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Interop Redux: Focus on Virtual L4-7 Services with Embrane

April 14, 2014 at 5:30 am PST

Our recap of Interop 2014 continues with a focus on Cisco technology partner Embrane, who focuses on integration of layer 4-7 virtual services into cloud and data center networks, including its own virtual load balancer, firewall and VPN. Embrane describes its heleos platform and heleos Elastic Services Manager (ESM) solution as a virtual services lifecycle manager and orchestration engine, based on the ability to provision virtual security instances in minutes, automatically insert them in the network, assign rules and policies to a specific application, enable self-healing high availability (HA), and automate the licensing and usage monitoring for each virtual appliance.

Embrane was part of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) ecosystem at our initial launch last November, and at this most recent Interop also came out and endorsed ACI’s OpFlex protocol, which handles communication between network devices and the APIC controller. Embrane also recently announced the ability to provide its lifecycle management services to Cisco’s virtual security platforms, both the ASAv and Sourcefire. I had the chance to catch up with Embrane Founder, Dante Malagrino, in the Cisco booth at Interop and get a little deeper understanding of how Cisco is working with Embrane in these areas.

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Interop Redux: A Look at the New RISE Capability with Citrix NetScaler and Nexus 7000

April 11, 2014 at 11:00 am PST

Just prior to Interop about two weeks ago, Cisco unveiled its Remote Integrated Services Engine (RISE) on the Nexus 7000 series switch. Remote Integrated Service Engine (RISE) is a new protocol being added to the Nexus 7000 and 7700 platforms through NX-OS (software upgradeable to existing devices), that integrates external service appliances attached to Nexus 7000 Series switches with the same benefits as if the appliance was directly connected to the switch backplane, just like a dedicated service module. Initially, Citrix NetScaler Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) and the Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module (NAM) are the first services appliances that have integrated with RISE, and have been tested and Certified as “RISE-enabled”. With the announcement of RISE, we expect to develop an ecosystem of partners that will work with Cisco to take advantage of this technology, including other application services vendors and firewalls.

At Interop, I had a chance to meet up on the show floor with Citrix NetScaler Product Manager, Joe Peck, to talk about why Citrix is taking advantage of this new RISE technology.

But wait there’s more… Read More »

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The First Open Source Project to Win the Interop Grand Prize…

… is none other than…  (drum roll, please!) … our one year old baby, OpenDaylight! My heartfelt congratulations go to the OpenDaylight committers and contributors, the open source collaborators who have poured their heart and soul into this wonderful project. This is indeed a remarkable event, considering the skepticism surrounding its start just about one year ago, in fact at Equinox. The Interop and OpenDaylight announcement captures the meaning of this accomplishment very well and on behalf of the OpenDaylight partners, I would like to thank the developers and users, to wish them continued success and strong adoption. Know that as long as core open source principles are alive and well our project will do well. Thank you, Interop panelists and conference attendees, and most of all, thank you Cisco colleagues, customers, and partners for building and embracing the base of what promises to be a star project. I am so proud of you!

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Enterprise Mobility and the Award-Winning Cisco Prime Service Catalog

We are proud to announce that the Cisco IT internal implementation of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, dubbed the Cisco IT “eStore”, was honored (and ranked #25) in the InformationWeek Elite 100 awards this week – as one of the most innovative uses of business technology in 2014. You can read more about the awards here.

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(If you haven’t heard about Cisco IT’s eStore, be sure to check out my recent write-up about eStore. You can also read the case study here, and read more from Adel du Toit who blogged about Cisco IT’s initiative here last June.)

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The Cisco IT eStore was also nominated as a finalist for a Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) award. Stay tuned as the award winners will be announced at the CITE conference at the end of this month.

We are thrilled to see Cisco IT being recognized for it’s internal Cisco Prime Service Catalog deployment.  It’s a great testament to the innovative partnership between our product engineering teams and our internal IT organization.

That’s not all … This week at Interop Las Vegas, adjacent to the InformationWeek Elite 100 awards ceremony, was the announcement of the new Cisco Mobile Workplace Solution – where Cisco Prime Service Catalog serves as the unified IT storefront for mobility services (you can read a great overview of the new solution from Jonathan’s blog post here). We showcased a live demo of the award-winning Cisco IT internal implementation of the Cisco Prime Service Catalog: the Cisco IT eStore.

As enterprise IT organizations adopt and implement their mobility strategies, they are learning just how much their end users expect and need in today’s increasingly mobile environment. For example, they need a simple, easy-to-use, and automated solution for ordering all of the mobility and other workplace services an IT organization may offer – rather than having separate portals for requesting smartphones, tablets, mobile apps, desktop software, laptops, or BYOD services. A unified service catalog and single access point for all IT services increases workforce productivity, with a better employee experience and improved satisfaction with IT.

As Jonathan describes in the blog post linked above, organizations typically begin from a device-focused approach. IT often focuses on corporate-liable devices or employee owned devices, providing an easy way to onboard these devices and access basic services. Then, organizations progress to the application-focused phase, where the enterprise leverages mobile applications to provide productivity and empower employees.

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The third and final step in the enterprise mobility journey is experience-focused. After having fulfilled the initial device-focused and app-focused stages, organizations are becoming experience-focused and prioritizing service automation to improve the employee experience and provide an easy-to-use, automated self-service experience.

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The Security Imperative As Mobility Evolves

April 1, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

Editor’s Note: This post is a response to EN Mobility Workspace. Please see that post for full context.

A colleague of mine here at Cisco, Jonathan, recently spoke well to the Evolution of Cisco Mobility Workspace Journey. Like all technologies, there is an adoption and engagement cycle based on maturity and risk level. We begin at the device-focused phase with a simple “get me on the network.” Following is the application-focused phase, “now that I am on what can I do with my ability to move around without a wire and work anytime and anywhere.” And the final is the overall experience, which is tailored to the user based on who they are, where they are, what they need or can do. And one can argue the next mobility phase for organizations is IoT (Internet of Things) as more single purpose devices (not necessarily with a user behind it) move to the wireless network.

What is critical to point out is the consistent requirement (not a nice to have) for security as the mobile user experience expands. Why is this so important? According to IDC over 47 percent of organizations see security enhancements required with their mobility initiative. The questions to consider are:

  • What are the secure mobility issues today and potentially tomorrow?
  • What are the implications?
  • What is likelihood of these threats?

The top secure mobility concerns noted by numerous surveys indicate the following:

  1. Data protection
  2. Application access
  3. Lost and stolen device
  4. Rogue devices

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