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The era of the partnership: F5 Networks and Cisco

Bio-pearce.jpgThis guest blog is written by Nathan Pearce of F5 Networks.

Nathan Pearce draws from over 20 years experience across numerous technologies and verticals, has held positions managing enterprise infrastructure, in vendor engineering, consulting, product management and marketing strategy. Pearce joined F5 Networks in 2006, is currently focused on Cloud and SDN go-to-market, is an experienced speaker, evangelist and technology enthusiast. You can find him on Twitter at @PearceNathan

The era of the partnership

 

We have entered a time that is demanding of the networking innovators that we connect the unconnected, deliver of the agile and unpredictable, secure the ever-changing, and that all this be done quicker than ever before. Organizational expectations are driving increased workload with the expectation of reduced lead times. Few would argue that achieving such requires massive change, not only to an organizations architectural approach but, to how we conduct business.

Synonymous with great change is accelerated innovation–the force behind the almost-electric atmosphere throughout Silicon Valley. For a long time, much of technology innovation has been in the form of, or within, specific devices–improved performance, management or consolidation. Consequently, the results have been within the silos those competencies exist–faster firewalls, improved virtual-server density, and more granular access technology, for example. However, unlike in the past, today’s innovation drivers are focused on faster, more agile business, and not just improvements to specific devices.

Delivering on the business expectation of managing exponential increase in agility is a feat no single vendor can solve. Consequently, those leading the trends are embracing the era of the partnership to best meet these expectations, and Cisco and F5 are no strangers to this practice of partnering to achieve a better customer outcome.

What’s in a partnership?

Successful partnerships run much deeper than a press release. F5 and Cisco are working together across many different avenues including regular product development sync ups, sales and marketing strategy, consulting services, and training. Is this necessary, you might ask? According to our customers it is integral.

Take Pulsant, for example:

Through our partnership and aligned commitment to better serve customers we are helping out customers:

  • Faster time to value for the deployment of new applications and services.
  • Faster time to react towards situation affecting existing applications and services.
  • Reduced complexity and operational risk in the management of Cisco’s Layer 2/3 networking services and F5’s Layer 4 – 7 application services.

Remaining competitive in today’s era of accelerated change can’t be achieved with the right tools, alone. Success comes from choosing partners with aligned vision.

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Cisco Enhances SDN Strategy and Offerings Across the Entire Nexus Portfolio with new VTS Automation Solution

Interest in Software Defined Networking (SDN) continues to grow through the ability to make networks more programmable, flexible and agile. This is accomplished by accelerating application deployment and management, simplifying automating network operations and creating a more responsive IT model.

Cisco is extending its leadership in SDN and Data Center Automation solutions with the announcement today of Cisco Virtual Topology System (VTS), which improves IT automation and optimizes cloud networks across the entire Nexus switching portfolio. Cisco VTS focuses on the management and automation of VXLAN-based overlay networks, a critical foundation for both enterprise private clouds and service providers. The announcement of the VTS overlay management system follows on Cisco’s announcement earlier this year supporting the EVPN VXLAN standard, which underlies the VTS solution.

Cisco VTS extends the Cisco SDN strategy and portfolio, which includes Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), as well Cisco’s programmable NX-OS platforms, to a broader market and for additional use cases, which includes our massive installed base of Nexus 2000-7000 products, and to customers whose primary SDN challenge is in the automation, management and ongoing optimization of their virtual overlay infrastructure. With support for the EVPN VXLAN standard, VTS furthers Cisco’s commitment to open SDN standards, and increases interoperability in heterogeneous switching environments, with third-party controllers, and with cloud automation tools that sit on top of the open northbound API’s of the VTS controller.

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Security and What Matters Most…

Summer is officially in full swing. My kids have finished with another school year. Our family vacation has been planned. When the family is away on vacation together, I worry a bit about the safety and security of our home, our personal information and of course our physical well-being when traveling. Still, even with ever more creative ways for cyber adversaries to disrupt our lives, for the most part, the systems in place have been successful at helping us avoid major catastrophe.

Family Vacation

Our service provider customers are no different: They also worry about the safety and security of their networks and infrastructures Read More »

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Cisco Live 2015, San Diego – A Week of non-stop technology showcase and excitement

sandiego

Cisco Live US 2015, Cisco’s premier education and training destination for IT professionals worldwide, kicks off next week at San Diego. More than 25000 customers and partners converge to network and share their experiences, and potentially meet new peers onsite. This year is particularly special as John Chambers introduces new Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins on stage to co-host the keynote.

JCkeynote

Like you, I am eagerly awaiting the keynote set for Monday June 8, 3 PM local time. John and Chuck will discuss emerging technology and business trends and their implications for Cisco, its customers, and its solutions. .

