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FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud : A Guest Post from our Partner NetApp

April 10, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Note: This guest blog is from our partner NetApp.  VDI Reference Architect Rob Briggs introduces ExpressPod for the Microsoft private cloud as well as comments on FlexPod successes. Rex. 

FlexPod, ExpressPod, and Windows Server 2012 RDS -- “It’s in the Box!”

I’ve seen a lot of great discussion and buzz this week at the Microsoft Management Summit on deployment of private cloud, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.  Around the Cisco   and NetApp booths, it’s been exciting to see the interest attendees have shown around our new Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 validated FlexPod solution – FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud.

But what exactly does this mean for customers? Take a look at ING Direct, which has deployed FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud and achieved massive cost and time to market savings.  With their “Bank in the Box” solution, ING Direct made “copies” of the entire bank environment for their developers in 10 minutes, compared to a previous 12 week turnaround.  This dramatically accelerated time to market of new products and services.

For many small to medium sized businesses or remote offices, FlexPod, System Center and a private cloud infrastructure may be more than what is required. Instead, we’ve seen that many of these customers want to start with a simple to deploy virtualization solution.  ExpressPod, with all of benefits of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V , it is a pre-packaged and tested solution for growing small and medium sized organizations with exactly this scenario in mind.  Think of it as having many of the benefits of FlexPod, but priced, sized and packaged for small to medium sized deployments.

The hardware that comprises this solution is nothing to scoff at: ExpressPod integrates Cisco UCS® C-Series servers, NetApp FAS2220-series storage, and Cisco Nexus® 3048 switches with infrastructure management, into an affordable, easy-to-deploy shared virtualization infrastructure solution. ExpressPod supports an open ecosystem of management and hypervisor solutions and comes in two configurations, small and medium.

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The small and medium ExpressPod configurations are low-cost, standardized infrastructure solutions, well-suited for virtualization of business critical applications. The configurations have been built and tested to deliver a cost-effective, high-value, and best practice architecture.

We recently completed testing and documentation of small and medium ExpressPod configurations with Microsoft Windows Server 2012® and Hyper-V. Take a look at our ExpressPod with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Implementation Guide to see in-depth, detailed deployment instructions for each of these configurations.

Each configuration provides a standardized base platform capable of running a number of business-critical applications while providing scalability options to enable the infrastructure to grow with business demands.  One such application workload that ExpressPod is well-equipped to run is Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

RDS is a collection of independent role services in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 that support various desktop virtualization and session based remoting scenarios. Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services on NetApp Storage gives detailed implementation guidance and best practices for a RDS solution.

A solution perfectly suited for the value of ExpressPod

As a desktop virtualization solution, RDS offers lower cost deployments.  In addition to the cost-effectiveness of using ExpressPod, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 RDS reduces both the capital and operational expenditures of VDI.  Simply said, “It’s in the box”.  Software box that is.  There are no additional software dependencies to roll out an effective VDI solution. Also, I’m happy to say that RDS deployments have been drastically simplified with Windows Server 2012, which reduces management costs.

If you are at MMS this week please be sure to stop by the Cisco or NetApp booths.  We’d be happy to further discuss the benefits that either FlexPod or ExpressPod can bring your organization.  You can also find out more about these solutions from certified Cisco and NetApp resellers.

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Executive Roundtable: Cisco, Intel, and NetApp, with special guest Microsoft, on the Private Cloud

April 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm PST

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We’ve been doing quite a bit of work recently with our strategic partners Intel, NetApp, and Microsoft on Microsoft oriented private cloud solutions. Specifically we’ve been focusing on new innovation going into our joint FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud reference architecture.

A great way to learn about these joint development activities is to join in on an upcoming executive roundtable -- Simplifying Your Journey to Private Cloud - on Wednesday, April 17 at 2 p.m. EDT. Leaders from Cisco, Intel®, NetApp, and special guest Microsoft, will examine key areas where businesses can gain the best return and biggest competitive advantage while adopting a private cloud model.

Our expert panel will spotlight the innovative FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud, solution through customer results and open dialog, to sharing of essential insights. Please feel free to register here for this event.

For those of you in Las Vegas next week at Microsoft’s Management Summit 2013 event, remember to stop by and visit us at booth #501. We’ll have a variety of Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 demos available, led by subject matter experts on UCS, Nexus 1000V, UCS Manager, and FlexPod.

Learn more about our capabilities for a Microsoft oriented data center at www.cisco.com/go/microsoft

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Cisco at the Cloud Connect Show

LoeselMark-186258By Mark Loesel, Cloud Solutions Marketing, Cisco

I hope that you are able to join us at Cloud Connect this week in Santa Clara as we have much to share with you. Cloud Connect is a great show that attracts more than 4,000 industry decision makers, offering an ideal venue for Cisco to share the value of our cloud solutions. Cloud Connect is an opportunity to showcase how we at Cisco are at the forefront of cloud computing, enabling our customers and partners in a world of many clouds. Whether you are building your own private cloud, using services from a public cloud, offering cloud services, or enlisting a hybrid approach, we’re here to have a conversation on how we can help.

In our booth, you’ll find demos on:

  • Managing Cloud Network Services: This demo shows how a server/virtualization administrator can create a security policy once for a virtual machine and then make sure of enforcement across the network. Cisco Virtual Network Management Center will be used to show how service chaining can take place with the Cisco Nexus 1000V and virtual Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance and Cisco Virtual Security Gateway as virtual machines are turned up and move throughout the data center.
  • Cloud Automation and Orchestration: Learn how to access a service portal to create a request for virtual machine(s) and provision a bare-metal server. The demo will also show how an administrator can create a service catalogue for users to leverage.
  • Cloud Computing with Cisco UCS: This solution overview highlights the centralized management with high scalability of Cisco UCS to facilitate building-block entities (policies, resource pools, and templates) for rapid server provisioning.
  • OpenStack API for the Cisco Nexus 1000V: Exhibit on how we integrate our Cisco Nexus 1000V with open-source hypervisors to allow for the continued evolution of advanced virtual machine networking and cloud management to provide more control, visibility, and programmability for customers.

