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Three Paths to Private Clouds with Cisco, EMC and VCE

June 14, 2012 at 7:37 am PST

Cisco Live 2012 has been  another great opportunity to show the power of the partner ecosystem that Cisco built to provide compelling solutions to the IT organizations, interested in deploying a Unified Data Center, and a private cloud infrastructure.

I invited this week VCE Tom Chatham to blog about the collaboration between VCE, Cisco and EMC to support workload mobility and business continuance, and EMC Brian Gracely to write about VSPEX.  But I also took advantage of the presence  at Cisco Live of EMC Parmeet Chaddha VP Partner Solutions and VCE Jay Cuthrell, Office of the CTO, to invite them to a short video panel with Cisco Senior Director  Data Center Cloud and Enterprise Solutions Shashi Kiran to talk about the different architectures that can simplify, automate and transform IT while helping customers accelerate the journey to cloud computing.

There is no doubt that the collaboration between our 3 companies over the past years has been  very productive , and today this “triad ” is able to offer to the customers 3 clear options  depending on their unique business IT needs:

  • ŸBuild Your Own—Solutions built using tested and proven products and services
  • ŸReference architectures through VSPEX—Pre-packaged reference architectures
  • ŸConverged infrastructure through joint venture VCE—Vblock
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With VPLEX and OTV, Cisco, EMC and VCE change the Mobility and Disaster Recovery Game (Part2)

June 11, 2012 at 10:00 am PST

Today, Cisco Live “World of Solutions ” (the show floor) opens at 4:30 pm PDT  in San Diego Convention Center.  One of the marquis demos has been shown at EMC World with a lot of interest.

This blog is the second part of a two part blog dedicated to this Mobility and Business Continuance demo, created by Cisco, EMC and VCE.  In part 1 (read blog here) I invited EMC Colin Durocher (@OtherColin) to share with us his perspective on the demo.  As promised,  I come back today with more details on the demo,  including a video interview conducted by Cisco Daniel Bogda (@dabogda) with EMC Craig Chapman (@VirtualChappy)  and VCE Tom Chatham (@tchatham).  I asked also Tom, who already wrote here, to bring  his  perspective on the demo.

Tom Chatham is a Principal vArchitect with VCE Corporate Engineering responsible for delivering VCE solutions, customer solution testing, technical marketing events and evangelizing private cloud. 16 years of experience in the industry, most of that time spent focused on storage, virtualization and unified computing. Including extensive network infrastructure, systems architecture and business continuity.

“VCE is excited to kick things off this week at CiscoLive! Between our big booth, speaking sessions, and demos we’ve got a ton to talk about (www.vce.com/events/cisco-live).
Like we did at EMC World,  for this year’s  CiscoLive! show VCE wanted to kick it up a notch with LIVE demonstrations of all the cool technologies we have at our fingertips.

Daniel Bogda, Craig Chapman, Tom Chatham

We have a number of VblockTM Systems going to Cisco Live! (and VMworld in August) so it made perfect sense to show off our Workload Mobility Solution. Besides, isn’t cloud all about the ability to offer services from anywhere?

We have three Vblock 300 systems located in the VCE, EMC and Cisco booths. An additional network aggregation rack has been added to each Vblock system to house Nexus 7010 switches, EMC RecoverPoint appliances and EMC VPLEX engines. Panduit provided 1000 feet of fiber trunk cable containing 6 pair of fiber, which has been hung from the ceiling between booths.

The Nexus 7010 switches are providing our core network services, making each booth it’s own data center. RecoverPoint and VMware Site Recovery Manager are handling traditional long haul disaster recovery. VPLEX Metro is providing Active-Active storage clustering capabilities. This is the ability to stretch a VMware vSphere cluster between two sites today, and up to four in the future.  VPLEX Metro provides storage array block level LUN consistency and data availability while OTV on the Nexus 7000 series switches provide layer 2 network services.

Diagram: VCE Vblock WLM plan for CiscoLive!

Let’s take a step back for a moment and look at what makes this “cool”. Traditionally, migrating data and applications in or between data centers involves manual steps and data copies, where IT would either make physical backups or use data replication services to handle getting the data from side A to side B.

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With VPLEX and OTV, Cisco,EMC and VCE change the Mobility and Disaster Recovery Game (Part1)

May 25, 2012 at 6:15 am PST

if you get the chance to be at EMC World you probably saw an interesting demo shared by Cisco, EMC and VCE  about Mobility and Business Continuance -- If you didn’t , Cisco Live San Diego will be another opportunity to see it

Our favorite bloggers Jake Howering  and Omar Sultan wrote  in the recent past  about DCI (Data Center Interconnect)  , OTV (Overlay Transport Virtualization)  i.e  DCI as an enabling framework for both Workload Mobility & Disaster Recovery 

Today I am pleased to have EMC Colin Durocher, bringing his perspective on the best way to address a critical challenge for a lot of IT organizations.
Next week I will post a second part  (here) , with a video  about the demo itself

Colin Durocher (on Twitter  @OtherColin) is a Principal Product Manager with the RecoverPoint VPLEX Business Unit.He has been working with the VPLEX product in several capacities including QA, software development,
systems engineering, and product management for over 10 years.
He is a father of two, a professional engineer, and is currently pursuing an MBA.
Colin is based out of Montreal, Canada.

