Last week was a memorable one for me in more ways than one. First, the unveiling of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) specifics by John Chambers and his Executive Management team via a public webcast on Nov 6. The announcement was a big success and received broad endorsement and support from a big eco-system of Partners, customers, Press and Analysts.
Second, personally it is special to me, as I became part of the ACI Marketing team two weeks ago, to join life in fast lane. In this blog I want to share my excitement with you, and focus on nuances of ACI that do not overlap with blogs already posted by Shashi Kiran and Harry Petty.
The excitement started with an ACI boot-camp, I attended last week. In 2 days, I got a good overview on the architectural advantages of Cisco ACI and the Datacenter pain-points it addresses. By now, many of you would have learnt that ACI is all about Datacenter agility and automation. Sounds easy, but you may be wondering how to attain this goal. I will give examples from my career as a software engineer in the 90’s, when I worked for Sun Microsystems. Those days, I wrote code for 2 –tier and three-tier enterprise software applications that required global deployment and access by users on the company-wide WAN.
My problem started as I went from the Application Development phase to Test/QA phase. I had to run from pillar to post coordinating my application deployment needs with security, network and database/storage admins to identify the best rollout strategy. There was no collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. The alpha and beta test phases required testing on multiple subnets, across geographies, via multiple protocols like to establish proper SLA/functioning of the application. If my application had to open say, a firewall port to allow a particular traffic type (non http) it was next to impossible to get security ops to agree. Opening non-http ports were considered a security risk. In addition, tight coupling of network constructs like subnets, VLAN, security, network services, IP addresses etc with one another, further impacted the network flexibility and application deployment process. (Refer to Figure-1 below for details)
With ACI architecture, tight coupling between network constructs can be eliminated. Figure-1 above, illustrates this approach via Abstraction.
Cisco continues its tradition of performance and price/performance leadership with the announcement of a world-record TPC-H benchmark with the SAP Sybase IQ database on the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS™) platform. On October 31st 2013, Cisco published the best single-system x86 performance and price/performance at 3000 GB on the TPC-H benchmark. Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server achieved 230,119.9 QphH@3000GB on the TPC-H benchmark with the SAP Sybase IQ database.
As tested, the benchmark configuration consisted of a Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server with 1 TB of memory and four 2.7-GHz Intel Xeon E5-4650 processors with 20 MB of cache space. The system ran SAP Sybase IQ Version 16 Single Application Server Edition (SASE) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server Release 6.4. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the benchmark configuration. The detailed official benchmark disclosure report is available at the TPC Website .
Some of the key highlights of Cisco’s TPC-H Benchmark results are:
Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server achieved 230,119.9 QphH@3000GB on the TPC-H benchmark with the SAP Sybase IQ database. This is the best performance result of any single-system x 86 configurations.
Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server demonstrated a price/performance ratio of US$1.29 per QphH@3000GB, delivering the best single-system price/performance at 3000GB. This result alsoillustrates the power of Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Servers to deliver industry-leading performance at significantly lower cost of ownership.
Cisco’s result also demonstrates 42 percent better performance at 48% less price-performance than the HP DL980 G7 server.
Following our launch of the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), we continue with our series exploring in more detail key aspects of the ACI policy model and partner ecosystem. In Part 1 of my series on ACI, we looked at why application policies were an ideal model to build infrastructure automation around, and how application policies are better suited to mirror business objectives and requirements than traditional IT infrastructure policies. The key benefits for customers end up being vastly greater degrees of automation, process improvement and business agility.
In Part 2, we looked into one example of the difficulty in deploying and managing applications and the level of complexity that must be overcome to truly automate application-oriented tasks: application-specific network services and security policies (as well as a separate post on the partner ecosystem for application services and security solutions that support the ACI model).
SAP®HANATM is a next-generation database platform for real-time analytics and applications. Although the in-memory, columnar relational database debuted only recently (in June 2011), it has quickly become the fastest growing product in the history of
SAP AG. Already proven enormously successful for analytics, SAP HANA now supports SAP Business Suite, SAP’s flagship enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. It has also been identified as the focus for innovation for SAP. To prepare for
this eventuality, enterprises are considering ways to make SAP HANA “data center-ready.”
Since SAP HANA is the fastest growing product in SAP history, the data center needs to be trusted as well. Here is a chart on the requirements of SAP as it relates to SAP HANA
The Five Essential Characteristics of a SAP HANA Hardware Platform
Find the full story about how SAP HANA users are choosing the Unified Computing System server platform to build their trusted data center in this comprehensive white paper.
When Cisco designed the concept of an Application Centric Infrastructure, we knew it wouldn’t reach its full potential without drawing in a very comprehensive ecosystem of partners in a number of areas. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of our announcement was the breadth, quality and scope of the data center infrastructure partners that we aligned so quickly with our ACI vision and that contributed their perspectives to the launch, and will be contributing key solutions to Cisco’s infrastructure-wide vision.
Yesterday, I blogged about the role of application controllers, network monitoring solutions, WAN optimization, firewalls, etc. have in setting up application networks, provisioning applications, and how the ACI policy model incorporates these security and services solutions. I wanted to follow up that post with some highlights from the support we received from some of our ACI partners in this area, that incorporate ACI policy support into their security, application delivery controller, load balancing and other solutions.