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Move fearlessly among the clouds, enabled by ‘Cisco Datacenter Business Advantage’

January 28, 2011 - 0 Comments

As you march towards one of the most important milestone in your cloud journey, virtualizing the mission critical Tier-1/Tier-2 business applications (Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc.), Cisco Datacenter Business Advantage and our open ecosystem partner technologies can provide significant value and help you move fearlessly among the clouds.

Cisco Data Center Business Advantage represents an architectural framework for connecting Cisco and partner technology innovations to business innovations so that you can create services faster, become more agile, and take advantage of new revenue streams and business opportunities. It is delivered as a portfolio of Cisco cloud enabling technologies and solutions that can be adopted in a flexible and modular fashion to more efficiently run your Tier-1/Tier-2 business applications using cloud architectures. Detailed background information on Cisco’s Datacenter Business Advantage can be found here.

Datacenter Business Advantage – Building Blocks and Enabling Technologies

Cisco Unified Computing, Unified Fabric, and Unified Networking Services are the three core technology pillars of the Cisco Datacenter Business Advantage architecture.

Each of these Data Center Business Advantage pillars are supported by Cisco’s technology innovations that provide significant value to help cost effectively accelerate the delivery and management of virtualized Tier-1/Tier-2 business applications, resulting in overall optimization and business agility.

Unified Fabric

At the core of cloud computing is an operational model that delivers accelerated services via a shared infrastructure. By consolidating previously isolated segments of the infrastructure, i.e. application delivery and storage networks, IT organizations can begin driving cost down and creating simplified operating models. The Unified Fabric component of the Datacenter Business Advantage architecture is enabled by the next generation Cisco Nexus and MDS family of switches. These switches provide the ability to logically segment all the network traffic (VLAN, VSAN), provide various levels of QoS for various Tiers of applications, provide lossless network services, dynamically adjust to changing traffic patterns (bursts, etc.). The Cisco Unified Fabric also provides the capability to deliver network flexibility at Layer-2 or Layer-3 via innovative Cisco technologies like FabricPath, OTV and LISP (allowing seamless mobility of virtualized applications, etc.).

Cisco Unified Fabric enables cloud deployments to:

  • Cost efficiently meet the complex networking requirements for virtualized business applications from a simplified, highly optimized and cost efficient unified network supporting 10GbE, FCoE, and FC traffic.
  • Offload networking tasks for virtualized business applications to network admins by leveraging the VMware vCenter integrated Cisco Nexus 1000v distributed virtual switch. Nexus 1000v allows the virtualized business applications to have the same network configuration, security policy, and operational procedures as they had in the physical world. The security and port settings for individual application VMs are retained with VM mobility (e.g. vMotion) across different vSphere hosts. Nexus 1000v was discussed earlier here and here.
  • The cloud administrator can easily apply the pre-defined security policy on a per VM basis directly from inside VMware vCenter leveraging the Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) feature in Nexus 1000v. The security administrator still controls the details of the security policy (as in the physical silo’d world). The new VSG capability was discussed earlier here.

Unified Networking Services

As the workforce becomes more distributed, security threats continue to grow, and application delivery options expand, the need for enhanced network services capabilities grows. By delivering application consistent policies and enforcement across a wide range of service levels, the network continues to play a critical role in delivering secure application environments to users. The Unified Networking Services element of the Data Center Business Advantage architecture is enabled by the Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS), Application Control Engine (ACE), and Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) technologies. These technologies help securely accelerate the delivery and remote replication of virtualized business applications to end users, especially remote office, branch office, and mobile workers.

These technologies allow virtualized business application to have increased availability, performance, end user experience, and security in multi-tenant cloud deployments:

  • Improve end-user productivity through application load balancing and faster response time leveraging ACE, and achieve the desired WAN optimization leveraging WAAS to achieve faster and cost efficient application delivery to the remote office, branch office and mobile users accessing their emails, uploading and downloading files/folders to Sharepoint sites, etc.
  • Achieve robust firewall services, real-time threat defense, highly available remote access and secure communication services for your virtualized business applications by leveraging Cisco ASA technology.
  • Reduce the network bandwidth required for remote replication of virtualized business application data (operating system, application binaries, database, logs etc.) to the DR site by leveraging Cisco WAAS technology in conjunction with the host and/or storage array based hardware assisted data replication. Most recently we launched the virtual WAAS (vWAAS) cloud ready WAN optimization solution that runs as a virtual appliance in VMware vSphere and is tightly integrated with Cisco UCS, and Nexus 1000v. The vWAAS product was discussed in details earlier here.

Cisco Unified Computing

Cisco’s Unified Computing System represents a completely new way of thinking about application delivery, with an architecture that is optimized for virtualization and cloud computing. By bringing together a unified architecture for computing and networking, all managed via open APIs and industry leading cloud management solutions, Cisco Unified Computing System deliver unmatched performance and operational simplicity in the market.

  • Cisco UCS provides very high levels of VM density per physical platform running server virtualization hypervisor (e.g. VMware vSphere, Hyper-V, Xen, KVM etc.) by leveraging the innovative extended memory and Intel Xeon processor technology This technology enables efficient hosting of multiple instances of virtualized business applications with dynamic memory requirements on the same unified platform.
  • UCS effectively meets the varying I/O service levels needed for multiple instances of virtualized business applications hosted on the same platform by leveraging I/O virtualization, workload prioritization, and 10Gb Ethernet network capabilities.
  • UCS allows the rapid provisioning of new server instances of  virtualization hypervisors (e.g. VMware vSphere) in a matter of  minutes by leveraging the Service Profiles capability either directly from inside UCS Manager or through cloud automation and orchestration tools (e.g. BMC, CA, EMC UIM, Newscale etc.) via API integration. This capability helps dynamically scale out the CPU and memory resources for shared IT infrastructure solutions. The end result is that cloud admins are able to more rapidly roll out new instances of virtualized business applications.

The Right Tools for Moving Fearlessly among the Clouds

These cloud enabling Cisco Datacenter Business Advantage technologies along with the leading storage and data management technologies from our storage ecosystem partners (EMC and NetApp), server virtualization partners (e.g. VMware, Microsoft, Citrix etc.), and cloud management partners (e.g. BMC, CA, EMC, NewScale etc.) helps us deliver end to end secure cloud solutions (e.g. Vblock, FlexPod, E-SMT, VMDC etc.) along with the Cisco Validated Designs for the virtualized business applications:

To summarize, the Cisco Datacenter Business Advantage enabling technologies along with our open ecosystem partners can help you:

  • Cost efficiently host multiple instances for virtualized business applications on pre-validated, shared IT infrastructure with granular QoS and ability to efficiently meet the performance SLAs
  • Efficiently roll out new instances of virtualized business applications to achieve agility and ensure maximum uptime
  • Flexibility of hosting the virtualized business applications in a secure multi-tenant cloud environment
  • Industry proven Products, Cisco Validated Designs and sizing guidelines to minimize risk
  • Optimized security, mobility, DR for these virtualized business applications
  • Centralized management

At the same time, the Cisco Datacenter Business Advantage architecture provides significantly value for the business application owners and end users:

  • No change in the way business applications have to be managed
  • Enhanced availability, security, and data protection
  • Enhanced performance for local, branch office, and mobile users
  • Application aware load balancing and optimized end user experience
  • More efficient application roll out as business needs change

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