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It’s A Great Time for Open Source and Cisco UCS Customers

Witnessing the advent and momentum of Open Source into the broader enterprise, and “the mainstream” Data Center, has been incredible.  Many will look back and recall a time when Open Source was met first with a look of confusion, and following not too far behind, a reaction of fear.  With that, consider how far we’ve evolved.

Taking a snapshot over the past few months, I reflect on some of the highlights from a Data Center and Cisco UCS perspective.

The Open Source Business Conference held not too long ago, centered the conversation around previously uncommon mates.  “Open Source” and “Business” used in the same sentence once stirred some emotion, though not today.  The notion now fuels curiosity and enablement, and both were alive and well in San Francisco with OSBC.  Leaders in the space, spanning established household Data Center vendors were well represented in breakout sessions and thought provoking topics on the show floor, alongside the “up and coming” vendors in Open Source.  Linux granddaddies Red Hat and SUSE also offered the Enterprise Linux perspective, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst taking the stage on the conference’s opening morning.  Whitehurst acknowledged the event’s commendable 10th anniversary, and touted the innovation and collaborative successes of Open Source, while reflecting on Red Hat’s significance and market leadership.  SUSE kept the Enterprise Linux subject current, presenting SUSE’s role in Big Data workloads, where attendees may have pondered “What would Big Data look like, and be today, without the success and progress of the Open Source movement?”

An “open cloud” panel featuring several notable figures in Open Source leadership for cloud infrastructure, including Marten Mickos of Eucalyptus Systems and Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud, shared insight on how today’s generation of Open Source leaders are shaping the future of cloud software stacks, infrastructure, and API (read: interoperability).  This proved to be a fascinating discussion on project governance, expectations of Open Source, and how customers leverage Open Source to deliver the applications of tomorrow.

Open Source @Cisco

Cisco Open Source Days provide an opportunity to share, learn and grow.  Cisco engineers and product teams descend on the San Jose campus packed with an agenda to share knowledge and best practices, new developments in the community, exchange ideas and share successes, and inspire new ways of delivering software and products.  This year featured a cornucopia of topics that would make any card-carrying Open Source geek blush.  Typically there are multiple tracks and this year included Big Data and Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Everything and a few select topics in the Networking and Data Center interest areas.  Cisco teams have an incredible opportunity to learn and collaborate, which ultimately benefit the Open Source community and our customers.  Attendees enjoyed thought provoking and engaging presentations, including appearances by Chris Wright from Red Hat, and Troy Toman from Rackspace within the Cloud track, as well, our very own OpenStack leaders within Cisco.  Overall there were great takeaways on collaboration and innovation, project participation and furthering common goals through upstream contribution, and solving market problems through emphasis on differentiation rather than upstream code nomination.  Another memorable moment, I personally enjoyed Chris Wright’s comical reference to the IFC television comedy, “Portlandia”, referring to the popularity of API’s with “Put an API on it”.  :-)

Open Source in the Cisco UCS powered Data Center

One of the most exciting aspects in my role revolves around connecting Open Source innovations with Cisco’s UCS x86 based platforms.  Software and API enable many integration use cases most people are not used to expect from server and infrastructure platforms.  “Software Defined” is used quite liberally these days, with ” Software Defined __Fill_In_The_Blank__ ” found where it probably shouldn’t be.  I digress, Open Source is at the core of these “Software Defined” possibilities, enabling vendor agnostic API structures and interfaces as an alternative to traditionally proprietary closed-configuration products.

The conversation with customers today is less “Oh, Cisco makes servers?” and more about, “Help me learn more about your software integration capability in my Data Center infrastructure.”  Once customers deploy UCS, they quickly realize the efficiencies and power derived by the Cisco UCS Service Profile, and the level of control and manageability not available with other solutions.  For Data Center management requiring a view into their systems’ availability, the UCS XML API provides that ability, where the customer’s software may retrieve, configure and automate infrastructure that previously required manual intervention.  We truly feel this enables a unique “Software Defined Infrastructure” way of managing applications, availability and user workloads through software, previously not seen without custom hardware and software integration.

