My week here in Vegas started with breakfast with Cisco’s Abhinav Joshi, VMware’s Wade Holmes, and NetApp’s Friea Berg. You probably already know this bunch from Twitter or their blogs, but for those who may not know them allow me to share a quick intro:
Abhinav is a Sr. Cloud Solutions Architect at Cisco. He was recognized as a VMware vExpert in 2011 & 2010, and has many technical certifications from VMware, NetApp, Cisco, EMC, & Citrix. His blog can be found at http://blogs.cisco.com/author/abhinavjoshi.
Wade is a Technical Solution Architect at VMware focusing on cloud solutions. He is VCDX#15, and holds a number of industry certifications including VCAP-DCD, VCP4, VCP3, VCP2, CISSP, CCSK, and ABCP. His blog posts can be found at: http://vWade.com.
Friea works in NetApp’s alliance organization and is passionate about ‘all things‘ involving Cisco & NetApp like FlexPod.
Here’s our conversation from Monday morning…
Friea: Let’s kick this off with an easy question. What are you most looking forward this week?
Wade: “This is a big week for VMware with our cloud infrastructure launch, it’s the largest in our history. So I look forward to questions about the launch after Tuesday. Sorry, I can’t share the details quite yet outside of the fact we are taking our products to next level in terms of scalability & availability. With this launch, there is no question that any workload can run in a virtual environment.”
“Beyond that, possibly use cases for cloud; public, private, and hybrid. We are at an evolutionary step with the progression of solutions like Secure Multi-Tennant, and the solution integration of products like, VMware vCloud Director, and the Nexus 1000V; we can leverage these enhanced integrations into a seamless solution that provides automation, security & separation.”
Abhinav: “UCS, Nexus, unified networking services, solutions like FlexPod, SMT, and the private cloud solution with Tidal & NewScale, referred to as Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (CIAC). I’m also excited about sharing the details around our real world production deployment of private cloud by Cisco IT, which is known as CITEIS.”
“As Wade notes, SMT is definitely interesting as is the overall FlexPod architecture – we just published a new Enhanced Secure Multi-Tenancy on FlexPod Cisco Validated Design deployment guide. Service assurance and management are key foundational pillars of the SMT architecture, and I’m excited to talk about overall FlexPod integration. You can visit NetApp booth #939 for a live demo of SMT (or Desktop Virtualization, NetApp efficiency technologies, etc.) on FlexPod or check out the Cisco Data Center section of main Booth #1439 features SMT on FlexPod demo.”
“One really cool aspect of this show is that Cisco IT will be sharing details around our VMware production deployment known as CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure overview) here at Cisco Live. I will be showing demos of the work done by Cisco IT in Cisco booth datacenter at Kiosk #12 while Ken Schroeder will be demo’ing CITEIS specifically.”
Wade: Definitely, CITEIS is very cool. Cisco manages the environment with vCD and Cisco Cloud Portal (formerly known as newScale) to provide an end-user service portal; any Cisco employee can login and request resources ranging from a single VM to an entire virtual datacenter.
Vaughn: So I have to ask – if Cisco IT is already using CIAC why is there a need for vCD?
Wade: Great question. The vCloud API provides the easiest interface to provide and consume virtual resources in the cloud. These are the glue and foundation of provisioning inside of CITEIS. We believe this is a solution that will be replicated in market.
Abhinav: To clarify, integrating VCD into a Cisco Cloud Portal and Orchestration Solution allows the vCloud APIs to be called by Cisco Cloud Portal (newScale) thus simplifying the ability to deploy. One could create their own tools, but the vCloud APIs remove time from the equation and ensure functionality and supportability as the technologies advance. Very elegant.
Vaughn: Wade, I know you’re working with a number of customers deploying vCD architectures. How are most addressing backup and restore needs?
Wade: Today it is with agents in the VMs. Obviously we are working with partners such as NetApp to provide backup via VADP (vSPhere API for Data Protection) in order to allow for more scalable solutions than what is available with an in-guest client.
Vaughn: With SnapProtect vCD customers can auto-discover their environment, which maps resource pools to provider VDCs. We enable the backups to be created by the vCD, backup, or tenant admins for virtually any object ranging from a vDC, to a VM, to an application inside of a VM. As snapshots backups are nearly instantaneous, they are the ideal means to provide a large number of points in a cloud environment.
Wade: Really?!? When did SnapProtect come out? That sounds like a solution that it would be great to leverage. We should talk more about it after CiscoLive.
Vaughn: You got it.
Friea: What types of topics/questions are you most interested in hearing feedback from end users on?
Abhinav: I am curious to know what’s stopping the customers from virtualizing Tier-1 apps and deploying automation an orchestration solutions in their virtual datacenters. Typically I hear concerns about not being able to achieve performance SLAs, and resistance from application owners.
Wade: The performance perception may be there, it’s false at this point and is starting to wane. The scalability of the products in our launch will obliterate performance concerns. The challenge now is operational. We won over the enterprise by having the IT admin buy into virtualization. What are the incentives for the business owner of the tier 1 application? What can we do from a solutions perspective to incentivize that line of business to move to cloud?
Vaughn: Do you think there is a value in IT departments being transparent in terms of publishing metrics around the infrastructure?
Wade: Absolutely. I believe it’s mandatory to be publishing metrics on things like uptime, charge back, metering, reporting, service level assurance, etc. These metrics need to be available without having to depend on IT admin.
Abhinav: I would add that increasing number of proven solution architectures and case studies can help increase confidence in potential customers. There are lot of Cisco Validated Designs that showcase running Tier-1 apps on solutions like FlexPod. The latest CVD showing scalability on steroids is the 50,000 seats SharePoint 2010 on FlexPod for VMware design guide.
Friea: Great feedback. We’re running out of time, but in a few sentences could you sum up how the joint Cisco-NetApp-VMware partnership provides value for end users?
Wade: Together, we offer a trusted validated solution that enable an efficient deployment and accelerates speed to market.
Abhinav: I was going to use those words. Why did you let him go first? Proven cloud solutions accelerate journey to the private and hybrid cloud. Collaboration at different levels (e.g. engineering, solutions development and technical marketing, customer engagements, and unified support model ) has led to successful adoption. More than
150 customers (and counting) in less than 6 months of FlexPod launch shows the impact that the solution is making worldwide.
Vaughn: Well said. The success of our joint solutions whether FlexPod or VMware integrations with NetApp technologies, the three companies are committed to investing more resources and delivering a rich and extensive roadmap. What we’re talking about today is only the tip of the iceberg.
Wrapping This Post Up
I can’t thank Wade & Abhinav enough for sitting down to discuss cloud automation, security, and FlexPod. We’ve had a number of great interviews at Cisco Live, including the following. Check them out.
The official NetApp at Cisco Live site highlights Cisco & NetApp speaking sessions, demos in the NetApp, Cisco and Wyse booths, our prize patrol and much more. We’re regularly updating our ‘Who to Follow for FlexPod at Cisco Live‘ list plus you can find the latest blog posts, pictures and updates on the FlexPod FaceBook page.