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Keeping Your Eyes on the Skies – A Partner’s View on SQL Server and UCS

November 6, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

A Guest Blog by Partner Rick Heiges of Scalability Experts: Rick is a SQL Server Microsoft MVP and Senior Solutions Architect.  He primarily works with Enterprise customers on their Data Platform strategies. Rick is also very involved in the SQL Server Community primarily through PASS and events such as the PASS Summit, SQL Saturdays, and 24 Hours of PASS.  His tenure on the PASS Board of Directors saw the annual Summit triple in size from 2003 to 2011.  You can find his blog at www.sqlblog.com.

So far, it has been another great week here at the PASS Summit 2014, SQL Server’s largest annual user and partner conference.  With yesterday’s keynote address, there is still very much a focus on getting to the cloud and new investments in cloud technology in general. Microsoft seems to be extending its data collection and storage technologies in the cloud and also on-prem.  One of the coolest features talked about was the concept of a “stretch tables” where a table that lives on your on-prem SQL Server can be “stretched” on to tables in SQL Azure Databases.  The data may be shared so that the “hot” data can stay local and the “cold” data would live in the cloud.  There were some other great demos around using the Kinect device to create a heat map of customer activity in a physical store (similar to what people linger and search for when shopping online).  You can watch the PASS Summit 2014 Keynote here on PASStv.

As a Senior Solutions Architect with Scalability Experts, I work with large enterprise customers (Fortune 500 type) on a regular basis.  There is more and more interest about leveraging the Public Cloud for some workloads and taking advantage of “on-prem” resources in a cloud-like way.  This means deploying your internal resources in a similar way – for example via Cisco’s Microsoft Fast Track certified FlexPod or VSPEX integrated infrastructure solutions -  that public cloud resources are deployed with a similar chargeback (or ‘show back’) model and automating the self-service deployment of infrastructure, and the monitoring of the entire stack.

One of the things that I really like about Microsoft’s products is a focus on ease of use, tight integration, and low TCO.  This is important to a lot of the customers that I interact with.  This is why I have seen a surge in Cisco UCS products in my customer base of the past few years.  Cisco has a similar goal to keep things simple and TCO low – read this Total Economic Impact report from Forrester on UCS ROI/TCO.  Cisco also provides Management Pack plug-ins to Microsoft’s System Center suite for tight integration so that you can manage the entire stack (Hardware, Hypervisor, Application, and even Public Cloud) with a single tool.  It is great to see how this partnership between Microsoft and Cisco can be beneficial to the customers that I work with.

Microsoft's SQL Server 2014 also brings “In-Memory” Technology to OLTP in a cost-effective manner by not forcing a complete rewrite of the application.  In a recent Cisco UCS  on Microsoft SQL Server 2014 case study, Progressive Insurance was able to take advantage of this technology to further its strategy of its competitive advantage - ease of use.

Eventually, I see the Public Cloud taking on a more “primary” role in the future.  Similar to the “Everything on a VM unless there is a reason not to” mantra, I see an “Everything on a Public Cloud VM unless there is a reason not to” mantra on the long-term horizon.  Until then, the Hybrid Cloud will be the default stance for many large enterprises.

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The Big Picture of Big Data

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is disrupting innovation models and causing market shifts. One of the most powerful IoE-driven opportunities will be the value created from big data and analytics. As IoE gains momentum and creates billions of new connections, each of those connections will be capable of producing data. The enterprises that can unlock the intelligence within that data — quickly and effectively — will hold the key to a powerful and sustainable competitive edge. Read More »

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Go Mercedes, and Leave the Driving to IoE

As they speed through the clouds, most air travelers are comfortable knowing that their pilot is not actually bothering to fly the plane. On the open highway, however, it may be harder to accept truck drivers who take their hands off the wheel to text, watch movies, or gaze at the scenery as it rolls lazily by.

Yet self-driving trucks could become a common sight in coming years. One company at the forefront of this technology is Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand. Recently, the company demonstrated its “Future Truck 2025” concept, with a modified vehicle that cruised down the autobahn at a top speed of 53 MPH. The driver was able to switch at will between manual control and the automated Highway Pilot system,.

