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Cisco APIC Makes Best of Interop 2015 Finalist


With Interop less than three weeks away, we are excited to learn that Cisco APIC, the SDN controller for our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric, has been selected as Best of Interop 2015 Finalists  in Software Defined Networking (SDN) category. As you may recall, when we announced ACI back in Nov 2013, we mentioned that APIC would be the software controller for the application-centric policy model, and would be available in Q3, CY 2014. In a short span of less than a year, APIC has gained broad industry adoption with more than 300 Customers either deploying or in production already.

Interop Vegas, is a great venue to unveil more aspects of the ACI fabric, the policy model, and key APIC features. If you aren’t going to be in Las Vegas the last week of April, now may be the time to start making plans as we gear up for some exciting ACI news and events, and  hopefully bringing home this Best of Interop award.

But wait, there’s more…

If you are not familiar with ACI or APIC yet, let me take the opportunity to tell you about APIC and why I think it is a finalist for the Best of Interop.

The Cisco APIC is the unified point of automation and management for the ACI fabric and health monitoring. The Cisco APIC is built with open APIs and an open application-centric policy model designed to simplify the provisioning, monitoring, and management of applications across the data center. Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a fabric architecture with centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles designed to make the infrastructure highly responsive to the needs of applications, while significantly simplifying the data center and cloud operational model.


The Cisco APIC is built on the SDN principles of an extensible/programmable centralized controller, standardized north-bound API’s, a protocol for communicating with and orchestrating data center devices and network nodes, and  features and agents within the network infrastructure to support the controller’s policy model and respond appropriately.

The Cisco APIC uses an application-centric policy model rather than network-centric SDN policies that do not adequately reflect business requirements. Cisco ACI is an open ecosystem of management, services, and security partners that incorporate best-of-breed solutions across physical and virtual infrastructures. Customers have a choice of flexible workflow automation and orchestration solutions on top of APIC and the ACI fabric, including OpenStack, VMware cloud automation solutions, Microsoft System Center, Cisco UCS Director, and more, rather than being locked into a specific automation model.

The APIC software is delivered on turn-key UCS C-Series server appliances, so the user out-of-box experience is simple.

Apparently these stellar traits weren’t lost on the Best of Interop judges as it made it to Finalist status.  We sincerely hope this bad boy brings home the prize too – stay tuned for more excitement to come.

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FlexPod Datacenter with Microsoft Private Cloud — A Premier Integrated Platform for Mission Critical Microsoft SQL Server Implementations

This guest blog was authored by Frank Cicalese and contains summarized content from various articles that can be found on Cisco and NetApp’s sites. 

Untitled5Frank Cicalese is a Technical Solutions Architect with Cisco’s Data Center Architecture Team helping customers globally with their Microsoft solutions on Cisco UCS. Frank also worked at Microsoft for over 10 years in several positions that required deep technical knowledge such as Services Consultant, Platform Architect, Database Technology Specialist, Virtualization Technology Specialist and Datacenter Technology Specialist. Frank has in-depth technical knowledge and proficiency with database design, optimization, replication and clustering and has extensive virtualization, identity and access management and application development skills. He is also a writer member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers with published musical works that have aired on well-known cable and news networks.



Cisco and NetApp have been teaming for several years developing the FlexPod solution portfolio. This portfolio includes architectures that combine NetApp storage systems, Cisco Unified Computing System servers, and Cisco Nexus fabric into an architecture that provides a highly efficient operational model for workload deployments. This architecture is capable of hosting mission critical SQL Server implementations and is capable of providing them with the required throughput and availability for even the most demanding business requirements.

Recently, Cisco and NetApp contracted Scalability Experts to implement a performance and load test that proves my claims in the above paragraph beyond any doubt in my mind.

Scalability Experts, for readers who may not be familiar with them, is a triple Gold Microsoft Partner, and highly awarded consulting company specializing in Data Platforms, Business Intelligence and Infrastructure Solutions. Scalability Experts conducted the performance and load testing over several months using real world workloads. More information on Scalability Experts can be found at

The purpose of this performance and load test was to validate that FlexPod is a premiere platform for the most demanding applications. This performance and load test implements a real world gaming workload on Microsoft SQL Server 2014. Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate Edition was used to generate and run the performance and load tests. For more information about Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate Edition see More information about Microsoft SQL Server 2014 can be found at

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UCS at Collaborate 15: Simplify, Save, Increase Efficiency and Redefine the Word “Hardware”

I’m looking forward to Collaborate 15 where thousands of attendees travel to Las Vegas to learn, meet and improve their skills and understanding of Oracle databases and applications.   One of the main areas to see improvements in reliability, speed and cost of  Oracle database is the upgrading of server hardware.   Cisco UCS Servers and UCS Integrate Infrastructure offer Oracle customers’  a number of unique upgrade, benefits.  These hardware improvements are here today from Cisco, and its name is UCS.

