complete virtualization solutions by trusted channel resellers. Developed with the needs of SMB and midmarket customers in mind, VSPEX is designed for flexibility and validated to ensure interoperability and fast deployment.  VSPEX gives customers the power to choose the technology that fits their needs -- storage, virtualization, servers and networking – while removing the complexity and risk that typically comes with designing, integrating and deploying a best-of-breed solution.  With VSPEX by EMC and Cisco, private cloud computing is more accessible than ever.

VSPEX is one of many EMC-Cisco Solutions that will be featured at Cisco Live.  Coming back from EMC World we have heard overwhelming interest in the VSPEX platform.  With Cisco Live just next week, we wanted to make sure that all those interested in more information on VSPEX had the right contacts to reach out to during Cisco Live for follow-up.

Located in the EMC booth (#934) will be a VSPEX rack with vSpecialists and qualified EMC representatives that will be discussing the technology and benefits of  VSPEX Proven Infrastructure.  Please do not miss out of the opportunity to engage IT professionals on one of the most exciting releases of the year!  Posted below is a comprehensive list of those to follow to get updates on all things VSPEX and EMC-Cisco Solutions.

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

June 11, 2012 at 10:00 am PST

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 (www.vce.com/events/cisco-live).
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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With VPLEX and OTV, Cisco,EMC and VCE change the Mobility and Disaster Recovery Game (Part1)

May 25, 2012 at 6:15 am PST

if you get the chance to be at EMC World you probably saw an interesting demo shared by Cisco, EMC and VCE  about Mobility and Business Continuance -- If you didn’t , Cisco Live San Diego will be another opportunity to see it

Our favorite bloggers Jake Howering  and Omar Sultan wrote  in the recent past  about DCI (Data Center Interconnect)  , OTV (Overlay Transport Virtualization)  i.e  DCI as an enabling framework for both Workload Mobility & Disaster Recovery 

Today I am pleased to have EMC Colin Durocher, bringing his perspective on the best way to address a critical challenge for a lot of IT organizations.
Next week I will post a second part  (here) , with a video  about the demo itself

Colin Durocher (on Twitter  @OtherColin) is a Principal Product Manager with the RecoverPoint VPLEX Business Unit.He has been working with the VPLEX product in several capacities including QA, software development,
systems engineering, and product management for over 10 years.
He is a father of two, a professional engineer, and is currently pursuing an MBA.
Colin is based out of Montreal, Canada.

“Life Inside the Datacenter Silo

The traditional approach to IT is characterized by datacenter silos.  Within each silo, we have our operations down to a science:

  • We use server clustering, redundant network fabrics, and RAID storage to protect against unplanned local failures.
  • We maintain spare capacity to absorb failures and workload spikes
  • We don’t think twice about moving data between tiers, or even between arrays to optimize cost and performance.
  • We commonly move virtual machines non-disruptively from server to server to load balance or perform maintenance.
    As far as mobility and availability needs are concerned, life is good…  Within the silo.

Crossing the Chasm (Between Silos) 

When it comes to protecting against site failures, we use array replication to maintain a copy of all our data in a secondary (often passive) datacenter.  We maintain scripts to automate our failover in case we ever need to declare a disaster.  We practice our DR plan at least once a year.  Don’t we?  Moving applications between datacenters is complicated enough that we really just try not to do it.  When we do, it often entails a professional services engagement.

All this has worked reasonably well for us up to now.  But IT budgets are being squeezed and IT administrators need to eliminate waste, reduce complexity and find ways to increase their operational efficiency.  It isn’t an optional thing.  Consider the IDC digital universe study (2011) which estimates that by 2020, the amount of information under management will increase by a factor of 50 while the number of IT staff managing it will increase by only 1.5

That gap will need to be filled by different technologies.  Let me introduce one to you – EMC VPLEX Metro.  For hundreds of customers, it is breaking down the barriers between datacenters bringing new levels of efficiency, simplicity, and availability.

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Cisco at EMC World : Transformational Data Center Architecture

May 22, 2012 at 5:04 am PST

After several days  at SAPPHIRE 2012 in Orlando, Florida , where I got to attend amongst many other activities an interesting dialog between EMC Doc d’Errico  and Cisco VP Server Access and Virtualization BU Satinder Sethi (stay tuned video coming very soon) , I am back on the show floor this time in Las Vegas for EMC World.

In case you still don’t know (really?) , Cisco and EMC have a very close partnership on many fronts , as one of our very active blogger and speaker Jay Metz was highlighting yesterday in carrying proudly  this nice Infographics.

Obviously one of the main topic on the booth was Cisco UCS , whether as a stand alone platform, or integrated in a stack like Vblock, the solution provided jointly by Cisco , EMC and VMware under the brand VCE (check VCE Tom Chatham blog on EANTC Cloud Mega Test )

Recently Cisco and EMC deepened this partnership

“Cisco and EMC have a long history of partnering together for the benefit of our mutual customers, from storage solutions to the original Vblock to VSPEX.  For those of you who missed the announcement, VSPEX is a reference design program to help guide customers as they build out their next generation of infrastructure.  With our own success with the Cisco Validated Design program, we know this is an effective tool for customers as they look for trusted resources to guide infrastructure investment decisions. “wrote Omar Sultan in his blog  “VSPEX: our Continuing Exploits with EMC” 

So we invited today on the booth EMC Director and blogger Brian Gracely , our friend, blogger and reseller from Varrow  Jason Nash and Cisco Virtualization Architect Ron Valente to share with us the excitement of this first day .

In this short video, our 3 experts talk about “easy to use and manage “. Interesting enough, I was also attending yesterday  a Webex session about Cisco.com users based on a very large panel of Cisco customers . According to this survey, one of the major interests for our customers to visit high tech website such as Cisco, is to find information about how the systems are  ”easy to use, configure, and manage”.

If you are in Las Vegas today, I’d like to make some suggestions for this second day at EMC World

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