Today Cisco is introducing an expanded architectural portfolio and partner ecosystem in support of our successful desktop virtualization solution built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). Cisco UCS market traction has been phenomenal over the last 3 years. In fact, desktop virtualization has been one of the top workloads deployed on UCS as IT organizations apply the benefits of our stateless, simplified operations model, expansive I/O, and scalable performance to desktop workloads in the data center. Combined with unique product integration and the software eco-system partners such as VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, Cisco has delivered a number of reference designs with our strategic storage partners such as EMC and NetApp. Typically, these architectures were based on designs that easily scale from supporting a few hundred virtual desktops to thousands of desktops.
We have seen an inflection point with the perfect storm of the evolution of storage options, desktop software maturity, and data center architectures. One of the important changes in the storage market is the emergence of flash storage to address performance problems.
Taking advantage of enhanced UCS features and expanding the eco-system of storage partners including Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, LSI, Nexenta, Nimble Storage and Tegile, Cisco is defining a broader portfolio of data center architectures for delivering desktop virtualization solutions – on-board architecture, simplified architecture and scalable architecture. “Converged” or “Unified” infrastructure stacks such as FlexPod and vBlock have, and will continue to be another successful option for desktop delivery infrastructure. Let me walk you through each of these architectural approaches.
Cisco continues its cloud computing performanceleadership with the announcement ofVMware® VMmark™ 2.5 benchmark result published on May 9th 2013. The Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server’s score of 12.00@10 tiles on the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark represents the best cloud computing performance of any 2-socket server in a 2-node configuration as measured by the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark
The VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark uses a tiled design that incorporates six real-world workloads to calculate a virtualization score. Then it includes VMware vMotion, Storage vMotion, and virtual machine provisioning times to calculate an infrastructure score. The combination of these scores is the total benchmark score.
The system used to achieve this performance included the Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server powered by Intel® Xeon® processors and an industry-leading approach to storage: a Cisco UCS server-based Fusion‑io ION Data Accelerator solution that turns the server into a storage system. The Fusion-io ION Data Accelerator turns Cisco UCS servers equipped with Fusion-io ioMemory into highly available, transparently scalable, shared storage appliances.
With this world-record-setting VMmark 2.5 benchmark score of 12.00@10 tiles Cisco UCS has delivered the best cloud computing performance of any 2-socket server in a 2-node configuration as measured by the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark outperforming solutions from AMD, Dell, Fujitsu, and HP. Whether a virtualized data center or a public or private cloud is needed, this VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark result indicates the degree to which the Cisco UCS can accelerate applications while delivering virtualization and infrastructure performance and agility for cloud computing environments
Better infrastructure yields better performance. With innovations such as unified fabric, large memory capacity, expansion capabilities, and the low-latency performance of Fusion-io ioMemory and ION Data Accelerator software, Cisco’s results demonstrate the architectural advantages of a system built for virtualized environments.
VMware VMmark is a product of VMware, Inc. The comparative results cited in this document were available at http://www.vmmark.com and were valid as of May 9th, 2013..
We handed out a stack of these buttons for the Cisco booth staff to wear this year and that sums up my favorite part of EMC World: it’s an infrastructure party. This is a place where you’re going to talk with people at the heart of the data center and IT, and the conversations all start there.
Our alignment with EMC couldn’t be any clearer than what we had on display last week. VBlock continues to rock and roll and Trey Layton of VCE summed that up quite nicely here. On the VSPEX front, Cisco recently released 7 new and updated integrated infrastructure designs that combine UCS, Nexus and VNX Storage. Moreover, Cisco offers these as single-part-number SmartPlay Solution Pak bundles that make them even easier for our partners and customers to order. Cisco’s VSPEX offerings span the gamut on choice of virtualization platform and application, paving that second of the three paths to cloud we talked about at EMCworld.
