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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – April 12, 2013

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, as well as point you to important Cisco-related content you may have missed along the way. Let’s have it.

Off The Top

As partner event season kicks into high gear, we’re focused on some of Cisco’s biggest gatherings, including Cisco Partner Summit in early June and Cisco Live in late June. Of more immediate interest, however, is Cisco Marketing Velocity, which kicks off early next week in gorgeous Cannes, France. Check out the roster if you haven’t had a chance; there are some impressively big-name speakers on the schedule, ready to share the latest in insights, technologies, social media best practices and marketing techniques with more than 200 Cisco partners from around the world.

I asked Cisco partners that have attended Velocity in the past to share thoughts on why the conference is a worthwhile investment, and here’s a look at what we discussed. Meanwhile, keep an eye on the Channels blog and follow both @partnervelocity and @cisco_channels for coverage of the event. Read More »

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Microsoft on UCS: Simplify Your IT and Transform Your Business

April 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm PST

We’re at the final day of Microsoft’s Management Summit 2013 (MMS 2013) here in Las Vegas. We’ve handed out ~1,500 t-shirts; performed hundreds of demos on our technologies Nexus 1000V, UCS Manager, VM-FEX, and Cisco PowerTool; evangelized our Microsoft Cloud OS solutions FlexPod and VSPEX; and generally interacted with most of the 5,000+ attendees here.

Show attendees now have a better understanding of our technologies but also and perhaps more importantly, have a better and growing understanding of the true value we bring to their Microsoft oriented data centers.

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Figure 1.

 As Figure 1 shows, organizations are challenged in many ways – staff inefficiency, unscheduled downtime, OpEx and CapEx pressures, etc. We feel our Cisco Unified Data Center is a viable solution to these challenges. It delivers operational simplicity and business agility -- essential for cloud computing. The Microsoft and Cisco alliance extends the value of the Cisco Unified Data Center by integrating Windows Server, Hyper-V, Microsoft workloads such as SQL and Exchange, and finally System Center and UCS Manager management stacks into manageable and scalable solutions. As a highly secure, scalable environment for your organization the Cisco Unified Data Center automates and simplifies deployment, orchestration, and management across server, network, and cloud.

The value derived from a Cisco Unified Data Center we is that we can now help your data center scale to meet your business dynamics; simplify your I.T. management processes; lower your operating costs while delivering world class performance. In the world of Microsoft oriented data centers, we deliver this value to your organization through:

  • Cisco Validated Designs for Microsoft Private Cloud Solutions

Move to the cloud quickly and easily with the help of Cisco Validated Designs. Part of the Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track program, these preconfigured solutions consist of industry-leading technologies from Cisco, EMC (VSPEX) and NetApp (FlexPod). Reduce your risk and enjoy end-to-end architectural and deployment guidance with pretested design guides

  • Cisco Validated Designs for Microsoft Workloads

To ensure Cisco customers running Microsoft software get the most from their data centers, Cisco designs, pretests, validates, and provides support for a growing list of Microsoft solutions such as Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server, and SharePoint Server.

  • Ability to Consolidate and Virtualize Microsoft Applications

Microsoft applications such as SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and Exchange Server are often prime candidates for consolidation and virtualization. Administrators can expedite and simplify virtualization deployment, management, and operations by using Cisco’s high-bandwidth, low-latency, virtualization-aware unified network fabric, Cisco UCS and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

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As you can see from the various customer quotes – Xerox, Cassidy Turley, and ING Direct -- true value in terms of economies of scale, improved performance, and efficiencies are seen. To learn more about our Cisco Unified Data Center and its transformational power, please feel free to download our new brochure Microsoft on UCS: Simplify Your IT and Transform Your Business

To learn more about Cisco’s Microsoft data center capabilities, please visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft

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VSPEX for Microsoft Hyper-V : A Guest Post from our Partner EMC

April 10, 2013 at 5:05 am PST

Note: This guest blog is from our partner EMC. In it Chad Dunn, Director of VSPEX Business Operations, comments on VSPEX as an infrastructure solution for Microsoft oriented I.T. environments.  Rex. 

