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Cisco Validated Designs for Cloud – Part 3 – Flexpod

November 9, 2012 at 4:00 am PST

Over the past two weeks, Tom Nallen introduced the concept and benefits of the Cisco Validated Design , then Laszlo Bojtos,  illustrated this concept with the Cloud Service Assurance for Virtualized Multi-Services Data Center 2.2 Cisco Validated Design, with a specific emphasis on the integration with Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud .

This week I talked with John Kennedy, a Cisco engineer who put a lot of energy on the FlexPod CVDs.

“So John, what is FlexPod ?
FlexPod is the result of collaboration between NetApp© and Cisco to create a cost-effective, scalable solution for cloud applications as well as standard virtualization support.  The FlexPod(t), a pre-defined, pre-tested solution, includes the compute, networking, and storage customers need in a validated (as in CVD) package. But unlike other validated solutions, FlexPod can be scaled up or out, not just one or the other.

What need does FlexPod address ?
It’s probably been a while since you had to source a motherboard. Many of us have done this in the past, in order to get desktop computer system that met our needs. Pre-configured systems were limited in their abilities, and custom design was beneficial.

But choices of personal computer systems have increased, and most folks don’t need to customize anymore, preferring to buy an entire computer system that’s been tested and designed to meet their needs. On the other hand, customers want to be able to expand the system they have to keep up with new technology, or to add capabilities.

Customers need to support multiple types of applications and have multiple purposes for their infrastructure, and the Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for FlexPod reflect that need. The architectures have been validated by engineers from both companies to ensure performance and stability.
But that’s just the beginning. The Cisco Validated Design documents include multiple configurations with multiple types of application and operating systems  Read More »

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OpenStack, Cisco ONE and You

October 16, 2012 at 8:40 am PST

So, with our announcements around OpenStack this week a few folks have asked me how OpenStack fits into our broader strategies like Cisco Open Network Environment. The short answer is “quite well, actually”, the longer answer follows. :)

If you look back our original introduction of the Cisco Open Network Environment, we made a couple of points—there is a plurality of use cases and as a result, there need to be a plurality of enabling technologies. While there are common objectives such as agility and programmability to better handle the macro trends like cloud and virtualization, the truth is, everyone has their own design objectives and priorities. To that sentiment, I might add that folks have varying operational objectives and priorities—the appetite for the amount of risk and complexity they want to take on.

With the three-pillar structure of the Open Network Environment, we feel like we have given folks the flexibility to choose the right technologies for the job. With initiatives like OpenStack we now support a different kind of flexibility.

While a segment of the market seems to want to start writing their own protocols and hand-wiring flow tables, a different segment of the market is moving in the other direction, expressing a desire to get out of the infrastructure business and focus their time and efforts on their apps and their users—this has traditionally been the Vblock and FlexPod crowd. With OpenStack, they now have another option—they get the programmability we talk about with the Open Network Environment, but at the stack level, instead of at the box level. The idea behind something like the Cisco Edition of OpenStack is simplify the task and reduce the risks of standing up a cloud stack. You have the full Folsom release of OpenStack, some Puppet recipes to simplify deployment and validation against the relevant Cisco hardware (follow that last link for details).

To get more insights into our OpenStack announcements this week, check our this blog by Lew Tucker, our VP/CTO for Cloud Computing and this post by Kyle Mestery, one of the many Cisco folks who has invested a great deal of time and effort in OpenStack.

One final thought. We are a long way from being done yet. In just the last few days, I blogged about how our Virtuata and vCider acquisitions fit into a multi-cloud strategy, we have had the aforementioned posts related to this week’s OpenStack announcements, and Rodrigo Flores just posted about our Multi-Cloud Acceleration Kits for our Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution. While cloud is the destination, there are many ways to get there as we have customers and we will continue to innovate and partner on a number of fronts and in a number of ways that will likely surprise some folks. Stay tuned.

