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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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Cisco and Greenplum Partner to Deliver High-Performance Hadoop Infrastructure

Expanding its Big Data portfolio, Cisco announced a fully integrated end-to-end hardware and software infrastructure for enterprise Hadoop deployments in partnership with Greenplum, a division of EMC, that delivers industry-leading performance, scalability, advanced management capabilities and enterprise-class service and support. This solution consists of Cisco UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects, Cisco UCS C-Series rack mount servers and Greenplum MR. Greeplum MR is based on the MapR M5 distribution, a completely re-engineered implementation of the Apache Hadoop stack with 100 percent compatibility. Cisco UCS is the exclusive integrated platform for Greeplum MR that can significantly reduce time-to-value and the operating expenses associated with Hadoop implementations.

Hadoop implementations can present a number of challenges to enterprise environments, many of these arise from the dichotomy between the introduction of innovative new technology and the enterprise-class performance, reliability, and support demanded by mission-critical systems. The collaboration between Cisco and Greenplum is specifically designed to provide a solution to these challenges. The joint solution delivers radically simplified deployment and management, high availability, excellent performance, exceptional scalability, and world-class service and support from long-time collaborators Cisco and EMC.

This solution can also connect, across the same management plane, to other Cisco UCS deployments running enterprise applications, thereby radically simplifying data center management and connectivity.

The configuration starts in a single rack with the ability to extend into multiple racks.

For more information or deal inquiries, please email us at: gponucs@external.cisco.com. A joint white paper is available at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns944/wp_greenplum.pdf.

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