Cisco UCS M-Series servers have been purpose built to fit specific need in the data center. The core design principles are around sizing the compute node to meet the needs of cloud scale applications.
When I was growing up I used to watch a program on PBS called 3-2-1 Contact, most afternoons, when I came home from school (Yes, I’ve pretty much always been a nerd). There was an episode about size and efficiency, that for some reason I have always remembered. This episode included a short film to demonstrate the relationship between size and efficiency.
The plot goes something like this. Kid #1 says that his uncle’s economy car, that gets a whopping 15 miles to the gallon (this was the 1980s), is more efficient than a school bus that gets 6 miles to the gallon. Kid #2 disagrees and challenges Kid #1 to a contest. But here’s the rub, the challenge is to transport 24 children from the bus stop to school, about 3 miles a way, on a single gallon of fuel. Long story short, the school bus completes the task with one trip, but the car has to make 8 trips and runs out of fuel before it completes the task. So kid #2 proves the school bus is more efficient.
The only problem with this logic is that we know that the school bus is not more efficient in all cases.
For transporting 50 people a bus is very efficient, but if you need to transport 2 people 100 miles to a concert the bus would be a bad choice. Efficiency depends on the task at hand. In the compute world, a task equates to the workload. Using a 1RU 2-socket E5 server for the distributed cloud scale workloads that Arnab Basu has been describing would be equivalent to using a school bus to transport a single student. This is not cost effective.
Thanks to hypervisors, we can have multiple workloads on a single server so that we achieve the economies of scale. However there is a penalty to building that type of infrastructure. You add licensing costs, administrative overhead, and performance penalties.
Customers deploying cloud scale applications are looking for ways to increase the compute capacity without increasing the cost and complexity. They need all terrain vehicles, not school buses. Small, cost effective, and easy to maintain resources that serve a specific purpose.
Many vendors entering this space are just making the servers smaller. Per the analogy above smaller helps. But one thing we have learned from server virtualization is that there is real value in the ability to share the infrastructure. With a physical server the challenge becomes how do you share components in compute infrastructure without a hypervisor? Power and cooling are easy, but what about network, storage and management. This is where M-Series expands on the core foundations of unified compute to provide a compute platform that meets the needs of these applications.
There are 2 key design principles in Unified Compute:
1.) Unified Fabric
2.) Unified Management
Over the next couple of weeks Mahesh Natarajan and I will be describing how and why these 2 design principles became the corner stone for building the M-Series modular servers.
Tags: Cisco Data Center, Cisco UCS, Cisco UCS Manager, Cloud Computing, UCS, UCS m-series, UCSGrandSlam
Responses in a recent Cisco-sponsored Cloud Security Alliance survey (hyperlink) illustrate that many data privacy challenges previously cast in the “too hard” basket can be more readily navigated though focusing on universal principles across Cloud, IoT and Big Data. Survey responses showed a surprisingly strong level of interest in a global consumer bill of rights and responses were overwhelming in favor of the OECD data privacy principles facilitating the trends of Cloud, IoT and Big Data.
Following are the most significant findings:
Data Residency and Sovereignty
Data residency and sovereignty challenges continue to emerge. However, there was a common theme of respondents identifying “personal data” and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) as the data that is required to remain resident in most countries.
73 percent of respondents indicated that there should be a call for a global consumer bill of rights and saw the United Nations as fostering that. This is of great significance with the harmonization efforts taking place in Europe with a single EU data Privacy Directive to represent 28 European member states. As well as with the renewed calls for a U.S. Consumer Bill of Privacy Rights in the United States and cross-border privacy arrangements in Australia and Asia.
Finally we explored whether OECD privacy principles that have been very influential in the development of many data privacy regulations also facilitate popular trends in cloud, IoT and big data initiatives or cause room for tension. The responses were very much in favor of facilitating the various trends.
The survey report includes an executive summary from Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada and commentary from other industry experts on the positive role that privacy can play in developing new and innovative cloud, IoT and Big Data Solutions. Read the Data Protection Heat Index survey report:
Tags: Big Data, cloud, IoE, privacy, report, security, survey
If you look back at the Cisco UCS launch on September 4th, and VMworld SF just prior, the last 4 weeks have been a tsunami of solution innovation milestones in unified computing, ie: where the next wave of Unified Computing is taking us. If you haven’t already seen the launch event “Powering Applications at Every Scale – the Next Wave of Unified Computing Innovation”, please check it out!
Desktop Virtualization Beyond the Data Center
A much anticipated part of this launch was the introduction of UCS Mini. This is all about expanding our presence / penetration of where we can offer the unified computing value proposition. With the economic disruption UCS has brought to the data center, it’s now time to extend that value beyond the traditional limits of the data center – check out this presentation to get an idea of the TCO impact alone, when considered next to HP DL360p Gen8 ’s.
