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Unified Fabric for a Backup Server

September 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm PST

Outside of that large, black, monolithic machine in the middle of the datacenter referred to as the mainframe, there aren’t that many servers that require as many network and storage connections as the backup server.  It’s not really sexy, it’s not computing Pi, generally doesn’t run a hypervisor and is bought with one goal in mind, move data. Not just some data, but a lot.  These machines often move all of the data in your datacenter off of disk and onto tape, either real or virtual.  In many datacenters, these backup servers are sometimes the only non-x86 platforms left due to their ability to contain high numbers of HBAs for SAN connectivity and NICs for network connectivity.   They’re like the tractors of the datacenter. Read More »

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Announcing Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager 6.1

Do you have different management tools for your Storage and Ethernet Networks? For IT Administrators who need to manage them, using these various management applications can be a daunting task. Cisco announced last week the release of Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) 6.1. DCNM is now part of the Prime portfolio of Infrastructure Management products that focuses on holistic, single pane of glass management of Cisco’s Unified Fabric.

Cisco Prime DCNM 6.1 provides a robust framework and comprehensive feature set that meets the routing, switching, and storage administration needs of present and future virtualized data centers. DCNM offers visibility into the virtualized hosts by integrating with industry standard hypervisors and provides host-tracking capability to easily manage and diagnose virtual and physical servers.

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The Rise of Cisco UCS and the Cisco Services Data Center Transformation Experience

March 30, 2012 at 11:14 am PST

March 2009 was an exciting time for both for Cisco and for me personally.  Cisco launched the revolutionary Unified Computing System, with many observers across the industry doubting if we’d stay the course (and if we’re honest, some truly misplaced derision -- I wonder who is on Planet Zircon now!).  And I joined the Cisco Data Center Services team from the Cisco R&D organization!  So with the recent third generation launch of Cisco UCS, described very well by my colleague Todd Brannon, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on our data center services portfolio around that time, and where we are now.  My previous blogs chronicle part of this journey, however I have to say, the direct comparison I draw here I personally think shows that we have indeed brought a new transformational experience to the data center for our customers. And I’d like to give you my personal recollections on how and what I found out about Cisco’s approach to shaking the incumbents’ lack of innovation in the blade server market.

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They want a cloud real fast, just not sure what exactly it should look like or how it should function…..

I have talked to many enterprises that want a private cloud; also service providers that want to build a public cloud based upon Cisco UCS / Nexus.  They all would like to get to their first generation of cloud very quickly.   We have many conversations on infrastructure to use, the right choice of hypervisor, and what use cases to start with.  Today I talked to a customer of our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud that wants a differentiating end user portal.  Everyone can spin up a VM, but how to do it in a way that will drive adoption and new business, whether it is for the enterprise or service provider?  How do we do this at a cost and a timeline that meets the needs of the business and the CIO.

These are not lightweight concerns.   I have seen many data center automation projects that focused too much on the provisioning and not enough on the end user experience.    The Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit at Cisco has been involved with many customers building private and public clouds with our software stack.  This includes Cisco IT’s very large private cloud deployment based upon our software.  The two services they deployed:  CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services) Express and CITEIS VDC (Virtual Data Center) has received broad acclaim.  Watch the following videos by Jamie MacQuarrie of the Intelligent Automation team on these two CITEIS Services.

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Cisco Increases SAN Market Share

At Cisco we are committed to providing our customers with the best end-to-end networking.  We commit considerable research, time and development to this principle and that includes storage networking. A proof point that customers have been choosing Cisco is the most recent market share reports from Dell’Oro.  Cisco’s market share by revenue for Fibre Channel (FC) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) were up 6.3% for the last quarter and up 7.4% year over year. That brings Cisco to a total of 43.2% market share by revenue!  In contrast, our competitors have largely seen diminishing market share in both port and revenue or at best held steady.

Why the market share change? We believe that the market share increases for us is a result of the efficiencies that customer gain when they invest in products in Cisco’s Unified Fabric portfolio, which includes the MDS and Nexus product lines, both of which support multi-protocol operation, meaning Fibre Channel and other protocols. The first phase of the next generation data center is server virtualization and the attendant consolidation, which is currently in full steam at most companies. The next phase is simplification and automation on top of the consolidation and virtualization.  The last phase is high-level automation (orchestration) and customer self-service (service portal), or what is generally referred to as private cloud.

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