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Fabric Extender architecture extensions

Building on the success of the Fabric Extender concept that was introduced first with the Nexus 2000, then with the embedded connectivity in UCS blade chassis, Cisco is proposing two innovative extensions for this architecture : Adapter FEX and VM-FEX.

Adapter FEX offers unique functionality that is actually familiar for customers who have already deployed the Virtual Interface Card in UCS blade systems. The idea is to virtualize PCI devices within the server, without the need for O/S-specific agents. Thanks to this technology, a server administrator can deploy up to 58 virtual adapters (NIC or HBA) that will be presented to the O/S as “regular” PCI devices. What Adapter FEX brings is now the possibility to leverage this technology in other servers — the first implementation will be available on UCS C-series rackmount servers through the P81E card connecting to a Nexus 5500 switch or Nexus 2232 fabric extender. As Adapter FEX is based on IEEE 802.1Qbh, it allows an ecosystem of server card vendors to join the momentum as well.

VM-FEX takes the idea even further and is initially supported on the UCS B-series VIC. This new technology eliminates the virtual switch within the hypervisor by providing individual VM virtual ports on the physical network switch. VM I/O is sent directly to the upstream physical network switch (in this case, the UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnect), which takes full responsibility for virtual machine switching and policy enforcement.

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Cisco buys cloud service provider software newScale

Cisco this week announced its intent to acquire privately-held newScale, a provider of software that delivers a self service portal for IT organisations to select and deploy cloud services within their businesses. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Cloud computing represents a major shift in the evolution of the Internet, and as more customers migrate from traditional IT infrastructures, the need for rapid self-provisioning and efficient management becomes increasingly critical,” said Parvesh Sethi, senior vice president of Cisco Services.  “With the acquisition of newScale, Cisco will be able to accelerate the deployment of cloud services through a service catalog and self-service portal that allows customers to easily manage their IT infrastructures.”

Cisco’s cloud strategy is to harness the network as a platform for building and using clouds and cloud services.  newScale will complement and expand existing Cisco and partner software offerings in IT and cloud management and automation. Cisco remains committed to supporting flexibility and choice in management through a broad ecosystem of technology partners, and newScale delivers an additional option the company can provide to its customers.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of Cisco’s fiscal year 2011. The newScale team will report into Cisco’s Advanced Services organisation.

Evolutionary Fabric, Revolutionary Scale: A Nondisruptive Way to Handle Dynamic Data Center and Cloud Environments

Cisco’s market-leading data center solutions enable Business partners to participate in fast-growing markets and meet their customer’s most challenging demands.

As part of its vision and evolution, Cisco is introducing new unified fabric innovations that deliver on architectural flexibility, investment protection, and operational simplicity in a secure and scalable manner.

Cisco will announce these innovations on March 30, 2011 at 18h00  during the online event “Evolutionary Fabric, Revolutionary Scale: Achieving Dynamic Cloud-Ready Data Centers. 

Register Now and watch this quick video invite :

Register Now

You will hear Cisco customers talk about their top challenges in the data center environment and the steps they are taking to solve them.

You will also learn from experienced industry analysts about new data center and cloud computing trends and the strategic role of the data center fabric.

You will hear seasoned Cisco experts talk about several new fabric innovations:

  • A standards-based end-to-end architecture to extend unified fabric consolidation beyond the access point
  • Industry-leading convergence with wire-once, on-demand functionality
  • Cisco Nexus product family extensions to address ultra-low-latency workload requirements
  • Evolving your infrastructure to seamlessly transition to virtualized secure, cloud-ready environments with Cisco unified fabric, unified network services, and unified computing

Be sure not to miss out on this special event. We look forward to having you join us.

The Nexus1000V Portfolio’s Spring ’11 Public Webinar Series

  

Cisco is pleased to offer a series of webinars on Cisco’s virtualization technologies and products.  Seminars are offered under two tracks: Business and Technical.  Please select one or both tracks to enroll.  We are hosting these webinars at Cisco’s Virtualization channel on BrightTalk.com.  To enroll, the attendee must be a registered member of BrightTalk (registration is free).  Start time for each session is 17h00.

Track One – Business Track

This business track provides a high-level overview and business benefits of the Nexus 1000V/1010 and Cisco’s virtual network services.

Track Two – Technical Track

This technical track provides a deep-dive on deployment best practices of the Nexus 1000V/1010 and Cisco’s virtual network services. 

Register Now!

Register Now!

These sessions will also be available on-demand on the registration page after the above dates. If you do have any questions don’t hesitate to contact your Cisco Sales Representative or to leave us a comment.

New dates : Server and Desktop Virtualization Bootcamps

One of the biggest issues that that IT phases is overall responsiveness. Today, a request to provision an application can take weeks or months due to the silo’ed infrastructure, decision making and processes that exist within IT.

