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Cisco ACI Business Value Calculator

In part 1, part 2 and part 3 of my blogs, I talked about ACI differentiators compared to other network virtualization solutions.

For more tangible benefits on savings, customers can turn to this calculator.


We take a close look at the cost of acquisition. Meaning we calculate the amount of money customers have to spend on building their networks and servers.

Simple to use, this calculator requires only a few entries to describe your environment, and you’ll immediately be able to view the savings.

If you want to learn more about the different elements that went into the calculation, check out the ZK Research paper. ZK Research looks at the architectures of both ACI and NSX and how this impacts the cost of acquisition for networks (including licensing) and compute. The research compares large enterprise and midsize business.

And to get a better understanding on the traction Cisco ACI continues to have with customers, please take a look at the recent blog by Soni Jiandani, Sr VP, Marketing for the Insieme Business Unit at Cisco.


Tags: ACIapplication networking servicesdata centerproductsSDNtechnologyvirtualization

Cisco UCS Delivers Industry’s Best 2-Socket Performance Result on New SPECjbb2015 Benchmark

The Cisco UCS® C220 M4 Rack Server continues its tradition of Industry leadership with the latest announcement of the first top 2-socket performance for max- jOPS in a multiple–Java virtual machine (JVM) environment ahead of other vendors.

Some of the key highlights of Cisco’s new SPECjbb2015 benchmark results are:

  • Cisco UCS C220 M4 server delivered a performance record of 92,463 SPECjbb2015 MultiJVM max-jOPS with 31,654 SPECjbb2015 MultiJVM critical-jOPS
  • Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server posted the best 2-Socket SPECjbb2015 Benchmark Result Ever for Multi-JVM max-jOPs.
  • Cisco posted the first top 2-socket Multi-JVM max-jOPs performance result on the new SPECjbb2015 benchmark ahead of other vendors.

The benchmark configuration consisted of the benchmark controller, back-end, and transaction injector functions, each running on its own JVM. The JVM instances ran on a Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server powered by two 18- core Intel Xeon processor E5-2699 v3 CPUs running a single instance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Server 6.5 and 64-bit Oracle Java HotSpot Server Virtual Machine (VM) 1.8.0_60. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the benchmark configuration. The detailed official benchmark disclosure report is available at the SPECjbb2015 Website.

The new  SPECjbb2015 benchmark has enhancements that align with the changes that you are experiencing in your own IT organization—thus giving you a more accurate capacity measurement than previous versions of the benchmark.

Let’s take a look at what this UCS C220 M4 SPECjbb2015 performance result  means for the end users and customers…

When you choose Cisco UCS servers, customers benefit from the performance and rapid deployment capabilities of Cisco UCS.

Additionally you gain business advantages such as:

Accelerated response: Cisco tunes the chip sets and servers for specific workloads. With high-performance processors, large and fast memory configurations, and efficient use of Intel Turbo Boost Technology, the Cisco UCS C220 M4 delivers low latency and server optimization to JVMs.

Increased scalability: The benchmark results show that the Cisco UCS C220 M4 delivers excellent scalability to JVMs and applications.

Data center simplification: Cisco UCS delivers the scalability needed for large Java application deployments. The dramatic reduction in the number of physical components results in a system that makes effective use of limited space, power, and cooling resources by deploying less infrastructure to perform the same, or even more work.

Although all vendors have access to same Intel processors, only Cisco UCS unleashes their power to deliver high performance to applications through the power of unification. The unique, fabric-centric architecture of Cisco UCS integrates the Intel Xeon processors into a system with a better balance of resources that brings processor power to life. . For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.


SPEC and SPECjbb are registered trademarks of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. The performance record described in this document was valid based on results posted at as of September 23, 2015.

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Is your data giving you the costly cold shoulder?

2nd Guest Blog by Ron Graham

Ron Graham had served as a Data Center Architect and Systems Engineer for some of the largest IT companies in the U.S. including Cisco Systems, NetApp, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle. He is currently working for Cisco Systems as a Big Data Analytics Engineer.

