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Guest post from Dan Swart

Dan Swart is a Senior Manager in Cisco Technical Services Product Management, leading the team responsible for Enterprise and Data Center Solution Support services. Along with that, Dan has been heavily involved in Data Center Alliance programs and Converged Infrastructures. Dan has Batchelor of Science Degrees in Zoology and Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Dan Swart is a Senior Manager in Cisco Technical Services Product Management, leading the team responsible for Enterprise and Data Center Solution Support services. Along with that, Dan has    been heavily involved in Data Center Alliance programs and Converged Infrastructures. Dan has Bachelor of Science Degrees in Zoology and Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

In my last blog post, Complexity and Control in the Cloud, I covered some basic considerations as you navigate vendors and solutions when planning your enterprise cloud.

Unsurprisingly, when Cisco is talking to customers about their private cloud needs and our data center solutions, customers very quickly sound this panic button …

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Video Demo: The Power of ACI Physical Network Visibility in an SDN Overlay Environment

December 22, 2014 at 5:00 am PST

[Note: Register today for our upcoming live ACI webcast: “Is Your Data Center Ready for the Application Economy”, January 13, 2015, 9 AM PT, Noon ET, featuring ACI customers and several key ACI technology partners.]

At the most recent Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, after some insightful discussions with customers and analysts, we came up with a great demo idea and proof point that highlights a key feature in our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) platform. This particular demo centers on the unique visibility of the ACI Fabric to faults in the underlying physical network.

Joe Onisick, Principal Engineer in the ACI team at Cisco, compares this ability in ACI to SDN technologies that employ only virtual overlay networks in the following video. With overlay networks, such as a VXLAN tunnel, the resulting virtual network (and all the management and analytics tools) has a much harder time isolating faults within the physical infrastructure. The overlay is designed to “tunnel” through the physical network, simplifying and obscuring the physical topology and issues with any specific network node. Before going much further, I’ll let Joe provide the details in this quick, 3 minute video:

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Cisco UCS Delivers the highest TPC-H result for non-clustered systems at the 1000-GB scale factor with Microsoft SQL Server

The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server continues its tradition of Industry leadership with the new announcement of the best non-clustered TPC-H benchmark result at the 1000GB scale factor, in concert with Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition.

The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server captured the number-one spot on the TPC-H benchmark at the 1000GB scale factor with a price/performance ratio of $0.97 USD per QphH@1000GBand demonstrated 588,831 queries per hour (QphH@1000GB), beating results from Dell, Fujitsu, and IBM.

The TPC-H benchmark evaluates a composite performance metric (QphH@size) and a price-to-performance metric ($/ QphH@size) that measure the performance of various decision-support systems by running sets of queries against a standard database under controlled conditions. For the benchmark, the server was equipped with 1.5 TB of memory and four 2.8-GHz Intel Xeon processor E7-4890 v2 CPUs. The system ran Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition and Windows. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the benchmark configuration. The detailed official benchmark disclosure report is available at the TPC Results Highlights Website.

Some of the key highlights of Cisco’s TPC-H Benchmark results are:

  • The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server delivered the highest TPC-H result ever reported for non-clustered systems at the1000-GB scale factor.
  • High Performance for Microsoft SQL Server 2014: Cisco’s result is the fastest server at the 1000-GB scale factor running Microsoft SQL Server.
  • As illustrated in the graph below, the Cisco performance result beats Fujitsu, Dell, and IBM top results for the 1000-GB scale factor by 80, 31, and 13 percent respectively. Cisco’s price/performance ratio is 29 percent less than the IBM result

 

C460 TPC-H Results
It is interesting to note that although all vendors have access to same Intel processors, only Cisco UCS unleashes their power to deliver high performance to applications through the power of unification. The unique, fabric-centric architecture of Cisco UCS integrates the Intel Xeon processors into a system with a better balance of resources that brings processor power to life. For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.

Disclosure

The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) is a nonprofit corporation founded to define transaction processing and database benchmarks, and to disseminate objective and verifiable performance data to the industry. TPC membership includes major hardware and software companies. TPC-H, QphH, and $/QphH are trademarks of the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC). The performance results described in this document are derived from detailed benchmark results available as of December 15, 2014, at http://www.tpc.org/tpch/default.asp.

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Cisco UCS Mini Wins infoTECH Spotlight Award

December 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm PST

Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) announced the winners of the 2014 infoTECH Spotlight Data Center Excellence Awards today. Cisco is honored that UCS Mini is one of the recipients! To quote from the TMC press release:

“The 2014 infoTECH Spotlight Data Center Excellence Award recognizes the most innovative and enterprising data center vendors who offer infrastructure or software, servers or cooling systems, cabling or management applications.”

