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Delivering Policy in the Age of Open Source

This is an exciting time in the history of datacenter infrastructure.  We are witnessing the collision of two major trends: the maturation of open source software and the redefinition of infrastructure policy.
The trend towards open source is self-evident.  Platforms such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight are gaining huge developer mindshare as well as support and investment from major vendors.  Even some newer technologies like Docker, which employs linux kernel containers, and Ceph, a software-based storage solution, offer promising paths in open source.  Given the fundamental requirements of interoperability in architecturally diverse infrastructure environments, its no surprise that open source is gaining momentum.

The second trend around policy is a bit earlier in its evolution but equally disruptive.  Today, there is a huge disconnect between how application developers think about their requirements and the languages and tools through which they are communicated to the infrastructure itself.  For example,  just to handle networking, a simple three tier app must be deconstructed into an array of VLANs, ACLs, and routes spread across a number of devices.  Storage and compute present similar challenges as well.   To simplify this interaction and create more scalable systems, we need to actually rethink how resources are requested and distributed between different components.  This really boils down to shifting the abstraction model away from configuring individual devices to focus on separately capturing user intent, operational, infrastructure, and compliance requirements.

At Cisco, we’ve really embraced both of these trends.  We are active contributors to over 100 open source projects and were founding members of OpenStack Neutron and OpenDaylight.  We’ve also made open source a successful business practice by incorporating and integrating popular projects with our products.  In parallel, Cisco has accumulated a lot of experience in describing policy through the work we’ve done with Cisco Unified Computing (UCS) and most recently with Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

Building on this foundation, we see a unique opportunity to collaborate with the open source community to deliver a vision for policy-driven infrastructure.  This will enhance the usability, scale, and interoperability of open source software and benefit the entire infrastructure ecosystem.

This vision includes two initiatives in the open source community:

GroupBasedPolicy

  1. Group-Based Policy: An information model designed to express applications’ resource requirements from the network through a hardware-independent, declarative language and leave a simple control and dataplane in place.  This approach replaces traditional networking constructs like VLANs with new primitives such as “groups”, which model tiers or components of an application, and “contracts” describing relationships between them.  Group-Based Policy will be available in the context of OpenStack Neutron as well as OpenDaylight through a plug in model that can support any software or hardware infrastructure.
  2. OpFlex: A distributed framework of intelligent agents within each networking device designed to resolve policies.  These agents would translate an abstract, hardware-independent policy taken from a logically central repository into device-specific features and capabilities.

 

Let’s look a bit more closely at each of these initiatives.

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Cloud delivers “wake-up call” to IT organizations

W14A1

“Industry leaders weigh in on the disruptive nature of the cloud, and the opportunity for IT organizations to become higher-value service brokers.

IT departments have lost traditional control over company systems. With cloud storming in, IT has been pushed aside to allow the entire corporation to overshadow what used to be solely IT’s job. But they’re fighting back by embracing new responsibilities—specifically, by becoming the decision-makers for when to buy, where to build, and what the depth of the cloud should be….

To read more on this topic* , visit Unleashing ITWe’ve just released the newest edition. Unleashing IT provides resources, news updates, and customer reports of Cisco technology put to use.

Much like Cisco and Intel collaborate to bring you the most up-to-date technology solutions, IT and business must function together to deliver the best results for both your bottom line and your customers’ satisfaction.That’s where Unleashing IT comes into play. Unleashing IT is your  easy-access source for data center solutions and best practices.

If you’re not currently subscribed, it’s easy to do so. Visit the online subscription page, enter your identification information, and submit. You’ll have full access to our assets—and feel free to request a data center expert to get in touch with you if you’re interested in learning more.
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Oracle on Cisco UCS : Breaking Records without Breaking the Bank

CollaborateLogo Cisco is back at Collaborate , the great show put in place by IOUG , this year in Las Vegas April 7- 10.
More and more Oracle customers benefit now from the advantages  provided by Cisco and Cisco partners for mission critical applications, not only in terms of performances but also in terms of TCO.

So what are we doing this year at Collaborate 2014 ? Here is the complete list of Cisco activities , as well as a resource center to know everything about our partnership with IOUG, and other technology partners such as EMC , or NetApp. But I like also to highlight some specific activities.

[] Oracle Virtualization and Risc Migration Bootcamp

IOUG Bootcamp WebsiteWith our partners Intel and House of Brick Technologies , we just completed a full day workshop to help the attendees to plan a Risc  migration and virtualization deployment in the safest environment possible.

I interviewed yesterday  Daniel Young, Manager of Data Base Administration from Indiana University about his  experience

As we promised this was  an intense and fast moving session where we gave our all and didn’t hold anything  back regarding the best way to execute your Oracle virtualization or server migration efforts. Developed after years of hands-on real world Oracle virtualization and migration projects, this bootcamp distills implementation and execution experience into a 6-hour session that will help you plan and implement your own project.

WomenIntechPicture [] Women in Technology 

This year again, Cisco is the proud sponsor of Women in Technology luncheon and panel discussion .
These two events are exciting opportunities  to share experiences  and challenges in the high tech industry.
I hope that this year we will witness more men showing up at the panel session  , as there are a lot of lessons to learn from these powerful and inspiring panelists
We are pleased to have on Thursday Kathy English, Senior Director Data Center, as moderator of  the conversation.
You may want to check here the complete program and the list of panelists

[] Theater Presentation on Cisco Booth # 1461

You may want to check the complete list , but here are 4 sessions that you really don’t want to miss
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What it Takes to Build a Platform Robust Enough for Your Big Data with UCS CPA.

Everybody has been talking about big data over the past years . Your data continues to grow, both in mass and importance. And you know that your company is in need of better analytics to use the influx of data as a point of improvement for business. As the Internet expands and connects all things previously unconnected (a concept referred to as the Internet of Everything, or IoE), consumers have access to more personalized information that keeps them engaged and delivers efficient services. This means data is pouring in from—well, everywhere. To sort and utilize it for better user experiences, it’s first necessary to ensure your data center is capable of gathering and housing all this data. And that starts at the foundation.

raghunathnambiarOur distinguished engineer and Chief Architect of Big Data Solutions at Cisco, Raghunath Nambiar, talks about “A Unified Platform for Big Data” in our last edition of Unleashing IT . Recently elected by the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) to lead the development of the industry’s first big data benchmark standard, Nambiar states  “To get the most out of big data, companies need an infrastructure that is tuned for big data workloads, with better performance and scalability than traditional environments.” Read more here .

In fact, the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco® Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) Common Platform Architecture (CPA) for Big Data is a robust platform built on a unified fabric, and based on Cisco Nexus® switches for exceptional availability and scalability. Built specifically with Big Data in mind, this certified and validated architecture has been utilized by businesses in a variety of industries.

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#EngineersUnplugged S5|Ep4: Big Data

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Floris Grandvarlet (Cisco) and Richard Pilling (Intel) take on Big Data across the proverbial pond, at Cisco Live Milan. Where are we now, how are we going to approach the ever increasing amount of data (an ocean of it) to fish for information? This is a great overview for the challenges and the evolution of approaches.

Let’s watch and see what they propose to address the challenges:

It’s our very first seahorse–outsmarted once more.

**The next Engineers Unplugged shoot is at EMC World, Las Vegas, May 2014! Contact me now to become internet famous.**

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