Interop 2013 took place last week in Las Vegas from May 6-10 and despite wireless connectivity at the Mandalay Bay being dreadful, #Interop 2013 was very well received by customers, partners, and analysts. Our booth location was ideal, and we were situated in between Huawei and HP. This made for interesting conversations as attendees went from booth to booth looking for giveaways.
I wanted to share some of the highlights and buzz from the show. For a complete photo album, please visit our facebook channel
See Jacob Rapp and Robb Boyd discuss Unified Fabric trends in the Data Center
Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms – Flexibility and Choice with Architectures That Fit
I recently had the opportunity to host several customers in a roundtable discussion, exploring their experiences in deploying desktop and application virtualization, the challenges encountered, and the benefits they’ve reaped. It was an engaging dialog with organizations spanning mid-market, enterprise to large service provider environments deploying either Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon View desktop virtualization software. In case you missed it, you can check out the event here. I mention this because it provides a valuable backdrop to some important news Cisco is sharing today, centered on helping IT organizations (like those I met with) more quickly achieve success in VDI.
Over the last few years, Cisco UCS has rapidly established itself as a leader among competitors with a much longer history in the server marketplace. Why is that? If you talk with anyone who’s implemented UCS in their data center, they’ll instantly tell you about the operational streamlining and simplification that UCS Service Profile Templates offer, the value of a unified data center fabric for LAN and SAN, and the performance derived from a platform that was purpose built for highly scalable, virtualized environments.
It should be no surprise then, that when organizations evaluate their options for server infrastructure to host virtual desktop workloads, the same UCS core value proposition extends nicely to desktop virtualization – the benefits of which are multiplied, in fact, given that virtual desktops can consume infrastructure resources and capacity in unique ways compared to other mission critical enterprise applications. We’ve therefore seen great response from our customers (as demonstrated in our webinar/panel discussion) when it comes to the fitness of UCS in hosting virtual desktops.
What we’ve come to find through our customer’s experiences, is that the vendor marketplace has traditionally taken a one-size-fits-all mentality around VDI architectures that either forces organizations to overspend CAPEX on approaches that are tuned for much larger environments, or wrestle with an economized approach that results in poor desktop user experience. Clearly, there’s a spectrum of IT implementation use cases that apply, when we’re talking VDI. Persistent desktops vs. floating, SAN in place vs. greenfield, one-hundred seats vs. tens of thousands, etc. so one size will never adequately fit all!
For this very reason, we’re expanding our portfolio of desktop virtualization solution architectures, along with the ecosystem of technology partners who are helping us accelerate the path to VDI success for environments of all sizes. While Cisco enjoys a strategic relationship with NetApp and EMC, we’re now offering desktop virtualization solutions that also include technologies from partners such as Nimble Storage, Nexenta, Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, Tegile and others in process.
With these partners’ technologies come new capabilities that exploit key trends in the VDI and data center marketplace, including the proliferation of flash-based storage solutions, and appliance based approaches that mitigate the need for embedded SAN infrastructure and expertise (especially in smaller environments). Additionally, unlike our competitors who are narrowly focused on their own storage portfolio, Cisco can offer our customers the flexibility and choice they desire in selecting the storage technology and solution for VDI, that best fits their environment.
I encourage you to learn more about this exciting new portfolio of architectures by checking out the assets below.
Today Cisco is introducing an expanded architectural portfolio and partner ecosystem in support of our successful desktop virtualization solution built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). Cisco UCS market traction has been phenomenal over the last 3 years. In fact, desktop virtualization has been one of the top workloads deployed on UCS as IT organizations apply the benefits of our stateless, simplified operations model, expansive I/O, and scalable performance to desktop workloads in the data center. Combined with unique product integration and the software eco-system partners such as VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, Cisco has delivered a number of reference designs with our strategic storage partners such as EMC and NetApp. Typically, these architectures were based on designs that easily scale from supporting a few hundred virtual desktops to thousands of desktops.
We have seen an inflection point with the perfect storm of the evolution of storage options, desktop software maturity, and data center architectures. One of the important changes in the storage market is the emergence of flash storage to address performance problems.
