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What Is Cisco UNIFIED FABRIC? Why Should You Care?

Is your network ready to help you transform and be the strategic partner that you can be? Let’s face it… Today’s data centers are challenged with siloed resources and facilities… Limited scalability… Poor resource utilization… Growing complexity…Perhaps the biggest challenge is time.  When 80% of your resources are dedicated to “keeping the lights on” and managing all what you have, there is very little time left for innovation that benefits the business.

And the reality is that the role of IT has to change – from a cost center to a business strategic partner!  Why? Because there are increasing demands on IT to help your business differentiate in order to survive and grow in these rough economic conditions. And let’s not forget that the increasing cost pressures, technology changes, and the advent of game-changers like cloud are forcing IT executives to look at how to deliver IT differently. 

These growing demands put even more pressure on the shoulders of IT especially given the current state of your Data Centers. The data center network sits at the core of IT and is key to how IT can deliver services and provide value back to the business.

So what do you do?  The good news is that …

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Unified Fabric for a Backup Server

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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NX-OS: Delivering Ongoing Value

When we talk about networks in the data center, there is often talk about bandwidth, 10Gigabit Ethernet, switch sizing, and the changes that have been wrought on the network since the inception of widespread server virtualization. The base operating system that the switch runs on, the networking software itself, is often only discussed in terms of how/when/why to do upgrades. Networking software has more relevance than that, especially from a strategic standpoint.

The strategic nature of networking software is easy to see. But the most important way networking software is important is in the flexibility it can provide over the lifetime of the product line. Poorly written or architected networking software can put a huge burden on the vendor when new features or when major changes to the networking industry occurs. As a customer that matters because the vendor may spend the time and money to accommodate those changes or has to charge an exorbitant amount. It all speaks to the investment protection a vendor can bring. Poor network software equals poor investment protection and a degraded upgrade path.

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Announcing Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager 6.1

Do you have different management tools for your Storage and Ethernet Networks? For IT Administrators who need to manage them, using these various management applications can be a daunting task. Cisco announced last week the release of Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) 6.1. DCNM is now part of the Prime portfolio of Infrastructure Management products that focuses on holistic, single pane of glass management of Cisco’s Unified Fabric.

Cisco Prime DCNM 6.1 provides a robust framework and comprehensive feature set that meets the routing, switching, and storage administration needs of present and future virtualized data centers. DCNM offers visibility into the virtualized hosts by integrating with industry standard hypervisors and provides host-tracking capability to easily manage and diagnose virtual and physical servers.

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FCOE. Can’t we all just get along?

I was sitting in a room with a client the other day and normally in these conference rooms with the mahogany tables and high back leather chairs*, you have Cisco on one side of the table, and the client on the other. However, this wasn’t the case, as the table was formica and the chairs were folding.  Also, in the room was two groups that had never spoken before except in rare cases, “The network is down!” or “Our hosts can’t see their storage!”  Yes my friends, it was the LAN and SAN folks in the room.  The topic of FCoE was in front of us and the question was around their soon to be deployed Nexus 5000 switching infrastructure.    The discussion between the two parties over who would manage the Nexus 5000 reminded me of a scene from Ghostbusters… Read More »

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