There are several other keynotes in addition, such as Industry keynote by Cisco Exec Karen walker, Guest keynote by Mike Rowe, Luminary keynote by Dr. Peter Diamandis, so prepare your agenda in advance to get a broad exposure.

For the remainder of this blog I will focus on Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and the ACI highlights. The logical place to start is with Soni Jiandani’s Innovation Talk on topic “Fast Track to Fast IT: Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure” scheduled for June 10, 9 AM. Soni hosts Symantec CIO Sheila Jordan and both discuss how ACI helps deliver a simple, secure and smart solution that delivers on the promise of Fast IT.  Soni will also have new updates about the ACI ecosystem but we cannot give away the surprise here – you will have to attend her session to find out. Soni’s session always sets the tone for the rest of the ACI presence at the show.

Let me now segue into ACI Breakout sessions. ACI breakouts feature prominently among a large collection of 600 plus breakout sessions this year with several experts addressing hot topics in Operations, deployment, and eco-system. I will recommend a few breakouts that I consider relevant to current Data Center trends and ACI deployments. First and foremost, let me talk about Cisco Exec Shashi Kiran’s breakout session on Data Center and Cloud Strategy, slated for June 10, 10 AM. Shashi will provide excerpts of how with acceleration of digital business, CIOs and LOB owners map their DC and cloud strategy to deliver better business outcomes. Shashi is a phenomenal speaker and will cover such exciting topics as SDN, Big Data, IOE and how these come together to create a compelling architectural play. So, mark this as a must-attend session.

Many customers have expressed their interest in hearing how ACI helps operationally from application provisioning and trouble-shooting standpoint. Harry Petty, Director of Marketing, Cisco systems brings you exactly that perspective in his breakout session. Harry will give a detailed view of simplifying Day-0,1,2 operations in Application centric Data centers, and in particular focuses on how Cisco ACI addresses the challenges of service quality, secure and reliable application delivery, agility and simplified operations of cloud infrastructure. Harry’s session also covers policy based automation of tenant on-boarding, application containers, self-service catalogs, application monitoring and trouble-shooting among other things.  If you are unable to attend the breakout, Harry also is hosting a panel session on building Data Centers with ACI on June 9, featuring Cisco Subject matter experts Chad, Cesar and Eric and discuss their ACI deployment experiences across industry segments. I also would recommend Craig Huitema’s breakout that brings how businesses can be sped up simplifying Data Center with ACI and Nexus. Craig will discuss the Nexus portfolio and clarify how ACI simplifies these elements resulting in a faster, more flexible and responsive IT that better aligns with the business needs of today’s rapidly shifting environment.

Most of you by now will be raring to make a beeline to the world of solutions as it is where exhibitors and subject matter experts from various partners and customers of cisco throng to gather insights on what’s new and exciting.

WOS

This year, we are showcasing a big collection of solution demos spanning multiple architectures including Data Center, IOE, Security etc. It will take me several blogs to cover them all, so I will stick to ACI my focus area. Solutions from more than 250 cisco partners are on display in the world of solutions. Here’s your opportunity to explore the broader Cisco Partner eco-system, find answers to your specific networking challenges, and hear the unique perspective of cisco engineers and partners.

Our ACI solutions and demo showcase focuses on typical customer care-abouts. The demos include securing and scaling applications with ACI, Cloud orchestration with ACI, Role of policy in automation, Multi-Hypervisor Data center operations, actionable analytics and visibility with ACI among others. Please stop by our Cisco booth for a detailed engagement with one of our subject matter experts. If you happen to have some time, please do plan to have in your agenda the Theater presentations that run every 15 minutes. These short duration presentations give you an overview on key topics such as how ACI’s open API has enabled a broad L4-L& eco-system with Citrix, F5, A10, Radware, et al. The session titled “Broad L4-L7 eco-system with ACI”  runs on Tuesday 11.30 am, and I also recommend you attend the session titled “Security with ACI” on Wednesday 4.45 PM. These are very highly sought after topics in most of our customer engagements. There are several others you can choose form the agenda planner.

One of the key pillars that made Cisco ACI phenomenally successful is the Open and Secure eco-system of 35 plus leading partners that have built joint, integrated solutions with ACI. F5 is a leading ACI partner on the L4-L7 integration front.

F5

In fact, I fondly recollect my last week’s experience at F5 Agility, Scotland, where there were numerous high touch activities from Panel sessions to breakouts and demos and customer interactions. The highlight was Cisco Exec Shashi Kiran joining F5 Exec Calvin Rowland and fellow Cisco Exec Patrick Schmidt in a panel session. For those of you not familiar with ACI, this panel session is a great opportunity to learn how Cisco and F5 are expanding their partnership, how their combined thought leadership is advancing the SDN landscape, and customer successes and momentum experienced by Cisco ACI, F5’s BIG IP & BIG IQ in the marketplace. Watch Panel Video.

