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Taking Desktop Virtualization Beyond the Data Center – with the Next Wave of Unified Computing

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 3.46.26 PM If you look back at the Cisco UCS launch back on September 4th, and VMworld SF just prior, the last 4 weeks have been a tsunami of solution innovation milestones in unified computing, ie: where the next wave of Unified Computing is taking us.  If you haven’t already seen the launch event “Powering Applications at Every Scale – the Next Wave of Unified Computing Innovation”, please check it out!

Desktop Virtualization Beyond the Data CenterScreen Shot 2014-09-23 at 3.48.07 PM

A much anticipated part of this launch was the introduction of UCS Mini.  This is all about expanding our presence / penetration of where we can offer the unified computing value proposition.  With the economic disruption UCS has brought to the data center, it’s now time to extend that value beyond the traditional limits of the data center – check out this presentation to get an idea of the TCO impact alone, when considered next to HP DL360p Gen8 ’s.

With this economic advantage, comes the opportunity to address a growing array of desktop virtualization use cases that depend on footprint-friendly form factor without sacrificing performance or simplified, stateless, centralized manageability.  Think of use cases that include:

  • the enterprise-edge where you likely don’t have IT resources in place
  • retail/point-of-sale environments, or
  • small/medium-sized businesses that need fewer servers

In these scenarios, traditional centralized VDI implementation is hampered by WAN latency, security and business continuity concerns.  Being able to deploy a local solution that integrates compute, software and storage, that’s still centrally managed, could be just the solution for your branch office.  Look for new solutions from Cisco and our ecosystem partners that address these scenarios with compelling new offers, which brings us to VMworld Barcelona.

VMworld Barcelona and Integrated Infrastructure solutions for Desktop and App Virtualization

In just a few weeks, we’ll be at VMworld Barcelona, and I’m pleased to once again have the opportunity to kick off the week with a breakout session co-delivered with VMware’s Bhumik Patel, covering “Best in Class Desktop Virtualization with Horizon 6 and Cisco UCS”.  If you didn’t join us in the room in San Francisco, and you’ll be in Barcelona, please attend this second offering of TEX2516

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 3.55.00 PMI love opening these things up with a simple poll of i) how many folks in the room have implemented UCS, and ii) how many have done so in support of VDI or app virtualization.  In San Francisco, from the show of hands, it was obvious that over 90% of the room (of 200+ session attendees) had deployed VMware Horizon on UCS.  It was also telling that many attendees expressed interest in solutions for graphics/NVIDIA, flash storage, and our new VDI Pilot Accelerator configurations that are optimal for getting one’s feet wet in desktop as well as app virtualization.Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 3.59.02 PM

Another hot topic was Integrated Infrastructure solutions for VDI.  If you’re already familiar with FlexPod or Vblock, you already know how rapidly this IT consumption model is growing (to the tune of $3B in FlexPod alone) and how Cisco and its ecosystem partners are enabling organizations of all sizes to

  • dramatically reduce the time to deploy new services,
  • using modularized infrastructure approaches that integrated compute, network and storage,
  • supported with unified, single pane of glass management
  • backed by validated performance testing / documented results

The Nimble Storage SmartStack is another great example in this space, offering pre-validated solutions for organizations of all sizes, wanting to take the guesswork out of getting into desktop or server virtualization.  Imagine the possibilities with a SmartStack built on UCS-Mini…  Speaking of which, check out this article about VCPro, a service provider in the Asia Pacific region, offering DaaS on SmartStack built on UCS Mini.

Look for more news in the coming weeks regarding these and other new solutions that expand the use cases for desktop and app virtualization -- see you at VMworld Barcelona!

