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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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Cisco UCS Servers with World-Record Performance are now Smart Plays

If you haven’t already found your way into Cisco’s new online UCS Build and Price portal, there are some very interesting “Smart Plays” awaiting you.  You can check our new UCS promotions page regularly to find the latest UCS Server Smart Plays such as the UCS B200 M3 Value Smart Play, currently offered (limited time) at only $7600.  This includes two Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2650′s with 16 cores, 64 GB of memory, one VIC 1240 and one VIC 1280 virtual interface card offering a combined 80Gb of IO throughput in a half-width blade server.  This blade server is a real powerhouse in a compact package and now it’s offered at an exceptional price through Cisco Build and Price.

See the new line-up of Cisco UCS blade servers and rack servers with Intel Xeon processors that just claimed another eight new world-record industry benchmarks.

Cisco UCS Performance Brief

Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server
These same servers are now available at competitive prices as Smart Plays on Cisco’s new Build and Price portal. Download specifications, performance reports and compare blade server prices on these popular servers while they last.

In his most recent Blog on October 8th, Girish Kulkarni highlights several new World Record Benchmarks for Oracle E-Business Suite on the UCS B200 M3 Blade Server.  You can see all UCS Rack Server and Blade Server World-Record Benchmarks on our Performance Benchmarks page on Cisco.com.

 

 

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Cisco Build and Price Gives Customers Access to Blade Server and Rack Server Prices

It’s no secret that Cisco Unified Computing Sytem (UCS) has had some tremendous success in terms of customer adoption.  In just three short years, UCS is nipping at the heals of IBM for the #2 spot for Worldwide x86 blade server revenue with 15.2% market share, compared to IBM’s 15.4%.  In fact, Cisco now has over 15,000 customers that have moved from legacy architectures to a more “Unified” approach, combining compute, network and storage access into a single, easy to manage solution. 

 So what’s missing? 

Well, believe it or not, until now it was relatively hard to do business with Cisco.  Quoting and ordering took days instead of minutes.  Well Cisco is changing that with the release of its new online presence called “Cisco Build and Price“, offering direct access to blade server pricing and rack server pricing.

A Simple Approach to Building and Pricing Cisco UCS Servers

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Cisco UCS Servers, Blade Server Chassis and TCO, part 2

Cisco UCS Servers and Blade Server Evolution, part 1, as the title suggests, discussed blade server evolution and why Cisco UCS is a game changer.  Now let’s talk about what the implications are for blade server TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and how Cisco Unified Computing System scales vs. legacy blade architectures.

Blade Server TCO and Scale

Scale is the crux of the problem that has historically been the barrier for blade servers to deliver on their initial promise.  Scale for I/O.  Scale for Servers.  Scale for Management.  Cisco identified these shortfalls in the traditional legacy blade architecture and came to the marketplace with an innovative, game changing redefined architecture – Cisco UCS.

As discussed in “part 1”, to move the bar for blade chassis, we to better consolidate I/O, management and scale.  Enter Cisco UCS.  Deliver everything at scale: servers and I/O and blade chassis and management etc.  Deliver a new design, rather than retreading an old dead end chassis ‘building block’ design.

Efficiency and Scale by Design

The requisite new design is what Cisco delivered. Cisco UCS is a variable chassis count, variable server count, variable I/O capacity, smart scaling architecture.

Figure 1 is the Cisco design, a converged I/O (FCoE – lossless FC and Enet combined) that scales.  It provides easy, efficient infrastructure scaling across:  multiple chassis, multiple servers, racks, rows and yes, it even includes the integration of rack servers into the solution.

Figure 1: Cisco UCS architecture – 10 x 8 blade chassis = 80 blade servers, 20 cables (add more I/O by simply adding cables – easy scaling)

Figure 2 is a Non-Converged legacy blade chassis I/O architecture. More = more… of everything.  More chassis to hold more blades is OK, that makes sense.  But more Switches?  More cables?  More points of Management?  More complexity?  Not too good.

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