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Next-Gen ACI ready VCE Vblock Systems Accelerate Journey to SDN and Cloud

 

VCE2VCEIt is nearly five years since Cisco, EMC and VMware came together to set up VCE and introduce one of the world’s best integrated infrastructure solutions with the Vblocks. The promise was to deliver “dramatic efficiencies” to customers promising significant reduction in capital and operating expenses giving customers flexibility and choice. Customers appreciated the operational simplicity of the model and Vblock sales took off with multi-billion dollar annual run rates.

Much has changed in the industry since then. The social-mobile-cloud-big data revolution has accelerated posing new requirements for IT and increasing the relevance of data centers and private cloud deployments. SDN has moved from being just a buzzword with several use-cases. Server virtualization has continued to drive efficiencies and hybrid clouds have become the new norm. Amidst all this, customers continue to crave operational simplicity and consumable infrastructure for their data center and private cloud deployments making the VCE approach as relevant as ever.

So, today, we’re very happy to share the success and celebrate the joint innovations as VCE rolls out its next generation Vblock systems that drive new levels of convergence. With Cisco continuing to refresh its portfolio with new Nexus products and industry leading SDN with the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) approach, and with Cisco UCS introducing next-generation products, it is natural that these innovations be reflected in the VCE Vblock integrated solutions.

Cisco is helping bring in new innovations to the party. The Nexus 9000 forms a key element with a very compelling form factor and industry leading price-performance. For customers interested in venturing into Software Defined Networking (SDN) and making their infrastructure application centric, the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) provides a central point of management and policy application. The result is a simplified operational model and lower TCO across a variety of deployment scenarios.

As VCE introduces Vblock Systems 240, 540 and 740 today, they provide the flexibility of consuming the network elements as standalone switches or SDN deployments in an ACI mode.  Vblocks can therefore operate in a standalone mode with current automation mechanisms or in an ACI ready mode subscribing to the APIC policy-driven model. Customers adopting the new Vblock systems get the operational flexibility to choose.

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Cisco’s Data Center Fabric Continues to Innovate

October 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm PST

As my niece was snapping away pictures on her digital camera, I told her about the ” back when I was a kid stories”; when you would have to be careful about the sun over exposing your film and having to anxiously wait days to see them.   I then rampaged on about how you would HAVE to go to the library to look up information for book reports, how my tape player always jammed on my favorite part of the song, and the video recorder my dad had was so heavy he’d use his shoulder to leverage the weight.  Amazing how dramatically technology is changing, information being only a click click away.

People are now living in the time of “faster” -- data, video, photos, social media, the demand is growing exponentially higher by the day.  How are networks keeping up with these demands? I’ll tell you one thing, it’s not sitting on the same data center configurations from 5 years ago, heck not even a year ago.   Listening to the requirements of customer’s needs,  data centers need to have scalability, flexibility, and speed to rapidly move across networks.

Today, Cisco has announced several industry leading innovations in the Nexus switching portfolio that spans across the Unified Fabric portfolio.  Please join us on October 25th at 9:00 a.m., PT to hear from industry analysts, customers and Cisco executives speaking in more detail about our product portfolio enhancements: “Evolutionary Fabric, Revolutionary Scale”.

Please also check out a great blog by Shashi Kiran, Director of DC/V on this topic: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/re-defining-fabric-scale-thinking-beyond-the-box/

To learn more: http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=500209

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Re-defining Fabric Scale: Thinking Beyond the “Box”

Today we are making a significant announcement with several new innovations across our data center and switching portfolio that showcase how our customers can build large scale-up and scale-out data center networks.  While the press release does a great job (thanks Lee!) of highlighting all the innovations across the Nexus Unified Fabric portfolio and the new ASA 1000v, two aspects of the announcement stand out quite prominently:

  1. Cisco is delivering the highest density 10GbE modular switching platform in the industry
  2. Cisco is delivering the most scalable fabric in the industry and, by extension -- on the planet! (we’re told planet sounds much cooler)

No. 1 above is fairly straightforward. With our new 2nd-generation F2 line card and Fabric 2 module, at 768 ports of 10GbE line-rate switching ports running NX-OS, the flagship Nexus 7018 in a fully-loaded configuration is simply the epitome of switch scale.

No.2 is where things get interesting, because we’re no longer thinking about just the “box” but rather, how we can weave different elements across the data center into a holistic “fabric”.  This systems-based approach focuses on multi-dimensional scale transcending the box and even the data center LAN, to span between data centers, while providing feature-rich fabric capabilities.  At 12,000+ 10GbE nodes supported as part of one Fabricpath-enabled system, and with the ability to support Fabric Extender (FEX) technology (plus L2 and L3 capabilities), this approach re-defines fabric scalability at 2X the scale and half the cost point of the next best claim in the industry. More important, it achieves this in an evolutionary manner for our 19,000+ NX-OS customers, offering investment protection for brownfield deployments while raising the bar for greenfield environments!

The Nexus platforms have been around for 3+ years, and over 500 customers have deployed FabricPath on the Nexus 7000 alone since its introduction about an year ago. It is a proven technology. With Fabricpath now coming onto the Nexus 5500 platforms, the momentum is likely to spike up with a mix of both size and scale. Like I said, things get interesting.

To make it more fun, our technical experts from the product teams have taken a data-driven approach and compared Cisco’s new innovations and our box and system-scale with others in the industry.

They looked at a couple of representative examples -- the first being, what it would take any other vendor to build a non-blocking 768-port 10GbE “switch”, with capabilities similar to what the Nexus 7000 could provide in a single chassis. The second example takes a look at what it takes to build a “fabric” with Cisco leveraging its Nexus portfolio and NX-OS to build that.

Take a look and let us know what you think. It is useful to note that most vendors in the industry today have no fabric capabilities to speak of, and the few that are attempting a systems approach, have really limited to no customer traction thus far. Our customers and key analysts tell us that Cisco has a multi-year innovation lead in this space, even as Cisco continues to focus on bringing the network, compute, storage and application services together with integrated management to drive productivity and efficiency across traditional IT and organizational silos.

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Others make promises. We deliver.

It is great when the chief sales guy feels pretty good about the innovation a company delivers enough to blog about it. It gets even better when customers feel good about the innovation and value that a company like Cisco brings, to get up in front of the camera and share the benefits they are deriving.

Such customer confidence comes from trust. In the case of Cisco, we have earned this trust over decades, providing our customers not just with the best networking technology but by providing the right support model, the lowest TCO  and simply the best investment protection in the industry.

This has been borne out many times even as we’ve led numerous industry transitions - from enabling the ubiquity of Ethernet and IP; driving the voice, video and data inflection points, and the more recent trends around data center, virtualization and cloud.

Speaking of inflection points - over the past three years - we are leading perhaps the biggest networking transition in history, as we introduce the Nexus switching and NX-OS platforms into the data center and make it a foundational element for fabric-based infrastructure. In just over three years, we have over 19,000 NX-OS based customers with a sustained #1 market leadership across a variety of categories including revenue and port share. As the chart below depicts, we’re nearly 3X the 10GbE revenue of all our competitors combined! The 10GbE port shipments are equally strong compared to the rest of the industry.

Needless to say, all this has made the job for our competition much harder; to keep up with Cisco’s pace of innovation  has not been an easy task.

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