Last July, Cisco announced the new Nexus 7700 switches (Nexus 7710 and 7718) as part of the Nexus 7000 Series, offering higher 40G and 100G densities and also delivering front to back airflow in a smaller form factor. Along with the new 7700 chassis, we announced the next generation F-Series modules, the F3 40G and 100G modules. From a feature perspective, the F3 modules combine the feature set of the F2 and M2 modules into a single module, making module selection, switching configuration and spare stocking much simpler.
In late January at Cisco Live Milan, we added to that announcement with the introduction of the Nexus 7706 and a 10G F3 module for the Nexus 7700’s.
The Nexus 7706 offers the performance and features of its bigger brothers the 10 and 18 slot chassis, but in a smaller form factor. The 10 and 18 slot chassis work great for large deployments where densities drive the chassis selection, however, talking with customers who have small/medium sized data centers, it was clear that they want the rich feature set of the Nexus 7700, but didn’t need 768 10G ports or 384 40G port densities in a single switch. Sure it gives them room to grow, but it also takes up real estate in their small data centers.
The small form factor Nexus 7706 with 4 module slots provides the ideal capacity for small/medium deployments. With up to 192 10G ports, 96 40G ports or 48 100G ports, the Nexus 7706 delivers more than enough switching capacity for today’s small data centers with ample growth capacity for future growth. We are also seeing customers leverage the Nexus 7706 for Data Center Interconnect (DCI) deployments, where high densities aren’t generally required. Because of its versatility, we’ve seen significant customer demand for the 7706 since it’s introduction…actually higher than we originally expected.
Read/write symmetry refers to a solid-state system’s ability to execute either a read or a write call or a function with equal levels of priority, importance and delivery—it takes the same amount of time to read as it does to write. Achieving read/write symmetry should be a priority for your business for two reasons: symmetry affects performance and symmetry implies quality.
Writes are important, more important than many realize. A common practice is to look at an application and its IO profile. This is a critical step, but its results are often misinterpreted. The goal is to understand how that application works, how much time does it write, how much time does it read and so on for the entire lifecycle of the data. Some applications spend more time doing one activity versus the other and we often make assumptions regarding the importance of write IOPS if our write activity is less than 50%.
Let’s say I’ve done my IO evaluation and I’ve discovered my application writes 30% of the time and reads 70%. I may think write symmetry with respect to performance does not matter, but that is not actually the case. I have to consider the criticality of that particular write operation.
As a hypothetical IO analysis let’s consider a banking application that produces account activity statements at the end of each month for all customers, which is required by bank regulations. The application is going to go through everybody’s accounts, total them up, summarize them and store that summarized data in the form of the month-end statement. For most of the month the database of record is writing far less of the time than it is reading.
Let’s dig in to the data collection used by the application. If I have 50 million accounts with an average of 25-50 transactions per month, I get 1,250 to 2,500 million transactions created each month. Now consider that if you keep 12 months worth of transactions per year in your current customer data collection, the average of at least the last fiscal years’ transactions could total between 30 to 60 trillion records. The program to calculate month-end statements will be doing a lot of reading. It will focus on the current month’s data, which is 1/12th of 30-60 trillion records. But, more importantly, it will be doing extremely critical writes in an extremely short period of time.
Read/write symmetry is important to look at beyond just making sure applications can perform write operations quickly. Flash vendors use a block translation layer (BTL) to manipulate and improve the write performance of flash. This BTL does much more than increase the speed at which flash writes. But if a system has read numbers that far exceed the write numbers and one sees a dramatic degradation in write performance with that system, then you can safely infer that the software layer is carrying the write asymmetry back out to the operating system of the host application and the application itself. This ratio of write to read performance should be looked at closely when evaluating systems regardless of the IO Profile of an individual application.
Write performance isn’t only important to applications, it’s essential to the entire business. Applications cannot read anything that hasn’t first been written and they can only go as fast as their slowest write, which means the entire business may be at the mercy of its solid-state system as it waits on writes.
