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Active Archiving with Big Data

Historical data is now an essential tool for businesses as they struggle to meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, manage risk and perform predictive analytics that help improve business outcomes. While recent data is readily accessible in operational systems and some summarized historical data available in the data warehouse, the traditional practice of archiving older, detail-level data on tape makes analysis of that data challenging, if not impossible.

Active Archiving Uses Hadoop Instead of Tape

What if the historical data on tape was loaded into a similar low cost, yet accessible, storage option, such as Hadoop?  And then data virtualization applied to access and combine this data along with the operational and data warehouse data, in essence intelligently partitioning data access across hot, warm and cold storage options.  Would it work?

Yes it would!  And in fact does every day at one of our largest global banking customers.  Here’s how:

Adding Historical Data Reduces Risk

The bank uses complex analytics to measure risk exposure in their fixed income trading business by industry, region, credit rating and other parameters.  To reduce risk, while making more profitable credit and bond derivative trading decisions, the bank wanted to identify risk trends using five years of fixed income market data rather than the one month (400 million records) they currently stored on line.  This longer time frame would allow them to better evaluate trends, and use that information to build a solid foundation for smarter, lower-risk trading decisions.

As a first step, the bank installed Hadoop and loaded five years of historical data that had previously been archived using tape.  Next they installed Cisco Data Virtualization to integrate the data sets, providing a common SQL access approach that made it easy for the analysts to integrate the data.  Third the analysts extended their risk management analytics to cover five years.   Up and running in just a few months, the bank was able to use this long term data to better manage fixed income trading risk.

Archiving with Big Data_Bank

To learn more about Cisco Data Virtualization, check out our Data Virtualization Video Portal.

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Measurable Efficiencies with FlexPod and Cisco UCS Director

Data center strategy is a critical part of business strategy. In fact, the ways and means of IT deployment make all the difference between an efficient, successful organization and an ineffective one. Therefore, to align and adapt quickly to the needs of business, IT is changing the delivery mechanisms of infrastructure resources. Part of the change is a shift towards integrated solutions.

In fact, integrated solutions such as FlexPod, account for more than 50% of today’s data center spend. They increase hardware utilization while delivering measurable efficiencies. FlexPod is a single infrastructure solution that contains Cisco UCS, Nexus fabric and NetApp cluster Data ONTAP storage. It delivers flexibility and lets you command and control the growth of your data center resources. FlexPod benefits are clear–but to gain the full potential of all of the inherent benefits IT organizations are doing more.

Enter infrastructure automation. Data centers everywhere are in the midst of a sea change as the benefits and efficiencies of automation, across hardware and human resources, are becoming increasingly apparent.

Cisco UCS Director automates your end-to-end IT processes across your FlexPod infrastructure within minutes. It abstracts the complexity of individual devices, hypervisors and virtual machines into a single management console allowing you to manage all of your FlexPods, even geographically dispersed, as a single system.

Watch this video and see how Cisco UCS Director and FlexPod can increase the efficiency of your data center.
Read More »

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Customers choose innovation : Cisco UCS is the # 1 blade server in the Americas

 Cisco’s First Trifecta

This week IDC released the calendar 1Q14 server market share tracker report, which is starting to generate press given the news that Cisco UCS has achieved the #1 x86 blade server revenue market share position in the US, in North America and in the Americas  - a “triple crown” right before the Belmont Stakes :-) Globe

We are understandably very proud of this achievement, and we’re taking time to celebrate. It was fun calling John Chambers to share the news, and to remind him that the team delivered on our commitment – to become #1 in blades in the US in 2014, and use that as the launchpad for our #1 world-wide campaign.

At the same time, it’s a humbling experience. We can argue about the meaning of market share numbers. They can be viewed as an indicator of momentum, they can be viewed as ephemeral, so what really is the meaning of being #1?

My interpretation is simple: Customers have a vote, and the market share numbers are an indication of the huge trust customers are placing on Cisco, not just on UCS. In 5 short years we’ve accumulated over 33,000 customers world-wide, including over 75% of Fortune 500 companies.  Contrary to competitors’ predictons, UCS is not a flash in the pan. It’s a reflection of Cisco’s ability to innovate in a way that drives tangible business outcomes for our customers. We struck a resonant cord when you consider innovations such as:

  • Architectural: Cisco delivered the first new innovation in x86 servers in over 10 years by inventing a new category, Fabric Computing, that proved ideal for server virtualization and private clouds.
  • Business Model: In addition to significant organic R&D investments, Cisco leveraged industry R&D much better than any of our peers. Whether they be infrastructure, operating system, applications, middleware or selling partners, we created an ecosystem that is fair, flexible and scalable. We created a business platform, not a technology platform.
  • Customer experience: Beyond UCS technology advantages, customers choose Cisco because of our commitment to customer relationships: our sales team’s demonstrated capability to understand our customers’ business and proactively propose transformational opportunites, and our support teams’ utter commitment to protecting business operations when issues inevitably occur.

As we set our sights on being #1 WW, I’d like to surprise readers by actually congratulating HP on being #1 WW; they’ve had the longest run at this coveted spot in the industry. We aim to capture this spot, and to hold it for longer, which we believe is eminently achievable given  we’ve achieved #2 WW by focusing on a subset of all available use cases and market segments. We have many opportunities, all of them well-funded and in execution, to drive expansion – new products, new business capabilities, more market coveraged, enhanced manufacturing, delivery and support.

