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VMware’sVMMark Benchmark: Number One Position for UCS on Intel Xeon for 8 Core 2 Socket Systems

The importance of reviewing data for Virtualization 
by Harris Sussman,  Cisco Data Center Solutions – Unified Computing System


When buying a car, you have a choice to do research, ranging from perusing the mfg’s brochure, Consumer Report or actually driving a vehicle. Choosing a server vendor is similar, in that an IT Mgr. needs to assure the server meets the criteria for their business objectives.

 For most IT buyers, purchasing decisions are not trivial, and each organization applies their own philosophies. As IT staffs embark on new virtualization projects, the aim is to reduce cost, increase business agility, and reduce complexity. There are a plethora of tools and industry benchmarks available, but when it comes to virtualized environments, it’s critical organizations get this decision right.

While most Hypervisor vendors have adequate benchmarks for their respective products, VMware’s VMmark is still perceived as the gold standard, The which combines 6 of the most common DC workloads running within a unit of work referred to as a tile. This methodology is still the most sought after.

VMware’s VMMark benchmark is one of the most active benchmark sites where vendors are constantly trying to improve their results. Just recently, Cisco published their latest UCS results to regain the number one position using the latest Intel Xeon processor for 8 core 2 socket systems. While bragging rights are important for the vendor, customers rely in this info for buying decisions.

Performance benchmarks are an important data point, but in the absence of a standard virtualization benchmark businesses must do the due diligence necessary to ensure they  choose the right Hypervisor. Chris Wolf, A Burton Group analyst posted a nice blog about the need for SPECvirt  now


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Managing the Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers

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).


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A UCS blade can run any Intel workload on all the mainstream OS’s- Shocking?

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 starts with 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


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Choices in the Data Center


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.



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Optimizing your Hosted Virtual Desktop Delivery Architecture

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.

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