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Capture New Business Opportunity with Effective Automation

The connections between your business success and data center efficiency have never been clearer or stronger. Delivering data center resources quickly to capitalize on new business opportunities or projects is a major factor for business success. The only way to expedite resource delivery is by replacing manual processes with repeatable, best-practice-based automated service consumption and delivery.

So what is getting in the way?

The first problem is inconsistent delivery of standardized infrastructure instances. Many solutions on the market today only manage virtual resources while others just support their proprietary hardware stack. Automation needs to be across all layers – and that includes networks. I believe the only way to achieve the speed and efficiency businesses desire is to manage your entire heterogeneous data center as a unified whole — holistically. Read More »

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Top Cisco Innovations

To celebrate 30 years of innovation at Cisco (#We are Cisco), we’ve asked Cisco Champions what they think is the most important Cisco innovation to date. Cisco Champions are seasoned IT technical experts and influencers who enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champions program encompasses different areas of interest, such as Data Center, Internet of Things, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration and Security. Cisco Champions are located all over the world.
(Cisco Champions are not representatives of Cisco. Their views are their own)

Here are their top answers.

Cisco Nexus Series
The most important innovation for me is the Data Center Networking Solution with Nexus Portfolio N2K, N5K, N7K, and N9K, that allows us to address all challenges for our customers. I really appreciate the new campus solution based on C6800 with IA switches which uses the same technology as FEX. It really simplifies architecture and reduces OPEX with a single point of management.
Bertrand Bordereau
Bertrand Borderaeu
Network Consulting Engineer
@BBordereau Read More »

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Why Upgrade to MDS 9700

MDS 9500 family has supported customers for more than a decade helping them  through FC speed transitions from 1G, 2G, 4G, 8G and 8G advanced without forklift upgrades. But as we look in the future the MDS 9700 makes more sense for a lot of data center designs.  Top four reasons for customers to upgrade are

  1. End of Support Milestones
  2. Storage Consolidation
  3. Improved Capabilities
  4. Foundation for Future Growth

So lets look at each in some detail.

  1. End of Support Milestones

MDS 4G parts are going End of Support on Feb 28th 2015. Impacted part numbers are DS-X9112, DS-X9124, DS-X9148. You can use the MDS 9500 Advance 8G Cards or MDS 9700 based design. Few advantages MDS 9700 offers over any other existing options are

a. Investment Protection – For any new Data Center design based on MDS 9700 will have much longer life than MDS 9500 product family. This will avoid EOL concerns or upgrades in near future. Thus any MDS 9700 based design will provide strong investment protection and will also ensure that the architecture is relevant for evolving data center needs for more than a decade.

b. EOL Planning – With MDS 9700 based design you control when you need to add any additional blades but with MDS 9500, you will have to either fill up the chassis within 6 months (End of life announcement to End of Sales) or leave the slots empty forever after End of Sale date.

c. Simplify Design - MDS 9700 will allow single skew, S/W version, consistent design across the whole fabric which will simplify the management. MDS 9700 massive performance allows for consolidation and thus reducing footprint and management burden.

d. Rich Feature Set - Finally as we will see later MDS provides host of features and capabilities above and beyond MDS 9500 and that enhancement list will continue to grow.

 Tech Refresh Example v1

  1. Storage Consolidation

MDS 9700 provides unprecedented consolidation compared to the existing solutions in the industry. As an example with MDS 9710 customers can use the 16G Line Rate ports to support massively virtualized workload and consolidate the server install base. Secondly with 9148S as Top of Rack switch and MDS 9700 at Core, you can design massively scalable networks supporting consistent latency and 16G throughput independent of the number of links and traffic profile and will allow customers to Scale Up or Scale Out much more easily than legacy based designs or any other architecture in the industry.

Moreover as shown in figure above for customers with MDS 9500 based designs MDS 9710 offers higher number of line rate ports in smaller footprint and much more economical way to design SANs. It also enables consolidation with higher performance as well as much higher availability.

Small SANs to Large SAN Design v1

 

  1. Improved Capabilities

MDS 9700 design provides more enhanced capabilities above and beyond MDS 9500 and many more capabilities will be added in future. Some examples that are top of mind are detailed below

Availability: MDS 9700 based design improves the reliability due to enhancements on many fronts as well as simplifying the overall architecture and management.

    • MDS 9710 introduced host of features to improve reliability like industry’s first N+1 Fabric redundancy, smaller failure domains and hardware based slow drain detection and recovery.
    • Its well understood that reliability of any network comes from proper design, regular maintenance and support. It is imperative that Data Center is on the recommended releases and supported hardware. As an example data center outage where there are unsupported hardware or software version failure are exponentially more catastrophic as the time to fix those issues means new procurement and live insertion with no change management window. Cost of an outage in an Data Center is extremely high so it is important to keep the fabric upgraded and on the latest release with all supported components. Thus for new designs it makes sense that it is based on the latest MDS 9700 directors, as an example, rather than MDS 9513 Gen-2 line cards because they will fall of the support on Feb 28, 2015. Also a lot of times having different versions of the hardware and different software versions add complexity to the maintenance and upkeep and thus has a direct impact on the availability of the network as well as operational complexity.

