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Is Data Center Fabric Just Hype?

June 1, 2011 at 12:21 am PST

Over the last few days, I’ve been listening to some interesting conversations on the topic of “fabric” in the data center.  To be honest, one of the common questions I get is if there is anything materially different about “Fabric” (our Data Center Fabric or anyone else’s), or is it merely the latest buzzword from bored marketing geeks.  From what I have seen, many of the companies throwing around the term “fabric” are referring only to transport and are usually tying it to a specific product or technology.  On these two points, Cisco’s view of fabric markedly differs. Read More »

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Desert Fun: Interop and EMC World

What do you have when you combine over 20,000 IT professionals, the desert and gaming?  No, not 20,000 broke, sweaty nerds…you’ve got two great conferences!  Next week the city on the strip, Las Vegas Nevada, will be the host of Interop and EMC World.   Both events will provide attendees with plenty of updates on the future of networking, storage, compute and of course cloud.  Cisco will be present at both events here are some highlights: Read More »

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Convergence, Now with Scale and Intelligence

April 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm PST

Welcome to the shownotes for Episode 89 The Agile Data Center -- a veritable smorgasbord of data center innovation…this show is packed and the details are many. All of this centers around massive new technology announcements. (Click here to go right to our show)

Cisco recently shipped its one millionth Nexus 10Gb Ethernet port, bringing the total number of Nexus ports in customer production environments to more than 7,000,000. We have also surpassed 10,000 NX-OS customers and neared 4,000 Unified Computing Systems.  Wow. Good times.

The linkage and capabilities continue to build and this show covers the next step on our very mature convergence storyline adding scale and intelligence to the mix.

So what all did we cover?

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What Cisco’s New Data Center Switching Announcements Mean for Service Providers

Cisco’s foundation for delivering the service provider Cloud is our Unified Service Delivery (USD) solution, featuring tightly integrated, data center and IP NGN technologies to deliver a virtualized end-to-end infrastructure for cloud services. We thought it would be useful to share some new capabilities that Cisco has added recently to the solution:

MPLS in the Data Center: To streamline the end to end operation across the data center and IP NGN,  Cisco announced, last week, that Nexus 7000 supports Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) for Layer 3 virtual private networks (VPNs). This allows MPLS to be deployed  at the data center core/aggregation layer  rather than terminating at the data center edge. This capability enables Service Providers to greatly simplify L3 segmentation, especially for multi-tenant cloud offerings, depending on their scale and service needs.

Another key to the delivery of a data center built for Cloud requirements of scale, virtualization and multi-tenancy has been the use of a Unified Fabric. Unified Fabric provides the flexibility of high performance, highly available networks to support the needs of both LAN and SAN on a consolidated fabric. Cisco’s Unified Fabric announcements last week bring new capabilities which extend our already robust offerings to further build out a Service Provider Cloud foundation.

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Cisco data center fabric – vision, evolution, benefits

Among all the IT domains, perhaps the most action is in the data center, and by extension, in the cloud. Virtualization has taken root, and delivered a lot of operational efficiency. It has provided some interesting challenges as well. Virtual Machine (VM) mobility is one.  Tracking workloads as they move between servers, within and across data centers is more fun than most people imagined. So, how does one take this dynamic environment, and leverage it to fulfill requirements such as:

  • Delivering anything as a service – handling heterogeneous workloads for any application
  • Dealing with VM mobility – optimizing resource allocation across any location
  • Offering dynamic response – responding to real-time requirements at any scale

How does one solve these emerging challenges to achieve the next levels of productivity and efficiency?

For quite some time, Cisco has believed in the promise of “going beyond silos” (Yeah, that’s the campaign we launched as well, for those of you who saw the recent ads). But awareness campaigns apart, the concept is pretty simple – how do we take some of the traditional silos in the data center like the network, compute, storage and application services and bring them together – holistically – to deliver better efficiency, resource utilization, simplicity and cost benefits.

Fundamentally, this is the promise of Cisco’s data center fabric approach – it delivers on the vision of a high-performance, shared infrastructure, that brings together the network, compute, storage access elements, and L4-7 application services into a tightly integrated resource. It is open, integrated, flexible, scalable, resilient and secure.  And it is built off a vision that Cisco has been executing for 3+ years now on the foundation of Unified Fabric, Unified Network Services and Unified Computing. This foundation will form the bedrock for customers looking to move towards cloud-based models exploring application independence, location freedom and massive scale.

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