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Another Cisco Server! Or, A Better Home for Some of Your Apps

Rashesh, or JT as he’s known around the office, talked on Wednesday about how your applications can find a “better home” in your data center—where they run faster, more efficiently, for less money. To break that down a bit more, let’s take a look at the newest entry into the Cisco server portfolio, the new UCS B230 blade server, or as Sean McGee has dubbed it, “The Goldilocks Blade”. This new entry in the Cisco server portfolio gives you more ways to optimize your infrastructure for specific application needs, always with an eye to your perennial operational and environmental constraints.

My teammate Scott Ciccone, who supports the server elements of the Unified Computing System, invited me up to join the fun at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco earlier this week. We had the B230 out with its cover off, and the sight of 32 DIMMs packed onto a two-socket, half-width blade drew plenty of curious passersby.  Scott’s quick overviews of the blade consistently turned into thoughtful 20 to 30 minute conversations, so I asked him to share a blog-size version of those discussions with you:

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The Power to Say Yes

 “Yes” is a powerful word. In our personal lives, “Yes” often connotes  acceptance, success, achievement. A pumped fist in the air when a notable milestone has been achieved is usually accompanied by a silent (or sometimes, not- so-silent) “YES!” .  Yet, often in business, CIOs and their IT teams have to say “No” a lot more frequently than they say “Yes”. And that is a problem – because a “No” from IT  often means that a company is unable to innovate rapidly, or  respond quickly to changing customer demands, market conditions or competitive pressures.

By now you must have read, heard of or seen Cisco’s Data Center Business Advantage announcement. While, as Omar said so eloquently, it “represents an architectural framework to help customers link their IT investments to tangible business outcomes”  our tag line says it even more simply: it is The Power to Say Yes.

Zenlike as it may sound in its simplicity, this is a powerful concept.

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Raising the Bar Again on Data Center Switching

I really enjoy writing blog entries to provide more details after our announcements. Having done that for past few Nexus announcements, I’d like to continue the tradition & provide a bit more color to our switching part of the announcement yesterday. So before we go into the details of switching – what actually did we announce?

In a nutshell, we announced the evolution of our data center architectural strategy to the Cisco Data Center Business Advantage, which is really an architectural framework designed to help accelerate IT innovation and increase business impact essentially making IT as an enabler of business and a competitive differentiator. At the foundation of this architectural framework are three pillars — Unified Fabric , Unified Computing and new third architectural pillar Unified Network Services (UNS).We also announced key Innovations across the data center portfolio in each of these pillars.

So Cisco pioneered the concept of Unified Fabric in 2008. Since then we’ve continued to evolve Unified Fabric with continuous stream of innovations. Cisco’s Unified Fabric is a network-based approach to deliver systems excellence that unifies Ethernet switching, storage networking and intelligent data center operating system to provide convergence, scale and intelligence.

New switching innovations around this architectural pillar include 2nd generation Nexus 5500 platforms, new capabilities on the Nexus 7000 and Nexus 5000 series with FEX-link additions, Nexus 1000V and several enhancements across the Catalyst 6500 and 4900 portfolio.

First, let’s look at the next generation Nexus 5000 Series, the Nexus 5500 platform . The introduction of the Nexus 5000 Series in the year 2008 was the first instantiation of our Unified Fabric convergence strategy & it essentially changed the entire data center paradigm – Nexus 5000 Series has had tremendous success — with over 3000 customers worldwide. Cisco Nexus 5000 was the first product in the industry to introduce the concept of Unified Fabric to deliver Ethernet & Storage access layer convergence, high performance lossless Ethernet & VM-aware services.

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UCS Manager: The “Tweak”

Greetings. I’m a new face on this blog, so let me briefly introduce myself. I’m Lisa Caywood, a Ciscoite of six years, and marketing manager for UCS management. Notice I didn’t say UCS Manager—I’ll explain why in a minute.

My side passions include history and anthropology, and in a circuitous way, that’s how I wound up in tech. I’m fascinated by the interchange of technology and culture, how one seemingly minor modification, or tweak, on an age-old tool or task can spur six more innovations that lead the world in completely unforeseen directions.  (I was a big fan of the BBC show “Connections” in the late 70’s.)

So about UCS Manager, the logical model of our unified, “wire-once” UCS architecture: to me, it’s that initial, all-important “tweak”. It takes the various management tasks that sys admins do every day, abstracts them, and integrates tasks associated with various IT disciplines within a unified view to provide a familiar, but far more fluid approach to managing your computing platform.

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Virtual WAAS: Enabling Application Migration to the Cloud

A growing trend in networking is the migration of applications to the cloud as organizations look to take advantage of deployment flexibility and lower management costs. This was the theme at VMWorld in San Francisco recently, where Cisco had major presence, and presented on our capabilities in the network that enable virtualization. Virtual Machine (VM) technology is the foundation for cloud migration, but for a complete solution that overcomes challenges with security, availability and performance, network services need to be incorporated into the virtualized architecture.

To meet the requirement for providing network services in the cloud Cisco has announced Unified Network Services (UNS) as a component of the Data Center Business Advantage architecture. UNS provides flexibility and choice in the adoption of network and compute services in both physical and virtual formats, unified by operation simplicity. The UNS architecture delivers a utility-based consumption model for network services that is promised by the cloud computing model. There are a number of technologies within this architecture including security, server load balancing and WAN optimization.  

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