In the previous article we looked at some of the physical characteristics of building a SAN extension. In other words, we looked at the different ways there are to “build the pipe.” We didn’t, however, get the chance to talk about the speed or capacity of the pipes, nor did we talk about the various methods to fill the pipe with SAN data.
In this article, we’re going to look at the first of four specific methods of how we can extend SANs across distances using those pipes: “Native” Fibre Channel (FC). Understanding how FC works becomes critical for understanding how distance solutions are resolved using the technology, and that in turn leads us to understand how something like Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) differs.
Afterwards, we’ll take a brief look at how the pieces fit together and are part of the process for building a strong solution. Read More »
Tags: distance, FC, FCoE, Fibre Channel, Storage
I have heard this a lot over the years, in one way or another – “The only price that really counts is what I actually pay for my server.”
Alright, so why bother with a TCO analysis? The truth is that server acquisition costs only contribute 20% (or less) to a 3 year server TCO. Management and other OpEx costs contribute the remaining 80%. If you go to 5 years, the acquisition cost starts to fade into obscurity.
There are a number of studies you can find online that call out server acquisition cost at 15% to 17% of TCO, or even less. One is an Information Week report that quotes a 2007 IDC study. The Information Week article is very good, with multiple sources and definitely worth a read. Since 2007 there have been myriad improvements in processor performance, as well as, server and architectural innovations (Cisco UCS). All of these supply ample rationale for a low CapEx component for Server / Data Center Total Cost of Ownership, see the figures below.
[The WW Server Related Spend… chart is from IDC, “New Econmoinc Model of the Datacenter”; IDC 2011] [Only the graph is from the cited source, the table is my analysis of the numbers presented by the graph.]
Summary of the figures above:
Server purchase spend and associated power & cooling spending is flat (red and green bands above)
Physical server management cost is the down (blue aband bove)
Virtual server management cost are way up and increasing (orange band above)
Read More »
Tags: blade server TCO, capex, Cisco UCS, data center, data center TCO, opex, server, server architecture, server TCO, UCS
Ivy Bridge comes to UCS!
As Paul Perez reminds us in his evolutionary metaphor for our industry, time marches on, and today brings another tick of the clock. Many of you may be familiar with the development cadence that Intel maintains to carry forward the exponential burden of Moore’s law. By way of explanation for the uninitiated: the “tock” of the clock brings a new microarchitecture, the “tick” brings a new process technology, often referred to as a “die shrink,” which wrings out more efficiency and computing density from the platform. When we launched UCS M1 series servers back in 2009 we picked up with the “tock” of Nehalem processors. Over the past four years we “ticked” into Westmere, then a “tock” into Sandy Bridge, and now today, a “tick” into Ivy Bridge on our M3 systems. Ivy Bridge is the program name for the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 v2 product family, which ushers in an unfathomable 22 nanometer process (three dimensional transistors!) and as many as 12 cores per processor for workstations and mainstream servers. This week Cisco is introducing support for these new processors as options on our existing B200, C240 and C220 M3 servers and as upgrade kits for systems already in the field.
Cisco’s implementation of this technology is superior. There is ample evidence to support this assertion: this weeks news includes 7 record-breaking application benchmark wins for UCS, and we’ve seen 81 of those since the introduction of UCS just four years ago. Taking a look at the results posted today for the v2 family, Cisco is dominant, with more #1 results than any other server vendor. Why is the system so fast? It’s partly an outcome of the mechanical design advantages in compute density and airflow that come with a Unified server architecture. Further advantage comes from high performance physical and virtual I/O found in the ASIC-level innovation of Cisco SingleConnect Technology. Don’t settle for imitations.
We like to say that Cisco and Intel are “Joined at the Chip,” because the innovation each company brings is incredibly complimentary. Cisco’s innovation in the data center is an extension of the company’s historic focus: connecting things. Cisco Unified Data Center and products like UCS are the outcomes of our drive to connect the pieces. When we join forces with Intel’s leadership at the computing core, customers see an unbeatable combination.
There are immediate gains with this new processor family and the way it is implemented in UCS, both in terms of performance (as much as 48% faster) and efficiency (35% improvement.) These are crucial elements in reducing operating costs and supporting the new computing models that rely on powerful virtualization, encryption and security technology. But this foundation is just the beginning of the story.
The operational elements of IT are where customers face their biggest challenges. This is where the majority of innovation in UCS is focused. If record-breaking application performance is the icing, operational innovation for IT is the cake: with UCS customers reporting an 84% reduction in provisioning times and 61% reduction of ongoing administrative/management costs.
Introduction of this latest Intel technology on UCS also supports Cisco’s advancement of integrated infrastructure solutions with ecosystem partners: most recently, two new Cisco Validated Designs for high performance server virtualization for EMC VSPEX with Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere, which incorporate next generation EMC VNX storage
Taken altogether, customer demand for UCS is changing the shape of the industry: Cisco is ranked #2 world-wide in x86 blade server revenue market share, with 33.9% share in the US, and a top 5 ranking among server vendors overall.
