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Intel and Cisco Partnership : Hello Cisco UCS™ M3 series!

March 14, 2012 at 4:00 am PST

I invited today  Eoin McConnell, who is the Intel Xeon Processor E5 Family Product Line Manager within Intel’s DataCenter and Connected Systems Group, to comment on Cisco Third Generation of Fabric Computing‘s launch.

“Three years ago Cisco timed its entry into the compute side of the data center with the launch of the Intel® Xeon® 5500 series when it introduced Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) to the world.  Few outside the walls of Cisco would have suspected that in such a short time Cisco would have grown significantly in this space. It now has nearly 11,000 UCS customers and has risen to No. 3 in MSS in the blade market, according to IDC.

Cisco has partnered with Intel in delivering innovation in the data center around UCS from the beginning.  On March 8, 2012, Cisco launched the UCS “M3” server line.  The company coordinated this introduction to follow immediately on the heels of Intel’s introduction of the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family. The three stellar offerings that are available immediately are the Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server, the Cisco UCS C220 M3 Rack Server, and the Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server.

Intel Dylan Larson and Cisco Scott Ciccone had recently  a quick conversation about the features and the benefits of this new offering

This third generation sets the mark, and definitely has Cisco delivering new innovation for the cloud.  Cisco has always looked to Intel to deliver world-class foundational building blocks that allow the company to innovate. The M3 series will in fact be the first UCS series to implement Intel l® Trusted Execution Technology, which many believe is fundamental to securing cloud architecture.

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Automate Getting the UCS SNMP MIBs

March 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm PST

I like the command line, I’ll admit it, it’s old-school but l am old-school. Clicking around a graphical interface is all well and good but if you want to get something done the command line is the way to do it. My high school years, college years and early career were a variety of Unix flavors, VMS, DOS, CP/M with an assortment of editors, programming languages and shells.

What I love is when a graphical interface can be managed via a command line.  This way I know that I can use all my favorite tools (old and new) to get done what needs to be done. What needs to get done sometimes is taking the point and click out of a task. That’s my focus today.

Here’s the scenario, download SNMP MIBs for UCS. Go to that web page and you need to get very clicky, perhaps even right-clicky and select the “save as” option. More clicks, with potentially over 100 MIBs to download that’s 200 plus clicks, and the repetition is as mind numbing as a top 40 radio station.

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Private Cloud Roadshow: CITEIS – Coming to a City Near You!

You are probably thinking that CITEIS is a typo – but it’s not. In fact, CITEIS stands for Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services and it’s the name that Cisco’s IT department coined for our internal private cloud.

You can read more about CITEIS here, including an explanation of the two options: CITEIS “Express” for on-demand access to virtual compute resources from a shared pool of resources; and CITEIS “VDC” (Virtual Data Center) to provision your own virtual data center with a reserved pool of compute, storage, and network capacity.

We recently recorded a brief demo video of the Express version so you can see how it works:

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Johns Manville Improves Operations with ACE Application Control Engine Modules

March 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm PST
ACE 30 Module

Cisco ACE 30 Module for Catalyst 6500 Series switch

Application performance and reliability are critical issues for data center applications. Cisco just recently released a case study on Denver-based Johns Manville, a leading manufacturer of quality building products and how Cisco helps maximize availability and performance of their SAP inventory control system.

Johns Manville relies on an SAP business system in its manufacturing plants and warehouses for inventory management. Plant floor employees, such as forklift drivers and shipping agents, continuously enter data into the inventory management system through an SAP portal as orders are entered, packed, and shipped, and as inventory is moved. Forklift vehicles are equipped with PCs and scanners that connect to the SAP portal through wireless connections. The SAP portal also provides access to the plant intranet and other applications.

Johns Manville deployed two Cisco ACE modules in its Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series core switches to load-balance incoming SAP inventory control traffic to the least-busy servers. The module uses best-in-class application-switching algorithms and highly available system software and hardware to increase application availability. A single module can manage up to 16 Gbps of application traffic, and up to 64 Gbps with four modules in a single Catalyst 6500 Series switch chassis.  Read More »

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Server Form-Factor Freedom

Today, Cisco introduced the Third-Generation of Fabric computing. The power of unification can be seen in all aspects of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). It unifies physical and virtual compute environments. It integrates the server and network access.  It also unifies and simplifies the management of rack and blade servers.  The choice between using blade and physical server is not obvious and usually sparks a heated debate. The Cisco UCS Manager with B-Series blades and C-Series Rack-mount servers makes this argument moot.

Without passing judgment on whether rack or blade servers are better, lets begin by listing the benefits of the two form factors.  Blade server use is growing and there are many reasons for this:

  1. Data center space / Power / Cooling constraints -- Data center space can get expensive depending on the location.  In this CBS 60 minutes segment, proximity to the stock exchange is extolled. This fascinating video shows the collocation of data centers in urban nerve centers. I am sure data center space in these locations commands a premium. Energy efficiencies also become important in the overall cost structure.   Power constraints may also favor the use of blades that consume less power than equally powerful rack mount servers.
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