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“Beyond Silos—Sounds Great. But How?”

So I go traveling for a few weeks and suddenly, it seems, everyone’s talking about moving “beyond silos”.  This is a subject near and dear to my heart, but I’m also a pragmatist. Many prescient sages have been warning for years of impending organizational shifts in IT—“Be prepared, or be doomed! Conquer your fear!” is the executive summary of many an article.  This is easier said than done, of course. What’s often left out is the “how” of leading an organization through such a transition, perhaps because until recently there were few case studies from which the prognosticators could glean best practices.

So here are a few considerations, and some examples of how to address them.

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UCS and UCS Express

I’ve been watching with some interest how reporting on UCS Express has played out in the wake of our latest Borderless Networks initiative.  The original Integrated Services Router launch was the first I participated in when I joined Cisco back in 2004, so it’s fun to have things come full circle.

Because I think history is a great way to get a perspective on the present, here’s a quick look at how we introduced the ISR in 2004:

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Ever Wonder What a UCS Service Profile Actually Looks Like?

A picture really is worth a thousand words. I found this out many times over doing booth duty at IDF and then Oracle Open World recently. We had the UCS Manager Platform Emulator running at IDF, but not at OOW, and being able to actually show people the flexibility, breadth and depth of control you get with the UCS approach to management made a notable difference in the tenor and seriousness of the conversations.

You can download the Platform Emulator from the Cisco Developer Network (CDN) and play with it to get a feel for how UCS Manager is organized. But I wanted to give a nod to the valuable public service provided by Kevin Houston over at BladesMadeSimple: he’s created a YouTube video using the Platform Emulator that walks you through the information and tools available to the administrator(s) in UCS Manager, including the creation of service profiles, templates and pools.  It’s definitely long, but thanks to the soundtrack I found myself wanting to samba as I watched (not that I have the slightest idea how to samba; fortunately nobody was around).  Simply put, it may well be the coolest 15-minute tech video you’ll see all week.

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Service Provider Network Advantage in the Cloud

At VMworld 2010, we were excited to receive the “Best of VMworld 2010″ award in the Hardware for Virtualization category with our Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) technology. Running on the Cisco Nexus 7000 series, OTV allows Service Providers to bridge LANs between separate data centers in an intelligent, secure, and dynamic fashion. In essence, it brings layer 2 capabilities to layer 3 over a unified IP network and was designed for large networks. This enables SPs to use their scale to provide better services (i.e. resource utilization and optimization), decrease costs (i.e. workload balancing), and ensure service delivery (i.e. business continuity and flexible upgrading options).

We were also glad to meet and interact with customers at the Cisco booth. Our theater sessions were full, our demos were in high demand, and we had some great conversations. A recording of the full presentation of the opportunity for SPs in the Cloud is now available:

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Oracle OpenWorld: Cisco + Oracle = UCS Collaboration

September 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm PST

It’s that conference time of year — this week it’s Oracle OpenWorld 2010, taking place in San Francisco. This annual conference draws attendees from around the world to learn about product developments in all layers of the stack, from applications, database and middleware, to servers and storage systems. I once again headed down to the Moscone Center in downtown SF to get news from the event. (Seems like I’m at Moscone a lot these days—I might as well set up a booth for myself!)

Cisco is a Platinum sponsor of this year’s conference: We have a booth showcasing Cisco and Oracle data center and industry solutions, such as Oracle Real Applications Clusters on Cisco’s Unified Computing System. Visitors to the booth get all the latest deets about Application Networking Services (ANS) and Application Control Engine (ACE) Integration with Oracle.

Attendees at a breakout session heard from Oracle and Cisco about UCS, data center architectures, and how the companies are working together with our partners to deliver customer solutions.  I visited with folks from Oracle and Cisco and learned how solutions from both companies are helping customer NaviSite increase profits and efficiency.

And, be sure to watch the interview I did with customer NaviSite.

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