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Deliver SQL Server Performance on Cisco UCS

October 8, 2013
at 1:09 pm PST

Guest blogFrankCicalesePic by Frank Cicalese, a Technical Solutions Architect with Cisco, who assists customers with optimizing their SQL Server workloads on the Cisco Unified Computing System. Before joining Cisco, Frank worked at Microsoft Corporation for 10 years, excelling in several positions, including as a Database TSP.

The Cisco Data Center team is looking forward to engaging with the SQL Server community next week in Charlotte at the PASS Summit 2013. Whether you implement SQL Server on blade or rack servers, Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), with its integrated architecture and centralized management model, can greatly simplify server deployments and improve operational efficiencies.

Franks Session Title SlideI’ll be doing a deep dive on the advantages of SQL Server on UCS, in my presentation at the PASS Summit 2013:  SQL Server Reference Architectures on Cisco Unified Computing System [DBA-211]. I’ll be providing the details on two important reference architectures for SQL Server including: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Fast Track for Data Warehouse and SQL Server Consolidation Using Cisco Unified Computing System and Microsoft Hyper-V. My session will be on Thursday, October 17th, at 1:30 PM in room 202 A-B.

Cisco UCS provides unique benefits and advantages as you plan to deploy, manage, and scale your Microsoft SQL Server workloads, including:

  • Centralized Management
    • UCS Manager, the embedded management software in UCS, allows server administrators to configure server hardware in a centralized manner and enables standardization of server configurations in the enterprise.  UCS Manager achieves this through its implementation of Service Profiles.  Service Profiles contain the identity of a server.  The UCS servers themselves are stateless and do not acquire their personality (state) until they are associated with a Service Profile.  This stateless type of architecture allows for the re-purposing of server hardware dynamically and can be utilized for re-introducing failed hardware back into production within five to seven minutes.  Service Profiles can provide considerable relief for SQL Server administrators when re-introducing failed servers back into production. Service Profiles make this a snap!  Just un-associate the Service Profile from the downed server, associate it with a spare server and the workload will be back up and running in five to seven minutes.
    • For more information on Cisco UCS Manager, please visit:  http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns944/at_a_glance_c45-522983.pdf
  • Simplify & Standardize Deployment
    • Since every server in UCS that is serving a workload requires that a Service Profile be associated with it, Cisco UCS Manager provides the ability to create Service Profile Templates which ease the administrative effort involved with the creation of Service Profiles.  Server administrators can configure Service Profile Templates specifically for their SQL Servers and foster consistent standardization of their SQL Server implementations throughout the enterprise via these templates.  Once the templates are created, Service Profiles can be created from these templates and associated to a server in seconds.  Furthermore, these operations can be scripted via Cisco’s Open XML API and/or PowerShell integration (discussed next) simplifying the deployment process even more.
    • For more information on Service Profile Templates and Service Profiles, please visit:  http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/ps10265/ps10280/solution_overview_c22-522755.html
  • Manages Workloads Efficiently
    • Cisco UCS has very tight integration with Microsoft System Center.  Via Cisco’s Operations Manager Pack, Orchestrator Integration Pack, PowerShell PowerTool and Cisco’s extensions to Microsoft’s Hyper-V switch, administrators are able to monitor, manage and maintain their SQL Server implementations proactively and efficiently on Cisco UCS.  Additionally, Cisco’s PowerTool, with its 1,400+ cmdlets, can help to automate any phase of management with System Center.  All of this integration comes as a value-add from Cisco at no extra cost.
    • Please visit  http://communities.cisco.com/ucs to download and evaluate Cisco’s Operations Manager Pack, Orchestrator Integration Pack and PowerShell PowerTool.
  • Highest Consolidation Ratios
    • Cisco UCS provides large amounts of compute and memory per standard rack unit and it does not stop there.  On other blade systems, companies implementing large, virtualized SQL Server workloads often find their systems do not have enough I/O to service the workloads and must resort to adding more blades and/or ports to their environment.  This risk is reduced considerably on Cisco UCS due to its implementation of converged adapters.  The  Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card 1280, 1240 and 1225 adapter cards have the ability to expose up to 256 NIC and/or HBA devices to a host and can provide between 20 Gb (1225) to 80 Gb (1280/1240) of network throughput.  Network and storage bandwidth is paramount for successfully consolidating SQL Server workloads and these highly innovative adapter cards from Cisco make UCS a very attractive server platform for virtualized SQL Server workloads.
    • For more information on Cisco’s Virtual Interface Cards, please visit http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps10277/prod_models_comparison.html

Hope to see you in my session at the PASS Summit. I’ll also be available in booth 300 to answer any questions you may have.

For more information on Microsoft solutions on Cisco UCS, please visit:  http://www.cisco.com/go/microsoft. For more information on Cisco UCS, please visit:  http://www.cisco.com/go/ucs

 

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