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Cisco UCS – Year End TCO Wrap-up

December 20, 2013 at 6:56 am PST

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to revisit the economics of Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).

Cisco UCS has fantastic technology. Technology that technical decision makers are demanding. But what about business decision makers? The question for them is how will UCS save them money? Read More »

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The One and Only Cisco UCS Manager

I am often asked by customers why UCS has been so successful in such a short amount of time. My response is always the same in that it comes down to two things – 1) Cisco and our partners’ ability to understand and execute against customer needs and 2) A fundamental difference in the underlying architecture.

You may know that Cisco invented UCS service profiles and built the entire system around the notion of hardware state abstraction. Cisco’s approach has been so successful because every element of the system was designed from the beginning to have its configuration set through software, without any licensing requirements. Whether customers are running bare-metal, virtualized, or any combination therein, Cisco UCS service profiles have revolutionized computing and have challenged competitors to try and replicate the simplicity and increased productivity that UCS Manager policies and templates provide. It’s no secret that Cisco UCS Manager has revolutionized the way customers deploy and manage servers, but here are a few things about UCS Manager that you may not be aware of.

Did you know that Cisco UCS Manager is embedded software running within the Fabric Interconnects in a highly available clustered configuration? This is an important distinction from traditional architectures as Cisco UCS Manager is a fully redundant management engine right out of the box the moment the system receives power, without special clustering software or additional licensing fees. Read More »

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Cisco UCS Outperforms HP and IBM Blade Servers on East-West Latency

Virtualization, Private Cloud, Big Data, HPC, etc. have been steadily changing the landscape of data center architectures. Lower latency and higher performing server-to-server data traffic (East-West) have become key discussion points as customers look to modernize their infrastructures.  Cisco specifically designed UCS unified fabric for this type of traffic to create a highly-available infrastructure with reduced latency and unmatched consistency as the solution scales. Without providing any supporting data, HP and IBM have been incorrectly asserting that Cisco UCS unified fabric would increase latency and slow blade-to-blade traffic. Cisco ran the tests, and the results were simply amazing.

Cisco UCS Outperforms HP Blade Servers on East-West Latency
Cisco UCS Outperforms IBM Flex System Blades on East-West Latency
Read More »

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Real world ROI results with UCS servers – a detailed study at Loughborough University

March 25, 2013 at 4:35 am PST

I recently worked with Loughborough University on a financial impact study of their initial deployment of Cisco UCS. The study documents their findings of a dramatic improvement in IT efficiency, bearing out the advantages that attracted them to the UCS solution. Loughborough’s Customer Case Study has been revised with the results of this TCO study as well new details on the next stage of their deployment of Cisco Virtual Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution.

We examined Loughborough’s projected growth rates and compared the continuation of their previous rack server environment against a UCS solution combined with an expansion of their virtualized environment. Server consolidation and reduced administrator workload contributed to exceptional results: a total savings of US$878,789 (40% OpEx and 60% CapEx) with a 225% ROI and 22% IRR. Compared to the previous environment, Loughborough’s UCS deployment will drive down cost in several key areas over the coming five years:

  • server hardware – 38%
  • switching infrastructure and cabling – 80%
  • power and cooling – 49%
  • new server provisioning – 79%
  • virtualization software – 39%

“When we compared the legacy server and network with one based on Cisco UCS, TCO effectively halves over a five-year investment lifecycle.”

Dr. Phil Richards, Director of IT, Loughborough University.

As a result of Cisco’s Unified Fabric approach, the study shows that Loughborough will need only six switches (three redundant pairs) to support their end state vs. 30 in their legacy environment and a corresponding reduction in cables from 646 to just 44.

These results are typical to what other customers achieve when they switch to UCS. See my first blog post, Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good.

Would you like to learn more about how Cisco UCS can help you? There are more than 250 published datacenter case studies 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.

Loughborough University TCO Study Waterfall

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The Truth about Cisco UCS Server Service Profiles and Templates

February 4, 2013 at 5:42 am PST

Cisco Unified Computing System Service Profiles and Templates contain over 127 different server identification and configuration settings.  These identity settings are abstracted from the physical server and stored in the UCS Domain where they can be leveraged automating and speeding deployment while reducing errors. Today, this Cisco innovation is still unique in the industry. The reality is that no other server vendor can offer the level of hardware abstraction that Cisco provides with UCS Manager using Service Profiles and Templates.

Unlike Cisco, other vendors must rely on many different tools and methods that are cobbled together to manage their servers.  For some, it can take up to six different tools to configure a subset of what Cisco can do with one and most of these tools are at an additional cost.

Are you concerned about systems management and how it impacts your total cost of ownership (TCO)? Here are some fair questions to ask your current vendor:

  • Can your software templates manage both rack and blade servers using a single tool and interface?
  • Are your templates and profiles limited to specific models and only certain generation of servers, requiring different templates or tools for the same settings for servers from different generations of the same server model?
  • Is server firmware truly integrated into a single tool and supported by policies and profiles?
  • Do the tools use only proprietary orchestration and automation software to manage the infrastructure or does it support an open interface like XML?
  • What is the licensing model – how much is the additional cost per server or per blade chassis to fully manage server profiles, updates to firmware, BIOS, and integration with other tools?

If you have more than one domain, UCS Central will manage them extending all the benefits of UCS Manger globally. You can leverage your templates and profiles across all servers regardless of location.

If you’d like to have a more in-depth discussion on this topic, contact your Cisco account team or Partner.

Want to learn more? Take Cisco UCS Manager for a test drive.

Convinced? Buy now and save with Cisco UCS SmartPlays.

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