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My Favorite Demo at Microsoft TechEd Europe: Data Center Modernization


MSFT_Europe_Web_Banner_700x230 FINAL

After the SQL Saturday event this week I will be staying in Barcelona for a few more days to attend the Microsoft TechEd Europe from Tuesday Oct 28th to Friday Oct 31st! As Gary Serda laid out in his blog, Cisco has a lot of great demos to share with you. See details:

  • Cisco UCS and Integrated Infrastructures for Microsoft Private Cloud
  • Windows Server 2003 Migration to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Cisco UCS
  • UCS Management with Microsoft System Center
  • UCS for Microsoft SQL Server
  • Nexus 1000V Network Virtualization with Microsoft Hyper-V

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, “Cisco is Here to Help!—Microsoft Windows Server 2003 End-of-Life Support,”  Windows Server 2003 (WS2003) Migration to Windows Server 2012 R2 on Cisco UCS is, as we like to say the social media world, trending.  I am really excited about the demo covering this topic because it brings together all the value props of Microsoft and Cisco working together to help customers solve one of their most important data center challenges.

In that blog, I touched on what Cisco and Microsoft are saying, but what are our customers saying?

Head of ICT management and maintenance, Elektroprivreda, Haris Brkanic mentioned in the case study that moving to Windows Server 2012, they were able to migrate from 42 physical servers and 90 virtual servers on seven hosts to just 12 Cisco UCS servers.  They are realized significant cost saving and performance gains in this upgrade. They also love that they can manage everything from a single pane of glass. Our customer definitely experienced the simplified IT, better virtualization, and licensing and support benefits they were hoping to get.

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Cisco UCS and Major League Baseball @The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For baseball fans like me -- especially if your favorite team made the playoffs – the October postseason is  the most wonderful time of the year (with apologies to Christmas). For the Major League Baseball teams that have made it this far, months of preparation has led up to this point, and now the eyes of the sporting world are upon them. The same scenario exists for Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) CTO Joe Inzerillo and his staff, which is responsible for streaming hundreds of thousands of hours of online video throughout the year, although the October playoff races make this the busiest and most critical time of the year for them.

MLBAM Data Center - NYC

If you’ve never heard of MLBAM, chances are you’ve watched their video content at one time or another – in fact, if you’re watching live video on the internet, there’s a good chance MLBAM is involved. MLBAM streams more live video than any other sports entity – and any other company. And not just baseball – MLBAM also develops and delivers digital content and applications for sports-oriented companies like ESPN, WWE wrestling and 120 Sports, a new online sports network from Sports Illustrated.

The MLBAM business continues to grow in leaps and bounds on an annual basis. When MLBAM began streaming baseball video online in 2002, it was only on the PC, but since that time, demand has expanded to the point that fans can now watch on more than 400 devices, making MLB.TV the number one sports streaming service in the world. At the same time, MLBAM’s At Bat mobile app is the highest-grossing sports app ever, helping generate over $800 million annually in revenue (as others have estimated).

Additionally, MLBAM’s Chelsea Market headquarters in New York City is the location of their Transmission Operations Center, which brings in and sends out the video and audio feeds from the games being played around the country. This location is also where instant replay calls are reviewed by a staff of MLB umpires, on a rotation that includes their normal duties on baseball diamonds around the country at major league parks.

Joe Inzerillo @MLBAM HQ

The MLBAM success story is one that has prompted Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig to say about MLBAM, “I think it’s not only one of the great stories in American sports business in the past 12 years, but one of the great stories in American business.” Others have called MLBAM New York’s top tech startup of the past decade.

At the heart of all of this is MLBAM’s six data centers around the country, which are powered by Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). Cisco UCS converges virtualization, network access, storage access and computing power into a centralized architecture for data centers. With all the data being generated – 15 petabytes this year and possibly up to 25 petabytes next year, according to Inzerillo – MLBAM requires the highest performing data centers available to accommodate this growing demand.

MLBAM’s ability to provide video as a service to other companies as a provider is an example of how Cisco is helping 33,000 other businesses transform their own operations. MLBAM is a perfect example of this business transformation, going from streaming 19,000 hours of live video in 2009 to 400,000 in 2014.

During a recent press event in the MLBAM headquarters in New York, Inzerillo stated, “UCS has been one of the most important aspects for us in terms of vast simplification and eliminating friction to increase our operation velocity. Automation, and software driven infrastructure are replacing manual labor for us and that’s the only way to achieve the scale and velocity we require. In that regard, UCS has become a critical part of how we do business.”

MLB Replay Room

Inzerillo added, “over the past three years we’ve increasingly began to deploy applications in a virtualized environment and UCS has been instrumental to that transition; 400,000 hours of streaming are streamed off of Cisco UCS servers today.”

“We’re definitely two to three times more efficient when it comes to building data centers with UCS,” Inzerillo told a group of Canadian reporters at a similar event in Toronto, adding he likes the “elasticity” of UCS. UCS cuts provisioning times (by 84 per cent), cabling (77 per cent), management costs (61 per cent) and power and cooling costs (54 per cent).

It’s clear more exciting times and growth is on the horizon for the MLBAM team, but unlike the baseball season, the momentum doesn’t stop after the last October pitch is thrown.

Together We Can: Cisco at NetApp Insight 2014

October 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm PST

NetApp insight

Next week in Las Vegas, NetApp’s annual conference devoted to the technology-curious storage and data management professional, including system engineers, professional services consultants, channel partners, and for the first time ever, NetApp customers. Cisco is an diamond level sponsor of the event and will have a very strong presence highlighting FlexPod, based on Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure and NetApp storage systems, Cisco ACI, and Cloud to more than 5000 attendees.  We have several planned activities throughout the conference week, including keynotes, boot camps, breakout sessions, booth demos and more. The events agenda is posted here.

