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Cisco announces part two of its software-defined networking strategy

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February 16, 2015

Cisco today announces part two of its SDN (software-defined networking) strategy-- a long-distance interconnect system designed to simplify workload mobility between various data centres. The news was expected since the beginning of the month.

The so-called stretched fabric release of its Application Centric Policy Controller (ACPC) allows each of the leaf and spine switches that form a fabric to be located up to 30 km apart.

As the company's senior product marketing manager for data centre solutions Ravi Balakrishnan explains, the goal is better integration of various environments spread across multiple data centres.

In particular, workloads and virtual machines (VMs) become portable not only between various hosts in a single data centre, but also across the wide area links between data centres, said Balakrishnan.

“The stretched ACI fabric behaves the same way as a regular ACI fabric, supporting full VMM integration. For example, one VMware vCenter system operates across the stretched ACI fabric sites.

The ESXi hosts from both sites are managed by the same vCenter and Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS),” he writes.

The exact distance a fabric can be stretched depends on the optical transceivers between the data centres, and Cisco's design overview notes that the stretched fabric also requires dark fibre links.

The stretched fabric also simplifies the overall infrastructure, Balakrishnan added, by removing the need for all leaf switches to be connected to all spines.

Instead, transit leaf switches provide the point of connectivity between various sites, and “There are no special requirements and no additional configurations required.

Data analytics startup Datameer is rolling out an AaaS (analytics-as-a-service) app running on the Hadoop system.

Dubbed 'Datameer Professional' the service targets potential Hadoop users unable to build their own large-scale Hadoop clusters or unwilling to wait for an enterprise-wide rollout.

The initiative was expected by a few observers in the IT segment. Datameer claims a number of big-name customers for its analytics of on-premises Hadoop clusters with thousands of nodes.

The scale is smaller than an enterprise-wide rollout – up to around five nodes, Datameer told us.

However, the price is lower: $50,000-- which works out at about $400 for twelve months for up to 25 users and five nodes (about half the price of Datameer’s enterprise version, priced at $100,000).

Datameer’s Hadoop-as-a-service is delivered via Altiscale in the U.S. and as Altiscale Data Cloud and Bigstep in the EMEA. The latter’s service runs atop Cloudera’s Hadoop.

Matt Schumpert, director of product management, said in a statement that department heads are struggling to access IT data analytics on Hadoop, but that some progress is being made.

“They didn’t want to wait for enterprise-wide deployment, which can take a very long time, and often there’s not the bandwidth or resources to do this,” he said.

It’s the latest attempt by the industry to bring Hadoop to real people and high-street IT management.

Hadoop was leaked from Google as an implementation of Big Table and has remained fairly wedded to web-scale computing of sorts.

However, there are major early adopters, with very specific applications such as log-crunching in IT and fraud detection in financial services.

The issue for Hadoop has been in finding more utilization cases and in making it more usable.

To be sure, Teradata last year unveiled its Hadoop-as-a-service to be paid for by enterprise customers on a monthly basis. We're still trying to evaluate if that venue is feasible from a business standpoint.

Started in 2009 by providing analytics tools for Hadoop, Datameer claims that credit card companies, banks, phone service providers, retailers and technology firms as customers.

Source: Cisco.

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