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Redux: Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good

August 19, 2013 at 11:08 am PST

Almost a year ago, I wrote my first blog post detailing what customers have been saying about their UCS experiences in our Case Studies, Solution Briefs, etc.

The findings have been updated with the latest studies. While the percentages haven’t changed much, the number of customers reporting similar results (like Cisco’s market share) has gone up dramatically.

These results are limited to where the customers specifically stated a savings or where the savings is easily derived from the numbers stated.

  • 61% reduction of ongoing administrative/management costs based on 27 customers.
  • 54% reduction in power & cooling based on 44 customers.
  • 77% reduction in cabling with an average cost savings of 71% based on 21 & 6 customers respectively.
  • 41% reduction in other operations costs based on 13 customers
  • 84% reduction in provisioning times based on 71 customers.

To help explain how customers achieved these results, the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS): Changing the Economics of the Datacenter presentation walks you through UCS technology innovations and how they lead to TCO improvements. Along with this data, the presentation has been updated with current cost comparisons as well as third party deployment test reports.

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS): Changing the Economics of the Datacenter from Cisco Data Center

 

Would you like to learn more about how Cisco UCS can help you? There are more than 270 datacenter case studies currently on Cisco.com. Additionally, there is a TCO/ROI tool that will allow you to compare your existing environment to a new UCS Solution. For a more in-depth TCO/ROI analysis, contact your Cisco partner.

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Cisco UCS vs. IBM Flex System: Complexity and Cost Comparison

June 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm PST

Complexity and Cost Comparison: Cisco UCS vs. IBM Flex System is report recently published by Principled Technologies.

They evaluated both the technologies and costs of each solution and found a UCS solution is both less expensive to deploy and less complex to manage than an IBM Flex System.

Off all the ways Principled Technologies shows how UCS is a superior solution, I wanted to touch on just one: highly available and scalable management. A UCS management domain consists of a pair of Fabric Interconnects and supports up to 160 blade and/or rack servers. In contrast, IBM is limited to 54 blade servers plus a non-redundant Flex System Manager node. Quoting from the paper:

Because IBM Flex System Manager nodes do not failover automatically like the Cisco UCS solution, administrators must manually connect to a backup node and bring it online. Each target system has an OS agent that remains registered to the original FSM node and does not recognize the new FSM. Admins must manually unregister each of these agents from the failed node and then register the new FSM node. [page 7]

Read the full report to learn the many additional ways which UCS is shown to be superior solution and why Cisco has leapt ahead of IBM and is now the #2 blade server vendor worldwide1

Principled Technologies Complexity and Cost Comparison Cisco UCS vs. IBM Flex System from Cisco Data Center

 

Would like to learn more about how Cisco is changing the economics of the datacenter, I would encourage you to review this presentation on SlideShare  or my previous series of blog posts, Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good.

  1. Source:  IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, Q1 2013 Revenue Share, May 2013

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Top Three Reasons Why Cisco UCS is a Better Platform for Big Data

One of the hottest topics in the data center lately is around big data and the actual dollar value that businesses are deriving from making sense from tons of unstructured data.  Virtually every field is turning to gathering big data, with mobile sensor networks, cameras everywhere, and information archives.  New techniques are being developed that can mine vast stores of data to inform decision making in ways that were previously unimagined.   The fact that we can derive more knowledge by recognizing correlations can inform and enrich numerous aspects of every day life.

Cisco is partnering with leading software providers to offer a comprehensive infrastructure and management solution, based on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), to support our customers’ big data initiatives.  Taking advantage of Cisco UCS’s Fabric based infrastructure, Cisco can apply significant advantage to big data workloads.

There are actually many advantages to hosting big data applications on Cisco UCS infrastructure.  With UCS, Cisco offers a balance of performance, management and scale that sets UCS apart from other industry solutions.  Although we’ll be discussing the benefits in more detail at Cisco Live next week, here is a sneak peak of what you can expect:

Reason #1 to deploy Cisco UCS for your big data analytics: Form factor independence and administrative parity.

 

Cisco UCS

Cisco UCS provides a single point of management for the overall infrastructure—whether it’s blade architecture on the enterprise application side or rack architecture on the big data side, including troubleshooting, monitoring, and alerting capabilities. Customers can proactively monitor the system and keep operational costs down.

In other words, Cisco UCS Rack Servers can be managed the same way as UCS Blade servers with full workload mobility across both blades and racks.  This simplifies the management construct and eliminates the need for additional management silos in the data center.  This form factor independence is made possible by Cisco Unified Fabric with single wire management and Cisco Unified Management that includes UCS Manager with Service Profiles.

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What’s Driving Cisco Innovations in the Data Center?

There are a number of trends that are impacting data centers today, many of which will have a profound impact on how businesses consume data center resources.  These can provide a variety of challenges.  Perhaps most obvious, is the fact that people and businesses are more connected than ever with the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets.  These new devices are driving more applications, more users, and an insatiable appetite for network bandwidth.  This blog will discuss a few of these trends and how Cisco is shaping its data center strategy to enable customers to meet these rapidly changing demands.

IDC Virtualization Trends

 

 

Another major data center trend that is driving change in the data center is the continued adoption of virtualization technologies.  What’s interesting is that although server spending has remained relatively flat for over a decade, there is still a great deal of “head room” for companies to further adopt virtualization.

 

 

IDC Virtualization Adoption

 

 

In fact, IDC studies show that many applications are yet to be virtualized as the chart to the right indicates.  However, virtualization is driving complexity elsewhere including the network, software and storage.  So what has created a more agile server, has not necessarily created a more agile system.

 

The next major trend is that of Cloud Computing, with more business leveraging private, public or potentially even hybrid cloud models.  Some actually forecast that there could eventually be a small number of mega data centers and companies will all leverage capacity exclusively from these since they can offer extreme efficiencies.  The truth is, there are two ends of the spectrum, some customers will prefer to host their own infrastructure and others may choose to use Cloud providers exclusively.  We are finding today that many customers are somewhere in the middle and choose their model based on the application needs.

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Cisco Achieves #2 Worldwide in the x86 Blade Server Market

Nobody thought the ‘plumbers’ could succeed in compute …

The numbers are in – across the board Cisco is posting strong results and tracking unprecedented momentum in the server market.  With Cisco’s Q3 financial earnings announcement reporting 77% Y/Y growth in Data Center and now the latest IDC Server Tracker results [view UCS Advantage], Cisco is proving to be a formidable force in the compute space. In less than four years after entering a market with very well-established competitors, Cisco has captured the #2 worldwide share position in x86 blade servers*.

The industry has seen businesses shift over 19% of the global x86 blade market to Cisco UCS, and over 28% in the US.  In the recent earnings announcement, Cisco reported more than 23,000 unique UCS customers worldwide, representing a customer growth number of 89% Y/Y.

This is not luck …

This is about the value that Cisco is providing our customers.  Although we develop products using the same industry standard hardware & software as our competitors, Cisco continues to grow market share.  This is attributed Cisco’s unique & innovative approach to providing an open, standards-based data center network architecture and ecosystem that maintains customer choice. We are increasing business value while substantially decreasing the total cost of ownership (TCO).  With Cisco Unified Computing System, we are truly evolving the way customers approach the data center, focused on consolidating resources, accelerating server deployment, and simplifying management – flexible and scalable for any workload.  It’s that simple.

You hear a lot of buzz words around the industry. But when it comes down to the numbers, Cisco is driving real results for real customers [click to enlarge]:

DrivingResults

Here is just some of what we are hearing from our customers:
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