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New Nexus 1000V Virtual Switch Release 3.1 Now Available

There has been some seismic activity happening in Bay Area and the epicenter for all Virtual Networking shifts is right here at Cisco HQ in San Jose. (Our sympathies go to all those affected by the real earthquake further to the north.)  At Cisco, it’s all about the applications and the shift to dynamic network virtualization. Cisco pioneered virtual networking with Nexus 1000V virtual switch and recently incorporated it in the application aware Application Virtual Switch (AVS), for Cisco ACI-enabled networks. Cisco is excited to announce the availability of  Nexus 1000 Release 3.1 of Nexus1000V for vSphere (available for download here). We are showing the upcoming generation of the virtual switch at VMworld in San Francisco this week.

Nexus1000V is the edge switch for virtual environments, bringing the network edge right up to the virtual machine, and connecting virtual ports to the physical network and beyond. The Nexus 1000V is the foundation for our virtual network overlay portfolio, including all of our virtual L4-7 application and security services, our cloud orchestration software, VXLANs and more. It is also at the heart of AVS, a purpose-built, hypervisor-resident virtual network edge switch designed for the Application Centric Infrastructure.

Release 3.1 is a new major release enabling enterprise and cloud provider customers running the vSphere hypervisor to leverage the distributed virtual firewall VSG, expand VXLAN footprint in the datacenter, improve secure isolation thru Cisco TrustSec and dramatically simplify updates through Cisco VSUM (Virtual Switch Update Manager).  Most of the new features are value add to the Advanced Edition.  New customers will need a Ver 3 specific license to use the full functionality of Ver 3.  Existing customers with support contract are automatically entitled to free upgrade to Ver 3. AVS incorporates Nexus 1000V capabilities with consistent application policy enforcement for virtual workloads and unprecedented end-to-end visibility for applications in your data center.

Features of the new Nexus 1000V Release 3.1:

  • Scale
    • Increased Scalability (Advanced Edition) – More than doubles the scale from the previous release. The virtual switch now supports 250 hosts/servers per switch with 10,000 ports per switch. In addition it supports 4094 active VLANs and  16 million VXLAN (6144 active VXLANs) per switch across 6144 port profiles.
    • VXLAN control plane: BGP based control plane across multiple virtual switches provide expanded Layer 2 domain footprint that can potentially support nearly 40,000 VMs in a single domain
    • Increased Resiliency – Supports headless Port bring up where Virtual Machines can be bought up on the host even if VEM is offline i.e. the VSM is not reachable by VEM. Both VSM headful and headless VM vMotion is supported.
  • Security
    • Cisco TrustSec 2.0 (Advanced Edition) – Continues to extended Cisco TrustSec solutions for network based segmentation of users and physical workloads, leveraging Security Group Tags (SGT) for defining security segments and SGACL support  (Enforcement) and Native(in-line) SGT tagging.
    • BPDU Guard -- Keeps virtual network safe from misconfigured VLANs and strictly enforces VLAN boundries.  It prevents Misconfigured VLAN Rogue devices from flooding the network
    • Storm Control -- Prevent network disruptions from a broadcast, multicast, or unknown-unicast traffic storm.
  • Simplification
    • Simplified Deployment, upgrade and visibility with Cisco VSUM – Cisco VSUM is a FREE virtual appliance that enables Server and Network administrators to Deploy, Upgrade and Monitor Nexus1000V and to Deploy and Upgrade Cisco AVS from within their vCenter web interface.
    • Customer Experience - Here’s what one of our Beta customers, Josh Coen says about Cisco VSUM. Josh is a Principal Cloud Architect with Varrow and has been working in the IT industry since 1999, with a heavy focus on virtualization and storage since 2008.

Nexus 1000V has already reached the 10,000 customer milestone with some customers purchasing 1000+ CPU licenses.  Nexus 1000V continues to provide the foundation for the most advanced virtual networks by supporting, 1) multiple hypervisor environments, such as VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Openstack KVM 2) the most extensive set of virtual network services, including ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, distributed zone-based virtual firewall, vWAAS WAN optimization, the Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000V, Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module (NAM) and advanced service insertion and chaining technology, vPath and 3) a true management control plane that provides greater policy and control features for richer networking functionality.