Taking advantage of enhanced UCS features and expanding the eco-system of storage partners including Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, LSI, Nexenta, Nimble Storage and Tegile, Cisco is defining a broader portfolio of data center architectures for delivering desktop virtualization solutions – on-board architecture, simplified architecture and scalable architecture. “Converged” or “Unified” infrastructure stacks such as FlexPod and vBlock have, and will continue to be another successful option for desktop delivery infrastructure. Let me walk you through each of these architectural approaches.
Cisco continues its cloud computing performanceleadership with the announcement ofVMware® VMmark™ 2.5 benchmark result published on May 9th 2013. The Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server’s score of 12.00@10 tiles on the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark represents the best cloud computing performance of any 2-socket server in a 2-node configuration as measured by the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark
The VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark uses a tiled design that incorporates six real-world workloads to calculate a virtualization score. Then it includes VMware vMotion, Storage vMotion, and virtual machine provisioning times to calculate an infrastructure score. The combination of these scores is the total benchmark score.
The system used to achieve this performance included the Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server powered by Intel® Xeon® processors and an industry-leading approach to storage: a Cisco UCS server-based Fusion‑io ION Data Accelerator solution that turns the server into a storage system. The Fusion-io ION Data Accelerator turns Cisco UCS servers equipped with Fusion-io ioMemory into highly available, transparently scalable, shared storage appliances.
With this world-record-setting VMmark 2.5 benchmark score of 12.00@10 tiles Cisco UCS has delivered the best cloud computing performance of any 2-socket server in a 2-node configuration as measured by the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark outperforming solutions from AMD, Dell, Fujitsu, and HP. Whether a virtualized data center or a public or private cloud is needed, this VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark result indicates the degree to which the Cisco UCS can accelerate applications while delivering virtualization and infrastructure performance and agility for cloud computing environments
Better infrastructure yields better performance. With innovations such as unified fabric, large memory capacity, expansion capabilities, and the low-latency performance of Fusion-io ioMemory and ION Data Accelerator software, Cisco’s results demonstrate the architectural advantages of a system built for virtualized environments.
VMware VMmark is a product of VMware, Inc. The comparative results cited in this document were available at http://www.vmmark.com and were valid as of May 9th, 2013..
We handed out a stack of these buttons for the Cisco booth staff to wear this year and that sums up my favorite part of EMC World: it’s an infrastructure party. This is a place where you’re going to talk with people at the heart of the data center and IT, and the conversations all start there.
Our alignment with EMC couldn’t be any clearer than what we had on display last week. VBlock continues to rock and roll and Trey Layton of VCE summed that up quite nicely here. On the VSPEX front, Cisco recently released 7 new and updated integrated infrastructure designs that combine UCS, Nexus and VNX Storage. Moreover, Cisco offers these as single-part-number SmartPlay Solution Pak bundles that make them even easier for our partners and customers to order. Cisco’s VSPEX offerings span the gamut on choice of virtualization platform and application, paving that second of the three paths to cloud we talked about at EMCworld.
On a product front the big news for Cisco was the new MDS 9710 and that brought a lot of visitors into the booth. I was also really happy by the amount of people that came by to talk with us about UCS and the things we’re doing around data center automation. Each year the conversation has changed and the evolution has been fun to experience:
Customer: “What’s that funny looking switch there?”
Me: “That’s the Unified Computing System, are you familiar with Cisco’s new server platform?”
Customer: “What? No, really, what’s that funny looking switch there??”
Customer: “Do you have any UCS on display here? Our team in XYZ division just deployed it and I’d like to take a look”
Customer: “Hey, I really like what you folks did with the switch-based Fibre Channel zoning in the last release of UCS Manager. When does version 2.0 of UCS Central come out? We’re deploying UCS in three more data centers and I want to talk about implementing global ID pools”
Me: “Fantastic. Let me find our systems management expert.”
I speak geek pretty well, so when customers come in and want to go deeper than I can on operating the system instead of asking me “Cisco sells servers?”…I know we’re in the right place and on the right vector. Thanks to the EMC and Cisco teams for putting on such a great event.
I’ll leave you with a photo here for a caption contest. Leave your ideas in the comment section and try your best to keep it clean. My first take is “I loved EMC World 2013 thiiiiiiiiiiiis much!”