The highlight of the event will be the Cisco keynote given by Rob Lloyd, President, Cisco Development and Sales on Tuesday, October 28th. Arrive early -- I am anticipating a full house for this presentation. As I FlexPod DCmentioned earlier, we have a lot of good information to share and will have breakout speaking sessions, boot camps, and speaking sessions that highlight Cisco and NetApp’s technology alignment, leadership, and partnership and raise awareness of FlexPod solutions and momentum.

A list of our boot camps, breakout sessions, and theater presentations is below:

Boot Camps:
• Evolution of Cisco UCS Portfolio
• FlexPod with ACI Infrastructure: Current and Future Directions

Breakout Sessions:
• An Application-Centric Approach to Managing Your Infrastructure
• Build the Next Generation Automated Data Center with Cisco 9000
• MetroCluster on FlexPod with the Nexus 7000
• FlexPod Solutions with Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI)
• Security on FlexPod Datacenter
• FlexPod Deep Dive

Expo Theater Presentation:
• Maximize Your Purchasing Power with Cisco Capital

Take advantage of this great opportunity to network with peers and stop by Cisco booth to learn about our products and solutions. I hope to see you in Las Vegas.

Do Your Own Self-Audit to Get the Most from the Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid cloud offers a key opportunity to businesses and other organizations.  Specifically, a hybrid cloud merges public cloud and private cloud resources.  Private clouds can either be premises-based or managed by a service provider.  By taking a hybrid approach, a company can dynamically extend the capabilities of its private cloud using public cloud resources.

Hybrid clouds offer many advantages over using just public or private cloud resources.  One of the most important is the ability to expand day-to-day operations in a cost-effective manner.  One method for using hybrid cloud in this way is described in the blog, “Do Your Homework Before Shopping for Hybrid Cloud Services” from our partner SungardAS.

Businesses begin by performing a self-audit of applications.  This includes identifying mission-critical applications.  Mission-critical applications are those that, if not available, could prevent an organization from functioning.  These applications are kept within the private cloud.

Less critical applications are those such as infrastructure services, messaging, collaboration, and database applications.  These may be candidates for moving to the public cloud.  In many cases, they can be maintained at a lower operating cost than an on-premises deployment.  In addition, applications in the public cloud can be easily and quickly scaled.  This gives organizations much needed flexibility and agility.  In turn, this enables organizations to act on market opportunities more quickly, giving them a powerful competitive edge.

Cloud applications can also be tightly integrated with network resources under a common management framework, such as those offered by SungardAS in partnership with Sigma Solutions.  This provides even greater flexibility as users move between virtual and physical environments.

With the right service provider, applications in the public cloud can be as or even more reliable than if they were in a private cloud.  For example, the public cloud uses resource pools to assure greater business continuity.  Consider if the server hosting your applications goes down.  In a private cloud, you may experience an interruption in service as your IT team addresses the problem.  With a public cloud, your service provider can move your applications and data to another server.  In many cases, users won’t even notice anything has out of the ordinary has happened.

Downtime is never convenient.  Which is why enterprise-class service is the standard for our partners who provide Cisco Powered services.  Even when an application itself isn’t mission-critical, the people using it may be performing mission-critical tasks.  Such tasks could include team collaboration to meet a crucial deadline or closing a sale with an important customer.

Hybrid cloud is already transforming the way we do business.  Want to learn more about how your business can take full advantage of the hybrid cloud from market leaders like Cisco, SungardAS, and Sigma Solutions?  Then click here for access to tools to help you, including the white paper, “The Compelling Business Case for Hybrid Cloud Services.”  You can also learn more about why Cisco Powered is the industry standard for cloud and managed services.

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OpenStack Juno: The Basics

Guest Blog by Mark Voelker, Technical Lead, Cisco

Today, the OpenStack@Cisco team is in a celebratory mood: OpenStack 2014.2 (“Juno”) has been released!  The 10th release of OpenStack contains hundreds of new features and thousands of bugfixes and is the result of contributions from over 1400 developers.  You can find out more about Cisco’s contributions to Juno here.  What’s more, in just a few short weeks we’ll be joining the rest of the OpenStack Community in Paris for the OpenStack Summit, where plans for the next release (“Kilo“) will be laid.  We think that OpenStack’s appeal has never been higher, and are excited to see continued growth forecast for the OpenStack market.  Since OpenStack continues to see new growth, we thought this would be a good time to take a step back and review a few basics for those of you that are just beginning to get acquainted with today’s dominant open source cloud platform.

First, a bit of history.  OpenStack was founded in the summer of 2010 as an open source project driven primarily by Rackspace Hosting (who contributed a scalable object storage system that is today known as OpenStack Swift) and NASA (who contributed a compute controller that is today known as OpenStack Nova).  The announcement quickly attracted attention, and in September of 2012 the OpenStack Foundation was created as an independent body to promote the development, distribution, and adoption of the OpenStack platform.  Since then, the Foundation has grown to over 18,800 members spanning over 140 countries and representing over 400 supporting companies.

Simply put, OpenStack is “Open source software for creating private and public clouds.”  Not only is it developed by a wide variety of corporate and individual contributors, it is also used by hundreds of companies (including Cisco!) for a variety of purposes.  You can find a sampling at the OpenStack User Stories and OpenStack SuperUser websites.  The software itself is a set of loosely coupled distributed systems comprised of several discrete pieces of software with a focus on supporting multi-tenancy and scalability for on-demand resources.  Whereas OpenStack originally contained just two major components, today’s integrated Juno release contains 11:

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