“Life Inside the Datacenter Silo

The traditional approach to IT is characterized by datacenter silos.  Within each silo, we have our operations down to a science:

  • We use server clustering, redundant network fabrics, and RAID storage to protect against unplanned local failures.
  • We maintain spare capacity to absorb failures and workload spikes
  • We don’t think twice about moving data between tiers, or even between arrays to optimize cost and performance.
  • We commonly move virtual machines non-disruptively from server to server to load balance or perform maintenance.
    As far as mobility and availability needs are concerned, life is good…  Within the silo.

Crossing the Chasm (Between Silos) 

When it comes to protecting against site failures, we use array replication to maintain a copy of all our data in a secondary (often passive) datacenter.  We maintain scripts to automate our failover in case we ever need to declare a disaster.  We practice our DR plan at least once a year.  Don’t we?  Moving applications between datacenters is complicated enough that we really just try not to do it.  When we do, it often entails a professional services engagement.

All this has worked reasonably well for us up to now.  But IT budgets are being squeezed and IT administrators need to eliminate waste, reduce complexity and find ways to increase their operational efficiency.  It isn’t an optional thing.  Consider the IDC digital universe study (2011) which estimates that by 2020, the amount of information under management will increase by a factor of 50 while the number of IT staff managing it will increase by only 1.5

That gap will need to be filled by different technologies.  Let me introduce one to you – EMC VPLEX Metro.  For hundreds of customers, it is breaking down the barriers between datacenters bringing new levels of efficiency, simplicity, and availability.

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Cisco’s Cloud Verse, VCE and EANTC Cloud Mega Test

May 22, 2012 at 3:30 am PST

 

Tom Chatham is a Principal vArchitect with VCE Corporate Engineering responsible for delivering VCE solutions, customer solution testing, technical marketing events and evangelizing private cloud. 16 years of experience in the industry, most of that time spent focused on storage, virtualization and unified computing. Including extensive network infrastructure, systems architecture and business continuity.

Tom is at EMC World in Las Vegas  these days and on Twitter @tchatham -- Check booths 410 or 515 .

I asked Tom to share  his experience and point of view on the EANTC Cloud Mega Test  - here is what he sent me

 

“Over the past four to five months, there has been significant buzz about VCE’s role in the EANTC Cloud Mega Test.  I was lucky enough to be a part of the test team, and I wanted to share some of my experiences in working on this fantastic project with EANTC and Cisco.

It started with a bang, of course.  Back in late January, Light Reading published their first report on the testing EANTC had done of Cisco’s CloudVerse architecture. I was at Cisco Live London where details of the test were first shared and members of the CloudVerse team were in attendance to share the results. Over the next couple of months, EANTC followed that up with other reports in the series.  All in all, they covered the Cisco Unified Data Center that is the foundation for cloud services, Cloud Intelligent Networks, Cloud Applications & Services, and Long-haul Optical Transport used in delivering cloud-based services.  Of course, I wasn’t involved in all of that.

As with all of the Mega Test programs (the Mobile Mega Test and Medianet Mega Test being the ones that Light Reading conducted previously), these programs are a big deal.  Cisco spends millions of dollars -- literally -- on lab infrastructure, engineers and communications for each one of these tests.  Light Reading has EANTC come in to provide independent, objective oversight and testing.  And when the report comes out, there is a lot of buzz in the industry on exactly what went on.  It’s not every day we get to play in a multi-million dollar sandbox!  I was one of several dozen people from Cisco, VMware, VCE, EMC and Ixia working on this project.

As the buzz about the test bounced around in the industry, a sidebar conversation emerged about VCE’s involvement in the test. As you may know from social media, I’m a Principal vArchitect with VCE Corporate Engineering.  Essentially, my job is to make sure that customers get the most out of VCE’s technology – VblockTM Systems.  The Vblock system is pre-engineered, pre-tested converged infrastructure that combines Cisco’s computing and networking equipment, EMC’s storage equipment, and virtualization from VMware.  VCE itself operates as a joint venture between Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel.

One of the things that was missed in the excitement over the test results themselves was the fact that the Vblock system played a big part in the Cloud Mega Test.

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Cisco and SAP : State of the collaboration

May 16, 2012 at 6:30 am PST

The second day at SAPPHIRE 2012 has been as intense as the first day --  After interviewing one of the first UCS customer (Monsanto) about the deployment of SAP applications , I did a round of videos with EMC, NetApp and Cisco executives to measure our presence in this market and our collaboration with key players. Stay tuned for the videos on integrated stacks  (Vblock with EMC, Flexpod with NetApp) .

I met Cisco VP Marketing, Data Center and Cloud , Giuliano Di Vitantonio, who shared why Cisco is at Sapphire 2012 , and what specifically Cisco and SAP are working on together -- Legitimate questions from some of our visitors, as Cisco has a great image as a network provider, but is still building the recognition as a server and software powerhouse.  Take the time to watch this short video to appreciate the breadth of the collaboration and understand why SAP is so interested in deepening this partnership.

Talking about experts . If you are in Orlando today don’t forget

-To attend at 12:00 pm the speaking session from Michael Missbach , our head of the SAP Competence Center

SAP HANA Appliance Software and High Availability: That Is the Question

Time: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Location: Analytics

Abstract: This session offers real world experiences with HANA implementation and first hand results for HANA scale-out solutions on the Cisco Unified Computing System with Intelligent Intel® Xeon® Processors server platform and why this solution offers a competitive advantage to your business. Learn what customers are really asking for in regard to HANA and why it is important to provide the right solution to lower TCO.

Other sessions of a great interest

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