So in essence, rather than admiring our recent #1 win in the Americas, we choose to view this as a call to arms, a rallying cry to accelerate our drive to #1 WW. Velociraptors unbound!

Lastly, a big THANK YOU to our customers, our partners and our entire value chain teams to demonstrate Cisco is serious about setting the state of the art in   computing. And I say this deliberately, because we are not in the server business. We are in the computing business, which is the business of optimizing application environments for performance and total cost of ownership – what our customers want.

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IDC Quantifies Massive Business Value for Data Centers Using ACI

At the recent CiscoLive event in San Francisco, Soni Jiandani, Senior Vice President of Cisco INSBU, expanded on the industry momentum for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).  She highlighted wide ranging customers and ecosystem partners that are discovering ACI’s architectural potential to drive enormous simplification of cloud and application delivery.

Now it’s possible to quantify ACI benefits in economic terms.  IDC has just completed an in-depth analysis projecting ACI’s three year return in one of the largest data center environments in the world, Cisco’s own IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS).

IDCPicNarrowBorder

Cisco IT runs over 4000 applications, on both virtualized and bare-metal machines, stores  40 PB of data and inspects over 27 TB of traffic daily. CITEIS is a private cloud environment integrating ACI for policy driven network provisioning and operations for a variety of dynamic workloads.

IDC points out that Cisco IT’s decision to use its Cisco ACI technology “was not a foregone conclusion — Cisco’s IT team uses many technologies and solutions from other vendors” to meet its primary responsibilities of improving company-wide productivity, security and asset utilization while reducing the risk of business transitions over time.  Now that “ACI testing and trial runs have been completed, the results yield detailed calculations of ACI’s impact on IT operations, including IT infrastructure spending, the efficiency of IT operations including application deployments, and the incidence of downtime.”

Specifically, IDC found “Automated provisioning in areas such as datacenter access (62.1% projected time savings), access control lists (53.0%), local server load balancing (55.5%), global server load balancing (72.4%), and fleet provisioning (58.0%) will be achieved through the creation and maintenance of provisioning templates.”  Cumulatively, this results in a 41% savings on both Opex and Capex, using a conservative bottom-up approach. IDC also quantified (20%) downtime reduction and (45%) power and space savings.  “IDC believes that the projections are well founded and that these benefits are of the type and scope that organizations can reasonably expect to attain by deploying a policy-based infrastructure solution.  IDC conducted several interviews with IT managers and analyzed “Before” and “After” metrics for common provisioning tasks as well as Capex reductions due to ACI’s dynamic isolation capabilities within a shared production environment.

According to Rebecca Jacoby, SVP and CIO, Cisco, “ACI’s policy based architecture will bring the promise of infrastructure programmability to the masses. It makes every datacenter operator able to effectively create policies that can be used, reused, and deployed in a much simpler and more efficient manner — and use the staff that is currently spending all their time in running the network and the security protocols, to do much more strategic things.”

Download the IDC analysis here.  And for a background of ACI’s architectural approach take a look at the white paper from Enterprise Strategy group.

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A New ESG White Paper: Accelerating Transformation with an Application-centric Approach

At CiscoLive San Francisco held last week, Soni Jiandani, Senior Vice President of Cisco INSBU, highlighted our continued industry momentum for Application Centric Infrastructure.  She discussed customer deployments, new ecosystem partners and the enormous simplification of cloud and application delivery.

So it’s timely to review both ACI’s architectural approach and get a first look at the actual business value that large customers expect from adopting ACI.   This two part blog introduces:

ESGwide

  • A new Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) white paper that explains the principles of ACI’s application-centric approach and how it helps data center teams keep pace with business agility, risk management and the need for resource efficiency.
  • An economic analysis from IDC showing the three year return on using ACI in one of the largest data center environments in the world, Cisco’s own IT Elastic Services.

In the first paper, Enterprise Strategy Group shows how the rise of mobile, social, and e-commerce applications are driving a fundamental IT transformation. Web 2.0, Big Data, and collaboration applications are built using a modular approach, leveraging Dev Ops and Cloud Ops models and consumed on traditional and mobile devices. These applications are far more dynamic than ever before.  Therefore, the supporting underlying IT infrastructure (compute, network, and storage), has to be more flexible and adaptable to their specific needs.

The paper explains how Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture provides a common programmable infrastructure policy model for enterprise network, application, security, and virtualization teams. Policy based provisioning of applications makes IT more agile in both application deployment and optimized operations.  It offers full visibility and integrated management of both physical and virtual networked IT resources, supporting an “application anywhere” model with complete freedom of application movement and placement.  In addition, through open OpFlex protocol, ACI’s policy-based approach can now be extended to a growing vendor ecosystem, allowing customers to protect their existing data center investments.

In the paper, Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst at ESG, addresses the following topics:

  • How applications are driving IT transformation
  • How infrastructure obstacles inhibit responsiveness to the business
  • A new approach in which there is a much tighter link between the applications and the underlying networking infrastructure
  • How Cisco ACI complements and accelerates the IT transformation in the networking space

Download the ESG paper here.  And stay tuned for the IDC business value analysis.

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