We’ll be showing a lot of these features this week. Come by our booth and check it out. If you are around #VMworld this week, give us a shout out on twitter using Cisco hash tag #ciscovmw. For those of you that can’t make it out to VMworld, listen to the review of these new features in Ver 3.1 in this webcast.

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Hybrid Cloud meets Cisco Intercloud Fabric

If you are like the many IT managers we talk to every day, you prefer to have options whenever you tackle a project or formulate your IT strategy. Perhaps, you do not like the idea of feeling limited, constrained or unable to leverage a viable contingency plan. Architecting your cloud strategy should be no exception …. And Cisco Intercloud Fabric can help!

So what does Cisco Intercloud Fabric do?

intercloud_fabric_video_poster

 

No time to read? This short video will provide you with an overview of the solution and perhaps entertain you for a couple of minutes. And if you are at VMworld this week, you can stop by at the Cisco booth to learn more about Cisco Intercloud Fabric.

In essence, Cisco Intercloud Fabric provides open and highly secure portability of workloads (aka applications) among heterogeneous cloud environments and with consistent network and security policies. You can move your workloads from your traditional IT environment or your private cloud to a public cloud provider of your choice. We have discussed in the past how hybrid cloud is becoming the ‘new normal’. Cisco Intercloud Fabric lets you deploy a hybrid cloud that operates as one unified environment—straddling your data center boundaries—with you in control.

 

And what are the benefits?

  • Choice -- Can you really put in place a sound strategy if you do not have options, if you do not have choice? Are you limited in your choice of hypervisors, public cloud providers, or IT infrastructure? How easy is it to change cloud providers if you wanted to do so in the future?   Cisco Intercloud Fabric will give you the freedom to place workloads across clouds. And across heterogeneous environments … ‘any’ network … ‘any’ hardware platform … with multi-hypervisor support … from VMware vSphere to Microsoft Azure … and …. back!
  • Consistency -- Can you seamlessly extend your private cloud environment to the public cloud? What about your network and security policies? How will they change? Cisco Intercloud Fabric will make your life easier in this regard. You will be able to get consistent network and security policies across your data and applications, wherever they reside. This will allow you can accelerate the time required to deploy your applications to the cloud.
  • Control -- Managing multiple cloud frameworks is challenging! More importantly, it is about selecting the best cloud for your specific application and data. Cisco Intercloud Fabric gives you unified workload management across clouds ….. You are back in control!

Cisco Intercloud Fabric

A powerful enabler ….

We continue to envision IT organizations transitioning to new roles as trusted ‘brokers of IT services’. As we discussed, this model enables IT to add value to one or more public or private cloud services on behalf of its users. The intent is to dynamically bring together, integrate, and manage the delivery of multiple cloud services to best meet the needs of the business.

Cisco Intercloud Fabric is a powerful enabler to facilitate that transition. You, like most IT decision makers want to retain control over your hybrid cloud environment and you may need the ability to repatriate your workloads back to your data centers.  Avoid a ‘one-way’ trip to the public cloud …. Retain choice, consistency and control without compromising your compliance requirements with Cisco Intercloud Fabric!

Do you want to see a demo?

Well … If you are going to be at VMworld in San Francisco this week, you can stop by at the Cisco booth (#1217.) You will be able to witness how you can unleash your hybrid cloud with Intercloud Fabric. You can also attend one of our sessions on Tuesday to learn more about this solution and associated use cases.

Additional Resources

 

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Announcing Cisco UCS Performance Manager: Performance monitoring and capacity planning for UCS integrated infrastructures

Now get data center assurance for UCS integrated infrastructures and tie application performance to physical and virtual infrastructure performance.

