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VDI “The Missing Questions” #2: Core Speed scaling (Burst)

Welcome back as we continue to dive deeper into advanced CPU (Central Processing Unit – I had a “tech writer” change a document on me one time, he assumed at this day in age that people still needed to have the CPU acronym translated.. but I digress) and Memory concepts in the land of VDI. Last week Doron answered our first question and told us about Core Count vs. Core Speed for scalable VDI. This week we will focus specifically on Core Speed, bursting and introduce you to a potentially new subject called “SPEC Blend/Core” for high performance VDI. If you are just finding this blog post for the first time, I encourage you to check out the Introduction from Tony as it will help set the stage for our discussion. Here is the full table of contents:

  1. Introduction – VDI – The Questions you didn’t ask (but really should)
  2. VDI “The Missing Questions” #1: Core Count vs. Core Speed
  3. VDI “The Missing Questions” #2: Core Speed Scaling (Burst)  YOU ARE HERE!
  4. VDI “The Missing Questions” #3: Realistic Virtual Desktop Limits
  5. VDI “The Missing Questions” #4: How much SPECint is enough
  6. VDI “The Missing Questions” #5: How does 1vCPU scale compared to 2vCPU’s?
  7. VDI “The Missing Questions” #6: What do you really gain from a 2vCPU virtual desktop?
  8. VDI “The Missing Questions” #7:  How memory bus speed affects scale
  9. VDI “The Missing Questions” #8: How does memory density affect VDI scalability?
  10. VDI “The Missing Questions” #9: How many storage IOPs?

You are Invited!  If you’ve been enjoying our blog series, please join us for a free webinar discussing the VDI Missing Questions, with Tony, Doron, Shawn and Jason!  Access the webinar here!

VM’s are only as fast as their individual cores! Lets look at what this statement means. Example: Assume we have a 1GHz x 4 core processor (hey, it makes math easy for me). When we carve up a server VM or in this case a VM to be used for VDI, we can’t just give it 2 vCPU’s and say it’s got a 2GHz processor. The reality is that it has a dual 1GHz processor. This becomes an important concept in VDI when you are considering the quantity and QUALITY of vCPU’s you allocate to a Virtual Machine and ultimately the end user applications efficiency and the overall scalability of the server platform. This is not a Uni-processor vs. Multi-processor application discussion. We could easily have a very long discussion and debate on the in’s and out’s of application level efficiencies and the Operating Systems ability (and sometimes inability) to properly manage multiple CPU’s. We are going to expand upon the two CPU’s we tested and dig into per core performance.

CPU Burst vs. CPU Reservation. Let’s play around with our example 1GHz x 4 Core Processor a bit more. If we take this single processor and deploy 8 single vCPU desktops on it we will have a 500MHz CPU reservation per VM. The calculation for that is simple 1GHz x 4 Cores = 4,000MHz / 8 total VM’s = 500MHz/VM Reservation. So the Reservation is simply the average amount of CPU that is available to each VM (assuming everything is prioritized equally). But our Burst is different. Our Burst represents the maximum amount of CPU Core that any one VM could ever utilize. In this example, the Burst per VM is equivalent to 1GHz.

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Cisco Launches Nexus 1000V InterCloud – Part 1

In a recent post, I previewed some new hybrid cloud market research from Forrester that spoke to the business drivers and technical hurdles to cloud integration, and Shashi Kiran  has recently posted about lowering the barriers to hybrid cloud adoption. Today, as part of a larger cloud technology launch, Cisco is announcing a new hybrid cloud solution, Nexus 1000V InterCloud.

One of the fundamental capabilities for the world of many clouds is the ability to link various cloud environments into a single extended fabric with consistent capabilities, operations and management.  While previous Unified Fabric innovation has focused on physical/virtual consistency of the DC fabric, this announcement brings that consistency to the cloud. This new technology from Cisco extends the existing networking capabilities, L4-7 services and manageability of your enterprise into public and provider clouds to create a single consistent, reliable, predictable environment for all your physical, virtual and cloud workloads. This secure and seamless degree of integration to the hybrid cloud frees you to run and move applications where it makes the most sense, on-demand, without compromise.

[Note: Join us for a Live Announcement Webcast February 5: Register Here]

Cisco Nexus 1000V InterCloud

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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 @ www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

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