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The Truth about Cisco UCS Server Service Profiles and Templates

Cisco Unified Computing System Service Profiles and Templates contain over 127 different server identification and configuration settings.  These identity settings are abstracted from the physical server and stored in the UCS Domain where they can be leveraged automating and speeding deployment while reducing errors. Today, this Cisco innovation is still unique in the industry. The reality is that no other server vendor can offer the level of hardware abstraction that Cisco provides with UCS Manager using Service Profiles and Templates.

Unlike Cisco, other vendors must rely on many different tools and methods that are cobbled together to manage their servers.  For some, it can take up to six different tools to configure a subset of what Cisco can do with one and most of these tools are at an additional cost.

Are you concerned about systems management and how it impacts your total cost of ownership (TCO)? Here are some fair questions to ask your current vendor:

  • Can your software templates manage both rack and blade servers using a single tool and interface?
  • Are your templates and profiles limited to specific models and only certain generation of servers, requiring different templates or tools for the same settings for servers from different generations of the same server model?
  • Is server firmware truly integrated into a single tool and supported by policies and profiles?
  • Do the tools use only proprietary orchestration and automation software to manage the infrastructure or does it support an open interface like XML?
  • What is the licensing model – how much is the additional cost per server or per blade chassis to fully manage server profiles, updates to firmware, BIOS, and integration with other tools?

If you have more than one domain, UCS Central will manage them extending all the benefits of UCS Manger globally. You can leverage your templates and profiles across all servers regardless of location.

If you’d like to have a more in-depth discussion on this topic, contact your Cisco account team or Partner.

Want to learn more? Take Cisco UCS Manager for a test drive.

Convinced? Buy now and save with Cisco UCS SmartPlays.

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Introducing Nexus 6000 Series – Industry’s Highest Density Layer 2/3 40 Gigabit Fixed Switch

The evolution of the applications environment is creating new demands on IT and in the data center. Broad adoption of scale-out application architectures (i.e. big data), workload virtualization and cloud deployments are demanding greater scalability across the fabric. The increase in east/west (i.e. server-to-server) traffic along with the higher adoption of 10GbE in the server access layer is driving higher bandwidth requirements in the upstream links.

Following up on the introduction of 40GE/100GE on the Nexus 7000 Series, today we unveil the new Nexus 6000 Series, expanding Cisco’s Unified Fabric data center switching portfolio in order to provide greater deployment flexibility through higher density and scalability in an energy efficient form factor.  

The Cisco Nexus 6000 Series is industry’s highest density full-featured Layer 2 / Layer 3 40 Gigabit data center fixed switch with Ethernet and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) – an industry first!In addition to high scalability, Nexus 6000 Series offers operational efficiency, superior visibility and agility 

Some say “Nexus 6000 Series is a red carpet platform that will turn heads”. We agree! It’s because of …

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Microsoft SharePoint 2010 with Microsoft Hyper-V on Cisco UCS

SharePointLogoRecently our UCS Engineering team published this Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Cisco Validated Design (CVD). This validated reference architecture describes the performance of a medium-sized SharePoint farm using Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor on our Cisco UCS Rack Servers in a three-tier architecture – web, application, and database.

A load generation framework developed by the UCS Solutions SharePoint engineering team at Cisco performed the load tests and measured the performance metrics while keeping the required response time less than the requested one second service level. Our CVD shares the test results and provides guidelines for better understanding the performance impact of different SharePoint workloads. It also assists in sizing and designing the best farm architecture to support different workloads and recommends the best infrastructure elements for an optimal SharePoint implementation.

Also, this CVD delivers detailed information on how the recommended farm architecture supports up to 20,000 users with 10 percent of the total users working concurrently. It describes how to achieve possible sub-second response time and highlights the performance benefits of the Cisco Servers. The virtualized SharePoint Server 2010 small farm was deployed on multiple virtual machines hosted by the Cisco UCS Rack C240 M3 Servers, using Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 R2 with Microsoft Hyper-V™ instead of a conventional solution deployed on physical servers. The SharePoint Server 2010 medium farm whitepaper describes how it was built and configured on physical servers.

Learn more on Cisco’s solutions for SharePoint, Exchange, SQL, Hyper-V and more @

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A Cloud Management Solution You Can Believe In, Or Better Yet, Bank On

Guest Blogger: Yair Dolev (@CiscoCloudY) brings extensive experience in enterprise application development and management of advanced data center virtualization technology products to Cisco’s Cloud and Systems Management Technology Group. Prior to Cisco, Yair was Director of Product Management at data center automation authority Tidal Software, and managed the groundbreaking Azul Virtual Machine products at Azul Systems, which enabled data centers to run large Java workloads on highly scalable, optimized hardware. 

In my last blog entry, I told you about some of the most fundamental new concepts in Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) v3.1 and how they help address top-of-mind issues for our customers. This time I’d like to address a matter no less significant.

At the core of every cloud initiative there always lurks a concern about the sustained viability of such a comprehensive transformation – and this applies to adoption of a new cloud operating model as well as to the deployment of the new technology required. It boils down to two things: trust and cost. Can I trust that this solution will still fit me in the future, and how much will I really have to pay for this fit?

One of the things I really like about Cisco IAC is that it’s built around a core software platform that allows for an amazing level of flexibility and extensibility. Our software can be configured and adapted to closely fit what your IT organization wants to offer to meet your unique business needs. The user portal can be made to look different and behave differently for a variety of users, and it can enforce your organization’s policies and controls. The orchestration engine is adaptable to model a wide range of customer processes, and it’s extensible to communicate with other IT operations management software, OSS/BSS tools or infrastructure systems. Our solution can be extended beyond infrastructure services, to encompass a broad range of IT and business services at the platform and application layer (more on this later). The best news is: you can protect the investment you made so that the changes persist through future product updates. Let’s review some of these key capabilities:

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Calculate Savings Instantly with our RISC/UNIX to Cisco UCS Calculator

IT managers are looking for proof that new solutions deliver significant benefits and superior value before they commit to a migration. A TCO/ROI calculator is a great tool to help make those infrastructure planning decisions. The new Cisco UCS RISC/UNIX Migration TCO and ROI Calculator provides a quick, simple tool for IT managers to understand the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and potential Return On Investment (ROI) of migrating an existing RISC server infrastructure to the Cisco Unified Computing System.

Simply input your company, server, software, systems administration profiles and the desired Cisco UCS solution to receive an ROI analysis. The ROI analysis presents the business case results for the proposed Cisco UCS solution compared to the current RISC/UNIX server environment over a specified analysis period. Key financial metrics including the Investment, Total and Annual Benefits, Return on Investment (ROI), Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and the Payback Period are produced. A Microsoft Word or PowerPoint document can also be created to share the results with team members and management.

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