Throughput:

With massive amounts of virtualization the user impact is much higher for any downtime or even performance degradation. Similarly with the data center consolidation and higher speeds available in the edge to core connectivity more and more host edge ports are connected through the same core switches and thus higher number of apps are dependent on consistent end to end performance to provide reliable user experience. MDS 9700 provides industries highest performance with 24Tbps switching capability. The Director class switch is based on Crossbar architecture with Central Arbitration and Virtual Output Queuing which ensures consistent line rate 16G throughput independent of the traffic profile with all 384 ports operating at 16G speeds and without using crutches like local switching (muck akin to emulating independent fixed fabric switches within a director), oversubscription (can cause intermittent performance issues) or bandwidth allocation.

Latency:

MDS Directors are store and forward switches this is needed as it makes sure that corrupted frames are not traversing everywhere in the network and end devices don’t waste precious CPU cycles dealing with corrupted traffic. This additional latency hit is OK as it protects end devices and preserves integrity of the whole fabric. Since all the ports are line rate and customers don’t have to use local switching. This again adds a small latency but results in flexible scalable design which is resilient and doesn’t breakdown in future. These 2 basic design requirements result in a latency number that is slightly higher but results in scalable design and guarantees predictable performance in any traffic profile and provides much higher fabric resiliency .

Consistent Latency: For MDS directors latency is same for the 16G flow to when there are 384 16G flows going through the system. Crossbar based switch design, Central arbitration and Virtual Output Queuing guarantees that. Having a variable latency which goes from few us to a high number is extremely dangerous. So first thing you need to make sure is that director could provide consistent and predictable latency.

End to End latency: Performance of any application or solution is dependent on end to end latency. Just focusing on SAN fabric alone is myopic as major portion of the latency is contributed by end devices. As an example spinning targets latency is of the order of ms. In this design few us is orders of magnitude less and hence not even observable. With SSD the latency is of the order of 100 to 200 us. Assuming 150 us the contribution of SAN fabric for edge core is still less than 10%. Majority (90%) of the latency is end devices and saving couple of us in SAN Fabric will hardly impact the overall application performance but the architectural advantage of CRC based error drops and scalable fabric design will make provided reliable operations and scalable design.

Scalability:

For larger Enterprises scalability has been a challenge due to massive amount of host virtualization. As more and more VMs are logging into the fabric the requirement from the fabric to support higher flogins, Zones. Domains is increasing. MDS 9700 has industries highest scalability numbers as its powered by supervisor that has 4 times the memory and compute capability of the predecessor. This translates to support for higher scalability and at the same time provides room for future growth.

MDS 9700 Capabilities v2

Foundation for Future Growth:

MDS 9700 provides a strong foundation to meet the performance and scalability needs for the Data Center requirements but the massive switching capability and compute and memory will cover your needs for more than a decade.

    • It will allow you to go to 32G FC speeds without forklift upgrade or changing Fabric Cards (rather you will need 3 more of the same Fabric card to get line rate throughput through all the 384 ports on MDS 9710 (and 192 on MDS 9706).
    • MDS 9700 allow customers to deploy 10G FCoE solution today and upgrade without forklift upgrade again to 40G FCoE.
    • MDS 9700 is again unique such that customers can mix and match FC and FCoE line cards any way they want without any limitations or constraints.

Most importantly customers don’t have to make FC vs FCoE decision. Whether you want to continue with FC and have plans for 32G FC or beyond or if you are looking to converge two networks into single network tomorrow or few years down the road MDS 9700 will provide consistent capabilities in both architectures.

Foundation for Future Growth v1

In summary SAN Directors are critical element of any Data Center. Going back in time the basic reason for having a separate SAN was to provide unprecedented performance, reliability and high availability. Data Center design architecture has to keep up with the requirements of new generation of application, virtualization of even the highest performance apps like databases, new design requirements introduced by solutions like VDI, ever increasing Solid State drive usage, and device proliferation. At the same time when networks are getting increasingly complex the basic necessity is to simplify the configuration, provisioning, resource management and upkeep. These are exact design paradigms that MDS 9700 is designed to solve more elegantly than any existing solution.

Although I am biased in saying that but it seems that you have voted us with your acceptance. Please see some more details here.

 

 

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

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Cisco Keynote – End-to-End Optimization for Today’s Modern Datacenters

Have a bit of free time this Wednesday morning? If so please feel free to sit in on a Cisco keynote delivered by Mark Balch, Director of Cisco UCS Product Management, as he outlines the challenges faced and the discoveries made with the UCS family and how it has driven revolutionary change and business benefits for today’s modern datacenter.

