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Delivering More from Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 with Cisco’s UCS Server Family

Guest Post by Raghunath Nambiar (UCS Performance Architect) and Frank Cicalese (UCS Systems Engineer)

Data’s at the heart of all business applications -- whether it be a real-time transaction processing or an enterprise decision support system – we know that data is driving the show.

Microsoft’s SQL Server is the database platform that many enterprises have adopted as it provides a scalable architecture, attractive price points, and supports a multitude of use cases such as OLTP and Data Warehouse configurations as well as providing attractive extensions for Business Intelligence modules.

Over the past several months we’ve seen the Cisco UCS server family support a range of SQL Server use cases resulting in improved performance and cost savings for our customers.  The UCS architecture provides key features that can help improve the quality of the SQL Server services you deliver:  Our extended memory feature and virtualization capabilities are two areas that help improve database performance and raise your SQL Server consolidation ratios.

We have couple of upcoming webinar on Cisco UCS and Microsoft SQL Server that you should attend.  We’ll cover the topics mentioned here and more such as OLTP and Data Warehouse. It’s happening on Tuesday, June 28th @ 7:00am PDT and 10:00am PDT. Registration is at http://www.cisco.com/go/semreg/urls/44768/1

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Cisco WAAS Case Study Worth Posting a Blog

Thought I’d call to your attention a nice new case study of a global customer, in the energy sector, Technip,  using Cisco WAAS, among many other Cisco products, to optimize application performance around the world.  A few highlights:

  • WAAS is doing a fine job of optimizing Citrix XenApp traffic, over both terrestrial and satellite links.
  • Router Integration offered Technip an alternative to appliances in some locations.  In this case it’s dedicated blades.  Cisco WAAS customers have plenty of new WAN optimization on-demand router integration options including WAAS on SRE and WAAS Express.
  • WAAS is a component of the successful deployment of Cisco collaboration technologies including Unified Communications, Telepresence and Digital Signage.  How?  Cisco WAAS transparency preserves router QoS.  And WAAS offers bandwidth management and digital sign content caching.  You can read about all that cool technical stuff!

Just a couple more thoughts:

  • For many or most XenApp deployments, the proprietary optimizations Citrix offers are not really necessary.
  • Unlike Riverbed, we don’t issue a press release for every win for which we get permission to go public.  We’re a bit more restrained.

Virtual Forum for Education Leaders – Creating Community

In Welcome to the Education Blog, Gary Serda said that:

Cisco’s approach to education is comprehensive and multi-faceted. We have groups across all of Cisco that are actively engaging with Education leaders to improve education everywhere. At the core of these engagements, is our fundamental belief that the network can serve as a platform for education innovation that can dramatically improve educational outcomes for students.

One of the ways we showcase innovative and practical solutions for today’s education challenges is the Cisco Virtual Forum for Education Leaders.  This online Forum is filled with informative presentations and resources that demonstrate the success that dedicated educators are having meeting today’s education challenges.

With “virtual booths” for specific solutions and areas of IT concern, Cisco representatives available for live chats, both recorded and live presentations, and expert-led discussions--the forum provided and provides a good source of technology and solution information for Education customers. That’s right, provides. The Forum is more than a transient event: visitors are welcomed back as often as they like to get updated information about Cisco’s solutions and efforts in the Education space. A great example is this interview added last week:

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Does your Cloud have “Cisco UCS and Cisco Nexus” Inside?

When I meet with customers and analysts, I’m often asked about Cisco’s Cloud Computing strategy. Many of us have written about it before, including Lew Tucker (Cisco Cloud CTO) and other executive leaders. While we talk about technology innovation, an open ecosystem of partners and driving new ways for customers to solve business problems, there is a key element that is sometimes overlooked. That element is Cisco’s stated direction NOT to compete with our customers (service providers or systems integrators), instead focusing on delivering the critical infrastructure (hardware and software) for building private, public, hybrid and community clouds.

While many of our partners agree with this approach [1][2], some of our competitors do not. Fair enough, everyone needs to figure out their own business models. One of the byproducts of our strategy is that we’re able to take the learnings from certain market segments and quickly apply them to other market segments. We’re not restricted in trying to put together the best possible solutions for our customers. In fact, we’ve created Cloud Builder programs to encourage our Channel Partners and Services Providers to work more closely together to solve customer needs. Read More »

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The Role of Layer 4-7 Services in Scaling Applications for the Cloud-Computing Data Center

The Cloud Challenge
Cloud computing is increasing demands on applications and the application-delivery infrastructure must change to meet the challenge. Virtualization does not solve the problems with applications scaling, in fact it adds complexity. Infrastructure alone does not solve the challenge either. You don’t want to oversubscribe or just add capacity on demand. The infrastructure needs to respond to user demand based on business value and maintain a favorable cost structure. This means that you need intelligent load processing to manage scale, especially given the evolution of applications, which now make numerous backend function calls, which create more traffic than at the front end.

The Need for Scale
Cloud-computing applications are characterized by stateful access, with differentiated service levels, charged to the end user using the pay-per-use pricing model. Implicit in this model is the assumption that a cloud application is always on. Scaling the cloud delivery model to an Internet scale (millions of users) is a challenge that next-generation Layer 4–7 infrastructure needs to overcome.

Scaling a cloud application involves scaling three mechanisms: location (mobility), replication, and load balancing. Virtualization was an early catalyst for cloud computing because it substantially lowered the cost of replication and mobility of a prepackaged application. It does not, however, solve the load-balancing problem. Load balancing involves scaling the address, name space, transport, session, identity, and business logic of the application. Clustering enables scaling of application business logic but leaves the rest of the problem to a proxy infrastructure.
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