F5 has exciting demos and videos featuring Cisco ACI- BIG F5 and BIG IQ. Please check them out. F5’s engineer Vincent Ng is doing a breakout on “Real world deployments with Cisco ACI and F5 LTM”, June 9, 4 PM. It is a fantastic session where Vincent will explain how customers moved the solution all the way from POC to Production detailing best practices along the way. Mark it in your agenda if you are looking for customer deployment experiences. Several F5 execs will be present as well in F5 booth, so you can understand the big picture and strategy behind how the two companies are evolving the SDN landscape. F5’s Vladimir is also speaking in the DevNet Zone on the topic of deploying applications with F5 iApps and Cisco ACI. Also, checkout the white-board Video featuring ACI working with BIG IQ and BIG IP in real-world deployment scenarios.

Cisco and F5 are hosting a live Q&A panel session focused on developers on June 16, 1 PM PST. This panel session titled “F5 Synthesis & Cisco ACI – Under the Hood: Ask the Experts” will be hosted by Cisco and F5 subject matter experts based on care-abouts of developers from Cisco DevNet and F5 DevCentral community. This is a live Q&A session — get your questions ready! If you’re interested, please head over to the F5 Event Registration site and register to reserve your space. You’ll also be able to pre-submit your questions for a chance to win a T-shirt from F5.

citrix

 

Citrix is another of Cisco’s key ACI eco-system partner and Citrix is lighting up the Partner section with booth demonstrations, speaking opportunities and social media outreach. We are thrilled to be continuing our Strategic Partnership momentum with Citrix after our successful sponsorship at their Synergy event a few weeks back in Orlando!  We demonstrated how we are delivering workspace mobility on a software defined network with a wide spectrum of innovative solutions for virtualization, mobility, networking and cloud services to enthusiastic attendees.  Along with packed attendance for our booth demos and presentations, we had multiple sessions and customer testimonials to underscore our ability to deliver multi-faceted solutions to our mutual customers.

At the Citrix booth, you can see demonstrations of Citrix thought leadership momentum with Cisco ACI (SDN) and Citrix software defined workplace, and elevated joint Citrix and Cisco solution leadership and momentum. Multiple Cisco breakouts on ACI will feature Citrix NetScaler integrated solution with ACI. Check breakouts TECACI-2009, BRKAPP-2032, BRKVIR-2044 for details. Dave Potter a Cisco Live regular attendee is presenting at the Cisco Theater and a breakout both on topic “Citrix and Cisco Alliance: Delivering the Best in Software Defined Networking and ACI Integration”. There are numerous demos planned in the Citrix booth centered around ACI-NetScaler and I strongly encourage you to take a detailed tour of these.

Be sure to visit Citrix at booth #2023 to discover the breadth and depth of our partnership with its best in class solutions across mobility, cloud, data center and software defined networking.

We also want you to have lots of fun amidst your busy schedule. Excited to see Aerosmith at Cisco Live? Get your free personalized and digitally autographed photo from the band. Cisco customers will be celebrated at our annual Customer Appreciation Event. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, will be the setting for this spectacular celebration on Wednesday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.

 

aerosmith

There are several other ACI partners of cisco showcasing their ACI centric solutions and I will exceed the guidelines for a blog if I were to describe each one of them. I hope you will enjoy the event and for those who are new, do not feel overwhelmed and I have been there. Our Cisco ambassadors will meet and greet you and make you feel at home. Do not hesitate to ask one of Cisco staff what you are looking for. Enjoy the show.

Related Links

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_Jy8_-O5nc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibVWF__fPf0

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/data-center-virtualization/dc-partner-f5-networks/index.html

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2162812892001?&bctid=4258209600001

www.cisco.com/go/aci

http://www.ciscolive.com/us/

http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/05/20/synergy-indeed-sdn-delivered-by-cisco-and-citrix-at-citrix-synergy-2015/

 

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Service Provider Takes Stage at Cisco Live San Diego

Igor-DayenGuest Blog by Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

We have been enabling service providers to transform the experience, transform the business and transform the architecture with cloud-based capabilities. Service providers now have more options to achieve business outcomes such as increasing revenue, decreasing operating expenses and enhancing agility when implementing Cisco strategy.  Using the Cisco Open Network Strategy for service providers, you as a service provider can take full advantage of your untapped network value, improve business agility, and simplify operations.

SP CLUS

This year at Cisco Live San Diego 2015, we have prepared a great collection of demos Read More »

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