The Cisco keynote starts WindowsITPro’s “virtual trade show” on Optimizing Your Virtual Infrastructure.  The event brings top industry Microsoft experts together in an online forum affording attendees the opportunity to learn about key datacenter optimization topics and trends.

Our UCS family has been a leader in Data Center optimization since it’s initial release to market five years ago.  Having been designed for virtualization from the beginning, UCS is an integrated system that is configured through unified, model-based management to simplify deployment of enterprise-class applications and services running in bare-metal, virtualized, and cloud-computing environments.

UCSPoster

Download the UCS Family poster

Read More »

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Cisco at OpenStack Summit, Paris

Cisco is again a Premiere Sponsor of the OpenStack Summit, November 3-7 at Le Palais des Congrès in Paris.  Here’s a summary of Cisco sponsored activities for your schedule.

Paris view

Premier Breakout Session:  “A World of Many (OpenStack) Clouds”
Wed. 05 Nov; 13:50 – 14:30
Cisco VP and Cloud CTO, Lew Tucker, will talk about how Cisco is working with leading service providers and enterprise customers to enable a world of interconnected clouds.  Find out how Cisco is delivering greater automation, programmability, and openness for IT infrastructure, to support the next generation of virtualization and cloud.

Cisco Expo Booth, Location #C3
Stop by and pick up a special OpenStack@Cisco gift while supplies last.  Cisco specialists in services, sales and product development will be available to chat and answer any questions.

Mon. 03 Nov:  8:15 – 9:30 and 11:15 – 19:30
Tues. 04 Nov:  10:45 – 18:00
Wed. 05 Nov:  9:00 – 16:30

See demonstrations of:
-OpenStack Networking Using Cisco CSR and Nexus
-Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure with Red Hat OpenStack Platform
-Group-Based Policy for Cloud Deployment
-Cisco UCS Bare-Metal-as-a-Service Cloud

Metacloud Acquisition
Find out more about Metacloud, which officially became a part of Cisco on 17 SEP.  Metacloud offers OpenStack clouds as a service, giving customers a choice of hosted or hybrid architecture, to operate like a public cloud from inside an organization’s own data center.

Breakout: Group Based Policy Extension for Networking
Mon. 03 Nov; 16:20 – 17:00
Sumit Naiksatam, Principal Engineer, Cisco
https://openstacksummitnovember2014paris.sched.org/speaker/sumitnaiksatam#.VCXaM8Yac0s

Breakout: Deploying and Auto-Scaling Applications on OpenStack with Heat
Tues. 04 Nov; 11:15 – 11:55
Daneyon Hansen, Software Engineer, Cisco
https://openstacksummitnovember2014paris.sched.org/speaker/daneyonhansen#.VCXY7cYac0s

Panel Discussion: OpenStack Design Guide
Tues. 04 Nov; 14:00 – 14:40
Featuring: Maish Saidel-Keesing, Platform Architect, Cisco Video Technologies
https://openstacksummitnovember2014paris.sched.org/event/2345c8d9cfe52ebb104e860338dc2d7a#.VCXiAcYac0s

Panel Discussion: Tips and Tools for Building a Successful OpenStack Group
Tues. 04 Nov; 14:50-15:30
Featuring Shannon McFarland, Principal Engineer and Mark T. Voelker, Technical Lead; Cisco
https://openstacksummitnovember2014paris.sched.org/event/d1f8591a8436a656196478278fa83593#.VCXhGsYac0s

Breakout: Using Ceilometer Data to Detect Fraud in the OpenStack Cluster
Wed. 05 Nov; 9:50 – 10:30
Debojyoti Dutta, with Marc Solanas Tarre, Principal Engineers, Cisco
https://openstacksummitnovember2014paris.sched.org/speaker/dedutta#.VCXYSsYac0s

Breakout: Under the Hood with Nova, Libvirt and KVM (Part Two)
Wed. 05 Nov; 9:50 – 10:30
Rafi Khardalian, CTO, Metacloud/Cisco
https://openstacksummitnovember2014paris.sched.org/speaker/rkhardalian#.VCXZcMYac0s

Breakout: Scaling OpenStack Services: The Pre-TripleO Service Cloud
Wed. 05 Nov; 16:30 – 17:10
Kevin Bringard, with Richard Maynard
Technical Leads, Cisco
https://openstacksummitnovember2014paris.sched.org/speaker/kevinbringard1#.VCXXv8Yac0s

Evening Reception with Red Hat
Wed. 05 Nov; 20:00 – 2:00
Each attendee who completes the Red Hat and Cisco Booth Rally Challenge (instructions onsite) will receive a ticket for the Evening Reception held at Faust, an entertainment facility located at the foot of the Ivalides Esplanade, underneath the Alexandre III Bridge.  Shuttle transportation will be available.  Food and drinks will be served.  This is an awesome location and might very well be the highlight of the week.

RH Party

 

 

 

 

 

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