Cisco and EMC Buddy-Up on VSPEX for Microsoft Private Cloud

At EMC we’re always keen on working with fellow industry-leaders to deliver solutions that accelerate our customers’ journey to cloud computing – and Cisco, the leader in fabric, is one of our most collaborative friends.  In particular, we’ve focused a ton of joint effort on EMC VSPEX.

Since VSPEX was launched last April, hundreds of customers from across the globe have adopted VSPEX powered by EMC and Cisco technology – from the US to the UK to Australia.  That success is tied directly to our collaboration, from completing Cisco Validated Designs for VSPEX to jointly certifying VSPEX as part of Microsoft’s private cloud Fast Track 3.0 for “small” implementations.

If you aren’t already familiar: What is VSPEX?

VSPEX is a set of complete virtualization solutions – integrating virtualization, servers, networking, storage and backup – that are proven and validated by EMC and delivered to customers by channel partners.  That validation is extremely important too – why?  Because validation = confidence.  It ensures interoperability and fast deployment, and removes the complexity and risk.

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Well… What’s New?

With the increasing interest in Microsoft-based private clouds, we wanted to deliver a solution to customers that was not only validated by EMC and Cisco, but also certified by Microsoft.  Just like what we did with the “small” Microsoft private cloud Fast Track implementation – but bigger.  So that’s exactly what we’ve done: EMC and Cisco have just certified a new VSPEX configuration as a Microsoft private cloud Fast Track solution for enterprise implementations.

The enterprise implementation along with the small implementation greatly accelerates the transformation to Microsoft private cloud environments for our customers, but also just as important is how VSPEX can help customers simplify the ongoing management of their cloud.  Key to successful cloud management is delivering robust end to end orchestration and automation. EMC and Cisco’s integration with Microsoft System Center enables our customers to leverage the management tools and interfaces that they know and already utilize.  Additionally, EMC Storage Integrator (ESI) provides Microsoft application administrators more self-service and management empowerment and shortens the time to do storage provisioning by 4x for Microsoft applications.

Speaking of Microsoft applications, we’ve also just introduced 2 new VSPEX solutions to support them.   VSPEX for virtualized Microsoft Exchange makes deployment of 1,000 to 10,000 Exchange mailboxes fast and easy, while VSPEX for virtualized Microsoft SQL Server dramatically simplifies implementation of an environment supporting online transaction processing.

We’re very excited about these solutions as well as all of the other things that come as a result of our collaboration with Cisco around VSPEX – and there’s plenty more to come – so keep an eye out on www.cisco.com/go/vspex and follow @EMCVSPEX on twitter for the latest.

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FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud : A Guest Post from our Partner NetApp

April 10, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Note: This guest blog is from our partner NetApp.  VDI Reference Architect Rob Briggs introduces ExpressPod for the Microsoft private cloud as well as comments on FlexPod successes. Rex. 

FlexPod, ExpressPod, and Windows Server 2012 RDS -- “It’s in the Box!”

I’ve seen a lot of great discussion and buzz this week at the Microsoft Management Summit on deployment of private cloud, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.  Around the Cisco   and NetApp booths, it’s been exciting to see the interest attendees have shown around our new Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 validated FlexPod solution – FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud.

But what exactly does this mean for customers? Take a look at ING Direct, which has deployed FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud and achieved massive cost and time to market savings.  With their “Bank in the Box” solution, ING Direct made “copies” of the entire bank environment for their developers in 10 minutes, compared to a previous 12 week turnaround.  This dramatically accelerated time to market of new products and services.

