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Redefining the Power of IT with Application Centric Infrastructure

After countless brainstorming sessions, code reviews, lab trials, scores of NDAs and nearly two years of intense speculation from media, analysts and the internet community – it is finally here! Today, Cisco is pulling back the curtains to reveal details of the vision of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) announced in June 2013. With shipping products as part of the announcement today, Cisco is also taking the first steps in making this vision a concrete reality. In the process, Insieme networks also returns to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco.

For those tuning into the press conference and webcast today , you will see John Chambers, Rob Lloyd and Insieme executives get into the specifics of ACI, with the event being hosted out of the historical Waldorf Astoria in New York.  You will also see Cisco’s partners and customers share both the stage as well as a common vision.

So, after months of silence, there will be quite a bit of information sharing, perhaps Information overload even. This is an announcement with innovation at multiple levels, and even for the tech savvy it will take time to fully understand and appreciate the architecture and the benefits it brings.

I wanted to share a few key concepts, innovations, and highlights of the announcement today. We will delve into additional details and dissect these pieces over the next few weeks on this blogging platform as well the public www.cisco.com/go/aci website, which will host a lot of the structured content.

1. The concept of Application Centric Infrastructure

We put together a short video to distill the concepts of ACI. It encompasses a lot of what existing networks today, as well as emerging SDN concepts (regardless of what the definition of SDN is), and goes quite beyond what anyone else is offering out there today. You will see some critical differentiators here:

  • De-coupling of application and policy from IP infrastructure
  • Ability to define application network profiles and apply them
  • Integration of physical and  virtual infrastructure elements with end-to-end visibility
  • Openness at a all levels
  • Scale, with security

2. Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC)

The Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) is a new appliance that will be the heart of the ACI fabric.  While the actual product will ship around Q2 of next calendar year. An APIC simulator will also be made available on a controlled basis for customers and partners to get familiar and additional information will continue to be made available. Unlike most software-only controllers in the market today that have little ability to exploit the capabilities of hardware, APIC provides a holistic system level view and an ability to tap into the capabilities of the underlying infrastructure. While it will initially be paired with the Nexus 9000, the APIC will be expanded to support other parts of the portfolio as well as other infrastructure building blocks.

The APIC utilizes a centralized policy-model with an application network profile and open architecture that allows for the application needs to be defined and mapped to infrastructure, to make it application-aware.

3. Nexus 9000 – Expanding the Nexus switching family

Cisco Nexus 9000 Switch FamilyWe’re expanding the highly successful Nexus family with the next “big bad boy”  – the Nexus 9000.  This will initially come in two models – the Nexus 9500 and the Nexus 9300, with the former shipping now. It has a variety of innovations for all of the “5 Ps” – (i) an extremely attractive Price point , optimized for 1G to 1/10G in the access, and for 10G to 40G migration in the aggregation layer. In addition (ii) It brings in Industry leading Performance with 1.92Tbps per line card and is 100G ready. (iii) Has significantly higher non-blocking Port-density (iv) Flexible programmability with JSON/XML API with a Linux container for customer apps and (v) Power efficiency – with an innovative design that has no mid-plane/backplane resulting in 15% greater power and cooling efficiency.

The kaon shows the “see-through” design of the Nexus 9500 without the traditional mid-plane design.
To see the 3D design of the Nexus 9500 click here 

The Nexus 9000 is designed from ground-up to be ACI ready with a combination of merchant silicon and Cisco custom ASICs to deliver the “5 Ps”.

In addition to the Nexus 9000, keep a look out for the Application Virtual Switch (AVS).

911-CS_poster1_131105

4. 40G BiDi Optics*

As customers migrate to 10/40G over the next few years, the cost of laying new fiber and overhauling the optics is a tremendous drag and raises barriers for 40G adoption. I wrote about multi-layered innovations – this is one of them at a component level. The 40G BiDi lets customers preserve their existing 10G cables, resulting in tremendous time savings, cost savings (labor and fiber) as well as improved time to market for the upgrade. Bandwidth upgrades is one of the top reasons that drive network refreshes, and this innovation (a Cisco exclusive) produces remarkable results

5.  The Partner Ecosystem

It is not possible for one company to address all the challenges manifesting in the data center on its own, no matter how revolutionary the architecture is or how radical the innovations are. This is where a rich ecosystem of partners have stepped in(see the technology leaders rally here), each of them market and innovation leaders respective domains, to make the vision of ACI all the more real and consumable.

Their vision and commitment is reflective both of the shared vision and commitment to transform the data center infrastructure, as well as reflective of the open architecture of the ACI approach in general, building on the principles of the Cisco Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE), but also taking it to other aspects of the infrastructure. You may expect to see a lot of the demos  as the APIC becomes generally available next year,  even as services offerings around ACI become much richer, as evidenced by Scott’s blog link below.

Please stay tuned to this blog space and the www.cisco.com/go/aci website for additional information over coming weeks and months. As always we would like your comments and constructive criticism as we together help redefine the power of IT.

(*) Click on the Infographic to enlarge or download it 

Additional Resources 

John Chambers Blog “Transforming IT for the Application Economy”
Chris Young Blog on ACI Security
Scott Clark Blog on ACI Services
ACI PR announcements
ACI Partner Ecosystem 

 

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Cisco Partners: How Well Can You Adapt and How Quickly?

