The London Eye
The London Eye

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, last week I attended the Gartner Data Center Conference in London.   I came out of the conference with some questions I asked and some questions I wish I had asked! So if you are attending the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, USA, this week, here are some suggested questions you can ask in the SDN-related seminars!  And if you are not at the conference, don’t worry – feel free to ask these questions of your candidate SDN vendors (including Cisco!)

Today I’ll cover :

(4)    If OpenStack is part of your SDN/NFV solution, can you help us on OpenStack?

(5)    What is the best hardware server platform for NFV/virtualised workloads?

I’ll leave question (6) on SDN and management until tomorrow – I feel a rant coming on and I’ll need more space 🙂  Again, for questions (1) – (3), please refer to my part 1 blog.


(4)    If OpenStack is part of your SDN/NFV solution, can you help us on OpenStack?

OpenStack is “hot” across the IT industry just now, particularly in service providers and financial services providers.  Open Source is clearly where substantial innovation is happening today, and many companies are looking to Open Source projects including OpenStack as sources of differentiation and innovation for their business.  However, as I blogged previously, OpenStack is not without its adoption challenges: OpenStack is most definitely not a panacea. Gartner in particular have been vocal about the reality of OpenStack maturity.

Therefore when I hear a vendor make a “throw away” comment like “… and for NFV orchestration you have OpenStack.” … in a manner similar to “… and for word processing you have Microsoft Word” .. I really wonder if they understand the reality of OpenStack.  I wonder how many OpenStack deployments they’ve helped their customers with.  Or have they left the customer to sort out the challenges of getting OpenStack up, running and integrated with their environment?  Such vendor positioning (in my opinion at least) really underplays the problems associated with OpenStack adoption.

Therefore when vendors discussing SDN and NFV raise OpenStack, please do question them on …

  • If we decide on OpenStack, can your company help us with OpenStack deployment and integration with your SDN/NFV products?
  • How many OpenStack deployments have you helped customers with.  Are any in production today?
  • How many professional services staff do you have who are experienced in OpenStack? How many are versed in “deep troubleshooting” of OpenStack bugs? (which as I outlined here is unfortunately a fundamental expectation of OpenStack deployers).
  • OR do we need to go find yet another partner to help us with OpenStack?

Ask Cisco Services these questions (of course!) and we’ll happily help you with any and all of these challenges!

(5)    What is the best hardware server platform for NFV/virtualised workloads?

It seems fashionable among some vendors to class hardware as “legacy”.  They’ll say, for example “we don’t need any of that hardware any more”.  It’s kind of ironic for our competition that many NFV deployments will go live on Cisco UCS servers!

At the conference then, wander across to the Cisco booth and you’ll find us talking about Cisco UCS, ACI, OpenStack and the Internet of Everything (IoE).  Have a word with the Cisco team and they’ll happily explain why Cisco UCS is the best blade server platform for virtualized workloads.  They’ll explain why NFV scales better on Cisco UCS than on “commodity” servers.  And they’ll explain Cisco’s NFV solution offering and the broad range of Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) that Cisco is rolling out.

And then you will be well placed to have a debate with our competition on which server is the best hardware platform to run NFV/virtualized workloads.

Cisco at the Gartner Data Center Conference, Las Vegas, December 2-5 2014

Cisco does indeed have a significant presence in  the Las Vegas Garter Data Center Conference this week and you can read more about it here – make sure you tap into Cisco’s experts at the show to help clarify the reality of OpenStack and NFV.  Please do ask about how Cisco Services can help you be successful with SDN, NFV and OpenStack – along with many other technologies.

And look out tomorrow for the 3rd part of my write up on the London Gartner Data Center Conference.




Stephen Speirs

SP Product Management

Cisco Customer Experience (CX)