Outside of that large, black, monolithic machine in the middle of the datacenter referred to as the mainframe, there aren’t that many servers that require as many network and storage connections as the backup server. It’s not really sexy, it’s not computing Pi, generally doesn’t run a hypervisor and is bought with one goal in mind, move data. Not just some data, but a lot. These machines often move all of the data in your datacenter off of disk and onto tape, either real or virtual. In many datacenters, these backup servers are sometimes the only non-x86 platforms left due to their ability to contain high numbers of HBAs for SAN connectivity and NICs for network connectivity. They’re like the tractors of the datacenter. Read More »
It’s no secret that Cisco Unified Computing Sytem (UCS) has had some tremendous success in terms of customer adoption. In just three short years, UCS is nipping at the heals of IBM for the #2 spot for Worldwide x86 blade server revenue with 15.2% market share, compared to IBM’s 15.4%. In fact, Cisco now has over 15,000 customers that have moved from legacy architectures to a more “Unified” approach, combining compute, network and storage access into a single, easy to manage solution.
So what’s missing?
Well, believe it or not, until now it was relatively hard to do business with Cisco. Quoting and ordering took days instead of minutes. Well Cisco is changing that with the release of its new online presence called “Cisco Build and Price“, offering direct access to blade server pricing and rack server pricing.
VMworld last week was a great success for Cisco (well, if you don’t count the #v0dgeball challenge). Leading up to the show we announced that the ASA 1000V cloud firewall was shipping, we announced a new major release of the Nexus 1000V virtual switch, and a new version of our Virtual Network Management Center.
Talking to customers is always the best part of the show, hearing what their challenges are, and positioning our technology to fit their needs. On Wednesday, I met up with Paul O’Leary, an Infrastructure Specialist with the international law firm of King & Wood Mallesons. Paul is a big fan of the Cisco Nexus 1000V and shares why his networking team loves it so much, and how it consistently saves them time in managing their network policies.
We showed Paul some of the features coming out in our next release, like the vCenter plug-in, and vTracker for viewing statistics on the virtual fabric, et al., and he was really excited. Anyway, Paul was good enough to let us share his thoughts with you rather spontaneously, so without any further ado, let’s roll the video:
But wait, there’s more… Read More »
I had a customer ask me last week what differentiated our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution. He had reviewed many of the vendors in the space of private cloud software stacks including some of the virtualization vendors and was somewhat impressed to see that overall the industry was making progress in building out these solutions. He did have a nagging thought in the back of his head that going with many vendors meant he was getting a “prefabricated” cloud experience much in the way prefab homes are offered.
His management wanted a private cloud, wanted it fast, but was not sure exact what a private cloud would look like or how it would operate. His enterprise had specific needs, whether they be naming conventions for VMs or physical servers, or any number of integration points into 3rd partner products. What his company really wanted was a home built to their specific needs for their private cloud. This did not mean a fully custom house, but something that could use standard components (think of all the standard construction components we use now a days) to build a designed to spec home.
This did not mean they needed high end digs right away but the ability to start in a pragmatic way and to enhance, extend, and build upon that first home. This requires an underlying framework that can be used to build a company’s first pragmatic cloud and to grow up, much like my 63 year old house in its fourth remodel over the years. The basic platform is present, we are just making much needed changes to support the needs of 2012.
After we got on the same page about clouds and why he would want to build his companies 5-10 year strategy of cloud on an extensible framework, we moved on to the composition of the solution: product license, Cisco TAC support, and Cisco Advanced Services. Given a clear business driver for the private cloud (such as in-sourcing of rogue VMs in the cloud, or driving infrastructure support of elastic business needs, or leverage Cisco network functionality for multi-tenancy) the financial conversation resulted in a positive outcome for both sides. Of note was that building this individual’s Enterprise Private Cloud means that he was going to consume a good amount of Cisco Advanced Services. To him this was a good thing as he was leveraging the knowledge and experience of the Cisco team to build and configure his cloud to start out and to scale out. Just like when I am building a new great room in my house, I want the best people figuring out structural loads, making construction recommendations for extensions and to build out those special design features.
That is the thing about REAL private clouds, they need effort to configure it the way your company wants to operate it.
It’s been a busy week as Cisco has been active with Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 launch activities around the world. We’ve spoken with customers at events in Toronto and New York City with many more in person and digital events to go…
While the week’s focus was on Windows Server 2012 and the datacenter, I thought I would orient this post on how our UCS server family architecture is already benefitting customers in their own Microsoft focused environments. Below is a snippet of metrics, all from publicly available Cisco case studies, and they each demonstrate how Cisco UCS not only advances your data center forward technically but also drives efficiencies in OpEx and CapEx budget spend:
- 97% – Young America. Increased their server virtualization rate from 20% to 97%.
- 80% – National FFA – This nation-wide organization significantly per server reduced management time.
- 70% – Secure 24 – U.S. based service provider saw a tremendous reduction in datacenter cabling.
- 66% – Microsoft – One of Microsoft’s Redmond, WA based datacenter achieved double digit power savings.
- 40% – Human Kinetics – Illinois based health and lifestyle firm recognized a large reduction in server acquisition costs.
- 12 weeks to 10 minutes – ING Direct (Australia) – Large financial firm experienced a drop in the time needed to provision a new banking environment.
- 2 Days to 2 hours – Volunteer State Community College – Tennessee based college improved the time required to deploy a desktop for students.
- $1,575 to $80 – Slumberland – Mattress retail firm in the U.S. achieved a reduction in per server management cost.
Cisco’s UCS server family, as well as our other datacenter assets such as our Nexus switch family and Cisco Advanced Services, support the full range of Microsoft environments – Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, and VDI. For virtualization, we’re hypervisor agnostic, too so Hyper-V, VMware, etc. are equally supported. Bottom line is Cisco technology will help create a better datacenter for you while also being friendly to your OpEx and CapEx budget spend.