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Registering a Sense of FCoE Perspective: Sniffling, Scaling and Storage

When The Register published a conversation with Brocade on December 8 about the success of their 16Gb Fibre Channel vs. Cisco’s FCoE solutions, you just know that there were going to be several elements that were going to raise an eyebrow or two. Maybe three.

Personally, I found the comparison between Brocade’s 16G solutions and Cisco’s FCoE solutions as something of a red herring. That is, there are different reasons why a customer would want to use one tool in the toolbox versus another, but they were saying “our new jackhammer is better than their entire toolbox.”

Nevertheless, some people felt that the article was an unbalanced promotion of Brocade’s new toys. I was invited by The Register author Chris Mellor to write a response article, which I did, and then waited for it to be printed. Read More »

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Cisco Announces Industry-Leading TPC-C and TPC-H Benchmark Performance on Cisco UCS!

Cisco continues its performance leadership with the announcement of its inaugural  TPC-C and TPC-H benchmark results on the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS™) platform .  On December 7th 2011, Cisco published two industry standard benchmarks from Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) on the Cisco UCS platform.

Cisco’s leading TPC-H result demonstrates the enterprise performance for Cisco UCS Servers when combined with Microsoft SQL Server, and  Cisco’s leading TPC-C result demonstrates that Cisco UCS systems represent a high-performance, cost-effective enterprise platform for Oracle Database.

Cisco UCS Demonstrates TPC-C Performance and Price/Performance Leadership

Often referred to as the flagship server benchmark that measures online transaction processing performance, TPC-C simulates a complete compute environment where a population of users runs transactions against a database.

In its first TPC-C result, Cisco demonstrates industry leadership in partnership with Oracle, establishing the Cisco UCS as the fastest two-socket Intel Xeon processor-powered platform running Oracle Database. Cisco’s leading TPC-C result demonstrates that Cisco UCS servers, combined with Oracle Database, can deliver industry-leading enterprise capabilities. Cisco’s  industry-leading TPC-C result asserts both performance and price/performance leadership.  A Cisco UCS C250 M2 Extended- Memory Rack-Mount server achieved 1,053,100 transactions per minute (tpmC) in the standard TPC-C benchmark, with a price/performance ratio of $0.58 USD per tpmC, exceeding the HP two-socket TPC-C result using identical Intel® Xeon® processors and memory capacity by 2.8 percent in performance, at a 11 percent lower price/performance ratio.

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‘Tis the Season … for Giving Back ….

In many cultures across the world, this is a time for giving.  In a departure from my previous blogs discussing data center servicescloud adoption and IT architecture transformation, I’ve decided to end the year by discussing how we in Cisco give back our time and money to help others, something that Cisco most definitely encourages. Here I’ll discuss how a few colleagues and I have helped out in one of the computing degree courses at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

You can read this full blog entry here on our Corporate Social Responsibility blog.    And look out for more blogs from me in 2012!  Best wishes everyone!

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For your IT Wish List this Holiday Season: a Virtual Data Center

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through IT, not a creature was stirring, not even a sysadmin?

Well, not quite. To support the global operations for a Fortune 100 company, the IT staff are always stirring things up at Cisco. But they may be just a little less busy this holiday season. Why? Because Cisco IT deployed a private cloud earlier this year, with a self-service portal and automated provisioning for infrastructure-as-a-service.

This means that employees throughout Cisco can provision and manage the infrastructure resources they need on their own, anytime and anywhere – so our sysadmins can take a break this holiday season (or more likely, they can focus on other IT priorities).

You may have already heard about Cisco IT’s internal private cloud solution, called CITEIS: Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services. It’s what we call a “Cisco on Cisco” example, using Cisco’s own Unified Data Center solutions – including Unified Computing, Unified Fabric, and Unified Management with our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud software.

For a quick overview, here’s a short video about the Cisco IT private cloud:

And if you want more detail, watch this on-demand webinar here.

Read More »

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Cisco Cloudverse, Hypervisors, Partners and Real Cloud Deployments

I have had many customers and partners ask me about Cisco Cloudverse in the past 2 weeks.  One of the top questions I get asked is whether we support other hypervisors besides VMware.  Lew Tucker in his interview in Information week covered it well:  http://www.informationweek.com/news/cloud-computing/infrastructure/232300123 .  Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud works well with many hypervisors and we have seen many successful clouds built on vCenter, HyperV, and Linux KVM.  We find many customers look at multiple hypervisors to prevent vendor lock-in and all the issues associated with that.  The world of many clouds is indeed a complex place as organizations building a private cloud have to decide on:

  • Hypervisor(s)
  • Server Vendor(s)
  • Network Vendor(s)
  • Storage Vendor(s)
  • Whether to use a converged infrastructure model or not
  • Cloud Automation software, (will the virtualization vendor’s software be enough for a pragmatic cloud?)
  • IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, or all of these models
  • Integrations into pre-existing IT operations management tools
  • What to expose in the Front Office (Service Catalog and Self Service Portal)
  • Details of the Back office (automation workflows, policies, models)
  • Whether to have any hybrid cloud models deployed.

I have seen Cisco Partners play a strategic role in helping their customers make sense of this complex playing field.  They key item is to first understand what type of cloud an organization wants to deploy and what the Front Office should look like.  Oftentimes I find organizations have a lot of opinions and pre-existing work on the technical provisioning, but have not thought much about what to present to end users / consumers of the cloud.  Focusing on what the Cloud Portal would present to the ultimate consumers is really where the transformation to cloud needs to start.  We tend to get wrapped around the axle with all the details of the infrastructure provisioning and leave little time to the end user experience.  That is a really a career limiting move when it comes to your organization adopting cloud.

Our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud solution, a key element of Cisco Unified Management, is a new paradigm for Cloud Automation and Management, derived from the leverage of newScale, Tidal, and Linesider acquisitions.  It is both a policy and orchestration centric solution than can solve pragmatic cloud deployment needs, versus simply adopting one model (such as vCloud Director).   The following figure details the considerations of policy and console based solutions versus catalog and orchestration centric solutions:

Virtually all of the customer conversations I have highlight the fact that customers want both Physical and Virtual provisioning and cloud automation.  This is where Cisco Unified Management  which includes the Cisco UCS Manager for Physical Server “virtualization” and Cisco Network Services Management for Physical and Virtual Network Services “virtualization”.  These two technologies, alongside the Cisco Cloud Portal and the Cisco Process Orchestrator are key for creating both a physical and virtual cloud.  This is what the most pragmatic of customers are looking for when transform to cloud.  It is indeed a universe of clouds and Cisco can help.

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