With this economic advantage, comes the opportunity to address a growing array of desktop virtualization use cases that depend on footprint-friendly form factor without sacrificing performance or simplified, stateless, centralized manageability. Think of use cases that include:
- the enterprise-edge where you likely don’t have IT resources in place
- retail/point-of-sale environments, or
- small/medium-sized businesses that need fewer servers
In these scenarios, traditional centralized VDI implementation is hampered by WAN latency, security and business continuity concerns. Being able to deploy a local solution that integrates compute, software and storage, that’s still centrally managed, could be just the solution for your branch office. Look for new solutions from Cisco and our ecosystem partners that address these scenarios with compelling new offers, which brings us to VMworld Barcelona.
VMworld Barcelona and Integrated Infrastructure solutions for Desktop and App Virtualization
In just a few weeks, we’ll be at VMworld Barcelona, and I’m pleased to once again have the opportunity to kick off the week with a breakout session co-delivered with VMware’s Bhumik Patel, covering “Best in Class Desktop Virtualization with Horizon 6 and Cisco UCS”. If you didn’t join us in the room in San Francisco, and you’ll be in Barcelona, please attend this second offering of TEX2516
I love opening these things up with a simple poll of i) how many folks in the room have implemented UCS, and ii) how many have done so in support of VDI or app virtualization. In San Francisco, from the show of hands, it was obvious that over 90% of the room (of 200+ session attendees) had deployed VMware Horizon on UCS. It was also telling that many attendees expressed interest in solutions for graphics/NVIDIA, flash storage, and our new VDI Pilot Accelerator configurations that are optimal for getting one’s feet wet in desktop as well as app virtualization.
Another hot topic was Integrated Infrastructure solutions for VDI. If you’re already familiar with FlexPod or Vblock, you already know how rapidly this IT consumption model is growing (to the tune of $3B in FlexPod alone) and how Cisco and its ecosystem partners are enabling organizations of all sizes to
- dramatically reduce the time to deploy new services,
- using modularized infrastructure approaches that integrated compute, network and storage,
- supported with unified, single pane of glass management
- backed by validated performance testing / documented results
The Nimble Storage SmartStack is another great example in this space, offering pre-validated solutions for organizations of all sizes, wanting to take the guesswork out of getting into desktop or server virtualization. Imagine the possibilities with a SmartStack built on UCS-Mini… Speaking of which, check out this article about VCPro, a service provider in the Asia Pacific region, offering DaaS on SmartStack built on UCS Mini.
Look for more news in the coming weeks regarding these and other new solutions that expand the use cases for desktop and app virtualization -- see you at VMworld Barcelona!
Tags: branch office, citrix, desktop virtualization, horizon view, Integrated infrastructure, nimble, UCS, vdi, VMware
Big Data is not just about gathering tons of data, the digital exhaust from the internet, social media, and customer records. The real value is in being able to analyze the data to gain a desired business outcome.
Those of us who follow the Big Data market closely never lack for something new to talk about. There is always a story about how a business is using Big Data in a different way or about some new breakthrough that has been achieved in the expansive big data ecosystem. The good news for all of us is, we have clearly only scratched the surface of the Big Data opportunity!
With the increasing momentum of the Internet of Everything (IoE) market transition, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020—just five years from now. As billions of new people, processes, and things become connected, each connection will become a source of potentially powerful data to businesses and the public sector. Organizations who can unlock the intelligence in this data can create new sources of competitive advantage, not just from more data but from better access to better data.
What we haven’t heard about – yet—are examples of enterprises that are applying the power of this data pervasively in their organizations: giving them a competitive edge in marketing, supply chain, manufacturing, human resources, customer support, and many more departments. The enterprise that can apply the power of Big Data throughout their organization can create multiple and simultaneous sources of ongoing innovation—each one a constantly renewable or perpetual competitive edge. Looking forward, the companies that can accomplish this will be the ones setting the pace for the competition to follow.
Cisco has been working on making this vision of pervasive use of Big Data within enterprises a reality. We’d like to share this vision with you in an upcoming blog series and executive Webcast entitled, ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data Solutions’, that will air on October 21st at 9:00 AM PT.
I have the honor of kicking off the multi-part blog series today. Each blog will focus on a specific Cisco solution our customers can utilize to unlock the power of their big data – enterprise-wide-- to deliver a competitive edge to our customers. I’m going to start the discussion by highlighting the infrastructure implications for Big Data in the internet of Everything (IoE) era and focus on Cisco Unified Computing System initially.
