Here is another of my continuing series of UCS walkthoughs with Brian Schwarz. This time, we are taking a look at the Cisco Integrated Management Controller for our Cisco UCS C-Series rack servers (you can click though to our Facebook page to see a bigger version of the video).
I just wrapped up with a couple of customer briefings this morning that reinforced a trend I have been seeing over the last few months. For the last couple of years, most of the customers I talked to were in sponge mode–they were absorbing info and trying to wrap their minds around things like unified fabric and virtualization–all while battling things like immediate challenges such as regulatory compliance and infrastructure sprawl.
These days, I find our customers much more opinionated–they are asking very pointed questions, pushing back, and generally expressing a more fully formed vision of where they want to go with their data centers. To be honest, this makes for much more interesting conversations and is generally a positive development.
Steve Chambers embarked these days on a series of posts designed to open our eyes to a new approach to IT infrastructure. Sounds ambitious or arrogant? Well, Steve is a well known and respected blogger, who capitalizes on his deep knowledge of Unified Computing systems as a Cisco Data Center Architect. As Steve Kaplan another well respected IT blogger wrote on this blog “Excellent post Steve. I write and talk extensively about UCS, but didn’t really think about the benefits described in your Last Thought.”,
We have been talking extensively about the extended memory technology provided by the UCS. While Steve does not discuss in this blog, it’s definitely a key feature of the UCS that further increases the OS flexibility and ROI he describes.
In his post , Steve is bringing on another key differentiator of the UCS “This post explains how Cisco UCS offers IT infrastructure a new way of working with stateless computing. You could manage UCS the way you manage any other compute platform with the minimum of change, just like you can drive a Ferrari the same way you’d drive a pick up truck. But should you? No, you shouldn’t, you’d be wasting a fantastic opportunity”
“So how does UCS change how you drive your infrastructure?” To answer this question Steve startswith a brief description of four types of workloads (Oracle RAC database, IBM Websphere, Microsoft Windows 2008, VMware vSphere 4) and how these workloads can all run on the same blade type without any human having to reconfigure the compute, network or storage. He then reviews six UCS features (WOW-A, Unified Fabric, Over-commitment, Service Profile, Virtualized CNA and Stateless Computing) which contribute to what Steve describes is “about increasing ROI and reducing complexity, and therefore reducing OpEx”.
This first pass is just the beginning , as Steve will provide in six follow-on posts practical examples of each of these six UCS features
Delivery of hosted virtualized desktops is seeing increasing up take by organizations that want to reduce the cost of deployment and management of end user systems. While desktop virtualization offers many advantages, there are benefits to be gained in performance, scaling and security that can be addressed by choosing the right hosting platform and networking components. By optimizing the network architecture organizations can host and deliver the highest number of view images and users sessions while keeping down the total cost of ownership.
For example by hosting virtual desktop images on the Cisco Unified Computing System organizations can greatly increase the number of images per server while reducing complexity, by taking advantage of capabilities such as memory capacity, virtualized adaptors, Unified Fabric and centralized management that is integrated with solutions from VMware.
Today we open the “World of solutions” at 10:00 am – As experienced in San Francisco at Cisco Live last July, the Data Center of the Future demo was quickly packed with very interested visitors – The Data Center of the Future demo is a 15 racks simulated data center showcasing a complete suite of Data Center partner solutions in a data center environment – As expected we got a lot of questions on the Vblocks infrastructure packages which were presented for the first time by VMware, Cisco and EMC on a show floor.
Amongst the different data center break-out sessions, the panel around “Application Mobility across Data Centres” with Cisco Thomas Scheibe, VMware Ravi Neelakant and NetApp Joel McKelvey attracted quite a lot of attendees. Not a big suprise, as this session was dedicated to the architectural evolution in virtual machine (VM) and application mobility across separate data center sites or across different pods in the same data center. Topic we started to address last August On the networking front, this session highlighted a new Cisco solution as a way of extending layer 2 across data centers using an IP core. Additionally, Nexus 1000V Virtual switches provide granular visibility and integration at the VM level. This session also covered Routing optimizations, where optimal and service aware routing is provided to client accessing services running on Virtual Machines which have been VMotioned from one data Center or pod to another. On the Application and Storage front, using VMware’s VMotion and NetApp’s Flexcache Storage technology, customers can achieve Active-Active VMotion with no application downtime while the virtual machine moves. Stay tuned as we will post very soon some interesting video interviews that we captured today on this topic.
After a long day of videotaping and meeting customers and partners, I invited bloggers from VMware, EMC and Cisco to join me for a new Daily Blogger Techminute – It was an opportunity to talk about some of the major data center events of the day including Nexus 1000 V, the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) panel and Vblocks.