A lot of our data center customers are in the healthcare industry -- This topic is close to my heart, as I used to work in this field several years ago. Healthcare organization are facing specific challenges in moving to the cloud, that Cisco and partners address carefully.
IT innovation and integration in healthcare is on the rise, causing a fundamental shift for healthcare organizations. As economic factors and government regulations begin to push more and more independent physician practices to the cloud, healthcare organizations now work with cloud service providers and share the responsibility to meet regulatory demands set forth in the recent package of HIPAA changes. So what does this move to the cloud mean for healthcare organizations?
“As more healthcare professionals move to the cloud, IT organizations need to evaluate how to federate public cloud services with their private cloud efforts. This type of transformation will require organizations to look beyond just building a private cloud. They need to build and buy a secure, scalable, and reliable network that supports privacy, high availability, and mobility, all while meeting cost targets.”
It is clear that the new HIPAA regulations require a more shared responsibility between IT and service providers, but with a certified Cisco Powered cloud provider, healthcare organizations can be empowered to expand both their private and public cloud solutions.
In three short years OpenStack has become cloud management platform that is “Too Big to Fail” (according to Citi Research). Whether it is true or not, OpenStack is definitely gaining traction and is making a profound impact not only as a viable Cloud management option, but also on the software economics for Cloud solutions.
Cloud computing is rapidly transforming businesses and organizations by providing access to flexible, agile, and cost-effective IT infrastructure. These elastic capabilities help accelerate the delivery of infrastructure, applications, and services with the right quality of service (QoS) to increase revenue. Cisco’s approach—innovative and unified data center infrastructure that provides the underlying foundation for OpenStack technology—enables the creation of massively scalable infrastructure that delivers on the promise of the cloud.
Cisco Common Cloud Architecture built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) with OpenStack provides the foundation for flexible, elastic cloud solutions enabling speed and agility. As the saying goes “Every Skyscraper is built on a strong foundation of pillars”, the OpenStack platform requires the core requirements from the underlying infrastructure – simplification, rapid provisioning, self-service consumption model, and elastic resource allocation. Cisco UCS uniquely provides a policy based resource management model, which simplifies by integrating compute, networking and storage with the ability to scale and automate deployment.
This foundation addresses every stage of cloud deployment be it private or public cloud offerings. Some of primary workloads targeted for OpenStack based deployments are:
Web server, multimedia, big data, and cluster-aware applications
Applications with extensive computing power requirements and mixed I/O workloads
To accelerate these cloud infrastructure deployments, Cisco has developed starter configurations focused on compute-intensive, mixed or heterogeneous and storage-intensive workloads. The various server nodes are typically sized to include the OpenStack controller, compute, Ceph storage, Swift proxy and Swift storage.
Cisco UCS Solution Accelerator Paks for Cloud Infrastructure Deployments
Scaling beyond 160 servers can be implemented by interconnecting multiple UCS domains using Nexus 3000/5000/6000/7000 Series switches, scalable to thousands of servers and to hundreds of petabytes storage, and managed from a single pane using UCS Central in a datacenter or distributed globally as shown in figure.
For about 2 decades, Fibre Channel has been deployed to support the most rigorous and demanding applications, and is mainly because FC possesses certain characteristics that enterprise customers embrace, i.e -- reliability, performance and scalability. 16Gb Fibre Channel is one of the preferred choice for mission-critical applications that required deterministic low latency networks to connect to storage. In addition to emerging technologies like FCoE and 40 GE, enterprise customers still continue to deploy Fibre channel for mission critical applications and this trend will continue for a while, due to huge customer investment in FC infrastructure and how their IT departments are organized. According to Dell’Oro report (June, 2013), 38% of data center switch/director ports are projected to be 16 Gb FC during 2014.
In order to support this demand for 16G, you may expect more product updates and new offerings from Fibre Channel vendors. For example, EMC announced their new 16G FC storage networking connectivity that further extends EMC’s lead in the market. Customers can now take advantage and future-proof their virtual data centers by deploying complete, end-to-end 16 Gb Fibre Channel connectivity throughout the cloud. A couple of months ago Cisco announced high density 16G and FCoE platform –Cisco MDS 9700 director , which delivers superior performance—more than three times the bandwidth than any currently available SAN Director in the market.
