Do you have a need for automated provisioning of your data center? Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) might just provide that solution.
DCNMis designed to help you efficiently implement, visualize, and manage the Cisco Unified Fabric. The need today in the datacenter is for a comprehensive management platform that delivers visibility as well as control of all elements within the Unified Fabric which in turn significantly simplifies troubleshooting, maintenance and provisioning of the entire fabric in a fast and efficient way.Watch the video below to find out more.
In one of my earlier blogs, -- “How to get more SAN mileage….” -- I had highlighted how one can deploy End-to-End FCoE using a converged Director-class platform, like Nexus 7000, connected directly from the converged access switch, like UCS FI, in order to get the utmost agility. Well, this is how ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC), a Cloud Service provider, deployed its network to get significantly higher mileage.
CTC provides a wide range of IT services for business customers in Japan. The company’s Cloud Platform Group recently launched its innovative ElasticCUVIC shared private cloud service, which helps customers reduce infrastructure cost and management complexity. With large numbers of VMs, CTC wanted to simplify its data center architecture and IT management while optimizing scalability. The challenge was to deliver high-performance, easy-to-manage cloud services at scale.
The company evaluated several storage networking solutions and turned to Cisco for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) solutions, which greatly simplify the infrastructure and management. CTC built its two newest data centers in Yokohama and Kobe with ultra-high performance and flexibility in mind. CTC implemented an End-to-End FCoE architecture using Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Switches, Cisco UCS servers, and FCoE connections between the switches, servers, and FCoE storage arrays.
With the converged FCoE architecture, ElasticCUVIC is enabling CTC customers to gain Read More »
Mileage (miles per gallon) is one of the important criteria while buying any automobile and once bought, it is highly desirable to hit the maximum advertised mileage withoutsignificantly changing the driving habits or the routes (highway vs city mpg). Well, I have not been able to achieve that yet, so being a geek, I focused my attention on a different form of mileage (throughput per switch-port) that interests me at work. So in this blog, I would explore a way to get more SAN mileage from the Cisco UCSFI (Fabric Interconnect)without significantly affecting the SAN admin’s day-to-day operations.
Just a bit of background before we delve into the details -- The I/O fabric between the UCS FI and the UCS Blade Server Chassis is a converged fabric, running FCoE. The usage of FCoE within the UCS fabric is completely transparent to the host operating system, and any Fibre Channel block storage traffic traverses this fabric as the FCoE traffic. So, a large number of over 20,000+ UCS customers, using Block Storage, are already using FCoE at the access layer of the network.
Now, the key question is what technology, FC or FCoE, to use northbound on the FI uplink ports to connect to an upstream Core switch for the SAN connectivity. So, what are the uplink options? Well, the FI has Unified ports and the choice is using the same uplink port as either 8G FC -or- 10G FCoE. [Note that when using the FCoE uplink, it is not a requirement to use a converged link and one can still use a dedicated FCoE link for carrying pure SAN traffic].
1) Bandwidth for Core Links: This is a very important aspect for the core part of the network. It is interesting to note that 10G FCoE provides almost50% more throughput than the 8G FC. This is because FC has a different bit encoding and clock-rate than Ethernet, and so 8G FC yields 6.8G throughput while 10G FCoE yields close to 10G throughput (post 1-2% Ethernet frame overhead)
2) Consistent Management Model: FCoE is FC technology with same management and security model, so it will be a seamless transition for a SAN admin to move from FC to FCoE with very minimal change in the day-to-day operations. Moreover, if the UCS FI is running in the NPV mode, then technically the FCoE link between the UCS FI and the upstream SAN switch does not constitute a Multi-Hop FCoE design, as the UCS FI is not consuming a Domain-ID, and the bulk of SAN configurations like zoning etc. need to happen on only the Core SAN switch, thus maintaining the same consistent SAN operational model as with just the FC.
3) Investment Protection with Multi-protocol flexibility: By choosing FCoE uplink from the converged access layer, one can still continue to use the upstream core SAN Director switch as-is, providing the connectivity to existing FC Storage arrays. Note that Cisco MDS 9000 SAN Director offers Multi-protocol flexibility so that one can Interconnect FCoE SANs on the Server-side with the FC SANs on the Storage-side.
Our most important task now is to provide joint Cisco and Microsoft channel partners with the air cover needed to help customers simplify their IT operations, create more effective cloud deployments and realize the significant cost savings and efficiency benefits of optimized data centers. Read More »
Having been part of the team who developed the Cisco Cloud Enablement Services, our professional services to help customers enable and adopt cloud computing, I was absolutely delighted watching the CiscoLive! keynote yesterday to hear Padmasree Warrior announce the results of the March 2013 IDC market research study that showed Cisco come out on top for cloud professional services [Source: “2013 U.S. Professional Services Opportunities Related to Cloud Services”, IDC Doc # 239862, March 2013].
In this survey, as the chart below shows (reproduced with the kind permission of IDC), respondents indicated that Cisco professional services were used most often across all of the three cloud categories that IDC measured: cloud applications, cloud application platforms, and cloud infrastructure. Ahead of Accenture, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle/Sun, HP and others.