Monday, August 29, 2011

vBlocks and FlexPods: is this Coke v Pepsi?

When Cisco came out with their UCS servers, I was impressed. They took the Nexus FCoE switches and modified them into a whole new thing, the UCS: with FCoE, service profiles and an expandable distributed blade server model. What really makes sense is the bottom line, you can save real money by deploying them over traditional blade or standalone servers. They save money with price per port and not having to buy additional switches for every 14-16 servers in a traditional blade enclosure. They simplify rapid deployment of servers. They allow moving workload to new blades without having to rebuild them.

Converged networks suddenly start to make sense with the Cisco UCS. You begin to see Cisco’s master plan in action. It’s not just FCoE in a switch, but a whole system built around best practices: FCoE, boot from SAN, etc. The biggest gain immediately obvious are the service profiles: VMware abstracts servers, service profiles are somewhere in between virtualizing the hardware the VMware is built upon. Firmware, UUIDs, WWPNs, MAC addresses, everything is abstracted. It took things one step farther than HP virtual connect.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cloud #fail

This is a very brief post on the cloud computing failure of today. I hope to have a guest writer post something better, more lengthy in the future.

I’ve been partaking in some discussions among peers on today’s Amazon EC2 cloud outage – again. I’ve been listening to people say the cloud isn’t ready or is a bad idea. The cloud is the cloud, and continues to be a great decision for a lot of people where it makes sense. The failure people make is in abandoning IT best practices when going to the cloud and going with a single system or provider.

When we design for disaster recovery or business continuity, we usually design in redundant, diverse data paths to the secondary data center with carrier diversity (meaning more than one carrier). When going to the cloud, if you’ve decided to outsource everything, you should continue that diversity with multiple cloud providers and the resiliency to be able to use either. Failure to provide cloud diversity is the same as having one datacenter, you’ve got all your eggs (IT) in one basket.

When going to the cloud, you should either have a hybrid private/public cloud with redundancy, or two public cloud providers with diversity. Those that stray from IT best practices will pay the price – on twitter you’ll get the dreaded #fail associated with your name.