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Cisco UCS in the Private Cloud

December 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm PST

As an early convert to the virtues of Cloud computing, it is fascinating to see the adoption of the ideas.  Most organizations if not all, are figuring out how to harness cloud technologies to their advantage.   It is interesting to get a perspective from an analyst who talks to users on a regular basis or better still find out what similar organizations are doing.   In a few recent conversation with Mike Spanbauer, Industry analyst at Current Analysis, Cisco Executives, Jim McHugh and Brian Schwarz discussed several topics. One of topics was “Private Cloud”, highlighting the opportunities and challenges that adopters face.

When harnessed cloud technologies should therefore help users reign in IT costs and chaos while helping IT better align with existing business needs.  It should also help IT scale up and down services with changing business needs.  Common use cases for deploying cloud technologies are elasticity, flexibility, normalization and simpler management to address a heterogeneous infrastructure for varied workload demands.  Cloud infrastructure addresses the short-term bursty nature of application development and test very well.

Cisco UCS is an innovative server platform uniquely positioned to help adopters succeed with cloud technologies. The converged server and network infrastructure is a necessity when everything is connected to the cloud. The need for scaling up and down rapidly is enabled by the programmability of the system.  Software configuration of the server with its LAN and SAN connections helps in the reliability and time to value of the server infrastructure.  This is possible with the service profiles supported by the Cisco UCS Manager. Service profiles also help normalize and abstract the physical infrastructure to meet the needs of varying workloads.  The recent release of Cisco UCS Central and the API makes large scale globally distributed infrastructure deployment possible. With virtual machines enjoying direct access to the network with the Cisco VM-FEX technology users can take advantage of server virtualization and get optimal network performance.

And of course, it is very important to see how industry peers are using the Cisco UCS to solve the very challenges Cloud adopters face. Tune in to a webcast on December 6 at 9:00 am PST  to hear from Cisco UCS customers Xerox and FICO Corporation, about how and why they used it in their Cloud environments.

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Ask the Data Center Expert, Partner Edition: Southeast Asia and the Rapidly Changing Landscape

The following are excerpts from an interview with Wong IK Ming, Director, eSURIA MENTARI SYSTEMS SDN BHD.

From halfway around the globe in fabulous Singapore, I was delighted to have the chance to interview Wong IK Ming, a Cisco Certified Partner covering Southeast Asian nations, to get his perspectives on data center security opportunities.

Tell me about your customers. What are their most pressing problems?

eSURIA caters mostly for the public sector but we are now extending our services to include Oil and Energy. Our customers have to adhere to new and emerging government mandates around data privacy and sovereignty. This requires a combination of strong governance processes mapped to sound technical controls and a design that is future proof, for example ensuring unified policy, dynamic and logical segmentation. Security must be thought out from the beginning—from the application to the edge of the cloud. I’ve seen a couple of instances of community clouds where security has not been thought through and it’s a matter of time before a security incident occurs.

As a partner, what benefits do you see for Cisco’s approach to data center security?

Our customers are fast adopting new infrastructure models and having the Cisco Validated Designs is a huge benefit because it enables us to attest to the technical soundness of the overall solution and to present security as an integrated element as opposed to a separate element. It also enables us to build these into the overall services templates that we provide with confidence that the necessary testing has taken place. I look forward to seeing more of these validated designs. For example, a validated security blueprint for Microsoft private cloud applications with Cisco UCS.

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Cloud Bursts into Higher Education

November 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm PST

Universities are embracing cloud computing services models for research, student engagement, and cross-university collaboration but struggle to determine the best way to use these services given high security concerns. As a result, there has been a strong interest and investment in private cloud solutions and interest in community clouds specific to the higher education sector.

Forrester Consulting, on behalf of Cisco, recently investigated the degree of cloud adoption by 12 universities in the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and India, primarily around learning, collaboration, research and administration.

What cloud technologies are being used — private, public, hybrid, or community — and what drove Universities to cloud? What benefits did Universities receive from the cloud and the challenges they faced. Also, what were the IT leaders’ evaluation of the vendor(s) they used and the kind of services vendors could provide?
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Introducing Network Services Manager for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1

The release of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 (Cisco IAC) begins to address one of the key questions of our customers who are building public and private clouds:  How can I automate the network services configuration in my data center pod to enable policy-based network infrastructure as a service for my customers?

Some of you may be familiar with the Cisco Network Services Manager (Cisco NSM), part of the Intelligent Automation software portfolio.  With the release of Cisco IAC 3.1, Cisco NSM is now integrated with and bundled as part of Cisco IAC, laying the foundation for infrastructure as a service.

Let’s take a look at some of the features in NSM for Cisco IAC:

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Ask the Data Center Security Expert Series: Your invitation to participate!

I am pleased to be kicking off this Ask the Data Center Security Expert series at Cisco. This series is aimed at security professionals, partners, data center teams, and IT business decision makers and will address key security issues around virtualization, cloud and anticipated issues associated with trends such as the Software Defined Data Center. The series will take the form of blogs, videos, NetSec chats, and webinar panels. I have an array of expertise lined up ranging from key reseller and technology ecosystem partners, industry leaders and luminaries and internal Cisco experts. Stay tuned for the first in this series coming to you next week out of Singapore.

To get started, a little about me -- I was very excited to commence a data center and security solutions marketing role at Cisco 3 weeks ago.  I have over 12 years experience developing holistic security solutions and have been focused on data center and cloud for the last 3 years.  I currently chair the Cloud Security Alliance Cloud Controls (CCM), an industry effort dedicated to harmonizing regulatory controls for decreased compliance complexity and also have been bridging efforts with other industry associations such as the Open Data Center Alliance. Read More »

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