On a product front the big news for Cisco was the new MDS 9710 and that brought a lot of visitors into the booth. I was also really happy by the amount of people that came by to talk with us about UCS and the things we’re doing around data center automation. Each year the conversation has changed and the evolution has been fun to experience:
Customer: “What’s that funny looking switch there?”
Me: “That’s the Unified Computing System, are you familiar with Cisco’s new server platform?”
Customer: “What? No, really, what’s that funny looking switch there??”
Customer: “Do you have any UCS on display here? Our team in XYZ division just deployed it and I’d like to take a look”
Customer: “Hey, I really like what you folks did with the switch-based Fibre Channel zoning in the last release of UCS Manager. When does version 2.0 of UCS Central come out? We’re deploying UCS in three more data centers and I want to talk about implementing global ID pools”
Me: “Fantastic. Let me find our systems management expert.”
I speak geek pretty well, so when customers come in and want to go deeper than I can on operating the system instead of asking me “Cisco sells servers?”…I know we’re in the right place and on the right vector. Thanks to the EMC and Cisco teams for putting on such a great event.
I’ll leave you with a photo here for a caption contest. Leave your ideas in the comment section and try your best to keep it clean. My first take is “I loved EMC World 2013 thiiiiiiiiiiiis much!”
By Adrian Flückiger, Head of Cloud Infrastructure Services – Corporate Business, Swisscom
At Swisscom, we’ve encountered a challenge that should be familiar to telcoms everywhere. As more of our customers shift from landlines to mobile devices, and as the mobile market becomes more competitive and complex, we’re finding it necessary to create new revenue streams by offering a broader range of services. Two years ago, we confronted that challenge head-on with the introduction of a comprehensive cloud offering—our Dynamic Computing Service.
We developed our own customer-facing portal for this cloud offering, but we ran into serious limitations almost right away. The billing and fulfillment processes were insufficiently automated, and customers had very little transparency into the management of their cloud data. The simple fact is this: by attempting to create our own cloud infrastructure with no external assistance, we were stealing focus from our own areas of specialization. We needed a vendor with deep experience in deploying and optimizing cloud solutions. So we asked Cisco and two other top cloud vendors to engage in an intensive proof-of-concept to demonstrate their capabilities.
We assumed that some of our use cases would be too challenging for an external vendor, but Cisco proved otherwise. They delivered a truly dynamic, customizable solution to meet our complex needs. The result? We now offer a standardized catalog of 26 different cloud-based services, all managed through Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) software.
The key to the whole solution is the level of customization provided by Cisco Services. With their help, we’ve automated some of our most time-consuming processes, and we’ve gained greater visibility across the enterprise from a single portal. We can now provision servers in minutes rather than weeks. We can also offer our customers more flexible billing options, billing them on a day-to-day basis rather than monthly or quarterly. That level of flexibility and value is a major differentiator for us, because it really highlights both the quality and affordability of our services.
For me, the best thing about this whole process is that Cisco Services always listened to us. They were open to input. We learned a lot from each other, which is exactly as it should be.
To find out more about how Swisscom worked with Cisco Services to reduce costs while achieving greater agility, read the case study.
As the hype cycle around aspects of concepts like software-defined networking continue, customers are continuing to sift through and educate themselves to determine what is real and actionable. I have had my fair share of participation in several events over the last 24 months, and have been speaking to different audiences both gaining and sharing insights in the process.
One person I spoke with recently was Dr. Jim Metzler. We seem to be crossing paths at multiple venues including Interop, the Network World SDN roadshows currently underway in a few cities in the United States, as well, as at the Open Network Summit in Santa Clara a few weeks ago.
Jim has become the messiah of sorts, on some of these emerging technologies, and is frequently consulted -- both as part of his day job at Ashton, Metzler and associates and during his role hosting various industry panels on these topics. I thought it would be good to host the host and get some of his perspectives here, as we both got together at the recently held Open Networking Summit at Santa Clara.