For many small to medium sized businesses or remote offices, FlexPod, System Center and a private cloud infrastructure may be more than what is required. Instead, we’ve seen that many of these customers want to start with a simple to deploy virtualization solution.  ExpressPod, with all of benefits of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V , it is a pre-packaged and tested solution for growing small and medium sized organizations with exactly this scenario in mind.  Think of it as having many of the benefits of FlexPod, but priced, sized and packaged for small to medium sized deployments.

The hardware that comprises this solution is nothing to scoff at: ExpressPod integrates Cisco UCS® C-Series servers, NetApp FAS2220-series storage, and Cisco Nexus® 3048 switches with infrastructure management, into an affordable, easy-to-deploy shared virtualization infrastructure solution. ExpressPod supports an open ecosystem of management and hypervisor solutions and comes in two configurations, small and medium.

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The small and medium ExpressPod configurations are low-cost, standardized infrastructure solutions, well-suited for virtualization of business critical applications. The configurations have been built and tested to deliver a cost-effective, high-value, and best practice architecture.

We recently completed testing and documentation of small and medium ExpressPod configurations with Microsoft Windows Server 2012® and Hyper-V. Take a look at our ExpressPod with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Implementation Guide to see in-depth, detailed deployment instructions for each of these configurations.

Each configuration provides a standardized base platform capable of running a number of business-critical applications while providing scalability options to enable the infrastructure to grow with business demands.  One such application workload that ExpressPod is well-equipped to run is Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

RDS is a collection of independent role services in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 that support various desktop virtualization and session based remoting scenarios. Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services on NetApp Storage gives detailed implementation guidance and best practices for a RDS solution.

A solution perfectly suited for the value of ExpressPod

As a desktop virtualization solution, RDS offers lower cost deployments.  In addition to the cost-effectiveness of using ExpressPod, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 RDS reduces both the capital and operational expenditures of VDI.  Simply said, “It’s in the box”.  Software box that is.  There are no additional software dependencies to roll out an effective VDI solution. Also, I’m happy to say that RDS deployments have been drastically simplified with Windows Server 2012, which reduces management costs.

If you are at MMS this week please be sure to stop by the Cisco or NetApp booths.  We’d be happy to further discuss the benefits that either FlexPod or ExpressPod can bring your organization.  You can also find out more about these solutions from certified Cisco and NetApp resellers.

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Vive la Nexus 1000V on Microsoft Hyper-V!

April 9, 2013 at 4:00 am PST

MMS logoAt Microsoft Management Summit 2013 in Las Vegas this week, Cisco is showing a host of new technology innovations and integrated solutions for the virtualized data center. By bringing Cisco virtual networking and UCS solutions together with Microsoft cloud solutions, we are expanding the market for our technology, while providing more technology options and flexibility for our customers.

Critical to our Microsoft infrastructure strategy is the Nexus 1000V virtual switch for the Hyper-V hypervisor in Windows Server 2012 and integrated with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). Cisco’s Microsoft-oriented data center architectures, rooted by UCS and Nexus 1000V are proven to save customers’ OpEx and CapEx.

Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V

Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V

Our new version of Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V has been in wide use for the last several weeks since we opened up the public beta to all volunteers. The availability of Nexus 1000V and these go to market initiatives with Microsoft are the culmination of 3 years of joint effort between the companies, including developing the ecosystem for completely integrated solutions. These fully integrated solutions include VSPEX, FlexPod (with EMC and NetApp) that enable channel partners to deliver value to end customers.

The feedback we’ve been getting from the beta users of the new Nexus 1000V has been really positive. If you missed the insights from Microsoft MVP, Damian Flynn, when he presented at one of our online webinars, you can hear him talk about his experiences here.

What we consistently hear from customers is the Cisco Nexus 1000V for Microsoft Hyper-V:

  • Offers consistent operational experience across physical, virtual, and mixed hypervisor environments
  • Reduces operational complexity through dynamic policy provisioning and mobility aware network policies
  • Improves security through integrated virtual services and advanced Cisco NX-OS features

Read More »

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