#CiscoUCS takes the cake for performance in all Oracle environments. Learn about it at #Collaborate15

A video posted by Cisco Data Center & SDN (@ciscodc) on

Thousands of UCS Oracle customers around the world over have benefited as Cisco UCS has seen its server customer base increase from zero to over 41,000 in a little more than 5 years.   In fact, Cisco UCS servers have grown extremely fast in nearly every dimension.

Growth of UCS Servers

UCS Over Five years

Please stop by Cisco booth 1003 and see why customers are making the switch to UCS.  Learn why hardware really isn’t the correct word for a UCS server; a better description is software-abstracted hardware.  UCS will allow you and your organization to think differently about what the word hardware means and the differentiators it provides. Differentiators like:

  1. UCS SingleConnect Technology – save money with this dramatic simplification of your server connections.
Simplicity and Cleanliness of a Unified Cisco Approach

UCS SingleConnect Technology

  1. UCS Service profiles – fully automate provisioning and deployment of servers with this one-of-a-kind server abstraction, it abstracts server hardware in software. See why one historical analogy to UCS Service profiles is the assembly and its large productivity benefits:
Analogy to UCS Service Profile Benefits

Analogy to UCS Service Profile Benefits

  1. UCS Manager Programmability -unique ability to plug in and script into higher-levels tools like Oracle Enterprise Manager or Microsoft System Center.
  1. UCS World records: 37 in Oracle workloads and 100+ overall World Records

UCS architectures and these differentiators deliver significant benefits to your organization like:

  1. Save on Oracle licensing costs
  2. Increase server availability dramatically
  3. Decrease server deployment errors
  4. Automate at new, granular parts of your sever infrastructure
  5. Cloud-proof your future infrastructure needs

In addition, take these UCS Server benefits to the next level with UCS Integrated Infrastructure, combining UCS Servers, Nexus switches and UCS Director with your storage vendor of choice. UCS Integrated Infrastructure plus

  1. UCS Integrated Infrastructure + NetApp Storage = FlexPod
  2. UCS Integrated Infrastructure + EMC Storage = Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX or Vblock
  3. UCS Integrated Infrastructure + HDS Storage = UCP
  4. UCS Integrated Infrastructure + IBM Storage = Versatack
  5. UCS Integrated Infrastructure + Nimble Storage = SmartStack

UCS Integrated Infrastructure BDM_overall_slide_ 1_17_15_V2

UCS offers it all, less money, higher productivity, increased agility and integration with your storage vendor of choice.  Please stop by booth 1003 and learn how to save allot of money with just a few minutes of your time.

In addition, Cisco also offers other ways to share, learn and inform with Collaborate 15 attendees:

  1. Preconference boot camp on Oracle Virtualization and Licensing on April 12th. Dave Welch, CTO and Chief Evangelist with House of Brick Technologies will be joined by Cisco’s John McAbel for a 4 hour deep-dive to help you plan your Oracle deployments and lower licensing costs. Here’s a secret registration tip, send an email to to add the bootcamp to your schedule.
  1. Participation in the Women in Technology Cisco is proud to sponsor the Women in Tech Luncheon on April 13th. On April 15th, Cisco Distinguished Engineer, Judy Priest will be participating in an inspiring panel of women for an engaging conversation on their personal experiences and strategies for success.


Gartner’s Latest Point of View on BI, Analytics and Big Data

Over the past six weeks I participated in three Gartner BI and Analytic Summits in Sydney, London, and most recently Las Vegas.

I love going to these events, as they are a great opportunity to:

  • Stay abreast of the latest trends through the lenses of the Gartner analysts who cover BI, analytics, data management and integration, and big data.
  • Evaluate how Cisco’s Data and Connected Analytics Portfolio addresses market needs today and how we need to evolve our portfolio to meet tomorrow’s requirements.
  • Catch up with many friends including Gartner analysts, industry peers and most importantly, our customers.

Let me share my takeaways. Read More »

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Cisco UCS Mini – Powering Microsoft Applications

Since Cisco UCS Mini launched last September, Cisco and our partners (Citrix, EMC, Microsoft, NetApp, Nimble Storage, Oracle, SAP, and VMware) have been hard at work putting together a wide variety of solutions.

On the way to tradeshow week (May 4th), I’ll be doing a brief blog series on UCS Mini tied to these shows.

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