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It’s A Great Time for Open Source and Cisco UCS Customers

Witnessing the advent and momentum of Open Source into the broader enterprise, and “the mainstream” Data Center, has been incredible.  Many will look back and recall a time when Open Source was met first with a look of confusion, and following not too far behind, a reaction of fear.  With that, consider how far we’ve evolved.

Taking a snapshot over the past few months, I reflect on some of the highlights from a Data Center and Cisco UCS perspective.

The Open Source Business Conference held not too long ago, centered the conversation around previously uncommon mates.  “Open Source” and “Business” used in the same sentence once stirred some emotion, though not today.  The notion now fuels curiosity and enablement, and both were alive and well in San Francisco with OSBC.  Leaders in the space, spanning established household Data Center vendors were well represented in breakout sessions and thought provoking topics on the show floor, alongside the “up and coming” vendors in Open Source.  Linux granddaddies Red Hat and SUSE also offered the Enterprise Linux perspective, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst taking the stage on the conference’s opening morning.  Whitehurst acknowledged the event’s commendable 10th anniversary, and touted the innovation and collaborative successes of Open Source, while reflecting on Red Hat’s significance and market leadership.  SUSE kept the Enterprise Linux subject current, presenting SUSE’s role in Big Data workloads, where attendees may have pondered “What would Big Data look like, and be today, without the success and progress of the Open Source movement?”

An “open cloud” panel featuring several notable figures in Open Source leadership for cloud infrastructure, including Marten Mickos of Eucalyptus Systems and Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud, shared insight on how today’s generation of Open Source leaders are shaping the future of cloud software stacks, infrastructure, and API (read: interoperability).  This proved to be a fascinating discussion on project governance, expectations of Open Source, and how customers leverage Open Source to deliver the applications of tomorrow.

Open Source @Cisco

Cisco Open Source Days provide an opportunity to share, learn and grow.  Cisco engineers and product teams descend on the San Jose campus packed with an agenda to share knowledge and best practices, new developments in the community, exchange ideas and share successes, and inspire new ways of delivering software and products.  This year featured a cornucopia of topics that would make any card-carrying Open Source geek blush.  Typically there are multiple tracks and this year included Big Data and Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Everything and a few select topics in the Networking and Data Center interest areas.  Cisco teams have an incredible opportunity to learn and collaborate, which ultimately benefit the Open Source community and our customers.  Attendees enjoyed thought provoking and engaging presentations, including appearances by Chris Wright from Red Hat, and Troy Toman from Rackspace within the Cloud track, as well, our very own OpenStack leaders within Cisco.  Overall there were great takeaways on collaboration and innovation, project participation and furthering common goals through upstream contribution, and solving market problems through emphasis on differentiation rather than upstream code nomination.  Another memorable moment, I personally enjoyed Chris Wright’s comical reference to the IFC television comedy, “Portlandia”, referring to the popularity of API’s with “Put an API on it”.  :-)

Open Source in the Cisco UCS powered Data Center

One of the most exciting aspects in my role revolves around connecting Open Source innovations with Cisco’s UCS x86 based platforms.  Software and API enable many integration use cases most people are not used to expect from server and infrastructure platforms.  “Software Defined” is used quite liberally these days, with ” Software Defined __Fill_In_The_Blank__ ” found where it probably shouldn’t be.  I digress, Open Source is at the core of these “Software Defined” possibilities, enabling vendor agnostic API structures and interfaces as an alternative to traditionally proprietary closed-configuration products.

The conversation with customers today is less “Oh, Cisco makes servers?” and more about, “Help me learn more about your software integration capability in my Data Center infrastructure.”  Once customers deploy UCS, they quickly realize the efficiencies and power derived by the Cisco UCS Service Profile, and the level of control and manageability not available with other solutions.  For Data Center management requiring a view into their systems’ availability, the UCS XML API provides that ability, where the customer’s software may retrieve, configure and automate infrastructure that previously required manual intervention.  We truly feel this enables a unique “Software Defined Infrastructure” way of managing applications, availability and user workloads through software, previously not seen without custom hardware and software integration.

It’s an exciting time for Open Source, and for computing platforms like Cisco UCS which provide an open and extensible ability to deliver on business demands of tomorrow.  Exciting times are definitely ahead as customers increasingly adopt Open Source, its flexibility, advances, and innovations, into the broader enterprise and mainstream computing spaces.

How far have we come?  Further reading: “From subversive to mainstream: Looking back on 18 years with Linux

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Red Hat Summit, Nexus 1000V and All Things Open

June 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm PST

Red Hat SummitThis week kicked off with a trip to Boston and Red Hat Summit where Cisco is talking about our partnership with Red Hat on open source projects including OpenStack, and the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor. I’m here to highlight some of our Nexus 1000V virtual networking innovations that involve Red Hat open source distributions of red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), KVM and OpenStack.