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“Microsoft is a great partner in the data center…” – John Chambers, October 2012

October 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm PST

I was flying back home late last week after participating in Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 launch event in Denver.  As I scanned through my email InBox I saw the John Chambers quote from an interview he had done with CRN . John’s quote is timely given our many Cisco engineering and marketing activities going on with Microsoft as well as with our key partners EMC and NetApp. Let’s take a look and see what’s happening:

  • Our UCS and Nexus platforms are key components in our VSPEX for Microsoft Hyper-V reference architecture with our partner EMC.
  • Our FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud solution with our partner NetApp is providing Hyper-V based private cloud solutions to customers such as ING Direct in Australia and the University of Waterloo in Canada.
  • UCS Manager is tightly integrated with Microsoft System Center 2012 and this was recognized with it being awarded the Breakthrough Technology Award at Microsoft Tech Ed in Orlando.
  • UCS PowerTool delivers industry leading – and in this case this phrase is really well deserved – integration with Microsoft’s PowerShell  technology affording ease of automation for deployment and rapid configuration of UCS and Microsoft applications such as Exchange and SQL Server.
  • Nexus 1000V enables virtual networking scenarios in Microsoft Windows Server 2012’s new Hyper-V Extensible Switch – a result of great teamwork between Microsoft and Cisco R&D organizations. View our recent WindowsITPro webinar on virtual networking and Nexus 1000V here.

These Cisco technologies and solutions bring UCS, Nexus, and UCS Manager into your environment helping to create a better datacenter for your Microsoft private clouds and applications.  We will continue to work closely with Microsoft and key partners on various Microsoft/Cisco initiatives.  Our combined efforts allow you more choice in determining how to spend your IT budget and a Cisco based datacenter for Microsoft applications is a good choice indeed!

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Leveraging strong partnerships to bring the SAP HANA Scale-out solution to market

October 8, 2012 at 6:34 am PST

On Tuesday October 9th at 9:00 am PST  , NetApp will join the conversation between Cisco and SAP on Cisco UCS Data Center Solutions for  SAP® Solution. An opportunity to discover how the SAP HANA® platform on Cisco UCS gives organizations instant insight into business operations.  Registration here for the 10/9 Webcast.

NetApp, as well as Cisco,  will be also present October 15-18  at SAP TechEd  Las Vegas. In preparation of these events, I asked Thomas Stanley, NetApp VP Global Alliances and System Integrators to tell us more about NetApp, Cisco,  SAP partnership. 

NetApp’s strong partnerships with both SAP and Cisco have resulted in over ten years of breakthrough innovations.  Our partnership with Cisco has led to pre-validated solutions such as FlexPod.  By combining SAP applications with the FlexPod architecture, we delivered the SAP applications built on FlexPod solution to help SAP customers smoothly transition to the cloud.  NetApp’s collaboration with SAP started with the joint development of Adaptive Computing; then came NetApp’s SnapManager for SAP product; and more recently, the integration with NetWeaver Landscape Virtualization Manager.  So it makes perfect sense that the three-way collaboration would extend to delivering a scale-out solution for SAP HANA. In fact, SAP used NetApp storage systems internally for the development of HANA.

The Cisco and NetApp Scale-out solution for SAP HANA combines the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) with the innovative NetApp unified storage systems to deliver a high-performance, scalable infrastructure that works right out of the box.  Cisco UCS enables SAP customers to manage an overall SAP data center with one management tool, Cisco UCS Manager.  Thus, the system delivers network simplicity in a smaller footprint, resulting in lower capital and operating cost.  NetApp storage has delivered powerful, shared access solutions to “classic” SAP and SAP Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) customers for many years due to its infinite modular scalability, high availability, and overall ease of deployment. Now SAP HANA customers can benefit from the same persistent storage. Using a unified storage architecture, NetApp solutions create a single end-to-end foundation for dynamic data management that can scale from small to large without sacrificing application performance and service levels.

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RISC Migration at OOW2012 : Pragmatic approach to transition to Cisco UCS

October 2, 2012 at 10:44 am PST

Lot of activities these days at the Moscone Center here in San Francisco  for Oracle OpenWorld 2102!  But first the major speaking session of the day.

Raghunath Nambiar, Cisco distinguished Engineer , and Ashok Joshi , Oracle Senior Director  will be on stage at 1:15 pm to talk about

Big Data Performance Delivered: Oracle NoSQL Database on Cisco UCS (CON 11671)
Moscone Center West -- Room

If you are at the Moscone Center , don’t miss the opportunity to meet Raghu, who led also the TPC-C benchmark (see blog Introducing the World’s Fastest 2-Processor server )

To help you to take advantage as soon as possible of the UCS platform, I talked  yesterday with Carl Fijat, from Cisco Advanced Services to better understand how easy and painless the RISC migration can be.  Carl who was presenting on the Cisco booth ( #1221) talked about the extensive methodology and comprehensive set of tools offered to the customers who are ready to migrate .

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