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Just what we need on Cyber Monday – Cisco UCS Central

Total (consumer) spending for the (Thanksgiving 2012) weekend reached an estimated $59.1 billion, a 13% increase from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation.  Online spending on Friday alone topped $1 billion for the first time, according to the data-analysis firm comScore Inc.

We can analyze the seasonal patterns of traffic by studying the Alexa reports such as the one below for different retailers.  In the case of walmart.com the holiday traffic is 400% the average during the year.  It remains to be seen how much more the traffic would spike today – Cyber Monday 2012. It is clear that retailers like Walmart need the ability to scale up the e-commerce infrastructure during the holiday season.

A retailer’s e-commerce infrastructure would include software applications, middleware, server, network and storage resources.  Virtualization technology has made scaling of e-commerce applications easier.  However, virtual machines can only start on physical servers after they are racked, stacked and necessary network and storage access components have been properly configured.  The preparation of the physical infrastructure is still mostly a manual task, unless they are using something like the Cisco UCS.  The Cisco UCS Manager embedded in the system, handles the simplified configuration.  With large environments (thousands of servers) infrastructure management software such as Cisco UCS Central becomes increasingly important. Cisco UCS Central, which simplifies compute infrastructure scaling, became generally available last week.   With it, physical compute infrastructure management can now be policy based and automated.  This in turn can increase the velocity of changes and reduce the possibility of errors while scaling rapidly.  This blog by Steve Kaplan and the short video below give a nice overview of Cisco UCS Central software.

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Take 2: From an Ancient Scottish Castle to the Gartner Data Center Conference in London

Time flies!  I’m off to the Gartner Data Center conference in London again.  And as per last year, I’ll drive my this ancient and very historical Bothwell Castle on my way to the airport.

Bothwell Castle

 

Last year I was very busy at the Cisco stand in the Solution Showcase.  This time, I’m spending all of my visit  in the actual conference sessions, learning about top concerns and trends in the data center world, and I plan to tweet out some of the most interesting and controversial learnings, as well as following up in subsequent blogs here.  So follow me on Twitter @StephenSatCisco to learn what is surprising me (and I’ll use hashtags #CiscoDC #GartnerDC.  And  if you are at the conference, I should be near the Cisco stand at the breaks so drop by and say hello!

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Making it Easier for You to do Business with Us – Fixed Price Professional Services from Cisco

Professional services, Consultancy Services, Advanced Services – call them what you will.   I can hear you say:   “On No!  Complexity”.  “Now I need to work a Statement of Work”.  “I need help to get my project on time, can’t this get easier?”  “I need to get my legal contracts team involved.”  “Why can’t you just tell me a price?”

Common reactions from some of you who will engage any (and I mean any, not just Cisco!) professional services organization (for example,  Cisco Services or one of our many partners) to help bring additional experience, expertise and resources to your projects.  The good news is, where appropriate to your requirements, this complexity has been substantially reduced, with Fixed Price services from Cisco, available now for many of our most popular products and solutions.

I will confess: this is not new  – in fact we (quietly) first released such Fixed Price services back in 2009, to support the Cisco Unified Computing System deployments! – and if we’re honest, we’ve not talked much about them and how successful they’ve become, with many, many customers taking advantage of these quick-to-engage expert services.

These services have really made it easier for customers and partners to do business with Cisco, delivering a number of significant advantages to our customers and partners, as illustrated below.

 

Cisco Fixed Price Services - Characteristics

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Next Generation Data Centers Need Next Generation Skills

The Cisco Global Cloud Index reports that annual global data center IP traffic will reach 6.6 zettabytes by the end of 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 31 percent. The growth of data and these new technologies impacts not only IT systems and infrastructures, but also the professionals that design, install, operate and manage them. Job roles are transforming more quickly in the data center than any other space in IT.
To meet the need for a comprehensive, job-role-focused training and certification program that allows customers and partners to optimize their IT infrastructure, Cisco today announced a Career Certification portfolio consisting of the Cisco CCNA® Data Center and CCNP® Data Center, as well as a robust product training portfolio.

Following the March 2012 announcement of CCIE Data Center, and the recently introduced suite of Nexus 1000v, 2000/5000, 7000, MDS and UCS product training, Cisco now offers a complete portfolio of Data Center training and certification, from the associate to expert level. For the first time, two key pillars of the Unified Cisco Data Center architecture: Cisco Unified Computing and Cisco Unified Fabric are covered across the job roles of design, implementation and troubleshooting.

Both networking professionals that want a new career choice, and current data center professionals who want to maximize their data center equipment design, installation and maintenance skills will enjoy benefits from this new certification track.

Watch below as Jeanne Beliveau Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco discusses the evolution of skills needed to support next generation Data Center technologies:

 

To know more about these certifications , visit the following web sites

 Cisco CCNA® Data Center  

CCNP® Data Center

Read also the full release here: http://newsroom.cisco.com/release/1105436

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James Bond and Data Centers??

This weekend I managed to see the new James Bond film, Skyfall.  The technologist in me noticed the transformation of the espionage industry to the cyber world.  More interesting were the Data Center scenes in which the equipment was neatly arranged with minimal cabling.  One blog even called it the data center of the future.

 

(This film image released by Sony Pictures shows Daniel Craig, left, and Javier Bardem in a scene from the film “Skyfall.” Bardem portrays, Raoul Silva, one of the finest arch-enemies in the 50-year history of Bond films.) (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Francois Duhamel) – Notice the data center equipment in the background.

Reality is that data centers are full of cables (see above) unless you are using Cisco UCS in which case you have a chance of being in the future NOW.  General availability of UCS Manager 2.1, which brings all the cable reduction benefits to rack mount servers could not have been more timely.

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