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Cisco Live Berlin 2016, just a week away – A preview

Making a trip to Berlin is always worthwhile. And February is especially notable, as this is when famous movie stars make their way down the red carpet for the international film festival Berlinale. For me, the special draw is Cisco Live Berlin and the opportunity to speak German. A week from now, Cisco Live Berlin will be ready to rock. Just as JFK once famously said, I can as well proudly say, “Ich bin ein Berliner”. From a Cisco Data center standpoint ACI, Inter-Cloud, IOT and UCS continue to grab the headlines. In particular, Cisco ACI has established itself as the dominant SDN technology with thousands of customers and a growing eco-system of partners in just one and a half years. In this blog, I am going to present excerpts of what attendees can broadly expect to see and experience at the buzzing event, and I will take you on a tour of how ACI is ready to engage and enrich you.

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Keynotes

At the outset, I’d recommend that you attend all keynotes to understand Cisco’s strategy for emerging technology trends and market transitions. Cisco Execs Jeremy Bevan and Zorowar Biri Singh kick-start the proceedings with an opening keynote on Feb 16 as they discuss empowering customers and employees as companies embark on building a Digital Business in the new era of IT. Don’t miss several technology innovation talks occurring throughout the week.. Cisco Exec Soni Jiandani’s session on SDN/ACI topic is going to be a sell-out. Come and listen to Soni to understand how ACI enables business outcomes like Digital Transformation as well as how Cisco’s innovations, from Applications to ASICs, bring unique capabilities and value to the industry.

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Now I want to segue to ACI specifics. The last year has been phenomenal from an ACI eco-system momentum standpoint. F5 and Citrix, leading ADC vendors, have developed joint solutions with ACI and we have experienced several customer wins and success stories.

ACI Solution Partners

F5 is a platinum sponsor and has a big presence at Cisco Live Berlin this year to delight the attendees. Visit F5 at stand P2 to meet with subject matter experts and watch live demos of F5 and Cisco solutions that enable rapid, secure, and reliable L2–7 services across physical, virtual, and cloud platforms. Attend F5’s technical breakout session BRKSP-2003 for a Technical Deep Dive on F5 BIG-IQ, BIG-IP and Cisco ACI for Applications Deployment. Do not miss F5’s DevNet Zone workshop to learn how to deploy applications configurations with F5 BIG-IP and Cisco Nexus 9000 infrastructure with Puppet. Get a head-start by watching the live panel session video we recorded last month.

Citrix is a platinum sponsor at Cisco Live Berlin.. This year , Citrix has a signifcant presence in the partner area. Key activities at the booth include joint solution demos featuring UCS-XD/XA with ACI, ACI-NetScaler, ACI POC on Github, Cisco APIC-EM among other major ones. Furthermore, David Potter and Raj Gulani from Citrix are doing a breakout (BRKSP-2006) on the topic, “Citrix and Cisco Alliance – Delivering the best load balancing, virtual desktops and application delivery with Cisco ACI”.  For your benefit, we also have a detailed white-board video illustrating various ACI and Citrix NetScaler deployment scenarios. There are many other exciting activities to offer, which you can check out at the Citrix Booth P3.

Demos and Theater Presentations at WOS

At the World of Solutions (WOS) this year, SDN/ACI, UCS and Cloud take center stage in the Data Center category. There are multiple demos showcasing ACI innovations. I want to draw your attention to key ones like security and micro-segmentation, Multi-Hypervisor support, and ACI integration with Cloud Management Platforms.  We also have a ”Meet the Engineer” program, which gives you the opportunity to engage with a Cisco engineer in a 1:1 conversation focused on your unique questions and challenges.  Click here to setup a 1:1 session. Finally, you have access to our subject matter experts staffing the booth demos. They will give you a real-life demo and explain how these are relevant to your needs.

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So stop by the WOS to explore new technologies and get answers to your unique questions.

In addition to the hands-on demos, we also have round the clock mini-presentations at the WOS Cisco Education Zone mini-theater. This year we have several exciting ACI theater topics namely “Secure and Accelerate your Applications with policy-based L4-L7 services”, “Network Analytics – Key Use Cases for Applications, Automation, and Operations”, “Open NXOS / Programmability Solutions”, plus many more. If you are hard pressed for time, these sessions are ideal given their short duration nature.   They will give you a quick overview on innovative features and architectures of Cisco ACI. Check our WOS Theater roster in the agenda handout.

