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They want a cloud real fast, just not sure what exactly it should look like or how it should function…..

I have talked to many enterprises that want a private cloud; also service providers that want to build a public cloud based upon Cisco UCS / Nexus.  They all would like to get to their first generation of cloud very quickly.   We have many conversations on infrastructure to use, the right choice of hypervisor, and what use cases to start with.  Today I talked to a customer of our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud that wants a differentiating end user portal.  Everyone can spin up a VM, but how to do it in a way that will drive adoption and new business, whether it is for the enterprise or service provider?  How do we do this at a cost and a timeline that meets the needs of the business and the CIO.

These are not lightweight concerns.   I have seen many data center automation projects that focused too much on the provisioning and not enough on the end user experience.    The Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit at Cisco has been involved with many customers building private and public clouds with our software stack.  This includes Cisco IT’s very large private cloud deployment based upon our software.  The two services they deployed:  CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services) Express and CITEIS VDC (Virtual Data Center) has received broad acclaim.  Watch the following videos by Jamie MacQuarrie of the Intelligent Automation team on these two CITEIS Services.

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UCS: Over 10,000 Served

January 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm PST

This month we’re marking a special milestone… there are now 10,000 UCS customers worldwide. The natural question becomes: what’s driving this phenomenal growth? How could this possibly have been predicted?

The best explanation of snowballing UCS adoption is found in customer results. Lest we forget, adopting a new platform in the data center is not a decision undertaken lightly in IT, but word has spread in the industry about the real world benefits UCS is delivering. More and more customers are taking a look and liking what they find. It’s an admittedly bold statement to say UCS has changed the economics of the datacenter, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not marketing hype. We’re hearing from customers who are reporting all-in savings in the range of 40% on the cost of computing. Travelport, for example, conducted a deep dive TCO analysis of their pre/post UCS world and here is how they are seeing their data center economics change over the next 5 years:

Cost Category Cisco Environment Prior Environment Dollar Savings Percentage Savings
Hardware Capital $7,406,982 $9,747,500 $2,340,518 24%
Power and Cooling $915,468 $2,947,273 $2,031,805 69%
Server Administration $162,255 $1,151,945 $989,690 86%
Hardware Maintenance $301,194 $585,749 $284,555 49%
TOTAL $8,785,899 $14,432,467 $5,646,568 39%

 

The savings stem from a variety of sources: lower capex as the platform efficiently scales, dramatically reduced administrator time, density/ power savings and reduced SW licensing costs as more workload lands on fewer servers.  It’s cumulative and powerful.   If you want a firsthand look at the TCO/ROI impact UCS can make in your data center, check out our calculator; with 5 minutes you can get a ballpark estimate.

Economics aside, UCS just seems to make people happy.   I had a customer declare that his infrastructure was now “CTO proof.” He went on to explain that this meant the boss could deploy a server by himself without breaking anything. The infrastructure team let their CTO take a B-series blade straight out of the box, insert it into a chassis slot, and as the system identified and integrated the new resource into the available pool, they congratulated him on his first server deployment.

Beyond economic impact and increasing happiness in the data center, it doesn’t hurt that you can drop the clutch and put serious power to the ground in application performance.   In December Cisco posted TPC benchmark results that surpassed existing records by as much as 32% in raw performance and 26% in price performance.  This brings the total number of UCS world record results to 54 since introduction in 2009.

10,000 customers and growing, and it’s no wonder why.

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Forrester Report on Virtual Security Adoption in the Data Center

January 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm PST

Forrester logoForrester Research released this week a new Technology Adoption Profile (TAP) report on Virtual Security in the Data Center. The research report, which was commissioned by Cisco, asked enterprise data center owners how they were currently addressing security and compliance issues on their virtual applications, and how they anticipate incorporating new technology going forward.

Table 1 - Virtual Security Drivers

Figure 1. Security continues to lead the challenges and concerns of new virtualization projects.

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Cisco UCS Demonstrates Enterprise Performance for RISC/UNIX Migration Opportunities

January 17, 2012 at 10:54 am PST

Benchmarks can be invaluable when it comes to making a decision on whether to migrate mission-critical applications, especially those benchmarks that are frequently referenced by enterprise IT organizations when making decisions about which platform to use as their Oracle Database. The TPC-C benchmark is often referred to as the flagship server benchmark that measures online transaction processing (OLTP) performance by simulating a complete compute environment where a population of users runs transactions against a database. In many instances online transaction processing is critical to business operations and the systems that run these applications must have high performance and be reliable.

Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS™) servers, combined with Oracle Database software, recently delivered a result with outstanding performance and leadership price-performance versus 2-socket RISC/UNIX platforms. The Cisco UCS C250 M2 delivered more than four times better performance that an HP Integrity rx6600 with 78% lower price-performance and 16% better price-performance than the IBM Power 780.

In an era in which IT budgets are shrinking, the high costs to rollout and support applications based on RISC/UNIX systems becomes more and more unappealing. This new TPC-C result is just another example of how Cisco UCS can deliver performance that businesses require for their enterprise applications at lower costs.

I urge you to check out our RISC/UNIX Migration Program page for additional performance briefs, case studies, white papers, and migration guides.

FHRP – Egress Path Optimization from the Server to the Client

I previously discussed using LISP to optimize your client-server traffic so today I’ll discuss the reverse direction: Egress Path Optimization from the Server to the Client. Let’s go over the need for Path Optimization in the direction from Server-to-Client with some pictures and explanations.

The Virtual Machine (VM) server is configured with a default gateway IP address, 192.168.1.1, which is the next hop IP address that the VM will forward packets towards as the traffic returns to the client outside the data center.  In this data center environment, we’ve deployed the default gateway using the First Hop Redundancy Protocol (FHRP).  In reality, FHRP is an umbrella technology term that includes Hot Standby Routing Protcol (HSRP) and Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP), two main technologies that provide transparent failover and redundancy at the first hop IP router.  Please see info on FHRP here.

Also notice that the VM default gateway is the same as the HSRP Virtual IP Address (VIP). The HSRP VIP binds itself to one of the physical HSRP Routers via an HSRP election process using Layer 2 control packets between the two physical HSRP Routers and this means that the VM default gateway, since it points to a VIP, may move between physical HSRP Routers, and of course which is then intent and design when using any type of FHRP.

In the above picture, the Path is Optimized from Server to Client, so now let’s take a look at what happens when we migrate the VM to the new data center.

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