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Cisco UCS Servers – Making Ben Franklin proud

In my first blog post, I highlighted some of the benefits being seen by customers using Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) from Case Studies. In posts two, three, and four, I discussed reduction in cabling, provisioning times, and power & cooling in more detail. Today’s post will highlight three customers and their reduction in operating costs where, to quote Ben Franklin, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

EDIF Holding SPA– “We have reduced our operating costs by 75 percent while renewing the technology in our IT infrastructure, and we can now offer better continuity of service and a faster response to our customers.” Samuele Cerquetti, CIO

Seven Corners Inc.– “The system paid for itself in less than a year by recouping the more than $1 million the company had been losing annually due to network outages. The company also achieved a $475,000 reduction in operating costs within the first six months of buildout and saved $84,000 instantly by not having to renew software licenses on a number of virtualized servers.”

Avago Technologies – “Ordinarily, expanding from two to three data centers would be expected to increase operational costs by 50 percent. ‘Our operational costs will actually decrease by 40 percent when we expand from two to three data centers.’” Shreyas Shah, Senior Director, Global Information Technology

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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 6): What is a cloud architect?

On today’s episode, Cisco’s Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) and VMware’s Mike Laverick (@Mike_Laverick) discuss the roll of the cloud architect.

 

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Self-Service Arrives for Workload Automation – and Saves the Day

It’s close to 11 p.m. on the last day of the quarter in a large corporation. IT gets an urgent request to postpone a closing of the books process because there’s a large order stuck in the CRM system.

This means that the order won’t hit the books and be recorded as a booking.  The customer won’t get her order, the salesperson won’t get paid, and finance will show a missing number.

This generates an urgent call to the team that manages the workload automation platform: Hold the closing workflow!  Stop the presses!

The admins have to get to their console to find the job and pause it.  Not a huge deal, except there are thousands of jobs to be run and hundreds of business people calling on a regular basis, at all kind of hours.

Some customers have created help desks for their workload automation teams or they may even off-shore the call center to serve these kinds of requests.

No more.  Introducing self-service for workload automation.

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Nexus 1000V Free/Essential and Advanced Editions Now Shipping

After we announced the Free and Advanced Editions of the new Nexus 1000V release in October we were inundated with beta requests. Well, we are excited to announce that new version is now GA and available for download ahead of schedule. Note that this initial GA version currently runs only on VMware’s hypervisor, but versions for other hypervisors are coming.

Cisco’s newest release of the Nexus 1000V greatly improves the effort of installing, upgrading and managing the virtual switch fabric.  New management features like the vCenter plugin and vTracker help monitor the virtual network by both the system administrator and the server administrator.  The enhanced upgrade process and the intstaller app simplify deployments.  Redundancy across datacenters is greatly enhanced by the introduction of support for virtual supervisor module (VSM) pairs in remote datacenters.  Moreover, there is also an option in this release to extend the data center to branches, with support for branch virtual Ethernet modules (VEMs).

Nexus1000V is a feature-rich Cisco virtual switch that is now available in both Essential and Advanced editions.  The Advanced version has the option of an annual technical support contract for $174 per CPU socket. The no-cost Essential edition has the option of a technical support contract for $39 per CPU socket. These support contracts provide excellent Cisco TAC help, 7×24, providing all the help and advice needed for maintaining your virtual network environment.

Existing customers of Nexus 1000V who have already purchased a license for the 1.x release will automatically upgrade to the ver 2.1 Advanced Edition (see my earlier Freemium Edition Q&A post).  They can download the software from CCO and re-use their existing licenses. They will also be upgraded with the Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) license at no-cost.

Not only that, there are promotionally priced bundles of Nexus 1000V and the ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, starting at $2495 for 1 CPU (including Nexus 1000V Advanced Edition with VSG, ASA 1000V and Virtual Network Management Center).

In addition to these major benefits and new features, Nexus 1000V is the foundation for our programmable virtual network overlays within our Cisco ONE platform for network programmability. VXLAN, which we discuss a lot in this forum, forms the secure overlay tunnels, and the Nexus 1000V virtual supervisor module (VSM) will be programmable with OpenStack Quantum and other API’s in future releases as part of our SDN strategy.

As always, stay tuned to this space for more details, tutorials, tips and news on the Nexus 1000V virtual switch and Cisco’s virtual networking infrastructure.

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Cisco UCS Scripts – Tips Tools and Hexadecimal Math

As a homeowner I found that I am regularly involved in some sort of home project.  Typically that project will require a tool that I do not own, cannot borrow and usually wouldn’t rent because the rental would cost more than the entry level version of the tool that I may only use once.

Years ago my friend gave me this advice “Never buy cheap tools; it is almost always more frustration than the money you save.” However a while back I wrote a blog that was all about free tools that I use for developing code that interacts with Cisco UCS.

With software, there are some really great free tools out there and a little time spent checking out free stuff can yield goodness. This blog is a few tidbits of free tools and suggestions for your development efforts.

First up, autohotkey, what is it you ask? Let’s examine a scenario that comes up pretty regularly in UCS Server management, KVM access, where’s the Cut-n-Paste? You cannot paste into the KVM but AutoHotKey will emulate keystrokes and mouse clicks. Additionally AutoHotKey will locate windows by title and bring them to the foreground, has programmatic logic capabilities, and can be compiled into distributable scripts as execuatables.
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