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ACI for Splunk Enterprise: Enabling comprehensive application health

On January 13th, 2015, Cisco will celebrate the 1-year anniversary of its launch of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), a ground breaking SDN architecture.  It will include a public webcast with the participation of early ACI adopters and our ecosystems partners.  One of these inaugural partners was Splunk,  the Operational Intelligence company for all types of IT organizations.  At the webcast, Splunk and other partners will describe  a range of new solutions with ACI, that dramatically simplify Data Center operations. Here is a preview of Splunk’s solution.

A large portion of the data center operational effort is consumed in managing application health.  This includes:

  • Ensuring the end-user experience for distributed users with different types of performance needs
  • Discovering the physical and virtual resources associated with applications and the user experience
  • Detailed monitoring of resources and events in the infrastructure that affect application performance

These activities have become more complex as applications have become distributed, interconnected or cloud based because they cause applications to move, scale and evolve rapidly.

Splunk Enterprise can monitor and analyze millions of infrastructure events through logs and agents, in real-time. This can provide rapid visibility and isolation of infrastructure that affect application performance. Cisco has been collaborating with Splunk to combine the application visibility of Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure with operational analytics of Splunk Enterprise. The result is “Cisco ACI for Splunk Enterprise” a highly scalable application that is orderable immediately at Splunk.com.

ACI and Splunk have enabled a comprehensive view of application health with the ability to monitor the entire end-to-end environment in real time and proactively prevent issues from impacting end users.

ACI provides visibility to application health from the network perspective by tracking all network dependencies and events that impact application performance and security. Splunk complements Cisco ACI by bringing actionable intelligence across the entire data center infrastructure including storage, compute, virtualization endpoints, as well as application tiers and components provided by ACI. Splunk’s analytical and visualization tools provide real-time insights to data center teams to optimize performance and ensure security policies in a highly dynamic environment.

How does it work

Cisco ACI exposes a wealth of networking data previously inaccessible to Splunk. The Cisco ACI app for Splunk Enterprise gathers data from APIC (Application Policy Infrastructure Controller) including APIC network events, health scores and inventory of logical constructs (e.g. tenants, application profiles, end point groups) and physical constructs ( e.g spines, leafs, VMs).

SplunkACI_CentralizedApplicationHeath

This data is used to:

  1. Reduce resolution time with accelerated root-cause analysis
  • Splunk enables users to reduce the mean time to investigate/resolve problems up to 70%
  • Centralized management of operational health of ACI environment & underlying entities in real-time
  • Detect issues or anomalies in performance or response times and proactively resolve
  • For multiple tenants, quickly navigate to the source of problems using flexible per-role views, including 1) Help Desk view, 2) Tenant View and 3) Fabric view
  1. Provide Central Proactive Monitoring of Cisco ACI
  • Get real-time proactive notification of network traffic and device faults with location, affected objects.
  • Track trends and anticipate application impact
  1. Operational Analytics across the entire virtual and physical infrastructure
  • Optimize network capacity and prevent service deterioration with detailed visibility into fabric path degradation.
  • Meet compliance/security with user analytics, including authentication tracking reports.
  • Correlate data from Cisco ACI with data from storage resources, operating systems, applications, security devices, endpoint and more for enterprise-wide visibility.
  • Trace and monitor transactions through all tiers of a distributed application architecture
  • Gives application managers a perspective on the underlying Cisco ACI infrastructure’s effect on applications without being directly involved in ACI Ops.
  • Monitor key operational metrics such as end-to-end response times to ensure SLAs met.

As an example, a Fortune 100 company is using Splunk with ACI:

  • for operational visibility for their ACI cluster with ability to quickly identify faults and troublesome tenants and determine corrective action.
  • to provide centralized visibility as ACI expands across multiple data centers and for proactive monitoring to establish baselines and triggered alerts when key thresholds exceeded.

This approach to Application Health is part of the broader discipline of Application Performance Management (APM). According to Gartner, “By 2018, 60% of APM deployments will use and integrate data extracted directly from log  files alongside wire data and agent-derived data as a foundation for reporting, prediction, and analysis, up from less than 5% today.”  With our collaboration, ACI for Splunk Enterprise provides important new capabilities for  Application Performance Management.

Learn more about Cisco ACI for Splunk Enterprise here.  And register for Cisco’s webcast on January 13th.

 

 

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