I see the Highway Pilot as an exciting example of how the Internet of Everything (IoE) connects the unconnected. Using a convergence of innovations that leverage Wi-Fi, data analytics, radar, GPS, and stereo video sensors, Highway Pilot steers the truck, senses other vehicles, and maintains the most efficient speed and route.  IN the process, it enables a whole new technology platform and business model. After all, many countries face a shortage of truck drivers; and fuel consumption issues and safety concerns persist — especially on long, grueling hauls.

I see the self-driving truck Read More »

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Keeping Up With Demand for Big Data Analytics

In my recent blogs about building the right data strategy and analytics solutions, I discussed how Cisco is helping our customers to meet one of the toughest challenges brought on by the Internet of Everything (IoE) – cost-effectively managing massive amounts of distributed data. With solutions such as Cisco Data Virtualization and Cisco Big Data Warehouse Expansion (BDWE), our customers can bring all of this data together in ways that are meaningful to them. Utilizing the network to securely connect data throughout the IoE and providing advanced analytics, we help our customers predict outcomes so they can drive better decisions in real-time.

To keep up with growing demands for big data analytics, now is the time to look at workload automation end to end. In this blog, I would like to share the other aspect of big data analytics; building the right workload automation strategy to integrate data, analytics and operations.

In today’s big data analytics environments, IT staff is regularly managing increasingly complex processes that are co-dependent on one another and span applications and departments. Rather than implementing silos of automation, we are helping customers take advantage of workload automation from a unified perspective. Our enterprise-wide workload automation solution, Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler (TES), simplifies end-to-end data management and automates diverse business processes across a broad set of applications, systems and environments.

For example, many business intelligence and analytics applications operate 24 hours a day. To handle a high volume of these jobs – many with service-level agreements – customers need the tools to receive and respond to alerts from anywhere.  Using the Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler client on their iPhones and iPads, our customers can receive alerts, check logs and remediate errors from anywhere. As organizations continue to require fast and timely business services, we put the power directly in the users’ hands. By using TES’ self-service portal, business users can monitor the progress of relevant workloads through a web browser and perform basic job control.  In addition to reducing the downtime of a business user having to wait for IT to address their issue, this also takes some of the burden off IT.

TES is a key piece of any company’s big data and analytics software strategy and a priority for us at Cisco. Cisco IT uses TES internally and, due to successful deployment, is now encouraging further widespread internal adoption. Since Cisco TES is the first workload automation solution in the industry to have a suite of Hadoop adapters (as well as other data source and application adapters), Cisco IT is now additionally leveraging TES in Cisco’s own internal Big Data initiatives to deliver an end-to-end big data workload solution - as detailed here and here. We are continuously working to develop ways to integrate TES further with other Cisco Big Data solutions, such as the recently launched BDWE solution, to provide more value through holistic data management solutions.

Taking full advantage of big data delivers a tremendous competitive advantage to our customers.  Cisco TES facilitates the end-to-end management of the entire process from data acquisition, to value extraction, to action. Stay tuned as we continue to deliver new capabilities to further bridge today’s gap between enterprise IT capabilities and business requirements.

 

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To learn more about Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler and the power of our integrated infrastructure for big data, check out our page.

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Don’t Just Survive, Use IoE To Thrive from the Data Avalanche

Can you feel the rumbling? Once firm ground now feels shaky. And that rushing sound you hear is the avalanche of data that threatens to bury businesses that aren’t prepared. Research firm IDC estimates that by 2020, the amount of digital information will explode to 40,000 Exabytes or 40 trillion GB (more than 5,200 GB for every man, woman, and child according to EMC). And while natural avalanches end quickly, it’s clear that the data avalanche is gaining momentum.

This data deluge has significant ramifications for companies and public sector organizations that are seeking answers to questions such as: How do you create insightful information from immense amounts of data? How much of your limited IT budget should you spend on Big Data solutions to protect your competitive position? What innovations are possible from new insights? How can these innovations transform your business? Read More »

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