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The Secret is Now Out: You Can Simplify Cloud Deployments with Cisco Unified Management

By now you have may have seen the Cisco announcement of the Unified Data Center and Unified Management http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=578106.  This exciting story around Unified Management began in the late summer of 2010 when the engineering team in Cisco’s Tidal Software acquisition began the integration of the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator and the UCS Manager.  We realized that we could take our experience with hundreds of customers in application automation and apply that toward infrastructure automation, specifically around provisioning, virtualization and cloud.  Our future was cloudy and that was indeed a good thing.

Five months later after intensive technical and business innovation, in the third week of January in 2011, the Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit introduced our cloud automation suite which brought the ease of Amazon EC2 to the private cloud for both physical and virtual clouds.  The solution consisted of newScale’s self service and service catalog technology, integrated to the Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator for  automation of infrastructure provisioning and IT operations management tool integrations.   I had been a customer of both of these companies at a previous job and had experienced the benefits of automating both the end user and back end systems with these two companies.  With the new use cases of data center and cloud automation I was convinced that these technologies could be the basis of something transformational for our customers.

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Cisco CloudVerse Enables Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds

Today we are announcing Cisco CloudVerse, an integrated set of capabilities that enables customers to deliver cloud applications and services by uniquely combining the unified data center and cloud intelligent network. CloudVerse is the culmination of Cisco’s data center and network innovation over the last few years and provides our customer with the platform for their journey to the cloud. CloudVerse enables our customers to deliver cloud applications and services with a cloud platform tailored to their needs – whether private, public, or hybrid – in an interconnected world of many clouds.

CloudVerse enables service providers, governments, and enterprises to offer their solutions as a service and deliver them with the full benefits of clouds. CloudVerse’s benefits are greater simplicity in deployment and management of cloud services, stronger security with a more comprehensive approach, faster service agility, improved economics, and an assured experience for cloud users.

CloudVerse integrates the three key elements of a business-class cloud:

  1. Unified Data Center – Bringing together the compute, network, management, and storage elements to offer an integrated platform for applications and services
  2. Cloud Intelligent Network – This is an enhancement of both the enterprise Borderless Networks and the SP next-generation network with cloud aware capabilities
  3. Cloud Applications and Services – Cisco offers a set of pre-tested applications and services for those companies looking to build and provide cloud services to individuals, businesses, and their own organizations

Let’s dive a bit deeper into what these CloudVerse pillars are comprised of.

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Part 4 – Finally – @ Garter Data Center Conference, London

December 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm PST

Time to close on this topic for me with a brief update from one of Cisco’s strategic partners, VMware, and one of our European customers, Colt.  You can find parts 1, 2 and 3 of my conference update in my previous blogs.

Colt are a European service provider, one of the growing number adopting Cisco Unified Computing (see Cisco UCS gaining serious steam).  A few of my colleagues in Cisco Data Center Services recently helped one of the Colt teams adopt the Cisco Unified Computing System for their cloud roll-out.  The Colt Data Center Services team were at the conference last week -- this part of Colt offer wholesale data center space and I talked to them about their Modular Data Center offering.

With VMware -- who need no introduction -- I asked what was top of mind for them.

You can see and hear from both companies in this short video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1zJdGPSV7c

Oh -- and finally, for a laugh -- being one of two Scots in the Cisco Data Center Services team, I really should point you to the latest VoD on why you should Choose the Right Network:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHLiiwdbKwM

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Cisco Nexus1000v: LASIK surgery for the network admin

I finally took a leap of faith and had LASIK surgery done recently, and without a doubt it’s been a life changing decision.  The daily hassle of glasses and contacts are gone, and my vision is now 20/15…it’s like going from regular TV to HiDef!  Of course these benefits came with a cost, requiring investments both financial and mental.  The financial cost was easy enough thanks to no interest payments, however the mental cost required a careful weighing of risk vs reward and a bit of blind faith (no pun intended).  In the end, trust in the technology and the doctor, and the belief that I could find my happy place for 15 minutes to endure the procedure was enough to take the leap.  Looking back it was one of my better life decisions.

Shortly after my procedure I was on site at a customer who was implementing a Vblock, and Cisco was engaged for UCS optimization services to follow up the install.   For those new to integrated infrastructure solutions, a Vblock is a pre-integrated and tested infrastructure stack with various components across compute, network, and storage.  My favorite component hands down is the Cisco Nexus1000 This product replaces the VMware vSwitch functionality with a feature rich Cisco switch powered by NXOS, which this particular customer had no knowledge of.   Well,  I’m a huge fan of the product, and I knew they would be too once they came to understand it’s use cases and capabilities.   I gave their network and server admins a 4 hour overview covering everything from architecture to troubleshooting.  The light bulbs went on and they were exchanging smiles about 10 minutes into the presentation when I started talking about the non disruptive operational model and VN-LINK concepts.  One of the network admins interrupted me and said “ are you telling me I can get clear vision to the VM level without the hassle of dealing with these guys” as he pointed at the closest server admin.  I immediately thought of my new eyes and chuckled at the thought that server admins apparently were as annoying as glasses or contacts to deal with on a daily basis.

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Migrating a Cisco UCM Cluster to UCS from a Small Village

Upgrading a critical enterprise call processing system to a completely new virtualized server platform sounds pretty tricky. Doing it from 5,000 miles away, in the public square of a sleepy Spanish village using your laptop and a VPN connection over the free municipal WiFi service sounds … well, maybe a little crazy. Recently, I did just that, migrating our Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) cluster in Johannesburg, South Africa to the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform from the small village in Spain where I was vacationing.

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