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Cisco Partner Westcon Group’s LEAP Centers Focus on Technology’s Business Value

Sometimes it helps to see real-world routing and switching technology, data center security, and virtualized Unified Communications in action. Did you know that there’s a place you can do just that—either in person, or virtually?

It’s been just about a year since Cisco distributor partner the Westcon Group unveiled its LEAP Centers (LEAP stands for Learn, Experience, Architect and Plan). LEAP Centers provide partners with hands-on training  in a lab environment, where a reseller and end-user can come together for hands-on demonstrations.

Cisco partners can take advantage of training to evaluate core switching and routing processes, application delivery, data center security, virtualized Unified Communications and other data-centric and Cisco UCS solutions. Westcon has two LEAP Centers, one in Denver, Colorado, and the other in Brussels, Belgium. If you can’t visit in person, Westcon enables users to access LEAP Center resources virtually, as well.

I got the chance to chat with Bill Hurley, CTO of the Westcon Group, and he filled me in on what’s been going on over the past year, why Cisco partners should take advantage of what the LEAP centers have to offer, and how the LEAP centers have exceeded Westcon’s expectations.

It’s been almost a year since you launched the LEAP centers: What’s been going on with them during that time frame?

Bill Hurley: We have been phenomenally successful in raising awareness about the impact and benefits of virtualization and data center consolidation—those have been our two biggest areas of inquiry and activity. We’ve focused on showing how UCS helps enable business benefits. And we’ve also run specific programs around a service-oriented architecture (SOA)-enabled data center, as well as a UCS bootcamp.

LEAP centers have appealed to both partners and end-users: They’re not just about speeds and feeds, but instead help in putting all the technology in a business context. There’s a real benefit for partners in physically being at a LEAP center—it helps them understand how the technologies really work together. Read More »

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Cisco at Oracle OpenWorld- Meet the experts – An interview with John McAbel -Part 1

As a large crowd of IT professionals are gathering in the Moscone Center in San Francisco , I asked John McAbel, A Cisco architect for Oracle Applications and a speaker at the conference to share his excitement about the partnership between Cisco and Oracle, starting today with what to expect from Cisco on the show floor – So in this part 1 of the interview, we talk about the demos, the experts and the Cisco Validated Design practice.

John  Tell us what the visitors can expect when paying a visit to our booth (#721) ?

“Amongst the demos , we will demonstrate big data on Cisco UCS . And for the customer who are looking beyond the big data market, we will have the ability to show demonstration of Oracle  Ebusiness Suite , Oracle data base ,and RAC cluster architecture ,and we will talk about some of the scalability test we have done . We got a number of Cisco Validated Designs. We will talk about Oracle scalability, both on bare metal and also on hypervisor type environment So we will have Cisco experts in the booth able to talk about some of the benchmarks we will announce at the conference , between 3 and 5 benchmarks – So I Think that visitors will be very excited  to hear about the leading performances that we continue to drive both in the application space and in the Oracle middleware space.

In addition of the demos, please check on the booth a series of theater presentations delivered by Cisco experts and Cisco partners .

Talking about the experts, can you tell us who they are ? What they bring on the table ?

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Sneak Peek into Oracle Deployment at Cisco IT

Oracle OpenWorld is definitely around the corner – Our speakers are now  fine tuning their presentation . But I couldn’t resist to contact some of them with the hope to have valuable  insights. As I was interviewing John McAbel (Oracle VM consolidation and Path to the cloud on Cisco UCS) , and Siva Sivakumar (Cisco UCS Reference  Achitecture for Oracle Solutions) in San Jose, I sent Amy Lewis , our favorite roving reporter (actually competing with Aneel ) for an impromptu meeting with Dan Loomis, as both of them are living in RTP (remember the recent opening of the RTP data center ?)

Dan Loomis is a System/chief  architect for the customer services area. His passion is definitely about aligning business and technology architecture, and working on strategic planning .Dan intends to share with the audience in his speaking session (Service Transformation: Building Process Automation for Complex Service Offerings ) framework and methodology learned.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J01YMdBfzE

Here is the extract of the session

High-technology companies have an increasing focus on creating and enabling services to grow profits and customer satisfaction by expanding value, differentiation, and capabilities. These services create extensive requirements to help companies successfully support the new service models. In this session, Cisco discusses its rigorous approach to platform transformation that brings together thorough performance metric identification and evaluation and combines with new strategy requirements to define its next platform.
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Cisco Unified Computing System Reference Architecture for Oracle Solutions

The day after meeting John McAbel to talk about  “Oracle VM consolidation on Cisco UCS ” (see blog and video ), I met another Cisco speaker at Oracle OpenWorld.  Siva Sivakumar, Director Cisco Unified Computing Systems Performance and Solutions, will present on Monday October 3rd, in conjunction with one of his engineers Greg Blotter, what his team is doing to provide to the  UCS customers, who are migrating Oracle applications to the UCS platform, a rock solid environment.

Here is the extract of the session (#35600), which will take place on
Monday October 3 at 5 pm Moscone South – 307

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Oracle VM Consolidation and Path to the Cloud on Cisco UCS

I recently wrote about our participation to Oracle OpenWorld 2011, highlighting John Chambers key note speech and the importance of Cisco and Oracle partnership

Yesterday I talked with one of the Cisco experts on Oracle , John McAbel – John will have a speaking session ((Session #9208)) with Oracle VM Product Management Director Ronen Kofman , and was kind enough to explain in front of the camera what it is about

Here is the extract of the session

Oracle VM provides users with an array of new capabilities to help manage and consolidate workloads as a first step to a cloud implementation. The underlying hardware must be architected to combine compute, network, and storage elements balanced correctly to help ensure maximum performance.
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