You can achieve deep granular visibility into UCS components to optimize resources and deliver better service levels to customers without having to resort to multiple tools and “swivel-chair” management.

vmworld

 

 

If you are going to be at VMworld next week stop by the Cisco booth. We will be on-hand with presentations and demos of UCS Performance Manager.  Get a first look on the show floor at the Cisco booth #1217. Here: http://www.vmworld.com/community/conference/us/sponsors#globalD

Moscone Convention Center-South Hall, San Francisco, CA
Sunday, August 24: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Opening Reception)
Monday, August 25: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 26: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 27: 10:00–5:00 p.m.

Fern Topology View1

Cisco UCS Performance Manager delivers capacity and performance management for Cisco UCS and integrated infrastructure network and storage devices. Just click on the device or the path and see the real-time performance metrics from the main dashboard.

Based on technology from Zenoss, this Cisco solution delivers granular device monitoring from a single customizable console. Cisco UCS Performance Manager uses Cisco UCS APIs and other native APIs and interfaces to collect data from UCS Manager and integrated infrastructure end points to display comprehensive information about all UCS infrastructure components.

Fern Application View dynamically Identifies Converged Infrastructure Components supporting the app

Using Dynamic Views you can view the integrated infrastructure elements that an application is using – right now. They’re kept up to date by configuration change events from VMware and UCS and accurately reflect the infrastructure resources used by each application.

You can easily spot where an error is affecting an application by examining the event rainbows of the components. With added benefits for VMware administrators: UCS Performance Manager gives you the ability to map virtual resources that include vSphere hosts, vSphere defined datacenters, vSphere VMs and endpoints. So, no matter how the application is defined (logical, physical or virtual), from the blade to the switch, you can dynamically see and drill down into affected components for one-stop troubleshooting.

We are also presenting an overview of UCS Performance Manager with a live Q&A at the Cisco booth. Some of the benefits we will be discussing:

  • We will show how UCS Performance Manager provides deep visibility for service profiles, chassis, fabric extenders, adapters, virtual interface cards, ports, and uplinks for granular data center monitoring.
  • How you can use UCS Performance Manager to maintain service-level agreements (SLAs) by managing optimal resource allocation to prevent under-provisioning and avoid performance degradation.
  • You can define component or application-centric views of critical resources; you can monitor SLA health and performance from a single console, eliminating the need for multiple tools.

For a deeper dive and links to a video demo of the solution in action, see Vishwanath Jakka’s blog here.

Mark your calendar for these VMworld speaking sessions:
“Performance and Capacity Management for Cisco Converged Infrastructures”
Tuesday August 26, 2:00pm

And, at 3:30pm on Tuesday, Mark Balch, Director Product Marketing and Raju Penmetsa, Principal Engineer at Cisco will highlight UCS Performance Manager in their breakout session: “Management and Automation for UCS Integrated Infrastructure”.

Session MGT3158.
Room: Moscone West, Room 3022.
See more here: https://vmworld2014.activeevents.com/connect/search.ww?searchPhrase=MGT3158

Hope to see you there!

For more information, or to schedule a demo reach out to Andrew Blaisdell ablaisde@cisco.com or to Vishwanath Jakka vijakka@cisco.com

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Punch the Data Center Accelerator and Maintain Full Control

Every organization needs more from their data centers, such as faster services and data analysis for real-time decision making.  The unprecedented expansion of data is a major driver of rapid data center transformation.  Consider these statistics:

  • 90% of all data in the world was created in the last three years
  • Data centers handled 214 exabytes of data per month in 2012 and that is expected to grow to 644 exabytes per month by 2017

Just trying to image 214 exabytes of data is like trying to imagine how much money a trillion is.  Bottom line:  it is a lot of data!

Given that upward of 70% of what data centers do today is still about processing data, and IT budgets are at best flat, organizations have to become more efficient.  They need newer, better ways to process data and deliver data center services, increase application performance and increase operational efficiency.

Cisco understands this problem.  The combination of Cisco UCS Director and UCS Invicta allows your organization to deliver services faster, increase application performance and deliver those operational efficiencies everyone is seeking.   We created a nice video illustration to explain:

Read More »

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