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Breakout Sessions

To your heart’s delight is how I’ll describe Cisco technical breakout sessions. Yes, we have more than 300 breakouts from industry recognized experts at the show. ACI breakouts feature prominently, and the legends of the ACI domain including Carlos Pereira, Ranga Rao, Lilian, Maurizio, Thomas Scheibe all are presenting stimulating sessions.. Search the session catalog to pick your choice sessions. I recommend Carlos’s breakout BRKVIR-2931 which takes you on an end-end journey of ACI. Also TECDCT-2002, a day-long technical session by ACI big guns Thomas, Azeem et al will give you an end-end view of the evolving Data Center fabric. Marketing Director, Craig Huitema is doing a session PSOSDN-2002 that focuses on how to speed up business by simplifying Data centers with ACI and Nexus. ACI thought leader Harry Petty  is doing a Panel session PNLACI-2201 same day with fellow Cisco experts and Customer Thomas Raabo on how to build Data Centers with ACI.  You are in for a double treat on Feb 17.

Social Networking

As a Cisco Live attendee, you benefit from the opportunity to interact with your peers, Cisco staff and partner technical experts in both structured and informal settings. Our Welcome Reception and Customer Appreciation Event are the highlights of the week’s social calendar. Read more on the Social Events & Networking Onsite section. Our social media online communities provide year round access to like-minded individuals as well as valuable content, news and updates. We’d love it if you would join the conversation.

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I can go on and on, but I’d never be able to cover all of the excitement in store. There is so much more you can explore on your own, and our Meet and Greet ambassadors will be happy to assist you at the show. As for me, if time permits, I plan on acquainting myself with some of the legendary artworks in Berlin’s 100 plus Museums. Safe travels and a happy Cisco Live.

Related Links

www.cisco.com/go/aci

www.blogs.cisco.com/datacenter

ACI-F5

ACI-Citrix

http://www.ciscolive.com/emea/

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#CiscoChampion Radio, S3|Ep. 4. Insight Into New UCS Innovations

#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’re discussing Insight Into New UCS Innovations with Cisco Subject Matter Expert Dan Hanson.

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Cisco Guest
Dan Hanson (@danhanso), Cisco UCS Product Group

Cisco Champion Hosts
John Kerns (@packetsar), Network & Systems Engineer
Colin Lynch, (@ucsguru), Principal Consultant

Moderator
Lauren Friedman (@lauren)

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From desktop to Data Center…changing the game with graphics

What if you were able to give everyone in your organization the flexibility and freedom to securely work anywhere in the world and on any device? What types of productivity gains would your company see as a result? What efficiencies or cost savings might your IT department receive from moving desktops to your datacenter and managing these virtual workstations through one single pane of glass?

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Our Cisco UCS team is excited to present the new Maxwell generation NVIDIA Tesla M6 GPU for the Cisco UCS B200M4 Blade and the NVIDIA Tesla M60 GPU for Cisco 2U Rack Rack Servers. Cisco and NVIDIA have joined forces to deliver this new graphics solution.  Combining security, reliability and manageability from Cisco UCS and adding NVIDIA’s GRID technology, we’re able to deliver performance and speed needed to run high-end applications on virtual desktops. What’s better is that you have two form factor options to fit your organization’s’ data center footprint. 

The M60 Rack GPU is supported with UCS Manager 3.1(1) and later & Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) 2.0(9) and later; the M6 Blade GPU is supported with both UCS Manager 3.1(1) and 2.2(7) and later.

 

With Cisco UCS & NVIDIA GRID, you can now expand your virtualization footprint without compromising performance or user experience while also increasing security. This means, you can empower your workforce to create anything around the world, from any location with the ease and flexibility.

 

The new Cisco & NVIDIA M6 Blade GPU solution is fully integrated with the flagship B200M4 Server, supporting all CPU configurations and performance on par with NVIDIA K2 GPU, at less than half the power profile!  With two of the M60 GPU’s on Cisco UCS C240M4, you can now enable high density NVIDIA Tesla Compute and GRID 2.0 VDI user consolidation, which is over 8,000 CUDA cores & 32GB of GPU memory for up to 64 GPU-accelerated virtual desktop users.
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This is especially exciting for organizations in the Oil and Gas, Manufacturing and Design industries since historically, this type of work demanded high-end applications like ESRI, AutoCAD, Petrel and Siemens to be used in on-site with workstations. But now, these types of applications can be powered virtually through your data center to any device.

Take an airplane manufacturer for example. With a follow-the-sun working model, this organization can now empower its employees to design from anywhere in the world with the device they prefer, while all working on the same application in real-time. This helps the company save time, money and fuels rapid innovation. Last but not least, this is all done while maintaining security for the organization.

Empower your employees to create flexibly, securely and from any device and any location in the world. Now possible with Cisco UCS & NVIDIA GRID.   