Well, I want to be very clear, 16G is one of several choices, when you are ready for convergence then you will have a choice of platforms that will support FC, FCoE and/or iSCSI, or all three! You can future proof your storage infrastructure!!! (see figure below). Cisco MDS 9700 (only director that supports both FC and FCOE in the same platform) + EMC solution enable customers to deploy Teir 1, 16Gb storage infrastructure and scale efficiently.
This month marks the three year anniversary of Cisco’s partnership with NetApp and our development of FlexPod. Over the years, we’ve experienced some tremendous growth, more than doubling new installations year-over-year, and now we have more than 3,000 customers globally.
Following the success of FlexPod Datacenter, FlexPod Express and FlexPod Select the solution is capping off the year with several technology enhancements. These include the automation of integrated infrastructure, business continuity solutions, and validation of new products and reference architectures.
Together, Cisco and NetApp are introducing four new FlexPod components that enable our customers’ continuing journey to the cloud:
UCS Director 4.1 deeply integrated with clustered Data ONTAP.
The addition of Citrix to the FlexPod Cooperative Support program.
FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster
FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Virtualized Multiservice Data Center 2.3
I encourage you to take a look at the short video we’ve created that gives more details of all the new components we’re announcing today.
Our friends at NetApp have written a great blog post outlining the last two offerings, but I’d like to focus on the first two components – UCS Director and the addition of Citrix capabilities.
UCS Director Integration
New integrations with UCS Director and Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) provide automation and service catalogues, which help customers move toward delivering cloud services. Corporate IT maximizes benefits when its infrastructure can be commissioned within minutes in response to changes in demand. Cisco UCS Director views FlexPod as a single system and allows customers to rapidly deploy FlexPod by leveraging single element managers. UCS Director, in turn, will soon be natively integrated into Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud for a more comprehensive FlexPod cloud management solution.
With the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) cloud accelerator, UCS Director and FlexPod are integrated as a “node” in the cloud that can be used by cloud administrators to provision NetApp storage into virtual data centers.
Faster with Intel
Rapid deployment will be used to harness tremendous increases in FlexPod computing power. The newest FlexPod deployments will feature Cisco UCS built on Intel’s Ivy Bridge chipset. We’ve introduced the Intel Xeon Process E5-2600 v2 product family on several servers.
“We like to say that Cisco and Intel are “Joined at the Chip,” because the innovation each company brings is incredibly complimentary. Cisco’s innovation in the data center is an extension of the company’s historic focus: connecting things. Cisco Unified Data Center and products like UCS are the outcomes of our drive to connect the pieces. When we join forces with Intel’s leadership at the computing core, customers see an unbeatable combination.” - Todd Brannon, Tick Tock Goes the Server Clock
Coupled with other UCS innovations, the solution has demonstrated great performance versatility and has set record-breaking industry benchmarks.
For enterprises that want to scale out this capacity, Cisco delivers UCS Central. UCS Central software manages multiple, globally distributed Cisco UCS domains with thousands of servers from a single pane.
Agile deployment and scale-out performance need the backing of a best-in-class support model. The FlexPod Cooperative Support program brings together the technology expertise of Cisco, NetApp and now Citrix. Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenServer and Citrix CloudPlatform are frequently deployed workloads in enterprises today. Customers will have direct access to Cisco, NetApp and Citrix engineers trained to rapidly address any operational issues. By adding Citrix, FlexPod has the broadest IT and cloud management support, including Citrix CloudPlatform, Microsoft System Center, VMWare vCenter Orchestrator, CA Automation Suite for Clouds, and BMC Cloud Lifecycle Manager.
Combined, these advances in FlexPod technology will enable the platform to exceed the needs of the most demanding private and public cloud deployments.
We’re incredibly proud of the work that Cisco and NetApp have done over the past three years. We are looking forward to an exciting future together as we use the FlexPod platform to continue delivering significant technology innovations to our customers.
Welcome back to the latest episode of Engineers Unplugged, featuring the inimitable dynamic duo of storage, Vaughn Stewart (@vStewed) and Chad Sakac (@sakacc). They discuss three key trends in storage today: flash, distributed DAS, and software control plane. Storage is the new black, let’s learn why:
And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a unicorn, a flash unicorn.
Flash Unicorn! Thanks to Vaughn Stewart and Chad Sakac for the artwork.