What I mean is, is your data not being used that much or is the temperature of the data going from hot to cold? Hot data is being used a lot and cold data is being used sparingly. I think every one runs into this problem at some point where they are store cold or frozen data on high performance compute resources. Does it make sense to move unused data to an archive directory as long as it is still in the same cluster and can still be accessed? In the majority of cases this makes sense.

We have hot data and cold data, so what about warm data? Warm data is giving off a moderate degree of heat and data is used less frequently than hot and more than cold. Take a look at the graph below. I interpolated the graph based on tech posting from Ebay and interviews with a former Disney admin.

On the business side, my analysis proved a 15.9% saving in CAPEX for a 1 petabyte (PB) Hadoop cluster. With a hot and cold storage ratio of 4:1, which means that 80% of my data will be on high performance storage platforms and 20% of my data on storage optimized platforms.

Hot, warm, and cold data from Renee Yao

Read More »

What Du Can Do With ACI

It seems people sometimes have this view of SDN as addressing rather esoteric use cases and situations. However, the reality is that while there are instances of ‘out there stuff’ happening, there are many situations where we see customers leverage the technology to address pretty straightforward issues. And these issues are often similar across different business/vertical/customer types.

Aftab Rasool is Senior Manager, Data Center Infrastructure and Service Design Operations for Du.   I recently had the chance to talk with him about Cisco’s flagship SDN solution – Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) – and Du’s experience with it. I found there were many instances of Du using ACI to simply make traditional challenges easier to deal with.

Du is an Information & Communications Technology (ICT) company based in Dubai. They offer a broad range of services to both consumer and business markets, including triple play to the home, mobile voice/data, and hosting. The nature of their business means the data center, and thus the data center network, is critical to their success. They need a solution to effectively handle challenges of both deployment, as well as operations…and that’s where ACI comes in.

I’ll quickly use the metaphor of driving to summarize the challenges Aftab covers in the video. He addresses issues that are both ‘in the rear view mirror’ as well as ‘in the windshield’ – with both being generalizable to lots of other customers. What I mean is that there are issues from the past that, though they are largely behind the car and visible in the mirror, still impact the driving experience. There are also issues on the horizon that are visible through the windshield, but are just now starting to come into focus and have effect.

Rear view mirror issues – These are concepts as basic as scalability associated with spanning tree issues, or sub optimal use of bandwidth, also due to spanning tree limitations. These issues are addressed with ACI, as there is no spanning tree in the fabric, and the use of Equal Cost Multi Pathing (ECMP) allows use of all links. Additionally, use of BiDi allows use of existing 10G fiber plant for 40G upgrades, thus obviating the expense and hassle of fiber upgrades. As a result, the ACI fabric, based on Nexus 9000’s, provides all the performance and capacity Du needs.

Windshield issues – These are represented by a range of things that result from business’s need for speed, yet are diametrically opposed by the complexity of most data centers. The need for speed through automation is becoming more and more critical, as is simplifying the operating environment, particularly as the business must scale. Within this context, Aftab mentioned both provisioning and troubleshooting.

Provisioning: Without ACI, provisioning involved getting into each individual switch, making requisite changes – configuring VLANs, L3, etc. It also required going into L4-7 services devices to assure they were configured properly and worked in concert with the L2 and L3 configurations. This device by device configuration not only was time consuming, but created the potential for human error. With ACI, these and other types of activities are automated and happen with a couple of clicks.

Troubleshooting: Before ACI, troubleshooting was complicated and time consuming, in part because they had to troll through each switch, look at various link by link characteristics to check for errors, etc. With ACI, healthscores make it easy and fast to pinpoint where the challenge is.

Please take a few minutes to check out what Aftab has to say about these, and other aspects of his experience with ACI at Du.


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Unleash Your Business Analysts Cisco Data Preparation

As the leader of Cisco’s Data Virtualization and Analytics Business Units, it is my pleasure to announce Cisco Data Preparation, a new big data and analytics offering for business analysts and IT.

What is Cisco Data Preparation?

