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Cisco, NetApp & Microsoft – FlexPod validated with Microsoft Private Cloud

February 23, 2012 at 6:00 am PST

NetApp and Cisco continue to innovate and deliver new popular FlexPod solutions.  These pre-designed and pre-tested Data Center infrastructure offerings are built on a unified architecture comprised of Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp storage with Data ONTAP.

We’re pleased to announce FlexPod validated with Microsoft private cloud, a new offering which brings the benefits of the FlexPod architecture to Microsoft Windows Server and Hyper-V environments with System Center integration.

Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft applications such as Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, and VDI are key workloads we often find in our customer’s UCS installations. UCS provides an optimum compute solution for these Microsoft applications delivering an agile, simple, and efficient Data Center platform. Please visit the FlexPod validated with Microsoft Private Cloud site here to learn more on how Cisco and NetApp are enabling your journey to the Microsoft Private Cloud.

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Intelligent Automation + UCS = The Right Choice for your SAP Business Warehouse Accelerator

Cisco Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) is no longer sold. For more information on this product, please contact John Stone (johnasto@cisco.com).

In-memory computing has been cited as one of the top technologies for 2012, SAP has introduced exciting new solutions based on this technology, and it is clearly part of the future of Business Intelligence (BI). But if you’re evaluating SAP BI solutions, what hardware systems are right for you today and in the future?

Maybe you recently acquired a license for SAP’s BusinessObjects Explorer and Business Warehouse Accelerator software. Maybe you want to prepare your data center for next generation in-memory computing databases like SAP HANA, but you’re not quite ready to invest in it yet.   Maybe you know that you need an appliance to run it in your data center and are evaluating options.

The BI landscape is complex, and many organizations aren’t quite sure how to integrate new BI technologies into their enterprise roadmap while reducing risk. In response, Cisco’s Intelligent Automation software team partnered with our UCS team to offer an SAP-certified appliance for BW Accelerator and other BI solutions.

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Cisco SANs: Where do you begin?

February 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm PST

I spent two weeks over at the Ask the Expert forums, and I came to the realization that often our customers are bombarded with facts, figures, speeds, feeds, features, buzzwords, comparisons and functionalities for which they’re not sure which ones they must have while others they can live without or are a convenience.  So I figured I’d toss out what I think are the top features for building an MDS Storage Area Network.   Some may be obvious and others you might shake your head or light up the torches.  They’re not in any particular order as your mileage varies from mine.  I’ll probably skip those that are obvious like “hot swap power supplies” and other oh so exciting abilities…

The first set I usually refer to as the holy trinity of features as they constitute the foundation of the connectivity… VSANs, Port-Channels and TE Ports.  They’ve been around literally forever on the platform and for good reason, they’ve been part of the hardware’s DNA since it’s inception.  Additionally, if you walk down the hall to the folks that manage your LAN, you’ll find out that they’re using pretty much the same concepts and features as you (VLANs, Port/Ether-Channels and Trunking or 802.1q).  So, if those guys are managing hundreds or thousands of switches and routers, there’s probably something worthwhile here.   It’s also a pretty good chance that they are using them for the very same reasons that you are:

  • VSANs: Isolation of fault domains.
  • Port-Channels: High Availability and load-balancing of InterSwitch Links (ISL)
  • TE_Ports: The ability to run multiple VSANs over the same ISL leveraging frames tagged with the VSAN ID and enforced in hardware.

Next on my list is NPV Mode aka N_Port Virtualization.  I grew up in the era of 16 port SAN switches and like rabbits, they multiplied, and so did their domains, and don’t get me started on the upgrades…  You had top of rack designs that involved dozens of small switches and this tsunami of small switches was slowed down by the emergence of the high density directors with hundreds of ports, first 128 then 256 now over 500.  Lots of small switches met their demise..

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Nexus 1000V Responding to Scale Requirements with 10,000+ Ports per Virtual Switch

February 16, 2012 at 10:45 am PST

At Cisco Live London 2012, we announced that the Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switch (DVS) architecture will scale to support 10K+ ports across hundreds of servers.  This is a multi-fold increase over our current support of 2K ports and 64 servers.  What is driving the need to scale?  Two reasons: More VMs and broader VM mobility.

The number of VMs is growing leaps and bounds in data centers and cloud computing environments, which in turn is driving the need to scale virtual switch ports.  Depending on who you ask, we have already reached or are about to reach the tipping point where 50% of enterprise workloads have been virtualized.  In most IT environments today, you get a VM by default for computing needs; to run an app on a bare metal physical server requires special approval.  And needless to say, Moore’s Law continues to drive dense multi-core CPUs with extended memory architectures – thus enabling many more virtual machines to be instantiated on a single physical server.  We have seen UCS customers deploy 10 – 30 VMs per server for production workloads, and 50+ (in some cases 100+) VMs per server for non-production workloads and virtual desktops.  Increased adoption of public cloud computing resources, as well as growing deployments of private clouds in enterprises is also rapidly increasing the VM count.  Also, customers often assign multiple vNICs per VM, e.g. a NIC for data traffic, another for management, a third for backup and so on.  These factors are contributing to increased demand for virtual Ethernet (vEth) ports on the Nexus 1000V DVS. Read More »

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Accelerating Customer and Partner Success with VXI and VMware View

Did you catch the news today?  As Cisco and VMware continue to collaborate in transforming virtual desktops into virtual workspaces, we reached an important milestone – an agreement to sell VMware View 5 software as part of an integrated VXI offer to our customers.  Read More »

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