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Cisco ASA 1000V: The Cloud Ready Firewall

November 28, 2011 at 11:57 am PST

Juniper Reality

In this show, we cover the new ASA 1000V and how this security family represents the oldest yet most future ready security platform.

What is the relevance of a Firewall in today’s modern world where security must encompass every part of increasingly distributed operations? What is really meant by a Cloud Ready Firewall?  What the heck is this new ‘virtual ASA’…didn’t we already have the Virtual Security Gateway?  Perhaps its all just marketing hype…

Or not.

In my estimation, the cloud is overhyped in the short run, but underestimated in the long run.  Every enterprise is now exploring some aspect of a cloud based service model – whether this represents you now or in the future, the notion of a flexible security solution remains important.  Incredible advances for data center infrastructure with the flexibility and speed enabled by the virtualized tools we are all now using – MUST be accompanied by equally capable security tools.

The original maxim still rings true: Security must be addressed at every layer.

Questions we must answer:

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Cisco Nexus1000v: LASIK surgery for the network admin

I finally took a leap of faith and had LASIK surgery done recently, and without a doubt it’s been a life changing decision.  The daily hassle of glasses and contacts are gone, and my vision is now 20/15…it’s like going from regular TV to HiDef!  Of course these benefits came with a cost, requiring investments both financial and mental.  The financial cost was easy enough thanks to no interest payments, however the mental cost required a careful weighing of risk vs reward and a bit of blind faith (no pun intended).  In the end, trust in the technology and the doctor, and the belief that I could find my happy place for 15 minutes to endure the procedure was enough to take the leap.  Looking back it was one of my better life decisions.

Shortly after my procedure I was on site at a customer who was implementing a Vblock, and Cisco was engaged for UCS optimization services to follow up the install.   For those new to integrated infrastructure solutions, a Vblock is a pre-integrated and tested infrastructure stack with various components across compute, network, and storage.  My favorite component hands down is the Cisco Nexus1000 This product replaces the VMware vSwitch functionality with a feature rich Cisco switch powered by NXOS, which this particular customer had no knowledge of.   Well,  I’m a huge fan of the product, and I knew they would be too once they came to understand it’s use cases and capabilities.   I gave their network and server admins a 4 hour overview covering everything from architecture to troubleshooting.  The light bulbs went on and they were exchanging smiles about 10 minutes into the presentation when I started talking about the non disruptive operational model and VN-LINK concepts.  One of the network admins interrupted me and said “ are you telling me I can get clear vision to the VM level without the hassle of dealing with these guys” as he pointed at the closest server admin.  I immediately thought of my new eyes and chuckled at the thought that server admins apparently were as annoying as glasses or contacts to deal with on a daily basis.

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Word of mouth: UCS passing the ultimate litmus test

November 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm PST

In this recent article by Alex Barret you’ll find some great commentary by customers on the “snowballing” interest around the Cisco Unified Computing System. It follows on the heels of TechTarget’s Virtualization Decisions 2011 Purchasing Intentions Survey where nearly 20% of respondents pointed to UCS as their platform of choice for virtualization.
When you start to see IT professionals recommending a platform to their friends and neighbors you know it’s for real. It’s exciting to see people talking about the tangible benefits that they’re realizing … and they tell the story better than anyone here at Cisco.

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8 Simple Rules For Improving A Data Center

November 3, 2011 at 9:30 am PST

Data Center Deconstructed reader Eric Chou writes:  Good to see the knowledge sharing Doug. I read your book on building a Data Center a few years back and it was informative on the physical infrastructure piece.  I think it would also be informative if you can share some of the experiences or creative ways to increase efficiency when there are macro environment limitations.  I mean, outside of a select few companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Amazon), most companies are not able to build a Data Center from the ground up, buy the cheapest land near a lake or negotiate a jaw dropping electricity rate with the local government.  What can we do when we need to house 1/2 floor of servers in a 80-year old peering exchange that assumes 2 KVA per rack when designed?

That’s a great question.  As I often tell other Data Center managers, we can make any upgrades to our server environments we want to as long as there’s no downtime or cost.  I’m joking with that comment – mostly – but it is a common scenario.  Fortunately, there are several things that can be done in a legacy Data Center to improve its efficiency and reduce the likelihood of downtime without spending much money or disrupting the environment.

Here, then, are eight simple rules for improving a Data Center.

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Duct Tape and Chewing Gum Isn’t Enough: Cloud and Virtual Environments Require Specialized Security

October 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm PST

By now, just about everybody who works in any area of IT knows that moving multiple workloads into one physical server optimizes server usage, minimizes procurement and operational costs, and increases overall efficiency of the network. As a result, virtualization technology remains one of the hottest topics in IT today, due to its overwhelming benefits to organizations of all sizes. Read More »

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