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UCS, VCE, Acadia, Vblocks and the Journey to the Cloud

On the heels of numerous VCE related announcementsdiscussions/discussions and demos/demos/demos/demos/demos at EMC World 2010, and the beginning of many announcements/announcements coming from SAP Sapphire this week, I thought it might be useful to put a few concepts in perspective. Specifically -- Cisco UCS, VCE Coalition, Vblocks, Acadia and the Journey to the Cloud. When new products and concepts are introduced to the market, there is often a period of time before they are fully understood. 

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS)

I’m not going to elaborate on the Cisco UCS in this section. Our partners and customers do a very good job of driving conversations about the solution on a daily basis in both public forums and Cisco communities. In the context of VCE and Vblock, I do want to clarify one point about UCS. While UCS is part of the Vblock Bill-of-Materials (BOM), it is not in any way restricted to only be sold in a VCE or Vblock configuration. While UCS does have design characteristics and integration points (hereherehere) that optimize it for virtualized Data Center environments, Cisco realizes that customers have a variety of computing needs (physical and virtual) and vendor preferences (applications, hypervisor, storage, management, etc.) and is fully committed to delivering the value of UCS to those environments. 

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VCE VBlock – Perspective for the Technical Decision Maker

Even as technologists, we rarely think twice about the behind-the-scenes technology that enables some of our favorite consumer cloud technologies – Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, etc. While we all know that there is world-class scaling and PhD created algorithms, our focus is shifted to the value they provides in our day-to-day lives; how they solve problems in how we work, live, play and interact. And while there are discussions and arguments over aspects of the underlying technologies (HTML5 vs. Flash, POP3 vs. SMTP vs. IMAP, iPad clients vs. Blackberry clients, etc.), the infrastructure is rarely ever discussed. It just works. It just scales. Problem solving first, technology second.

As we began delivering VBlock to our customers and partners, several questions came up in almost every technical discussion.

  • · “Why can’t I pick and choose what goes into my VBlock?”
  • · “Couldn’t I just build this myself, without the VCE guidance?”
  • · “Doesn’t this lock me in to a vendor-specific solution?”

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VCE Vblock – Alignment of Technology and Operations

The first question I ask customers or partners, when the topic of conversation is Vblock or Private Cloud, is “are you partially virtualized yet?”. If the answer is yes (which is true about 80% of the time), the next question I ask is, “who is responsible for the network now?” I don’t do this because my badge has a Cisco logo and we’re obsessed with all things networking. I do this because the answer to the question immediately tells me if the customers is ready to talk about Vblock.

In a previous post I talked about how Vblocks were designs to address the concerns our customers faced as they began to expand their virtualized infrastructure. I wanted to expand on how we took those challenges and created the foundational model for Vblock.

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Pacific Coast Building Products Inc. runs SAP on Cisco UCS

May 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm PST

One of the distinctive traits of the founder of Pacific Coast Building Products Inc. was his keen sense of timing . Fred Anderson “has an uncanny ability to make the right move at the right time” announces the company’s website.

This sense of timing obviously is still very present, as the IT organization recently moved some of the SAP applications to the Cisco Unified Computing System

As Cisco is developing a strong partnership with SAP, and SAP’s partners including Accenture, Cap Gemini, CSC, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Wipro .., I went to Pacific Coast Building Products headquarters, close to Sacramento, to meet the Senior SAP Architect , Randy Subryan, and the Data Center Architect Matt Okuma.

Pacific Coast Building Products, Inc. sells building products for residential, commercial, and industrial construction to builders and contractors in the western United States and Canada, and also provides installation and transportation services. The family of companies includes Basalite Concrete Products, Pabco Building Products, Pacific Coast Building Services, Pacific Coast Supply,Pacific Coast Jet Charter, and Pacific Coast Transportation Services.

After evaluating several computing platform, the team selected the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS)  last December -  “With our previous platform, cabling and configuring a new VMware ESX server took a week or two. With the Cisco UCS, we can provision a new server for SAP applications within 30 minutes” Matt was sharing with enthusiasm. Randy, a SAP veteran architect , was not less shy to list the benefits of this move  “We have a relatively small IT team, and the Cisco UCS Manager helps us operate our SAP application environment efficiently by managing all blades from one interface.”

To know more about Pacific Coast Building Products UCS deployment with SAP read as well the case studie 

If you are in Orlando at SAPPHIRE it’s the right time to meet our experts by visiting the Cisco booth (#1211) and attending one of the following speaking sessions

 

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Deutsche Banks Talks About Data Center Efficiency

May 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm PST

Submitted by Dave Trowbridge, staff writer for News@Cisco and guest blogger for the Data Center blog.

How much waste is there in your data center? The numbers may surprise you.

The confluence of hard economic times and growing environmental awareness has given a big boost to green data center implementations. More and more companies are making the pleasant discovery that IT sustainability and IT energy efficiency are two blades of the same scissors, that cutting emissions and cutting costs naturally go together, and that if you do one right, you get the other almost automatically.

That doesn’t mean that green data center design and implementation are easy. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is likely to come right at the beginning—justifying the expenditures necessary for a large-scale effort. This can seem like a game of percentages: A bit more efficiency here, a bit more utilization there—how do you get it to all add up to a green light for your green data center?

The answer is that those percentages don’t add up—they multiply! This is what Deutsche Bank IT found when it did the math on data center efficiency as part of its “Eight Commitments to Eco-Efficient IT” in support of the bank’s global sustainability efforts. I recently sat down with Andrew Stokes, Chief Infrastructure Architect at Deutsche Bank, to discuss those commitments and his group’s best practices for green data centers. Here, we’ll drill down into the math behind data center efficiency as an illustration of just how much you may have to gain, and how easy it may be to justify your green data center efforts.

 

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