Driven by Business’s accelerating demand for analytics, Cisco Data Preparation (Data Prep) makes it easy for non-technical business analysts to gather, explore, cleanse, combine and enrich the data that fuels these analytics.DataPrepDiagram1

Primarily designed as a self-service application for business analysts, Data Prep is also a valuable new capability for IT data developers and even data scientists, helping these teams collaborate to achieve the following benefits:

  • Faster Insights: New data sets available in minutes, not weeks.
  • More Comprehensive Insights: Gain advantage from all your data sources.
  • Better Business Outcomes at Scale: Supports hundred of data preparation projects at big data scale.
  • Higher Productivity, with Greater Governance: Both Business and IT gain from stronger collaboration.

Why will Business Analysts like Cisco Data Preparation?

Business Analysts can use Data Prep to address the significant data integration challenges they face when preparing analytic data sets using with a self-service approach.

  • Every analytic project is different making every data exploration effort unique. Cisco Data Prep’s Excel-like interface and machine learning lets analysts explore data freely.
  • Data is messy and everywhere. This results in analysts spending as much as 80% of their time preparing data before analysis can begin. Cisco Data Prep dramatically reduces time required to prepare data.
  • Too few Data Scientists and too long IT backlogs puts the onus on the Business adopt self-service. Cisco Data Preps empowers Business Analysts to do this work themselves.

Why will IT like Cisco Data Preparation?

IT can use Data Prep to work in concert with the business to intelligently balance self-service needs with governance constraints, while optimizing infrastructure.

  • Many requirements are short lived in contrast with IT’s industrial grade orientation. Cisco Data Prep helps IT and Business meet exploratory data needs with the right level investment and when needed even provide working prototypes that IT can quickly reengineer.
  • Independent, ungoverned data prep efforts can lead to duplication of effort, inconsistently transformed data sets of unclear origin, resulting in inaccurate analysis and potentially bad business results. Cisco Data Prep built-in governance and data set sharing increase trust.
  • Rogue data preparation activity in personal sandboxes and myriad tools, prevent IT from delivering scalable, secure infrastructure. Cisco Data Prep’s ability to massively scale allows IT so support thousands of users and multiple terabytes of data with a common, cost-effective infrastructure.

A Complete Data Preparation Solution, Only from Cisco

Cisco Data Preparation is a complete software, hardware and services solution that simplifies adoption and accelerates benefits.

  • Leveraging an easy-to-learn and use Excel-like interface and powerful machine intelligence algorithms from Cisco partner Paxata, Data Prep removes barriers to adoption and elevates business analysts’ skills.
  • Two-way integration with Cisco Data Virtualization helps leverage prior IT investments and closes the loop between the business and IT.
  • Data Prep’s massively scalable Hadoop and Spark-based architecture ensures that Data Prep users won’t be constrained by size of data sets or complexity of analysis.


Plus, a complete set of Cisco and Partner provided “Plan” and “Build” services ensure Data Prep implementation success.

Learn More About Cisco Data Preparation

There are lots of ways you can learn more about Data Prep. You can:

  • Join us at Strata+Hadoop World this week from September 29 through October 1 at the Javits Center in New York. Stop by Cisco Booth 425. There you can get a Data Prep demo from Cisco Sales Engineer Bill Kellett as well as attend with Cisco Data and Analytics Director Bob Eve and Paxata Product VP Nenshad Bardoliwalla.


  • Join us at the 2015 Data and Analytics Conference, October 20-22, at the Hilton Chicago. Register now and join my breakout session, “Data Preparation for Self-Service Analytics.”
  • Review the Cisco Data Preparation data sheet to learn more about Data Prep functionality.
  • Talk to your Cisco or Cisco partner account manager to arrange a conversation with a Cisco Data Preparation product specialist.
  • And look for upcoming blogs relating Cisco Data Preparation with Cisco UCS, Cisco Data Virtualization, Advanced Services and more. Stay tuned!


Join the Conversation

Follow @CicsoDataVirt and @CiscoAnalytics, #CiscoDAC.

Learn More from My Colleagues

Check out the blogs of Mala AnandMike FlannaganBob Eve and Nicola Villa to learn more.

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