Best of Tech Ed AwardAs you probably know, Cisco started shipping the Nexus 1000V virtual switch for Microsoft Hyper-V this month (and it won a Best of TechEd Show award at Microsoft’s TechEd conference). But open source virtualization and cloud infrastructure platforms continue to be an important strategy for our entire data center portfolio here at Cisco. KVM will be the next hypervisor that we’ll ship our Nexus 1000V virtual switch on, and the rest of the Red Hat open source cloud infrastructure will be an important part of our open strategy, and that includes Red Hat Linux and their Red Hat OpenStack distribution.

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Building a Better Data Center with Cisco UCS Solutions, Join us at Red Hat Summit to Hear How

Maybe you’re like me, looking for any excuse to hop on a plane to Boston!  In this case, I happen to have a good one, Red Hat Summit, which kicks off on June 11th.

Red Hat Summit

 

Cisco is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for the event and we’re showing up in full force with a larger booth, more demos, a Cisco keynote, breakout, and a number of new solution areas that we plan to showcase.  We’ll have a number of product and solution experts available to share our view on how Cisco Solutions, hosted on UCS infrastructure, are building a better data center.

 

Ram AppalarajuOne presentation you should be sure not to miss is the Cisco Keynote on Wednesday, June 12th at 9:30 AM with Ram Appalaraju, Vice President of Technology, Products and Solutions Engineering at Cisco.  It’s safe to say, Ram has an important role at Cisco.  He is essentially responsible for delivering Cisco’s Unified Data Center strategy in the form of products and solutions.  This will certainly prove to be a presentation not to be missed!

 

Han YangIn addition, Han Yang, Product Manager for Cisco Nexus 1000V, will discuss the Nexus 1000V on KVM with OpenStack Integration.  Since Han was one of the original Engineers developing the Nexus 1000V, this makes him uniquely qualified to present this breakout.  This session will be held in room 312 on Thursday, June 13th at 1:20 pm.

 

Please see below for the four key solutions that Cisco is showcasing at the Partner Pavillion:

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Cisco UCS in the world of open source computing

May 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm PST

A few weeks ago, I was at  Cisco Open Source Conference 2013 -- a conference hosted by Cisco where we had speakers from IBM, Canonical, Red Hat and Rackspace, among others.  I learned a lot, specifically about the evolution of Hadoop and the OpenStack project.  As a follow on, I collated different activities around Cisco UCS and OpenStack, which I will share in this blog.

Dr. Dan Frye, Vice President, Open Systems Development, IBM, head of the IBM Linux Technology Center (LTC) gave the keynote address at the conference. It was nostalgic considering the fact that I sat in the same aisle as some of the LTC team members in the IBM facility in Austin, a few years ago. His talk included some fascinating historical anecdotes and three lessons IBM learned about open source software development-

  1. “Develop in the open” (Don’t try to contribute finished software products, heed to feedback)
  2. “Don’t reinvent the penguin” (“Scratch your own itch” – interesting phrase to explain the behavior of communities which want to solve the problems at hand and not those perceived to be problems by external entities)
  3. “Work with the process” (The community process is usually an agile methodology with no assumptions on roadmaps and delivery dates)

These lessons are invaluable in light of the open source projects such as OpenDaylight (no pun intended) and OpenStack that Cisco is now an integral part of.  According to Dr. Frye, these newer open source consortiums have the following characteristics:

  1. Larger number of initial members
  2. Quick starts
  3. Relatively large initial budgets
  4. Often require the commitment of a specified level of FTEs

Chris Wright from Red Hat expanded upon the principles and ethos of open source projects including release early, release often, iterative development and the culture of giving back. He contrasted the Linux kernel development project with the OpenStack project showing the relative speed of projects with the number of developers and commits by release. He gave a fantastic overview of the various Openstack component projects. He also identified two newly graduated projects namely, Ceilometer and Heat in the Grizzly release. I gave a talk on the requirements for the Ceilometer project, and you can find the slide deck on slideshare.

Metering and Billing for Cloud Services from Ranjit Nayak

After attending the conference, I looked for projects within Cisco, which used OpenStack or contributed to it.  Cisco is a major contributor to the soon to Read More »

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#EngineersUnplugged S2|Ep13: Software Defined Data Center + Cloud

May 1, 2013 at 11:08 am PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Bas Raayman from EMC and Caroline Orloff from ServiceMesh take on “what is the software defined data center and how is it like/different from the cloud”? Let’s watch and see what they conclude:

Bas Raayman, Caroline Orloff, and the First Ever Cloud Management Platform Unicorn.

Bas Raayman, Caroline Orloff, and the First Ever Cloud Management Platform Unicorn.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Where do you think the industry is in terms of SDDC adoption? Predictions for the future? Join the conversation online! We’ll see you live, next week at #EMCWorld.

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