One of the challenges Virtualisation has creating is the need to manage and orchestrate all of these VMs floating around the data center and between data centers.
We develop that Bootcamp one-day event is a split between theory and hands-on experience. This is an offer to you to experience the solution in a real live scenario . During the morning you will learn the theoretical information necessary and in the afternoon you get the opportunity to setup the complete environment on real physical hardware.

This one-day event is a split between theory and hands-on experience.
We have two Bootcamp series, and we are working to to deliver new contents soon, stay tuned!!

Bootcamp Virtualisation server

VMware and Cisco will demonstrate how to design, architect, install and operate a very lean Virtualisation infrastructure based on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), VMware vSphere 4.0 and Nexus 1000v. Such an environment allows you to consolidate mission critical servers on a fully virtualized infrastructure which allows achieving massive cost and power savings.

Join this event and gain more information on how your business may experience tremendous cost savings on capital and operational expenses with a virtualized data center. These savings are achieved with powerful Unified Management System of UCS base on Intel chipset technology. Improve your service levels through the usage of Cisco Service Profiles and vSphere’s vMotion and of course with VMware vSphere 4.0, the best platform for building cloud infrastructures. Cisco and VMware help you combine server, network, network services, security and storage Virtualisation under a single management pane with UCS Manager and vCenter.

Bootcamp Virtualisation desktop

The traditional approach to managing desktops in a global enterprise has become untenable. Increasingly, geographically dispersed user endpoints, in the form of desktopand laptop computers and personal devices, are making “desktop” management and security nearly impossible.

VMware, NetApp , and Cisco have partnered to develop Desktop Virtualisation Solution, move towards user-centric computing and transform traditional stationary desktops into untethered stateless workspaces available from anywhere and at anytime, which is a carefully designed and lab validated solution for the next generation data center.
After a combined solution overview in the morning, you can build-up and configure yourself a very lean system architecture and solution design, you will experience how Desktop deployments with that scenario will radically simplified architecture reduce complexity by reducing the number of components that need to be purchased, powered, cooled, configured, managed, and secured by about one-third compared to other centralized and decentralized desktop solutions.

Register today. Limited seating available.

If you are placed on a waitlist and require any further information please email the event coordinator : Michael Neefs (mneefs@cisco.com)

How secure are Virtual Device Contexts ?

One of the unique capabilities offered by the Cisco Nexus 7000 is the ability for a single chassis to be carved into up to 4 partitions called Virtual Device Contexts (VDC for short). Each configured VDC presents itself as a unique device to connected devices within the framework of that physical switch. The VDC runs as a separate logical entity within the switch, going well beyond the traditional VLAN-based isolation mechanisms, by maintaining its own unique set of running software processes, having its own configuration, and being managed by a separate administrator.

An independent, professional company called NSS Labs, who is active in information security research and testing, has performed an extensive bake-out of the VDC capability in order to validate the separation and isolation that it offers. Their conclusion was that “the Cisco Nexus 7000 Virtual Device Contexts are appropriate for use in Corporate Datacenters / Private Clouds where traffic must maintain separate, such as payment card environments“.

Pretty strong statement, when you think about the security requirements to which the Payment Card Industry must comply. But actually, some customers haven’t waited for such a validation and have already decided to grab the opportunity offered by VDCs.

One of these customers is CETREL, based in Luxembourg, who is active in both managing credit card transactional processing and providing IT services to the financial community (you could make a loose analogy with Banksys in Belgium). This major company leveraged the VDC concept in their datacenter facilities who are at the heart of their PCI-based business. By assigning one VDC to separate parts of their back-end networks, CETREL was able to consolidate multiple physical environments into a single one, without sacrificing on secure isolation. CETREL’s head of IT, Michel Lanners, did a great presentation at Cisco Live in London, explaining to an audience of 120+ why CETREL selected the Nexus 7000 and how they implemented VDCs in quite a challenging context. Additionnal features such as ISSU, link-layer encryption and Spanning Tree eradication mechanism were also key in the choice of this new platform.

For more details about the VDC construct and how it could apply to your environment, have a read of the technical overview.

CISCO FIRST IN THE INDUSTRY – NEW VMmark 2.0 Cloud Benchmark

Cisco brings you the latest VMark 2.0 results.
This freshly new VMark benchmark is now based , not only on application workload performances , but for the first time VM performance is now evaluated on :

How well a server , network and storage support virtual machine movement within a given network , storage migration and VM provisioning.

This is ofcourse where a UCS platform in basically developped for .

It’s about bringing together network , compute and storage access in one system , managed and provisioned from one single pane.

Now this new stressful virtualization benchmark has the following properties :

Multi-host to model realistic datacenter deployments
Virtualization infrastructure workloads to more accurately capture overall platform performance
Heavier workloads than VMmark 1.x to reflect heavier customer usage patterns enabled by the increased capabilities of the virtualization and hardware layers
Multi-tier workloads driving both VM-to-VM and external network traffic
Workload burstiness to insure robust performance under variable high loads

For more information on the results, please go to :

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/ps10265/ps10280/LE_367602_PB_FirstVMmark2.pdf

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