The next generation Nexus 5600 family offers VXLAN bridging and routing capability, line rate L2/L3, and 40G uplinks, to deliver high performance in a compact form factor for 10G Top of Rack, 1/10G FEX aggregation deployments.
AND THERE HAS BEEN BROAD CUSTOMER ADOPTION ACROSS THE DATA CENTER!
From Nexus 1000V to the Nexus 9000, Cisco’s holistic approach resonates with customers because it provides increased business agility, operational efficiency, and empowers IT to rapidly evolve as business requirements change.
Here are the latest examples of why our customers chose Nexus:
Later this month I’ll be taking part in a webcast dedicated to helping viewers Uncover the Business Impact of Application Acceleration with Solid-State Systems. I think the most important thing for business executives to understand is that application acceleration goes beyond enabling workloads to run faster. It’s also about reducing the time that it takes to make resources available so that you can accelerate applications. This concept is equally important.
Now we have an end-to-end performance story. Something that used to take weeks can now potentially be done in a day. The notion around spending time troubleshooting becomes dramatically reduced. The ability to just simply assign resources or quickly deploy assets and bring them into the environment and immediately use them becomes very, very easy. Where in the past there was a lot of thought and planning that had to go into it, “What am I buying, and how will it be configured, and how will it potentially be used?”
Now I have this wonderful environment called UCS. I have high-performance computing. I have flash memory. I have the ability to organize the resources through the UCS management technology, and I can focus on speeding up my business, my entire business. I can focus on bringing my new ideas online while taking full advantage of the applications that I have in place today, and watching each and every one of them run faster with minimal, if any, changes.
We’re really going to help propel customers into the future. A future that is about the Internet of Everything. A future that is about consistently high performance, and a future that is about getting things done much, much faster tomorrow than we do today. That’s part of what this webcast will articulate.
Whether working with bare-metal servers or virtual machines; provisioning applications and infrastructure traditionally are independent tasks that are completed by different data center teams. Infrastructure is usually provisioned manually. Applications are customarily provisioned via golden templates. As customers look to move automation beyond infrastructure to include applications, the maintenance complexity and manual “last mile” configuration associated with application golden templates is no longer a sustainable solution.
The situation has made Puppet and Chef popular. Both assist with automating the infrastructure life cycle as well as rapid application deployment. But some system admins prefer to use Puppet. Some prefer Chef. Cloud admins want to use Amazon, vCloud Director or OpenStack. What to do?
Cisco lets you use either or both and makes it easier to automate application delivery thanks to the Cisco Application Stack Accelerator for Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC). With this cloud accelerator, those “last mile” deficiencies are practically eliminated.
Bringing together the knowledge of infrastructure and application specialists, this solution automates the design and configuration of application stack components. The result is an application blueprint that consistently delivers applications within minutes, across multiple cloud platforms, to the exact design and specification of the application architect.
Watch these two videos to better understand application blueprints as well as how they can be consumed by Cisco IAC.
Video #1 clarifies what an application blueprint does and how to design and configure them
Video #2 walks you through how to deliver fully configured multi-tier cloud applications with Cisco IAC
Why is this important? Customers tell us that they struggle with multiple requests for virtually the same application. One particular customer, discovered that they had 250 requests for the same application in a two month period. Each one of these requests took IT four to six weeks to deliver before the project could begin. This not only shows down IT but your business as well.
Using Cisco IAC and the Application Stack Accelerator, you can automate the design, configuration and consumption of applications via the Cisco IAC portal. The result? Customers get their application within 30-40 minutes instead of four to six weeks resulting in projects starting sooner. IT spends less time spinning up multiple versions of virtually the same application allowing them to focus on new innovative services. Bottom line: your business experiences agility, speed, and efficiency.
Industry analysts forecast that four out of every 10 companies will be utilizing a private cloud by the end of 2014. With cloud automation becoming this prevalent, you owe it to yourself to learn how Cisco IAC and the Application Stack Accelerator can speed up the design, configuration and consumption of applications within your organization.
Together, this solution can help you deploy applications efficiently; reduce complexity and ensure that applications are deployed to the architect’s exact design and specification.