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#EngineersUnplugged S4|Ep6: Closing the Management Gap!

December 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm PST

Welcome back to Engineers Unplugged. In this week’s episode, we geek out with Cisco’s Roger Barlow and VMware’s Bhumik Patel (@bhumikp). The topic--how to close the management gap, featuring UCS and vSphere. They cover a variety of use cases and offer practical how-to:

**The next shoot is last week of January at Cisco Live in Milan! If you want to be internet-famous, contact me ASAP to talk about being on the show.**

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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New Independent Analyst Research on Private Cloud Software Solutions

November 26, 2013 at 7:30 am PST

In previous blog posts, my colleagues have written about Cisco’s leadership in cloud infrastructure (#1) and cloud professional services (#1). And as I’ve blogged about in the past, we have a growing portfolio of cloud and infrastructure management software solutions. Now Cisco is getting recognition as a strong performer in cloud software innovation and strategy.

Cisco was among the select companies that Forrester invited to participate in its new Forrester Wave report, The Forrester Wave: Private Cloud Solutions, Q4 2013. The report focuses on commercial software offerings for enterprise private cloud deployments, ranking the 10 most significant vendors (from an initial field of 27) based on 61 different criteria – with more than 100 customer interviews. You can download the full report here.

In this evaluation, Cisco received the highest score in strategy and is in the top three overall for our current offering.   Read More »

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Automation and Application-Centric Infrastructure

If you have been following the news, I’m sure you saw that Cisco just introduced Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Combine ACI with Cisco UCS Director and you can provision and deliver application-centric infrastructure automatically.

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Over the past 11 months, I have discussed how Cisco UCS Director reduces data center complexity with unified automation and management of multi-vendor converged and integrated infrastructure systems. But the provisioning of compute, storage and network resources is just the start. IT needs to deliver infrastructure that is tailor-made for the specific applications their users need. Together with ACI, Cisco UCS Director has key capabilities to make this happen.

Read More »

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Three Years On, FlexPod is Smarter, Faster, and Better.

This month marks the three year anniversary of Cisco’s partnership with NetApp and our development of FlexPod.  Over the years, we’ve experienced some tremendous growth, more than doubling new installations year-over-year, and now we have more than 3,000 customers globally.

Following the success of FlexPod Datacenter, FlexPod Express and FlexPod Select the solution is capping off the year with several technology enhancements. These include the automation of integrated infrastructure, business continuity solutions, and validation of new products and reference architectures.

Together, Cisco and NetApp are introducing four new FlexPod components that enable our customers’ continuing journey to the cloud:

  1. UCS Director 4.1 deeply integrated with clustered Data ONTAP.
  2. The addition of Citrix to the FlexPod Cooperative Support program.
  3. FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster
  4. FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Virtualized Multiservice Data Center 2.3

I encourage you to take a look at the short video we’ve created that gives more details of all the new components we’re announcing today.

Our friends at NetApp have written a great  blog post outlining the last two offerings, but I’d like to focus on the first two components – UCS Director and the addition of Citrix capabilities.

UCS Director Integration

New integrations with UCS Director and Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) provide automation and service catalogues, which help customers move toward delivering cloud services. Corporate IT maximizes benefits when its infrastructure can be commissioned within minutes in response to changes in demand. Cisco UCS Director views FlexPod as a single system and allows customers to rapidly deploy FlexPod by leveraging single element managers. UCS Director, in turn, will soon be natively integrated into Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud for a more comprehensive FlexPod cloud management solution.

With the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) cloud accelerator, UCS Director and FlexPod are integrated as a “node” in the cloud that can be used by cloud administrators to provision NetApp storage into virtual data centers.

Faster with Intel

Rapid deployment will be used to harness tremendous increases in FlexPod computing power. The newest FlexPod deployments will feature Cisco UCS built on Intel’s Ivy Bridge chipset.  We’ve introduced the Intel Xeon Process E5-2600 v2 product family on several servers.

“We like to say that Cisco and Intel are “Joined at the Chip,” because the innovation each company brings is incredibly complimentary. Cisco’s innovation in the data center is an extension of the company’s historic focus: connecting things. Cisco Unified Data Center and products like UCS are the outcomes of our drive to connect the pieces. When we join forces with Intel’s leadership at the computing core, customers see an unbeatable combination.”  -  Todd Brannon, Tick Tock Goes the Server Clock

Coupled with other UCS innovations, the solution has demonstrated great performance versatility and has set record-breaking industry benchmarks.

For enterprises that want to scale out this capacity, Cisco delivers UCS Central. UCS Central software manages multiple, globally distributed Cisco UCS domains with thousands of servers from a single pane.

Adding CItrix

Agile deployment and scale-out performance need the backing of a best-in-class support model. The FlexPod Cooperative Support program brings together the technology expertise of Cisco, NetApp and now Citrix. Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenServer and Citrix CloudPlatform are frequently deployed workloads in enterprises today. Customers will have direct access to Cisco, NetApp and Citrix engineers trained to rapidly address any operational issues.  By adding Citrix, FlexPod has the broadest IT and cloud management support, including Citrix CloudPlatform, Microsoft System Center, VMWare vCenter Orchestrator, CA Automation Suite for Clouds, and BMC Cloud Lifecycle Manager.

Combined, these advances in FlexPod technology will enable the platform to exceed the needs of the most demanding private and public cloud deployments.

We’re incredibly proud of the work that Cisco and NetApp have done over the past three years.  We are looking forward to an exciting future together as we use the FlexPod platform to continue delivering significant technology innovations to our customers.

 

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Big Picture Thinking Makes Tactics Easier

In order to provide important services and innovations that better align to business, data centers must deploy advancecd IT architectures. Who says? IDC. In fact, this month they reported that adoption of integrated systems has moved from evaluation to mainstream. And yet IT remains besieged.

What is the essence of the problem? Traditional management tools. While the conversation with IT professionals at all levels is about improving data center efficiency and responsiveness, without unified management and automation, converged infrastructures are only solving half of the problem. Basically IT is still managing the trees instead of the forest.

Let’s look at an example. One industry-leading converged infrastructure solution built around Cisco UCS and EMC storage is VCE Vblock. Standardizing on Vblock delivers scalability, agility and operational efficiencies that allow IT to move away from a tactical mindset toward delivering infrastruture services efficiently to better align with business priorities. BUT, Vblock alone can’t move IT from tactical to business alignment.

Cisco UCS Director is a vital companion to the Vblock data center architecture because it simplifies provisioning and management of physical and virtual resources. Cisco UCS Director lets you manage your entire standardized Vblock environment as a single entity, delivering operational efficiency and reducing costs.

Watch the following video to find out why

Together Cisco UCS Director and Vblock transform IT from a legacy model to a dynamic environment that delivers faster time-to-value, less risk and higher efficiency for today’s 24-hour-a-day business.

Intrigued? To see how Cisco UCS Director can escort you through the forest of innovation, try a free 60-day test drive through your trees toward workforce productivity and reduced operational costs.

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