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Cisco Live 2012, San Diego – A perspective

Cisco Live in San Diego with a record breaking 17000 attendees was a blast, as you can tell from the video montage below.  I unwittingly ended up in the video for a brief second.

The tag line “What you make possible” was prominently displayed at the conference.  For me it was a great opportunity to talk to Cisco UCS users and partners who make a whole lot possible in their respective organizations.  The keynote by Cisco CEO, John Chambers featured moving a computation workload from a Cisco UCS server in the data center to an E-Series server in a branch office and it created a buzz.

In a customer appreciation event, I got to talk to a prominent service provider and Cisco customer who had been a user of the Cisco UCS when it was just introduced in the market three years ago.  We talked at length about how they wanted to set up a common server infrastructure for multiple services.  They would need a highly abstracted server infrastructure that can be managed with a programming interface and some serious automation. No wonder they chose to use Cisco UCS, which exposes an open XML API (Application Programming Interface) for infrastructure management.

On the closing day, I was in the Cisco Data Center pavilion where we gave a sneak peek of a new UCS management product, which will simplify large-scale multi-domain UCS deployments. Multi-domain here refers to multiple UCS Manager instances (each managing up to 160 servers) in a data center.  It will simplify monitoring and configuration management of large-scale deployments on a data center fabric.

One question that came up multiple times was around the benefits of using Cisco UCS Manager.  Since it is a key advantage of the Cisco UCS over other server platforms, it can be a lengthy discussion, but in a nutshell I would say that the UCS Manager provides the follows:

  • A unified highly available embedded management that integrates server, network, and storage access
  • Policy based management with Service Profiles and Templates that improve agility and reduce risk
  • Auto discovery to detect, inventory, manage, and provision system components that are added or changed
  • A comprehensive open XML API , which facilitates integration with third-party systems management tools
  • Role-based administration that supports collaboration across disciplines
  • Simplified BIOS and firmware management of UCS components

Check out the videos demonstrating Service Profiles and firmware management.

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