Enterprises who want to make strategic use of data throughout their organizations will need to take advantage of the power of all types of data. As IoE increasingly takes root, organizations will be able to access data from virtually anywhere in their value chain. No longer restricted to small sets of structured, historical data, they’ll have more comprehensive and even real-time data including video surveillance information, social media output, and sensor data that allow them to monitor behavior, performance, and preferences. These are just a few examples, but they underscore the fact that not all data is created equally. Real-time data coming in from a sensor may only be valuable for minutes, or even seconds – so it is critical to be able to act on that intelligence as quickly as possible. From an infrastructure standpoint, that means enterprises must be able to connect the computing resource as closely as possible to the many sources and users of data. At the same time, historical data will also continue to be critical to Big Data analytics.
Cisco encourages our customers to take a long-term view—and select a Big Data infrastructure that is distributed, and designed for high scalability, management automation, outstanding performance, low TCO, and the comprehensive, security approach needed for the IoE era. And that infrastructure must be open—because there is tremendous innovation going on in this industry, and enterprises will want to be able to take full advantage of it.
One of the foundational elements of our Big Data infrastructure is the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). UCS integrated infrastructure uniquely combines server, network and storage access and has recently claimed the #1, x86 blade server market share position in the Americas. It’s this same innovation that propelled us to the leading blade market share position that we are directly applying to Big Data workloads. With its highly efficient infrastructure, UCS lets enterprises manage up to 10,000 UCS servers as if they were a single pool of resources, so they can support the largest data clusters.
Because enterprises will ultimately need to be able to capture intelligence from both data at rest in the data center and data at the edge of the network, Cisco’s broad portfolio of UCS systems gives our customers the flexibility to process data where it makes the most sense. For instance, our UCS 240 rack system has been extremely popular for Hadoop-based Big Data deployments at the data center core. And Cisco’s recently introduced UCS Mini is designed to process data at the edge of the network.
Because the entire UCS portfolio utilizes the same unified architecture, enterprises can choose the right compute configuration for the workload, with the advantage of being able to use the same powerful management and orchestration tools to speed deployment, maximize availability, and significantly lower your operating expenses. Being able to leverage UCS Manager and Service Profiles, Unified Fabric and SingleConnect Technology, our Virtual interface card technology, and industry leading performance really set Cisco apart from our competition.
So, please consider this just an introduction to the first component of Cisco’s “bigger”, big data story. To hear more, please make plans to attend our upcoming webcast entitled, ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge With Cisco Big Data Solutions’ on October 21st.
Every Tuesday and Thursday from now until October 21st, we’ll post another blog in the series to provide you with additional details of Cisco’s full line of products, solutions and services.
Come back on Thursday, September 25th for the next blog in the series by blogger, Bharath Aleti, Product Manager of UCS Big Data Solutions:
Unlock Big Data with Breakthroughs in Management Automation
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions, or via twitter at @CicconeScott.
Tags: ACI, analytics, Big Data, blade server, Blade Servers, Cisco UCS, Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server, Cisco Unified Computing System, Cisco Unified Data Center, Cisco Unified Fabric, Cloudera, data virtualization, Hadoop, Hortonworks, Internet of Everything, IoE, MapR, rack server, security, UCS Central, UCS service profiles
In today’s data centers, organizations want to further accelerate application deployment, resulting in even greater demands on the IT infrastructure. The need for speed and efficiency is paramount and keeping pace with dynamic priorities requires infrastructure flexibility, agility, and automation. Hence, leveraging an application-centric operational model is now essential.
FlexPod has become a leader in integrated infrastructure by combining Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure (Cisco UCS & Nexus) and NetApp storage systems into a single system, this integrated infrastructure approach provides the ability to dramatically improve the efficiency and agility of data center infrastructure, while reducing deployment risks.
FlexPod is the first integrated infrastructure to validate Cisco ACI. Cisco and NetApp have recently released FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Application Centric (ACI) Infrastructure and Microsoft SharePoint 2013 with Cisco ACI design guides. Cisco ACI is a holistic architecture with centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles that delivers software flexibility with hardware performance. The Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) defines policy-based application network profiles and provides a single point of control for ACI fabric.
Typically, the configuration of infrastructure to support multi-tier applications is manual and time consuming with a risk for errors. The validation of FlexPod with Cisco ACI can enable IT teams to provision applications in hours instead of months and accelerate the deployment of application-ready infrastructure. With UCS Director, FlexPod with Cisco ACI will be able to leveraging the application network profiles from APIC, service profiles from Cisco UCS Manager, and integration with NetApp storage management to ensure that all infrastructure elements align with the application. This automation of integrated infrastructure (compute, network, and storage) in sync with the needs of the applications can enable IT to deliver unprecedented speed and efficiency.
To learn more about FlexPod with ACI please check out the solution brief and to see the latest on our FlexPod portfolio visit our web page.