It’s an exciting time for Open Source, and for computing platforms like Cisco UCS which provide an open and extensible ability to deliver on business demands of tomorrow.  Exciting times are definitely ahead as customers increasingly adopt Open Source, its flexibility, advances, and innovations, into the broader enterprise and mainstream computing spaces.

How far have we come?  Further reading: “From subversive to mainstream: Looking back on 18 years with Linux

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Bringing Licensed and Unlicensed Small Cells Together

The mobile market will be vastly different 10 years from today. We will see two and a half billion more people connected to the internet, but also 50 billion more devices. Those devices are going to have a totally different consumption profile compared with the smartphone or dongle user that we have today. We will have a mobile market with mobile internet which has got to have flexibility in terms of how it supports the massive number of devices, signaling events, and bandwidth that will occur in the future.

To manage this exponential growth in mobile data, effective small cell networks need to take advantage of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Small cells help operators increase coverage, capacity, and services, effectively and have already proven to be vital element in mobile networks.  To better integrate licensed and unlicensed small cells, we have identified 5 fundamentals that are important to remember: Read More »

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Cisco @ Interop – It is All about Solutions that Solve Problems

Usually at shows like Interop Las Vegas 2013, attendees wander around the show floor looking at all the new products that are coming out from vendors. Now it is always exciting to see the latest and greatest technology coming out, but very often there is so much information to consume it is difficult to envision how these new products will solve problems that IT organizations are facing today.

Cisco is taking a different approach at Interop this year. In the Cisco booth there are a number of demo stations including the traditional new product demos, ask the experts stations, trivia games and many more, but in addition there are two unique demos the “Your NOC Your Way” Demo and the Unified Access Experience Demo that take a solution perspective to addressing top IT concerns.

1. The “Your NOC Your Way” Demo

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This unique demo focuses on how Cisco solutions can aid in addressing the top concerns of network operations managers. Read More »

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Enterprise Networks and the Drive for IPv6

It was not that long ago that whenever I read an article about IPv6, it usually discussed how the IPv4 Address depletion in other countries. At that time, the adoption of IPv6 was coming from other countries that where the v4 address space was depleted, the US Government, or Service Provider. Well fast forward only a few years and you can include Enterprise Networks in that mix.

Driving this IPv6 train for enterprise networks is wireless technology and the enabling by-product, BYOD. Wireless technology, in particular, Wi-Fi has grown from a toy to a requirement in most businesses today. We have moved from 802.11b which gave you a max datarate of a paltry 11Mbps to 802.11n to a max datarate of 450Mbps if you currently deploy the Aironet 3600 Access Point that supports 4x4 MIMO; if not, it’s a max datarate of 300Mbps. Never mind the fact that we will soon see the Wave 1 version of 802.11ac will have a datarate of 1.3Gbps and Oh BTW, Wave 2 promises a scorching datarate of 6.9Gbps!

ipv6 bill

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Client Adoption for 802.11ac Wireless Technology

When it comes to the adoption of new technology such as 802.11ac, the industry becomes a farmer’s almanac of predictions when it comes to when and what devices and products will announce 802.11ac support.  Aside from Cisco, who boldly announced support for 802.11ac on the 3600 Access Point for the enterprise, there have been a number of consumer devices such as home routers, bridges, a selection of USB clients and a single gaming oriented laptop that are offering support for the new 802.11ac specification.

With HTC’s announcement of 802.11ac support for their HTC One smartphone, we would expect others to follow suit in the near future, setting the stage for the first series of devices to bring integrated 802.11ac to market sometime in CY13. As these device become available you can expect them to be connecting to your corporate networks as BYOD devices for corporate use. With the devices come the expectations where your end-users are going to be looking for that extra bump in network performance promised by the 802.11ac standard.

Next up, Tablet and notebook devices.

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