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Did You Know? Cisco’s FCoE Transformational Service

October 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm PST

Over the past couple of years the conversation about Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and converged networks (e.g., Unified Fabric) has become more and more sophisticated. While I still get the occasional “what is FCoE?” question, and still have to correct the occasional journalist who insists FCoE runs over TCP/IP (it doesn’t!), those conversations are becoming more rare.

Instead, the conversation has shifted from the “what is this?” to “how do I do it?” All the diagrams and napkins in the world can’t predict or prepare for the wide-ranging possibilities that customers have in their data centers. I’ve written about a few of the surprises before (http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/ciscolive-2012-and-the-fcoe-surge/) but every day I get more unique (and more interesting) scenarios. Read More »

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Unified Fabric for a Backup Server

September 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm PST

Outside of that large, black, monolithic machine in the middle of the datacenter referred to as the mainframe, there aren’t that many servers that require as many network and storage connections as the backup server.  It’s not really sexy, it’s not computing Pi, generally doesn’t run a hypervisor and is bought with one goal in mind, move data. Not just some data, but a lot.  These machines often move all of the data in your datacenter off of disk and onto tape, either real or virtual.  In many datacenters, these backup servers are sometimes the only non-x86 platforms left due to their ability to contain high numbers of HBAs for SAN connectivity and NICs for network connectivity.   They’re like the tractors of the datacenter. Read More »

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CiscoLive 2012 and the FCoE Groundswell

June 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm PST

As the Product Manager for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), I often get asked some of the hard questions about how the technology works. Sometimes I get asked the easy questions. Sometimes -- like two nights ago -- I get asked if the standards for FCoE are done.

I’m not kidding.

My own expectations for discussing FCoE were focused around the topics and conversations that we’ve been seeing over the last year, since the last Cisco Live in 2011. Read More »

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Cisco Live 2012 Short Take: Techtorials, FCoE, and Customers

June 11, 2012 at 10:24 am PST

I’m here at Cisco Live 2012 in San Diego, and coming off of a high of being able to talk to about 60 CCIE networking rock stars about the next generation Data Center.

In case you aren’t familiar, a Techtorial is an 8-hour continuous spray from the firehose (yes, 8 hours!), on top of the normal Cisco Live fare, that goes into the ultra deep technical weeds. These guys are the ones who are planning, designing, and implementing the data centers that we at Cisco only talk about. Truly stellar group of people who know what they’re talking about.

Our session (I was one of 5 speakers during the day) was a non-stop barrage of some of the most technical networking material you can imagine. We covered everything from Hadoop to VPCs to FabricPath to QoS to VM-FEX, and of course storage.

More and more often, questions from the networking teams are looking at storage requirements as they are planning to accommodate consolidated IO. Not just FCoE, but also iSCSI, NAS, and even Hadoop environments, and they need to know what could come and bite them when they weren’t looking.

When I asked how many of them were already having conversations with the storage teams about converging the networks, about 90% of them raised their hands. As a result, we got into the nitties and the gritties about ingress and egress buffering, COS Virtual Lanes, and QoS bandwidth allocations. Like I said, deep stuff.

As I’ve said before, in my world I have a rather skewed perspective. Since I live, eat, breathe, drink storage -- particularly FCoE -- I see the adoption at all levels in the data center.

And now you can too. I’m going to be giving specific examples of customer deployments at the Expo World of Solutions in Intel’s booth today (Monday, June 11) at 5 p.m., and again in NetApp’s booth on Wednesday, June 13, at 3:00 p.m.

Of course, you can come here it straight from the customer’s mouth, at “Voice of the Customer: FCoE”, where Bart Falzarano, Chief Information Security Officer from Walz Group, will be talking about how his company has deployed FCoE with great success. That session is WoS5030, at the Cisco Main Theatre on Tuesday, June 12 at 12:15 p.m.

These sessions are short -- only 10-15 minutes, so it may not be a good idea to dawdle.

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Scaling out Horizontally, Not Just Vertically.

April 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm PST

Here we are in an age of automation, consolidation, virtualization, optimization and the proliferation of a dozen other terms and technologies that are enabling IT organizations and users to do more with less and from just about any location.  We’re building clouds and service catalogs, virtual desktops and creating IT service providers.   The skills required by IT organizations continue to grow in leaps and bounds.  No more can you just be “the router engineer” or “the backup engineer”, you’re faced with learning other technologies.  Not so much learning, but cross training.  Read More »

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