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Virtual Storage Has Real Benefits for Small Businesses

Improve hardware use and manageability as well as reduce costs with storage virtualization.

Virtualization was initially developed for large companies to make their infrastructure, particularly servers and storage, operate more efficiently and to cut spending costs on new hardware. Like many technologies, server and storage virtualization products are now being developed for small businesses to bring the same benefits to their networks.

Many smaller companies start by creating a virtualized server environment. Using hypervisor software, you can divide a single server into multiple virtual servers, each one running its own operating system and associated workload. This lets one server run many more different applications than the one operating system, one workload model of an un-virtualized server.

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Why Small Business is Serious Business: Cisco continues Portfolio Expansion

You’ve heard us say it before, there’s nothing small about the small business initiative at Cisco. Rick Moran, our WW vice president of SB Solutions Marketing, has this week been discussing our latest news with ‘connect’ and ‘secure’ products focused on Small Business with analysts from across the globe.

The launch this week is particularly exciting as it includes a expansion of the “built for small” portfolio with a range of Ethernet switches, a business-class network security Firewall as well as a backup Service for storage products and the financing offers and options for small business to go with them.

It’s an exciting time for small businesses to evaluate their needs – there are lots of challenges for growing businesses to overcome, but lots of solutions to those needs as well. And yes… cost is a major component of successfully running IT, that’s why Cisco Capital is currently offering competitive financing for small business customers so they can get the technology they need to stay competitive and profitable. Three-year, 3 percent financing in the U.S and zero-percent financing in Europe and Canada is now available to small business customers.

Of course, we’re always listening to our customers, acting on their feedback and developing new solutions that can help drive their business performance to the next level. Analyst feedback is a great prism through which we can look at the challenges, and opportunities for small businesses, and so discussions with analysts really build on this process and are an invaluable part of helping us to push ourselves and our products as far as possible.

Our latest discussions re-iterated many of the key things that matter to a small business – good value, ease of use and reliability. Small business remain hungry for advice on how they can innovate, while keeping things simple. For example, we recently ran a Talk2 Cisco webinar session  on how small businesses can gain an edge on the competition. Ian Pennell, senior vice president for Cisco’s small business technology group and co-lead of Cisco’s small business council, and Andrew Sage, vice president, worldwide small business sales, enjoyed discussing many of these issues and answering small businesses’ questions on these areas. To paraphrase one of the analysts we were speaking with, ‘small can still be complex we still want quick and easy to use solutions’. Amen to that.

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New Cisco Products Available for Small Business

January 25, 2011 at 10:02 am PST

Eren Hussein, Director of Solutions Marketing for Cisco Small Business, shares details about new products, services and financing offers announced today, including:

Check out what Eren has to say, and then give us your feedback!

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I <3 Fibre Channel

January 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm PST

I was reminded this week of how much perception is driven by perspective.  In this case, it was because of our advocacy of FCoE.  I was exchanging messages with one individual who interpreted this as an attempt to undermine Fibre Channel (FC) and send it to an early grave.  At the same time I was exchanging messages with someone else who felt we should not be wasting out time on FC and be spending more time and effort on IP-based storage.  Needless to say, I found the contradiction entertaining, but I thought it might be worthwhile exploring these sentiments a bit.

“Doesn’t Cisco want to get rid of Fibre Channel?”

This one is easy--nothing could be further from the truth.  We are committed to FC for the long haul because, simply, our customers are committed to FC. At the end of the day, in the enterprise, FC is still the standard against which other solutions will be judged for performance and availability. Even if customers make the decision to adopt IP-based storage, there is going to be a huge amount of data thats going to stay in the FC domain.  It may stay put or be migrated slowly as part of normal refresh, but the end result is that FC is not going away anytime soon. From our perspective, we will continue to invest in FC as long as our customers tell us its important.  Lest you doubt that, look at the updates to our Cisco MDS family over the last year and also remember that we still sell gear with Token Ring interfaces.

“Why spend time on Fibre Channel protocols?”

This is a fine question.  To paraphrase bank robber Willie Sutton, we’re investing the time in FCoE because that’s where the data is.  One of our primary data center design tenets is a unified fabric at the access layer for its TCO and functional benefits. We are agnostic about how you do that, whether its via IP-based storage or FCoE.  From a practical perspective, as noted above, for most enterprise customers, their data is sitting in an FC domain, so any convergence strategy needs to take that into account. And while the storage folks may not care what we are doing at the server access layer, they are certainly not looking for their lives to be made any more complicated.  Hence, we have FCoE.

At the end of the day, storage strategy shouldn’t be technology-dependent.  The next-gen data center is going to need to support the ability of apps to grab data wherever it happens to be sitting: on IP-based storage, FC-based storage, or in a cloud somewhere, which is what we are ultimately helping our customers prepare for.

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New Whitepaper: Cisco UCS, Citrix XenDesktop, and Atlantis ILIO

Published this week: this new whitepaper discusses the joint solution built on Cisco UCS, Citrix XenDesktop, and Atlantis ILIO - designed to deliver stateless VDI desktops with a shared master disk implementation, providing storage IOPS offload, reduced up-front CAPEX, and increased desktop/application performance.  The Atlantis ILIO solution has been tested for interoperability and scalability with the Cisco UCS and Citrix XenDesktop Validated Design (CVD), to deliver faster desktop boot times, logon, antivirus scanning and overall desktop performance.  The whitepaper is available for download here

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