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Productivity, mobility, security, and flexibility for all. This changes everything.

Learn how others are transforming their data centers with Cisco UCS.

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Composable Infrastructure Webinar – Forrester Analyst Provides Insights

Composable Infrastructure Webinar 012116cThere’s been a lot of talk in the past several months about composable infrastructure. It’s a new product category that has gained attention as Cisco and other vendors have introduced new products into the market. A webinar on January 21 with Forrester Research analyst, Richard Fichera, will provide insights into what is driving the demand for this new technology and explain the technology. The webinar will also feature a customer describing how they use composable infrastructure.

The increasing demand to provide an infrastructure that is more flexible and adaptable while still being easy to use is causing Cisco and other vendors to introduce new types of products. Composable infrastructure is a new category of systems that addresses this requirement.  With new categories also comes some confusion, so we’ve asked an industry expert to provide some perspective for this webinar.  The guest speaker, Richard Fichera,  is a Vice President with Forrester Research. Rich is a principal analyst serving infrastructure and operations professionals.

The webinar is on January 21st at 1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PDT. Save your spot and register today!

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Expanded Cisco and Nimble SmartStack Portfolio Helps Provide Customers with Faster Time to Business Value

Business is changing faster than ever, placing new and dynamic demands on server, storage and networking infrastructure. Traditionally, infrastructure was pulled together by engineering to solve a specific problem and then thrown over the wall to operations for ‘care and feeding’. Configuring and testing hardware configurations is often not core to our customers business and absorbs precious IT resources that could be directed towards revenue-producing projects.

Once the infrastructure is deployed, it sits there. It is often too complex to change or reconfigure, even scaling the infrastructure can present risk and unexpected downtime.  All too often IT is trying to orchestrate itself to align to the business versus the business being enabled to orchestrate IT. You can deploy IT Infrastructure in a better way, which allows the business to reduce the time-to-value while improving agility to achieve more with each dollar spent on IT.

These business challenges are also placing even greater demands to plan, procure, deploy, test and roll out new workloads in a faster, more efficient, manner than the traditional approach of purchasing compute, network and storage and then combining these pieces together. Third-party data also confirms this premise. For example, a leading market research organization says: “IT organizations spend 23.3% of staff time and resources on pre-system deployment”*.  Once deployed, infrastructure must also be dynamic and granular responding to future needs like cloud and IoT.  These trends combined with declining data center budgets are forcing closer cooperation among vendors to put together entire systems.

In order to address these challenges, last week Nimble Storage announced expanding the SmartStack portfolio which combines Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure with the Nimble Adaptive Flash platform and various software workloads.

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From a customer standpoint, there are many benefits to this expanded SmartStack portfolio which can be grouped into three main areas:

  1. Faster time to business value using SmartStack initial deployment through Cisco Validated Designs and Nimble reference architectures
  • Cisco Validated Designs are precise blueprints that significantly speed infrastructure deployment and assurance that Cisco Validated Designs and Nimble reference architectures are rigorously tested and validated by both Cisco and Nimble
  • Faster time to solution deployment and fewer errors as pre-testing, configuring, sizing are expedited using these extensive engineering documents as exact guides
  • Quicker, more agile infrastructure redeployment through industry-leading, UCS management (UCS Director, UCS Central and UCS Manager)
  1. More SmartStack workloads with a growing set of Cisco Validated Designs and an increasing library of Nimble reference architectures addressing nearly all major use cases
  • Finally, SmartStack provides customers with a platform to bring our unique capabilities together. Cisco and Nimble both bring more to the table than network, compute and storage technologies.
  • For instance, Cisco will provide innovative technologies such as UCS Director and UCS Manager. The Nimble Adaptive Flash platform is built upon CASL™ architecture, which scales performance and capacity seamlessly and independently.
  • The goal of the SmartStack solution is to deliver these and future technologies to customers as more Cisco and Nimble technologies are collectively added to the joint solution through Cisco Validated Designs and Nimble reference architectures.
  1. Highly secure future foundation for innovation between Cisco and Nimble
  • The growth of cloud, mobility, and Internet of Things is accelerating change in the data center and placing more demands and challenges on the underlying infrastructure.
  • The challenge is to have IT infrastructure that can keep pace with this change. SmartStack brings the “industrial revolution” to the traditional “piece work” of infrastructure deployment. SmartStack delivers on this challenge both today and tomorrow, leaving yesterday’s IT legacy behind.

* Villars, Richard L. and Jed Scaramella, IDC, Converging the Datacenter Infrastructure: Why, How, So What? May 2012

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