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Cloud Computing vs. Virtualization: The Differences and Benefits

Both solutions can help maximize your current resources and technology dollars

Like many technologies that were once available only to large organizations, virtualization and cloud computing are being scaled down for small business use. The two technologies are often mentioned in the same breath as though they’re interchangeable—they’re not. Here’s where the two technologies overlap: Virtualization is one of the fundamental technologies that makes cloud computing work. However, virtualization is not cloud computing.

In enterprise networks, virtualization and cloud computing are often used together to build a private cloud infrastructure. For most small businesses, however, each technology will be deployed separately to gain measurable benefits. In different ways, virtualization and cloud computing can help you keep your equipment spending to a minimum and get the best possible use from the equipment you already have.

First, you need to understand what virtualization and cloud computing are. Virtualization software allows one physical server to run several individual computing environments. In practice, it’s like getting multiple servers for each physical server you buy.  This technology is fundamental to cloud computing.  Cloud providers have large data centers full of servers to power their cloud offerings, but they aren’t able to devote a single server to each customer. Thus, they virtually partition the data on the server, enabling each client to work with a separate “virtual” instance of the same software. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Westcon Group’s LEAP Centers Focus on Technology’s Business Value

Sometimes it helps to see real-world routing and switching technology, data center security, and virtualized Unified Communications in action. Did you know that there’s a place you can do just that—either in person, or virtually?

It’s been just about a year since Cisco distributor partner the Westcon Group unveiled its LEAP Centers (LEAP stands for Learn, Experience, Architect and Plan). LEAP Centers provide partners with hands-on training  in a lab environment, where a reseller and end-user can come together for hands-on demonstrations.

Cisco partners can take advantage of training to evaluate core switching and routing processes, application delivery, data center security, virtualized Unified Communications and other data-centric and Cisco UCS solutions. Westcon has two LEAP Centers, one in Denver, Colorado, and the other in Brussels, Belgium. If you can’t visit in person, Westcon enables users to access LEAP Center resources virtually, as well.

I got the chance to chat with Bill Hurley, CTO of the Westcon Group, and he filled me in on what’s been going on over the past year, why Cisco partners should take advantage of what the LEAP centers have to offer, and how the LEAP centers have exceeded Westcon’s expectations.

It’s been almost a year since you launched the LEAP centers: What’s been going on with them during that time frame?

Bill Hurley: We have been phenomenally successful in raising awareness about the impact and benefits of virtualization and data center consolidation—those have been our two biggest areas of inquiry and activity. We’ve focused on showing how UCS helps enable business benefits. And we’ve also run specific programs around a service-oriented architecture (SOA)-enabled data center, as well as a UCS bootcamp.

LEAP centers have appealed to both partners and end-users: They’re not just about speeds and feeds, but instead help in putting all the technology in a business context. There’s a real benefit for partners in physically being at a LEAP center—it helps them understand how the technologies really work together. Read More »

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Digging Deeper in VXLAN, Pt 3, More FAQs

October 3, 2011 at 9:03 am PST

So, here is our final installment--we are wrapping up with some of the more common questions were are seeing.  In you missed the earlier posts, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2. I also have a couple of earlier posts introducing VXLAN and answering some of the initial questions.

So, onto the FAQs… Read More »

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VXLAN Deep Dive, Part 2: Looking at the Options

September 30, 2011 at 9:15 am PST

Hey folks--this is the second of three posts looking a little more closely at VXLAN.  If you missed the first post, you can find it here.  In this installment we are going to look at the some of the other options out there.  Two of the most common questions we see are  ”why do I need yet another protocol?” and “can I now get rid of X?”  This should help you answer these questions.So, let’s dig in… Read More »

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Digging Deeper into VXLAN, Part 1

September 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm PST

Yes, I am still talking about VXLAN, rather you folks are still talking about VXLAN, so I thought its worthwhile digging deeper into the topic since there is so much interest out there.  There also still seem to be a fair number of misconceptions around VXLAN, so let’s see what we can do to clear things up.

This time around, I have some partners in crime for the discussion:

Larry Kreeger is currently a Principal Engineer at Cisco Systems’ SAVTG working on Nexus 1000V architecture. Larry has a wide ranging background in networking accumulated from over 25 years of experience in developing networking products.  His recent focus is data center networking, especially as it relates to data center virtualization.

Ajit Sanzgiri has worked on various networking technologies at Cisco and other bay area networking companies over the last 16 years. His interests include hardware based switching and routing solutions, Ethernet and wireless LANs and virtual networking. Currently he works on the Nexus1000v and related network virtualization products.

So, Larry and Ajit have put together this VXLAN primer--its fairly dense stuff, so we are breaking this into three posts.  In this initial post, we’ll cover the basics--why VXLANs and what is VXLAN.  I know I’ve covered this to some degree already, but Larry and Ajit are going to dig a little deeper, which will hopefully help clarify the lingering questions and misconceptions.  In the next post, we’ll discuss how VXLAN compares with the other tools in your networking arsenal, and, in the final post, we’ll cover more of the common questions we are seeing.

Read More »

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