If you heard Padmasree Warrior, Rob Lloyd and Edzard Overbeek during Day 2 of Cisco Partner Summit, you know the overall focus was on Cisco technology strategy, innovation and services. Padma and Edzard shared additional thoughts with the Cisco Channels social media team during interviews at the event, and so did Rob – particularly as it relates to Cisco’s unique value proposition to customers and how Cisco and partners can offer simplicity, flexibility and agility when designing solutions.

Let’s hear what Rob, Cisco President, Development and Sales, wanted to make sure Cisco partners took away from their time at Partner Summit:

Read on for more insight from Rob. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Summit Day 2: Simplicity, Flexibility, Agility

While Day 1 of Partner Summit was all about Cisco’s vision for the future, the partner ecosystem, and partner evolution, today the focus shifted toward technology and services. Day 2’s General Session brought to the stage Padmasree Warrior, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Rob Lloyd, President, Development and Sales, and Edzard Overbeek, Senior Vice President, Cisco Services, to talk through Cisco’s innovation and technology, our unique value proposition for customers, and why building a robust services practice around Cisco sales is key to partner profitability.

Partner impressions are some of the most valuable feedback we have here at Cisco. Like yesterday, we took to the halls of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center to get your perspectives. Here’s what you told us:

Read on for a full recap of Partner Summit Day 2.  Read More »

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Bayer Leverkusen Blazing A Trail For Bundesliga & Football Experiences

Yesterday, Bayer 04 Leverkeusen announced that they will work with Deutsche Telekom and Cisco to install Cisco Connected Sports solutionsStadiumVision, Connected Stadium Wi-Fi and StadiumVision Mobile, to make BayArena the most technologically advanced football stadium in Germany.

In BayArena, video and mobility offerings will be core to delivering one the most connected and interactive fan experiences in international football, and all of sports. StadiumVision will centrally manage high definition video and digital content delivery to approximately 500 high-definition video displays, Connected Stadium Wi-Fi will give thousands of fans reliable and fast access to the Internet, and StadiumVision Mobile will deliver live video to those connected fans’ mobile devices, through the planned Bayer 04 app.

Wolfgang Holzhaeuser, Bayer 04’s managing director, stated, “The project heralds a new dimension in communication between the club and its fans – one that will boost fan loyalty and offer more information and entertainment. We’re blazing a trail for the Bundesliga.”

Bayer 04 is leading the way for sports venues in Germany, and embody what Rob Lloyd, Cisco President, Development and Sales, said recently; “leaders recognize the new fan experience must be a connected one, capable of delivering new experiences and enabling fans to use their personal mobile devices to interact at all times.”

This next generation fan experience is coming to BayArena, and fans attending Bayer 04 Leverkeusen games. It is immersive, exciting, and just the beginning. As Cisco CEO John Chambers wrote, we are looking ahead to the possibilities for sports and entertainment as part of the Internet of Everything – the convergence of data, people, and things.

StadiumVision Mobile is the perfect example of what the new fan experience will look like. This video from Fast Company showcases how the solution allows fans to connect to the action through their personal mobile device at Barclays Center during Brooklyn Nets games.

At Cisco we are committed to delivering for leagues, venues, teams, and ultimately the fans. Because we are fans; and we want this experience at the games we attend.  Bayer Leverkusen and Deutsche Telekom are helping make this a reality in Germany.

Left to Right: Dirk Backofen, Deutsche Telekom; Wolfgang Holzhaeuser, Bayer 04 Leverkusen; and Michael Ganser, Cisco; at the press conference announcing the installation of Cisco Connected Sports Solutions at BayArena.

Left to Right: Dirk Backofen, Deutsche Telekom; Wolfgang Holzhaeuser, Bayer 04 Leverkusen; and Michael Ganser, Cisco; at the press conference announcing the installation of Cisco Connected Sports Solutions at BayArena.

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Cisco Appoints Jaime Vallés as new Head of Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China

On June 11, Gary Moore, Cisco’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, announced the appointment of Edzard Overbeek to head the company’s Global Services Business. Today, I am delighted to announce that Jaime Vallés, currently senior vice president for Cisco’s Latin America theater, will be taking over from Edzard as the leader of our Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China (APJC) region. Jaime will assume the position with effect of August 1, 2012 and will be based in Singapore.

Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China represent a huge opportunity for future growth and innovation for Cisco. We are pleased to have identified such a strong successor to Edzard Overbeek, and Jaime’s appointment from within Cisco is a testament to the strength of our leadership team across the world. Jaime’s broad understanding and success in driving growth in both developed and emerging markets combined with his passion and ability to build and lead high-performing teams, and create strong relationships based on trust and integrity, make him the ideal choice to lead Cisco’s APJC team in the region’s next phase of growth.

Naturally, Jaime will have the support of the world-class Cisco leadership team across the region, and will partner closely with Owen Chan, who will continue to lead our business in Greater China.

Since Jaime joined Cisco back in 2007, he has proven himself to be an outstanding leader with a successful track record of driving growth in emerging markets. Named one of the Top 50 Technology Executives in Latin America by the Hispanic IT Executive Council in 2011, Jaime has successfully led Cisco’s operations in Latin America, making it one of our highest growth regions. He brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in the IT industry, having previously served in senior leadership positions at Sun Microsystems and IBM.

Latin America continues to be an important growth driver in the Americas sales region. Accelerating our growth in emerging countries is one of the company’s top priorities for FY13 and we will soon be announcing a new leader for the LatAm theater.

In the meantime, I invite our customers, partners, and the entire Cisco community to join me in wishing Jaime well in his new role.

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