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Cisco, Citrix, NetApp and the World of Connected Devices…

Today’s Day 2 keynote at Microsoft’s Management Summit (MMS) here in Las Vegas focused on the world of connected devices and how IT organizations struggle at times to  deliver quality  services based on the demands of our anytime, anywhere, always on world.

One solution being demonstrated this week at MMS helps to resolve some of these issues. The Citrix XenDesktop on FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud solution is a joint effort between Cisco, Citrix, and NetApp in the Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) area. The solution helps to simplify, secure, and scale desktop virtualization on Cisco’s agile data center infrastructure based on Cisco UCS while also incorporating storage assets from NetApp and desktop assets from Citrix.  All based on a Windows Server, System Center (including support for System Center 2012!), and Hyper-V environment.

This combination of technologies from Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft, and NetApp has produced a highly efficient, robust and scalable Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) for a hosted virtual desktop deployment. To learn more details about this new offering, please download the publicly available reference architecture at the link below:

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Open Networking Summit, Day 2

So, the theme for the day was “Less Unicorns, More Ponies”

I have to admit, I could not attend some of the afternoon sessions–there is a define downside to going to a conference with your boss.

Anyway, we heard from a number of folks (a lot of SPs and academics) that are doing the hard work of trying to do useful real-world things with OpenFlow and SDN.  There were a fair number of successes but also a good number of struggles.  Kudos to the ONS folks for trying to present a balanced view as opposed to hosting a two-day OpenFlow pep rally.  So, sadly, the shine is starting to come off the SDN unicorn, but in the long run, this what needs to happen for the long term health of SDN.

Hands down, my favorite session was Igor Gashinsky from Yahoo! for a number of reasons: 1) it was darn entertaining, 2) I think hyperscale data centers present some the most interesting and demanding environments right now, 3) the use case was interesting, and 4) frankly, it allows me to make a point. :)

It seems that much of the conversation around SDN centers on the southbound conversation–the ability to program the hardware.  While that is certainly useful and interesting, at least as interesting and important is the northbound conversation–the ability to extract interesting information from the infrastructure and make it available to the controllers, applications, tools, etc.  In Igor’s case, he talked about being able to extract info directly out of the switching hardware to facilitate troubleshooting–not an inconsequential task when you have 20K servers and 400K VMs.  Its a good use case but I also think its just scratching at the surface.

I believe its an interesting topic and one of the things that David Ward will dig into a bit further during his session this afternoon.

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Migrate Oracle PeopleSoft to Cisco UCS

From an IT manager’s perspective, the applications that run the business are important, very important. In fact, many RISC/UNIX migration discussions focus on application support, performance, and availability. With a growing number of customers transforming their IT practices and economics by migrating off RISC/UNIX platforms to Cisco UCS, we have introduced Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for business-critical applications which also contain a RISC/UNIX migration element.

The first migration focused CVD is Oracle PeopleSoft on Cisco UCS. The goal of this CVD is to provide sufficient information to run an Oracle ERP application like PeopleSoft on Cisco UCS. ERP applications are the backbone for many organizations to run their business functions and robust performance is a requirement. With that in mind, we measured the online performance of Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Resources Management System (HRMS) 9.1 using Oracle Database 11g on Red Hat Enterprise Linux ( RHEL) 5.6 operating system. The solution was comprised of a standard 3-tier technology stack of web, application and database servers. The web and application servers were run on Cisco UCS B200 M2 blade servers and the database server was run on a Cisco UCS B250 M2 blade. This benchmark measured client response times for up to 2500 concurrent users which represents a small to medium-sized company profile.

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SAP HANA on Cisco UCS : It Feels Very Good to Run on the Right Server!

SAPPHIRE 2012 is coming very fast, but is still 3 weeks away. So I figured out that I can give you some insights about what’s going on between Cisco and SAP!

The best ways are probably to let a customer share his/her experience, and to invite you this April 18th to a special webinar.

SAP Hana has truly revolutionized data analysis, allowing companies to tap into volumes of their company information in real-time. As one of SAP’s global technology partners and a certified SAP HANA hardware partner, Cisco has teamed with SAP to provide a foundation on which our customers can transform their businesses.

Medical technology leader Medtronics chose Cisco’sUnified Communications Systems (UCS) platform on which to run its SAP HANA in-memory computing appliance, because it was the best startegic fit with Medtronic’s existing infrastructure out of the four certified vendors considered .
To know more , please read this excellent article from InsiderProfiles.

Medtronic reprint

On April 18 (today!) , at 8:00 pm PST join Cisco and SAP  for a compelling presentation on the latest developments, highlights and customer results of SAP HANA on Cisco UCS.

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Cisco UCS Business Advantage Delivered: Radically Simplified Data Center Management

In my last blog I focused on the architectural differences between traditional blade servers and Cisco UCS. Although I touched on the issue of management complexity,  let’s take a closer  look into how operational costs are affected by the cost of provisioning, monitoring, and managing your infrastructure.

According to many industry studies, roughly 70% of current IT budgets are allocated to maintenance activities with only 30% allocated to innovation. This spending imbalance comes from the fact that maintaining infrastructure is hard.  Much of the difficulties are caused by the “accidental architecture” of management systems that have been put in place as an afterthought. For example, a traditional blade server chassis with 16 blades can have anywhere from 13 to 20 management interfaces!

Then you want to add virtualization on top of this environment? It is no wonder IT departments are struggling to meet cost objectives and run day-to-day operations smoothly!

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