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Happy Holidays: The Best of 2011 in One Blog Post

December 23, 2011 at 6:00 am PST

As 2011 comes to a close and 2012 begins, we continue our commitment to partners: to your profitability, to building the best partner programs, and ensuring that Cisco remains at the forefront of technical innovation.

What happened this year? Glad you asked! Watch this one-minute video recap of 2011.

Keep reading for event highlights, news links, replays of broadcasts, and notable quotes from this year. Plus, share your holiday traditions with us!
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Perspectives from Two Customers: Cisco UCS for VXI / Desktop Virtualization

Cisco hit an important milestone recently: in just over 2 years, well over 9,000 customers worldwide have deployed the Unified Computing Solution (UCS) in their data center.  In that time, Cisco has amassed a dozen top industry awards, supported over 10,000 applications, held 51 world-record performance benchmarks, and achieved over $1 Billion annualized run-rate.  Customers across every industry vertical have put UCS to work in a myriad of environments: business analytics and data warehousing, mission critical CRM, ERP, enterprise collaboration, email, databases, RISC migration, and in a very big way – desktop virtualization. Read More »

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Cisco Unified Data Center : Changing the Economics of the Data Center

For the last decade, IT organizations have faced the challenge of managing budgets that are 70-80% channeled towards maintenance costs while business demands are growing faster than ever. The result is that many requests for new projects have to be turned down and more and more business opportunities are missed.

If we look within the data center, the majority of the costs is associated with people and software, but the the root cause of those costs is legacy infrastructure that is very complex and expensive to manage. The flaws of this legacy infrastructure are often masked by layers of complex management software, which have developed to stitch together systems that were not designed to be integrated.

Legacy infrastructure prevents business agility and financial efficiency because it was not designed for environments like Cloud that require fast deployment, automated provisioning of resources, open-API’s, and “self-service” consumption models by business users. Nor was it designed for environments where physical and virtual resources have to co-exist. Finally, it assumed operational models that can’t meet the Performance, High Availability and Security requirements in the context of workload mobility and deep integration between compute, network and storage environments.

As a result of all this, Data Centers have evolved towards an accidental architecture that still contains too many silos of applications that are difficult to maintain and manage.

For these reasons, Cisco has created the Unified Data Center platform, which provides a new approach to design the data center infrastructure and prepares our customers for the opportunities that Cloud will bring along in the future.

Cisco has a long history of anticipating the convergence of technologies in an effort to reduce costs, streamline operations, or unlock new ways for the business to leverage technology. Cisco has a deep understanding of these transitions, having helped reshape the industry numerous times in the past, most notably with the convergence of voice and data. We are now doing the same by bringing together Compute, Network, Storage and Management within and across Data Centers.

Successful transitions involve new ways of not only thinking about the business challenges, but also about designing the underlying technologies to be agile, efficient, and simplified. Bolting together existing technologies doesn’t deliver the desired result.

A Unified approach is needed to unlock this new business potential.

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CloudVerse Brings Power, Flexibility, Intelligence to Customer Networks

December 6, 2011 at 9:33 am PST

While 2012 will be the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac, in IT 2012 will be the year of the cloud. And not just one big cloud, but many clouds.

This world of many clouds means numerous opportunities for Cisco partners to offer customers, whether it’s building clouds, selling cloud services, or designing and implementing cloud-ready networks.

To help ensure partners have a successful Year of the Cloud, today Cisco is announcing a set of cloud capabilities called CloudVerse to help partners build public, private, and hybrid clouds for customers — bringing together the intelligence of the network, the power of the data center, and the flexibility of cloud applications.

Here’s just one example of a unique offering: Cisco partner Logicalis built a customized hosted cloud solution for its clients. Watch this video to find out how they did it. Keep reading to learn about new CloudVerse services and technologies.

There’s no arguing that cloud usage is on the rise. By the year 2015, 50% of all CIOs expect to operate the majority of their applications and infrastructures via the cloud. And global cloud traffic will increase 12 times to 1.6 zettabytes per year – that is the equivalent of more than four days of business class video for every person on the planet.

Despite this meteoric increase in cloud usage, it’s still common for customers to tiptoe into the realm of cloud or shun it altogether, citing lack of cloud talent, concerns around overall user experience, security risks, and cost as major inhibitors to cloud deployment. That’s where Cisco and our partners come together to provide deep expertise in strategy, planning, design, implementation, and optimization.

What are the specific new technologies and services in CloudVerse? Read More »

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Best Practices for Application Delivery in Virtualized Networks – Part I

Earlier this year the Webtorials Analyst Division, co-founded by Dr. Jim Metzler, surveyed their subscriber base of IT professionals. Not surprisingly, 75% admitted that when a core business application degrades in performance, the end user notices before IT does. Therefore, 85% also believe that it is important, very important and even critical to senior managers that they take a more proactive approach to managing acceptable application delivery (See Figure 1).

Source: Metzler, Jim, “2011 Application & Service Delivery Handbook”, p. 14

Click here for the 2011 Application Service Delivery Handbook -- Cisco

Contributing to the challenges of ensuring good application performance are the very innovations that are meant to simplify business and IT operations. These include data center consolidation, virtualization and the wide variety of applications that IT must support– all of which creates operational issues for IT. Not to worry – there are best practices that IT organizations can implement as application delivery challenges continue to evolve. In Part I of this blog post on application and services delivery, I’ll share what I consider to be key learnings from Dr. Metzler’s comprehensive 129 page guide. We’ll start with some core challenges:

Key Application Delivery Challenges

Proliferation of different types of applications: Today, companies utilize a wider variety of applications than ever. Some applications are business-critical. Others enable other business functions. And still more applications support communication and collaboration. Not only do they vary in criticality, but they also vary in their demands on the network. For instance, video streaming, which causes a lot of strain on the network may be key on some occasions (think company-wide all hands meetings a la Apple’s tribute to Steve Jobs), but recreational during other times. IT managers must audit company-wide application use, pinpoint a select group of business critical applications and formulate and execute a plan for optimization.

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