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Cisco UCS in the Private Cloud

As an early convert to the virtues of Cloud computing, it is fascinating to see the adoption of the ideas.  Most organizations if not all, are figuring out how to harness cloud technologies to their advantage.   It is interesting to get a perspective from an analyst who talks to users on a regular basis or better still find out what similar organizations are doing.   In a few recent conversation with Mike Spanbauer, Industry analyst at Current Analysis, Cisco Executives, Jim McHugh and Brian Schwarz discussed several topics. One of topics was “Private Cloud”, highlighting the opportunities and challenges that adopters face.

When harnessed cloud technologies should therefore help users reign in IT costs and chaos while helping IT better align with existing business needs.  It should also help IT scale up and down services with changing business needs.  Common use cases for deploying cloud technologies are elasticity, flexibility, normalization and simpler management to address a heterogeneous infrastructure for varied workload demands.  Cloud infrastructure addresses the short-term bursty nature of application development and test very well.

Cisco UCS is an innovative server platform uniquely positioned to help adopters succeed with cloud technologies. The converged server and network infrastructure is a necessity when everything is connected to the cloud. The need for scaling up and down rapidly is enabled by the programmability of the system.  Software configuration of the server with its LAN and SAN connections helps in the reliability and time to value of the server infrastructure.  This is possible with the service profiles supported by the Cisco UCS Manager. Service profiles also help normalize and abstract the physical infrastructure to meet the needs of varying workloads.  The recent release of Cisco UCS Central and the API makes large scale globally distributed infrastructure deployment possible. With virtual machines enjoying direct access to the network with the Cisco VM-FEX technology users can take advantage of server virtualization and get optimal network performance.

And of course, it is very important to see how industry peers are using the Cisco UCS to solve the very challenges Cloud adopters face. Tune in to a webcast on December 6 at 9:00 am PST  to hear from Cisco UCS customers Xerox and FICO Corporation, about how and why they used it in their Cloud environments.

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Xerox uses Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) as a Foundation for Cloud

Who doesn’t know the Xerox company ? As long as I can remember, Xerox products have always been part of my professional life . In fact, even before working for a company, I used a Xerox machine.

Originally known worldwide as a print and copier innovator, Xerox today has established itself as a leading business process and document services company, delivering popular solutions that include Xerox Managed Print Services (MPS) and Xerox Cloud Services.

On December 6 , at 9:00 am PST , Xerox Delivery Officer, MPS Technology Tom Force will join Forrester Analyst James Staten (@Staten7) as well as Jeff Hanson  and Rick Schlander , IT engineering leads at FICO Corporation to discuss with Cisco VPs Satinder  Sethi and Jim McHugh(@JimMcHugh) how to maximize the value of cloud by making the right architectural choice. You don’t want to miss this one hour highly educational webcast ! 

In fact, after registering, and before joining us for this unique webcast, you may want to have a quick look at the Xerox cloud story , which is pretty remarkable!

“The Xerox MPS global delivery centers consisted of static rack servers that were difficult to scale due to multiple hardware configurations. The centers were also reaching capacity, causing concerns about poor response speed that could slow transactions and worsen system reliability resulting in outages. As a service relied on by businesses worldwide, Xerox MPS needs to offer a 24-hour service and could not afford downtime. “ Sounds familiar ?

“With its years of experience providing outsourcing services to customers, Xerox also expanded into the cloud with services beyond printing and print management. Xerox Cloud Services started with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) before adding backup, disaster recovery, and mobile device management. With excellent features and services, Xerox Cloud Services is growing rapidly as a service that not only provides backup and storage, but also runs mission-critical applications for customers.”

So did you like this story ? Are you interested in getting more details on infrastructure capabilities that will allow you to achieve the full potential of your cloud deployment ?

Read More »

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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 10): Get Help for Your Home Network

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, VMware’s Mike Laverick (@Mike_Laverick) confesses on air that his home lab is a mess and he needs help. Good news, Cisco’s Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) to the rescue! No VLANs? No problem. Let’s watch and see what Josh suggests.

Sound familiar? Suffering a similar problem? Contact us (@CommsNinja) and we might solve your problem on-air.

Mike Laverick and Josh Atwell address Mike's home lab situation.

Mike Laverick and Josh Atwell address Mike's home lab situation.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Questions for Mike or Josh? Join the conversation on Twitter. Follow @CiscoDC to stay up to date on all the news.

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Cisco IAC Availability, Scalability, and Geographic Distribution

When building a cloud, scale it out.

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud architecture and topology options enable scalability, availability, and geographic distribution. This white paper discusses several options, their strengths and uses, and the technical details underlying these options.”

Cisco IAC Availability, Scalability, and Geographic Distribution White Paper is available in the Cisco support community (log in needed)

Here’s an excerpt:

 

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) is a software-based solution for managing hardware infrastructure tasked with delivering various IT services as-a-service (XaaS). Cisco IAC provides configuration “content” to help customers rapidly deploy service-delivered, self-service enabled IT services on certain hardware architectures. Consulting services from Cisco Advanced Services or Cisco delivery partners can use the IAC infrastructure to create custom services for customers. This white paper discusses the software underpinnings of these services and options for deployment that provide scalability and resilience for large enterprises or service providers.
The major platform products which make up IAC relevant to a scaling and resiliency discussion are:

  • The Cisco Cloud Portal – The dynamic, tailored end-user web site where customers and administrators can browse available services and options, and order new services or changes to existing services. This element consists of a web tier which interacts with the browser to expose the Portal UI and an application tier which includes the Portal and Service Catalog. The Service Catalog provides the menu of available services, including new-service and update-service requests, as well as definitions and configurations for roles, business rules, dynamic form rules, and entitlement.
  • Cisco Process Orchestrator  – The delivery engine that makes the Move/Add/Change/Delete (MACD) changes to the steady-state configuration of the computing, network, storage, and application infrastructure (“Infrastructure”) needed to deliver the requested new service or service change. Orchestrator processes automate workflows which interact with applications, systems, and devices in the environment.
  • A database stores configuration, state, and runtime information from the above systems.
  • Cisco Network Services Manager (NSM) Server – a specialized engine for network provisioning. Cisco Network Services Manager’s policy-driven approach allows clouds to be created within single or multiple network Points of Delivery (PoDs), each with potentially different and unique offerings and operational behaviors.
  • Cisco NSM Controller – a local element near network devices within a network PoD which performs direct device interactions to achieve network provisioning at the direction of the NSM Server.
  • Cisco Server Provisioner – provides bare metal provisioning (remote installation) of an OS or hypervisor on a physical or virtual server, as well as bare metal imaging for system cloning and backup.

 

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Cisco Nabs Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards

Each year Windows IT Pro announces their Editors’ Best and Community Choice awards recognizing the hottest  products in the world of Microsoft. The Editors Best award highlight products that the Windows IT Pro editors and contributors believe are worthy of recognition. The Community Choice awards lets the Windows IT Pro readers from around the world decide which products are the best.

For 2012 Cisco was honored with 5 awards – covering Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Our Catalyst switch took home Gold in the networking category with Cisco’s Technical Support organization winning Silver. We wrapped up this medal trifecta with a Bronze for our UCS server family.

The Windows IT Pro awards complement our June 2012 Best of Tech Ed award for UCS Manager and when combined together they show the breadth and depth of our capabilities for our Microsoft server and workload solutions.

Read more on the awards and recipients here. To learn more on Cisco and our offerings for Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server please visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

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