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What Du Can Do With ACI

It seems people sometimes have this view of SDN as addressing rather esoteric use cases and situations. However, the reality is that while there are instances of ‘out there stuff’ happening, there are many situations where we see customers leverage the technology to address pretty straightforward issues. And these issues are often similar across different business/vertical/customer types.

Aftab Rasool is Senior Manager, Data Center Infrastructure and Service Design Operations for Du.   I recently had the chance to talk with him about Cisco’s flagship SDN solution – Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) – and Du’s experience with it. I found there were many instances of Du using ACI to simply make traditional challenges easier to deal with.

Du is an Information & Communications Technology (ICT) company based in Dubai. They offer a broad range of services to both consumer and business markets, including triple play to the home, mobile voice/data, and hosting. The nature of their business means the data center, and thus the data center network, is critical to their success. They need a solution to effectively handle challenges of both deployment, as well as operations…and that’s where ACI comes in.

I’ll quickly use the metaphor of driving to summarize the challenges Aftab covers in the video. He addresses issues that are both ‘in the rear view mirror’ as well as ‘in the windshield’ – with both being generalizable to lots of other customers. What I mean is that there are issues from the past that, though they are largely behind the car and visible in the mirror, still impact the driving experience. There are also issues on the horizon that are visible through the windshield, but are just now starting to come into focus and have effect.

Rear view mirror issues – These are concepts as basic as scalability associated with spanning tree issues, or sub optimal use of bandwidth, also due to spanning tree limitations. These issues are addressed with ACI, as there is no spanning tree in the fabric, and the use of Equal Cost Multi Pathing (ECMP) allows use of all links. Additionally, use of BiDi allows use of existing 10G fiber plant for 40G upgrades, thus obviating the expense and hassle of fiber upgrades. As a result, the ACI fabric, based on Nexus 9000’s, provides all the performance and capacity Du needs.

Windshield issues – These are represented by a range of things that result from business’s need for speed, yet are diametrically opposed by the complexity of most data centers. The need for speed through automation is becoming more and more critical, as is simplifying the operating environment, particularly as the business must scale. Within this context, Aftab mentioned both provisioning and troubleshooting.

Provisioning: Without ACI, provisioning involved getting into each individual switch, making requisite changes – configuring VLANs, L3, etc. It also required going into L4-7 services devices to assure they were configured properly and worked in concert with the L2 and L3 configurations. This device by device configuration not only was time consuming, but created the potential for human error. With ACI, these and other types of activities are automated and happen with a couple of clicks.

Troubleshooting: Before ACI, troubleshooting was complicated and time consuming, in part because they had to troll through each switch, look at various link by link characteristics to check for errors, etc. With ACI, healthscores make it easy and fast to pinpoint where the challenge is.

Please take a few minutes to check out what Aftab has to say about these, and other aspects of his experience with ACI at Du.

 

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Cisco cBR-8: Re-imagining CCAP with SDN

Guest Blog by Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

Igor-Dayen

In an age of agile service creation with a virtualized IT infrastructure, the delivery of services by cable operators is undergoing a transformation. Two key technologies that are fueling this change are Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). In this blog, we will examine how SDN is transforming service delivery for cable operators.

SDN offers much promise to cable operators. It changes how networks are designed, operationalized, and monetized, making them far more agile and responsive to customers. In traditional switch and router system architectures, the control plane is implemented in software running on a general-purpose CPU and the data plane is implemented with specialized hardware such as an ASIC. What SDN does is remove the Read More »

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WAN Automation Engine and Segment Routing: Two Great Solutions Even Better Together

Are you looking to deliver an intelligent, dynamic and highly optimized programmable network where applications have control in how they explicitly traverse the end-to-end network?

If so, you have probably been watching the Application Engineered Routing story unfold since it was launched in March 2015. For those of you following this developing chapter in the end-to-end application control play book, you might have read the past few blogs by my colleague, Frederic Trate (here and here) or even watched Dave Ward, Cisco CTO and Chief Architect, present on engineering the network for applications on the main stage at MPLS World Congress 2015 earlier this year (see Featured Content). Read More »

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Leading the Evolution of the Mobile Packet Core

I was reading the latest ACG Research report on Mobile IP Infrastructure and reflecting how the importance of the IP Packet Core has evolved, and how the technology leaders in this area have also evolved.

Back in the “3G era” the Packet Core sat alongside the Voice Core, and was considered an adjunct to the Radio Access Network. The traditional RAN vendors would often bundle the core as part their end-to-end contract. Since initial data services where Mobile Broadband, and monetisation was just based on volume, 3G Packet Cores were all about “feeds and speeds”.

With 4G/LTE the all-IP nature makes the Packet Core the heart of Read More »

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Policy Driven Infrastructure to Transform Your Microsoft Cloud, Apps, and Operations

Please join us Thursday Sept 24, 2015 11:00AM ET for a WindowsITPro virtual event.

MS VTS

We have an information packed agenda planned for you encompassing:

  • The cloud, the hybrid cloud, and the private cloud.
  • Software-defined networking and policy-based automation.
  • The idea of application policy in next generation networking technologies and how they differ from the networks of today.
  • How Next-Generation SDN is impacting the cloud, your applications, and the
    data center.

Join us to learn about how policy helps companies make “bi modal IT” a continuum for IT organizations to support both traditional and cloud native applications on a common infrastructure.  Learn how to reduce TCO, achieve greater agility for the entire IT organization, enhance security for compliance and governance needs and simplify operations when infrastructure itself helps support and enable applications.

Policy Driven Infrastructure to Transform Your Microsoft Cloud, Apps, and Operations delivered by yours truly and a distinguished executive panel including:

  • Michael Michael, Senior Director of Product Management at Apprenda, responsible for the vision and product direction of Apprenda’s Platform As A Service (PaaS) solution.
  • Scott Napolitan, a Senior Program Manager with Microsoft’s Cloud and Datacenter Management Organization focused on Network and Fabric Management.
  • Jeremy Oakey, VP Strategic Alliances at CliQr for their application-defined cloud management platform for modeling, deploying, and managing clouds, applications, and users.

Evolving Your Data Center to the Next Level delivered by Michael Otey, senior contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and SQL Server Pro.

Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Microsoft Solutions presented by Tim Cerling, Technical Marketing Engineer with Cisco’s Datacenter Group, focusing on delivering customer-driven solutions on Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center products.

Understanding Next-Generation SDN: The Complete Integration of your Data Center presented by Bill Kleyman, VP of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies.

The Path Forward: Charting a Course to the Networks of Tomorrow presented by Frank Ohlhorst, an award-winning technology journalist, professional speaker, and IT business consultant with over 25 years of experience in the enterprise technology arena.

The virtual event will include an exhibition with demonstrations, presentations, videos, and engaging subject matter experts who’ll be glad to chat with you, answer questions, and provide you with access to even richer educational information.  I hope you will register now and join us next week!

Related Information on ACI and Microsoft Cloud Platform

ACI and Microsoft Cloud Platform solutions webpage

ACI and CliQr blog and interview

Microsoft Ignite breakout on ACI and Microsoft’s Cloud Platform

Video: Winning Together with Cisco ACI and Microsoft Azure Pack.

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