Previously I talked about the growing demands and how the role of IT has to change from a cost center to a business strategic partner.  It’s important to acknowledge that getting an organization to the point where it can implement IT as a Service isn’t easy, nor does it take place all at once.  Every customer has their own journey and different customers will take different journeys.  For some, it’s all about doing what they do now, only more efficiently or perhaps adding new capabilities. For others, it’s about making that full-blown transformation to service-driven IT.

So how do you get there? Each phase expands into a series of key initiatives…

It all starts with moving into more of a unified architecture of network fabric and corresponding operations.


Typically, data centers maintain disparate networks for LAN and SAN, resulting in more adapters, more cables and more switches. As part of our multi-protocol approach, Cisco Unified Fabric Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) merges LAN and SAN networks onto a single, highly reliable Ethernet network using a wire-once, connect-anything approach, greatly simplifying your network and increasing network agility. This allows you to reduce the number of devices you manage and maintain, reduce your cabling requirements, and deliver efficient resource utilization leading to lower power and cooling costs. And to simplify migration to a converged network, Cisco Nexus switches offer unified ports that are software-configurable to support Ethernet, Fibre Channel or FCoE connectivity.


Then comes virtualization in the form of end-to-end delivery, mobility, elasticity. The Cisco Nexus family of switches delivers capabilities that allow you to fully utilize the power of a virtualized environment beyond traditional connectivity. Through secure, policy-based workload mobility within and across geographically dispersed data centers through OTV, LISP, and Nexus 1000V technologies, you can provide on-demand application workloads to users that retain their network and security policies across a highly scalable flat Layer 2 domain.


Then you start thinking about Cloud… When you come to this point, it is important to consider the importance of consistency and what it saves you. The industry-leading Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch and a suite of virtual service nodes provide functional and operational consistency across physical, virtual and cloud environments. The Nexus 1000V brings the network edge to the virtual machine within the application server, running the NX-OS operating environment with a fully functional control plane to mirror the functional capabilities of Nexus physical switches.

From a security perspective, the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall provides equivalent security services and policy management to the ASA portfolio of data center security appliances, including virtual private network (VPN), intrusion prevention (IPS), and network address translation (NAT) capabilities. The Nexus 1000V portfolio and virtual service nodes, including the Nexus 1010 virtual services appliance, also preserves operational roles and responsibilities by ensuring networking teams access and manage the virtual network polices and security policies, and can deploy new services VM’s in application servers or dedicated service appliances.


In order to be able to succeed in your implementation of Virtualization and Cloud, you also need to think about how to scale. The Cisco Nexus switches offer multi-dimensional scalability for the data center network in switch performance, system scale and geographic span allowing your data center to support more servers and more applications when you need them. Cisco Fabric Extender (FEX) Technology enables network fabric extension, with a single point of management on the access switches across large number of ports, delivering operational flexibility with simplified management. The Nexus portfolio also offers high density Gigabit or 10 Gigabit future-proofed solution that can scale to 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet. This, when combined with our award-winning technologies such as Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV),  Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP), and FabricPath, enables you to transparently extend the network to encompass all network locations into a single environment, allowing resources to be efficiently accessed and effectively utilized regardless of size or scope without the need of more complex and inefficient technologies such as spanning tree.

Management is an integral part of the Cisco Unified Fabric.  We have a single pane of management for Nexus and MDS families with Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) for simplified operations and control.


Our customers select Cisco as their partner and Cisco Unified FabricNexus and MDS portfolios as their network in their journey to delivering IT as a Service. And there is a reason for that! Unlike other vendors in the industry, Cisco empowers you with  its Unified Fabric, delivering architectural flexibility, revolutionary scale, intelligence and convergence, enabling your data center to be a more agile, cost effective and efficient environment, freeing up your IT staff to concentrate on taking care of initiatives that really matter to the business and increasing your bottom line!

Stay tuned… In my next blog, I will take you thru what I mean by the need for Scale.



Berna Devrim

Former Senior Manager of Marketing

No Longer at Cisco