The Microsoft ecosystem continues to be an important area of focus with our Cisco Datacenter product and solution teams. UCS, Nexus, UCS Management, and ACI teams have continued to innovate and launch new offerings during the past few months. Let’s take a look at our recent happenings and launches that can help enable your organization to deliver an optimal datacenter environment for your Microsoft platforms:
1. PASS, Microsoft SQL Server, and Cisco’s Unified Datacenter…
We’ve ramped up our focus on Microsoft’s SQL Server platform! Investments in PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server), Pass Summit 2013, and the PASS Virtualization Chapter afford us the opportunity to educate this world-wide BI and Data Management audience on UCS, Nexus, FlexPod, and VSPEX. Stay tuned for more from us, too as Microsoft gets closer to shipping their SQL Server 2014 platform.
2. Cisco and the Microsoft Cloud OS Launch…
Occurring around the world during the November 2013 to January 2014 timeframe is Microsoft’s Cloud OS launch – the coming out party for Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as System Center 2012 R2. Cisco will be a local sponsor at many of these events – in fact as of this writing we have wrapped up our participation at multiple events in Canada, Germany, and South Africa. Please stop by your local Microsoft Cloud OS event and visit the Cisco booth to learn more as well as listen to Cisco’s Chief Technology & Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior on our Microsoft alliance and datacenter solutions.
3. Cisco, Microsoft, and the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)…
Microsoft was a key strategic partner at our recent New York City ACI launch with strong support from key Microsoft leaders such as Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President of their Cloud and Enterprise business unit. Satya shared the stage with Cisco CEO John Chambers in announcing ACI to the public. In addition, Microsoft’s Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, System Center blogged on the event and created a video on his ACI thoughts. Microsoft -- with their key platforms of Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint – sees ACI as a way to deliver ‘…datacenter without boundaries for our customers…’
Following our launch of the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), we continue with our series exploring in more detail key aspects of the ACI policy model and partner ecosystem. In Part 1 of my series on ACI, we looked at why application policies were an ideal model to build infrastructure automation around, and how application policies are better suited to mirror business objectives and requirements than traditional IT infrastructure policies. The key benefits for customers end up being vastly greater degrees of automation, process improvement and business agility.
In Part 2, we looked into one example of the difficulty in deploying and managing applications and the level of complexity that must be overcome to truly automate application-oriented tasks: application-specific network services and security policies (as well as a separate post on the partner ecosystem for application services and security solutions that support the ACI model).
What ACI has done is backed off from all the network complexity in trying to build more and more intelligence directly in the fabric. Building the network to be externally automated can centralize the intelligence and control, while simplifying the design and operations of the fabric greatly (also a goal of SDN, by the way). But what’s really new about ACI is that the programmability and orchestration of the infrastructure (how it takes the orders) is now done in a business-relevant policy language/model.
In a pre-launch post, I looked at why application policies were an ideal model to build infrastructure automation around, and how application policies are better suited to mirror business objectives and requirements than traditional IT infrastructure policies. The fact is that applications are the brains of the business and best reflect the activity and dynamic requirements of the business. Application policies are inherently business-relevant. The key benefits for customers end up being vastly greater degrees of automation, process improvement and business agility. [Note: It will be left as an exercise for the reader to prove that OpenFlow, e.g., is not a business-oriented policy language.]
Cisco and Microsoft have a developed a powerful alliance in the data center that extends the value of the Cisco Unified Fabric, Unified Computing System, and Unified Network Services through leading-edge integrated solutions with Microsoft Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center. These integrations provide an opportunity for Channel Partners to deliver differentiated solutions that address their customer’s most pressing business and IT challenges.
The Nexus 1000V Switch for Microsoft Hyper-V stands out as an example of how Cisco and Microsoft are collaborating to offer integrated solutions to customers and partners. The Nexus 1000V extends Cisco networking benefits to Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V deployments and provides a consistent operational model across physical and virtual environments. Cisco was the first company to integrate with Hyper-V and the industry is taking notice. Nexus 1000V for Microsoft Hyper-V was recently recognized as Best of TechEd 2013 in the Virtualization category.