And as we’ve seen in other news today, UCS technology is very much on fast forward, along with Intel’s, so don’t let the tick tock from traditional server OEM’s lull you to sleep.
On September 10th, 2013 Cisco introduced support for the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 v2 product family on the Cisco UCS B200 M3, C240 M3, and C220 M3 servers. On the same day as the Intel announcement Cisco captured seven world records on industry benchmarks on Cisco UCS to highlight the breadth of Cisco’s product line and the way in which Cisco can accelerate performance across the data center— on enterprise applications, Java application servers, desktop virtualization, and raw CPU power.
As we know, there is no better way to compare performance than by using industry-standard benchmarks, and with seven new world record performance benchmark results Cisco has demonstrated Cisco Unified Computing System’s outstanding performance and IT productivity across key data center workloads. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the seven new Cisco UCS world record benchmarks. The detailed benchmark disclosure reports are available here.
Cisco UCS delivers versatility with performance leadership across a wide range of workloads, enabling customers to eliminate infrastructure silos historically driven by unique application needs. The performance leadership across a wide range of workloads provided by Cisco UCS is validated by the seven World records announced this week which include:
It is interesting to note that although all vendors have access to same Intel processors, only Cisco UCS unleashes their power to deliver high performance to applications through the power of unification. The unique, fabric-centric architecture of Cisco UCS, with exclusive Cisco SingleConnect Technology, maximizes Intel innovations and as a result Cisco UCS with the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v2 family delivered up to 48 percent better performance over the prior generation of Intel Xeon processors as shown in the graph below:
So the momentum continues…In four short years, the Cisco UCS has captured over 81 world records for performance and IT productivity taking its place among the most trusted server vendors on the market. Check out the Cisco Unified Computing System™ 81 World-Record Performance Results.
The architectural advantages of a single cohesive system optimized for virtualized environments coupled with the industry leading performance validated by World Record Industry-Standard Benchmarks makes the Cisco Unified Computing System an “infrastructure platform of choice” to provide industry-leading performance in your data center. Don’t forget to check the excellent blog by Todd Brannon at http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/tick-tock-goes-the-server-clock
These world-record performance results further reinforce the fact that Cisco is not just selling servers—it is re-inventing the server market. For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.
Sr. Product Marketing Manager
Unified Computing System
Tags: Cisco UCS, Cisco UCS Performance, Performance Benchmarks
Our first SecureDC twitter chat created some great industry dialog around security for Software Defined Networks (SDN) as well as using SDN to improve security. SDN is going through a similar hype cycle as seen with cloud and we feel that it’s important to focus more on education now and broader collaboration, so that users can benefit from the tremendous potential SDN holds.
More Education, Less Buzz
We kicked off our conversation by asking what are the most pressing issues around SDN were. @Joltsik, Principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, felt that users are confused with so much buzz, yet there’s little in the way of education.
@Raj_Samani, Chief Innovation Office at the Cloud Security Alliance and CTO at McAfee, went one step further indicating that greater transparency is also needed. However, @Jgreene3rd, Technical Lead for Data Center Security Technologies at Intel, noted that the upside of buzz is that it drives greater demand for availability, which in turn fuels education.
SDN and Improving Security
@KenSBeck, Principal Engineer at the Cisco Security Technology Group Office of the CTO, led an interesting discussion on how APIs for programming the network at network speed will allow security intelligence to be much more dynamic and eventually part of the network itself. @shl_eax_1, Technical Lead Engineer at Cisco Security Technology Group Office of the CTO, further noted how global visibility of the network hastens the speed with which security issues get resolved.
@fsmontenegro elaborated on how SDN security can enable more intelligent, granular and efficient response, and that SDN improves security by adding policy exceptions at the network layer with redirect flow. @vernonxt, SVP for ICT Research at IDC, honed in on SDN enabling better policy management. @AndiMann, Vice President at CA Technologies, speculated with automation enabling embedded policy and preventing random changes, shouldn’t SDN be able to do the same.
SDN Impact on Regulatory Compliance
@alokmittal65, Chief of Staff for the Cisco Security Technology Group Office of the CTO, stressed the need for auditing, logging and monitoring of policy change events.
@Raj_Samani also noted that with greater proliferation of devices, the ability to achieve greater attestation on the endpoint becomes more challenging. @KenSBeck drew attention to leveraging network awareness of user, geo location, and device as contextual elements that can make attestations much more meaningful.
@KenSBeck, our host from the Office of the CTO at Cisco, closed with words of advice and a hint of what is in store.
Keep the dialog going! Follow us on @Secdatacenter #SecureDC and join the conversation on LinkedIn Secure Datacenter Trends. For additional SDN resources, be sure to register today for our SDN Learning Seminars.
Tags: Cisco, data center, SDN, security