In addition to the demos, Read More »

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Accelerate Your Cloud Strategy : Cisco at Cloud Connect 2013

March 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm PST

CloudConnect

Whether you are amongst those building their own private cloud or amongst  those leveraging the solutions of cloud providers, you want to attend Cloud Connect Santa Clara next week.

Cisco has been very active over the past years to accelerate the emergence of the cloud computing model. Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTO and Lew Tucker Cisco cloud computing CTO have been on the forefront of this evolution, developing the concept of a “World of Many Cloud” and more recently the “Internet of Everything” .

Last week Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Cisco VP Data Center and Cloud Solutions Marketing, was writing about a series of webinars on cloud computing, including on April 17  a webcast with NetApp, Microsoft and Intel.
All other the world Cisco organize events with partners to explain how to address the challenges of cloud deployment and make today the right choices to make make amazing things happen tomorrow. If you are in Houston, Dallas you may want to attend one of the “Adopting the Cloud” event that we organize with EMC , Frost and Sullivan and Verizon Terremark.

So it’s pretty natural that Cisco is a Diamond Sponsor for  Cloud Connect , which is happening April2-5 in Santa Clara , California .

The concentration of very active high tech companies makes this event exciting for the visitors (see exhibitor lists) .  You will find Cisco at the booth #201.  In addition of the Cisco solutions,  partners such as AT&T, Dimension Data, NTT, Savvis, Sunguard, Windstream will be there as well to talk about deployments.

A quick look at the list of speakers, starting with the keynotes makes it even more attractive.

The agenda is organized around tracks reflecting the care about of IT organizations, such as private cloud and hybrid cloud, mobile cloud, risk management and security, enterprise SaaS strategies, performance and availability, WAN and cloud networking , cloud economics, applications design and architecture, but also big data and software defined networking .

If you want more specifically hear from Cisco and partners , here are some suggestions :

Cloud Computing, SDN, And the Internet of Everything 

by  Lew Tucker  Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Cloud Computing | Cisco

Open source cloud platforms such as OpenStack now allow anyone to build their own public or private cloud. This accelerates private cloud platforms usage to not only meet the needs of rapid application development and deployment of enterprise apps, but when combined with SDN also changes the nature of “infrastructure as a service” as a platform for consumer-facing services. Come explore with us this virtuous cycle created by cloud computing, software defined networking, and the internet of everything.
Wednesday, April 3, 10:20-10:35 AM  Mission City Ballroom

Choosing Your Strategy in a World of Many Clouds CloudConnect2

by Pat Adamiak   Senior Director, SP Data Center and Cloud Solutions | Cisco

Your organization has many options to choose from in the cloud. We are here to share our expertise on how to safely navigate a world of many clouds. Please join us to hear about the industry trends, strategies, and solutions you can put in a successful cloud playbook.
Thursday, April 4, 2:30-3:15 PM Grand Ballroom G

Enabling IT as a Service – Cloud Management and Orchestration

by  Rodrigo Flores Cloud  Enterprise Architect  | Cisco

The promise of running IT departments as an internal service provider has been elusive. In their quest to deliver ITaaS, many companies have suffered from an emphasis on IT operations and less focus on infrastructure and application development, resulting in a siloed IT environment held together by heroic efforts. The majority of IT spending is dedicated to “keep the lights on” activities, hindering IT’s ability to keep up with the pace of business innovation. This session will address why the answer to this IT quandary lies in the implementation of virtualization and cloud computing, describing these as the essential building blocks for the agility, flexibility, and “services” focus that IT needs to achieve ITaaS. The speaker will describe why IT needs to be delivered as a service and why IT must think in terms of delivering services not servers, and “claims processing” rather than “data processing.
Thursday, April 4 2:30 PM–3:30 PM - Location: Grand Ballroom F

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What Does a Successful Private Cloud Look Like 18 months After Turn On?

In this great article on Cisco’s Private Cloud: Pain and Profit we learn some of the real life lessons of one of the most successful private cloud deployments in the industry.  The detail of how Cisco IT increased agility, lowered costs, and enhanced security with the use of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud for this deployment is located here.  I like using Cisco IT’s experience in their journey to cloud to give us insight into what a private cloud looks like 18 months after first deployment.  Morphing as planned from the first use case of Infrastructure as a Service to being an “Enterprise Store” across multiple service delivery towers is a key theme I predicted and continue to see,  across many customer deployments.  In the image below, we see a typical Service Taxonomy, where Cloud is just one of the icons in the total service catalog.

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IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) with underlying automation is bubbling up as critical for corporate IT strategies.  As IT shops increase their level of comfort with  a service catalog, self service and orchestration for compute, virtualization, network, and storage; the attention shifts to other areas such as applications, virtual desktops, and other technology domains such as collaboration technologies.  Let’s take a detailed look at where the Cisco IT eStore and Intelligent Automation for Cloud have gone in those 18 plus months since ignition.  The home page of the eStore shows the current catalog of some key services being offered and other services being migrated over as we speak.  We immediately see Virtual Desktops, and Home & Remote Access in addition the beachhead of IT Infrastructure and Platform Services

estore home page

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