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CLOUD COMPUTING IS READY FOR YOU. BUT ARE YOU READY?

Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner.  And we also looked at the journey you need to take to deliver IT as a Service. Cloud computing is part of this journey and it is happening – and I mean all types of Clouds – Private, Public and Hybrid. In other words, we are entering the World of Many Clouds. Forrester Research recently published a report that concluded, “Cloud computing is ready for the enterprise… but many enterprises aren’t ready for the cloud.”1   Yet cloud deployments are happening, driven by workload virtualization and changes in application architecture and usage.

Take a look at this short video with Paul Perez (VP/GM of Unified Computing System and CTO of Data Center Group) and me. Paul shares his insights on the trends of how Cloud is changing the way of the IT and the challenges you will be facing.

Guess what? Once again Cisco is here to help you on your journey to the World of Many Clouds. How you ask?

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ESG Webinar on Virtual Networking and Physical-Virtual Consistency

Last quarter I had the chance to record a video webinar with Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), where we talked about the basics of virtual networking, as well as why organizations need consistency across their physical and virtual network infrastructures.

Bob presents some great research data on virtual network overlays, and talks about what features customers are looking for, some of the technical challenges in maintaining consistency with the physical infrastructure, and how organizations are rolling out this key technology. Naturally, I relate a lot of his insights to our own Nexus 1000V portfolio, and our own virtual networking strategy. It’s about 36 mins and I really enjoyed working with Bob on this video. Hopefully you’ll find it informative as well.

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The Journey You Need To Take To Deliver IT As A Service

Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner.  It’s important to acknowledge that getting an organization to the point where it can implement IT as a Service isn’t easy, nor does it take place all at once.  Every customer has their own journey and different customers will take different journeys.  For some, it’s all about doing what they do now, only more efficiently or perhaps adding new capabilities. For others, it’s about making that full-blown transformation to service-driven IT.

So how do you get there? Each phase expands into a series of key initiatives…

It all starts with moving into more of a unified architecture of network fabric and corresponding operations.

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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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Nexus 1000V Free/Essential and Advanced Editions Now Shipping

After we announced the Free and Advanced Editions of the new Nexus 1000V release in October we were inundated with beta requests. Well, we are excited to announce that new version is now GA and available for download ahead of schedule. Note that this initial GA version currently runs only on VMware’s hypervisor, but versions for other hypervisors are coming.

Cisco’s newest release of the Nexus 1000V greatly improves the effort of installing, upgrading and managing the virtual switch fabric.  New management features like the vCenter plugin and vTracker help monitor the virtual network by both the system administrator and the server administrator.  The enhanced upgrade process and the intstaller app simplify deployments.  Redundancy across datacenters is greatly enhanced by the introduction of support for virtual supervisor module (VSM) pairs in remote datacenters.  Moreover, there is also an option in this release to extend the data center to branches, with support for branch virtual Ethernet modules (VEMs).

Nexus1000V is a feature-rich Cisco virtual switch that is now available in both Essential and Advanced editions.  The Advanced version has the option of an annual technical support contract for $174 per CPU socket. The no-cost Essential edition has the option of a technical support contract for $39 per CPU socket. These support contracts provide excellent Cisco TAC help, 7×24, providing all the help and advice needed for maintaining your virtual network environment.

Existing customers of Nexus 1000V who have already purchased a license for the 1.x release will automatically upgrade to the ver 2.1 Advanced Edition (see my earlier Freemium Edition Q&A post).  They can download the software from CCO and re-use their existing licenses. They will also be upgraded with the Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) license at no-cost.

Not only that, there are promotionally priced bundles of Nexus 1000V and the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, starting at $2495 for 1 CPU (including Nexus 1000V Advanced Edition with VSG, ASA 1000V and Virtual Network Management Center).

In addition to these major benefits and new features, Nexus 1000V is the foundation for our programmable virtual network overlays within our Cisco ONE platform for network programmability. VXLAN, which we discuss a lot in this forum, forms the secure overlay tunnels, and the Nexus 1000V virtual supervisor module (VSM) will be programmable with OpenStack Quantum and other API’s in future releases as part of our SDN strategy.

As always, stay tuned to this space for more details, tutorials, tips and news on the Nexus 1000V virtual switch and Cisco’s virtual networking infrastructure.

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