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STP is not the problem, but FabricPath will fix it!

Few years ago, in order to interact with the audience, I started a Cisco Live presentation involving some Spanning Tree design with three questions:

  • Who hates the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)?
    This one is easy. You could sell ice blocks to an Eskimo based on the ubiquitous hatred for STP. Here, I got a good 90% of the hands in the air.
  • Who has a good understanding of STP?
    More personal question, but this is Cisco Live, with networking experts all over the place. Some 60-70% hands were raised.
  • Who thinks that the root bridge can block a port?
    Audience stunned! Some were shaking their head, with a negative expression, the others suddenly realized they had an urgent email to check or looked away. Among the more than 100 attendees, only one person in the front was frantically raising his hand. Too bad for him, there was no prize.

I drew two conclusions from this:

  • First, giving the impression that you’re thinking your audience is made of idiots is not good for your session evaluation.

FabricPath, Dilbert-style

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The Network is Changing – Is Your Network Cloud-Ready?

Today’s IT organizations face a broad set of challenges today.

  • How to deal with the proliferation of end-user devices? (smartphones, tablets, etc.)
  • How to deal with the proliferation of virtualization and it’s new operational model?
  • How to adapt to requirement for new application traffic patterns (east-west, VM mobility)?
  • How to manage the edges of their networks as work/life locations blur?
  • When do they decide to deliver a business need via internal resources vs. external resources?
  • With all this technology change happening so rapidly, how do they align their teams?
REGISTER for WEBINAR #1 in a SERIES of CLOUD-READY NETWORK discussions.
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Is Your Network Ready for the Cloud Journey?

For many months now, we’ve talked about the Journey to Cloud Computing and how an evolution within your Data Center is needed to make that a reality. In many cases, we looked at this from an application perspective, focused on the interaction between automation, applications, servers, storage and the edges of the network.

But many of you have asked us to provide you a broader understanding of the role the Network plays in the Journey to Cloud Computing. Specifically you’ve asked us to highlight several areas:

  • What is Cisco’s perspective and strategy around the usage of multiple types of Cloud Computing (Private, Public, Hybrid, Community) and what is needed from the network to interconnect all these offerings?
  • How does my business manage the network transitions needed between today’s applications (often client-server), the virtualization of those application, and next-generation web and big data applications?
  • What considerations do we need to make within my Data Center as we try and maximize efficiency and scalability?
  • What considerations do we need to make at the edges of our networks when the proliferation of devices is almost out of control?
  • Are there ways to protect my network investments while still having the flexibility to deal with the business uncertainties that are around the next corner?
Is Your Network Ready for the Journey?
View more presentations from Cisco Data Center.

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Live Demos at Cisco Live, Las Vegas next week!

I hope you are all packed and ready for Cisco Live – Las Vegas next week. In the Sin City we will demo our innovative products and solution architectures that will help simplify and accelerate your journey to private and hybrid clouds. The best way to quickly learn about our products and solutions is by seeing them “LIVE IN ACTION”. With more than 50-60 demos being showcased across different focus areas (e.g. Borderless networks, collaboration, data center etc.) in the Cisco Main Booth, I thought it would be helpful to highlight the data center specific demos.

Dedicated to Cisco Data Center products and solution architectures, we have total of 12 demo kiosks with different themes as listed below. Each of the kiosks will have one or more demos that will highlight Cisco’s unique offering in that focus area. All the kiosks will be staffed by Cisco experts to answer all your tough questions. I am very excited to be part of the show and would love the opportunity to meet you in person. I will be available at the data center demo kiosk 12 -- “Automate and Simplify Your Journey to Cloud”.

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There’s no 1-tier network… Do you have a problem with that?

I’m not a car person and I don’t worry too much about what’s under the hood. That means that I’m just a car user, I only want to turn the ignition key and drive. In the Data Center world, the server team is typically a user of the network. Server guys don’t want to know how the network is implemented. They just want their VLANs to extend to the whole network so that they can connect their devices with no constraint, without having to worry about high availability, risk containment, link provisioning… network stuff. That’s precisely what FabricPath is designed to offer them: a network that looks like a single switch, the simplest networking entity. This “Fabric” offers efficient any-to-any connectivity with high bandwidth and low latency, all without having to understand how it works.

User view, a single switch

Figure 1

Of course, this user perspective is an abstraction. The following Figure 2 represents an example of the physical topology of the network, a Clos fabric, typical in Data Center environments. Note that this could just as well be a ring, a star, or even a network distributed across two sites. FabricPath turns an arbitrary topology into a Fabric and does not lock you into a particular model.

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