Our industry certainly loves its buzzwords. For a while, everything was about “virtualized this” and “virtualized that” in the data center. Then there is a current love affair with “cloud”. It seems the next hot buzzword might turn out to be fabric.
For Cisco, “fabric” in the data center has defined our data center strategy and vision for the last three years. With the introduction of the Cisco Nexus family in January 2008, we also announced the concept of Unified Fabric as a fundamental building block for the data center. We offered the simple vision of a single fabric to link all the network, compute and storage resources in a data center as a mechanism to not only reduce TCO but also improve agility and flexibility. Since then, we have released a steady flow of products and technologies to deliver on the promise of Cisco Unified Fabric by simplifying the infrastructure with convergence, improving its ability to handle virtual and physical scale and increasing the intelligence of the fabric to increase agility and lower operating costs.
While initially hesitant, customers and industry experts are beginning to see the merits of Cisco’s vision, especially in the age of virtualization and cloud. Meanwhile, other vendors in the marketplace are left to play catch-up. In a November 4, 2010 independent report titled “Q&A: Networking Landscape, Q4 2010” Forrester Research, Inc. commented that:
“To Cisco’s credit, it saw the data center evolution way before any other networking vendor and started to build a set of products and solutions directed at a converged and virtual world.”- Forrester Research, Inc.
All too often, vendors talk about products or features when customers really want solutions and “how do I get there?” models for evolving their business. Cloud Computing is a topic that definitely falls into the latter category because it isn’t a single piece of hardware or software, but rather it’s a new way to align business needs with technology capabilities.
For many companies, Cloud Computing represents both an opportunity and a challenge. From an opportunity perspective, it potentially represents a chance to leapfrog your competition by leveraging technology as a core driver of new business models. This would create a compelling business differentiation and it’s most likely what every CIO will be talking about in 2011. From a challenge perspective, it introduces some new types of change that your company will need to address, such as:
As server virtualization continues its takeover, increasing attention is being paid to how we connect all those virtual machines as they zoom around the data center. Because server virtualization breaks the one application/one server model, new tools are necessary to facilitate operations and management. Additionally, the fact that workloads are now mobile introduces new challenges.
Over the years, we have released a number of industry firsts for virtual machine networking, including the Nexus 1000V virtual switch for VMware vSphere, OTV to support inter-DC workload mobility, and FabricPath to better support VM-networking in the data center.
There seems to be a lot of confusion out there regarding the technologies and standards related to access layer technologies, so, for this post, I wanted to dig into the VM-networking and where the related IEEE standards are going. Specifically, I am going to look at our old friend 802.1Q and two emerging standards: 802.1Qbg Edge Virtual Bridging and 802.1Qbh Bridge Port Extension. Read More »
Advanced-level network services are a necessity for a scalable virtualized data center and a key to cloud service delivery. These services provide application acceleration and server load balancing to improve user productivity, and ensure optimal resource utilization, and they monitor quality of service. They also provide security services that can isolate applications and resources in logical zones in virtualized data centers and cloud environments to ensure regulatory compliance and reduce risk of data breaches.
While enterprises have been adopting server virtualization and cloud computing in order to realize the benefits of reduced server sprawl, reduced operating costs, and greater levels of application availability, they are doing so while struggling with inflexibility in the underlying network. Deploying advanced-level network services in a virtualized data center environment is challenging. It has been done using dedicated hardware in static network topologies. This does not provide the flexibility to support virtualized workloads, and as a result organizations are challenged to support on-demand virtual machine (VM) provisioning, workload mobility, and public or private cloud deployments. This limits organizations’ ability to efficiently deploy new applications, increases operational costs, and acts as a roadblock to adoption of virtualization and cloud computing.
I’ve often said that the boundaries between work and life are blurring. I use Twitter every day to collaborate, talk with friends and engage in conversations I don’t normally have in the natural course of my business day. It’s amazing to send out a tweet and to have people react immediately.
And while technology lets us send a single tweet to people around globe, it has other fantastic benefits, too—it also lets us attend a conference without having to even board a plane.
Join me at Cisco’s Virtual Partner Summit March 1-3, 2011 to see live keynotes, breakout sessions that will help you prepare a customer for a cloud solution, and a chance to ask me and other Cisco executives questions during live video chats. (All without having to leave home.) Register today.
Want to hear more about the topics that are top-of-mind for me as I head into Partner Summit? Read More »