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New VersaStack™ optimized for distributed workloads

It has been said that data is the new oil. Given the price of crude today, the metaphor seems to fit in that there is just too much data in the world, to the point we have no idea what to do with all of it. The data glut is driven by the sheer number of data-producing devices in use today due to factors such as Internet of Things, distributed application architectures, and as-a-service consumption models of the cloud.VersaSTACK

The burden of managing all these devices and data is falling squarely in the heart of the data center, disruptively so. The urgency to modernize data center architectures and infrastructures has never been arguably stronger. Specifically, it requires data center to support higher VM densities, more powerful computational processing, a highly responsive and intelligent network, as well as a high-performance data storage foundation that form tightly integration solutions that can be rapidly deployed and provisioned at the speed of business.

Cisco and IBM took on these challenges head-on when they collaborated to launch the VersaStack™, a next-generation, converged infrastructure that combines the innovation of the Cisco UCS Servers , Nexus Switches and the IBM Storwize 7000 Storage solutions. The initial VersaStack Cisco Validated Design (CVD) solution was designed to address the on-premise data center use cases wherein the UCS servers scaled dynamically up to 160 servers and the Storwize 7000 array scaling up to multiple petabytes of storage. It quickly became the blueprint for cloud-ready enterprise data centers that needed exponential scale for the next decade.

Cisco and IBM followed this success up by adding the next solution – VersaStack for private cloud build-outs to address the needs for the XaaS market. This solution combined Cisco UCS servers, Cisco UCS Director, Cisco Nexus® 9000, and IBM® Storwize V7000 Unified system into a single highly automated and scalable system.

Fast forward one year to today, VersaStack solutions now extend from the on-premise data centers and private cloud solutions to a scale out architecture to address the needs of the distributed data and application use-cases. This comes in the form of two additional VersaStack solutions that have been added to thereby enable VersaStack solutions to address the modern distributed workloads—within and across multiple data centers. This newest solution is based on Cisco UCS Servers and IBM FlashSystem V9000 running vSphere 5.5, and seamlessly handles mission-critical, I/O-bound workloads.

In addition, Cisco and IBM are addressing the requirements of smaller IT environments for medium-sized businesses, branch offices and retail stores. For these organization, we offered a VersaStack solution based on Cisco UCS Mini Servers and IBM Storwize V5000 array running vSphere 5.5, optimized for remote office/branch office that:

  1. Monitors and manages the infrastructure remotely from a single management point
  2. Requires a much smaller footprint
  3. Offers new levels of RAS (service profiles to move a server image quickly) to give new levels of geographic RAS to the ROBO use case. For example, a failed server can be replaced automatically within minutes, not days.

UCS MANAGEMENT

 

The advantages of having a single UCS management interface regardless of location include : being able to spin up new VMs 85% faster1 and reducing cabling complexity 75%2 than legacy data center management methods.

A quote from IT industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) validates the benefits of the single-pane-of-glass UCS solution:

VersaStack offers a vast improvement. It is a converged infrastructure solution that uses some of the most well-known and proven server, storage, and networking solutions in the industry. Pools of compute, network, and storage resources can be shared among many applications and reclaimed when not in use, driving utilization up and costs down. Pre-integrated and pretested, VersaStack saves IT from having to purchase the components individually, test them for interoperability, integrate them manually, and then test, refine, re-test, and finally deploy. Handling all this manually steals valuable time away from IT and application users, and will not provide the agility and flexibility that organizations demand. The same goes for ongoing management. VersaStack enables IT to manage all resources from a single pane of glass, and offers end-user self-service, saving organizations time and money.”1

In other words, enterprise data is more distributed than ever before and compounded with its exponential growth and ubiquity presents new demands on IT infrastructure. To manage this growth, enterprise IT teams have to operate far more efficiently, to do more with less and always faster. In this respect, perhaps the data is oil metaphor falls short. Unlike oil, the production of which can be manipulated downward, the data glut streams inexorably forward toward the Zettabyte Era and beyond. In the face of this daunting onslaught, Cisco and IBM teamed to produce the highly versatile and adaptable VersaStack that will serve as the converged infrastructure blueprint for the next decade. This is the kind of synergy that OPEC members can only dream about these days.

[1] ESG Lab Validation Report: VersaStack Converged Infrastructure from Cisco and IBM, December 2015
[2] VersaStack Customer Validation

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New DC Cloud Scale Platforms – What You Really Need to Know

The Cloud Scale launch in November focused on software enhancements to the industry’s most widely deployed high-end network operating system, IOS XR. While those points were important and well received, I want to emphasize a few points on the new NCS1002 platform that was launched within the Cloud Scale initiative.

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The Focus of the Cloud Scale launch was to show that Cisco is offering products with open programmability to new and existing markets. While Cisco has had great success in the service provider market, these new products are exceptionally complimentary to the Over The Top (OTT) and Colocation markets as well. The growth of “Cloud Exchange” as a service in Internet Exchanges and colocation sites as well as service provider data centers, requires the type of products that were announced in this release. For instance, typical cloud exchanges will use a high density switch to enable communication between OTT players, local ISPs and global carriers.

Local connections are also made to content delivery network (CDN) players such as Netflix and Akamai within the cloud exchange site. The NCS1002 might be used by a typical colocation provider in conjunction with the NCS5000 to provide the customer with single point of entry that connects to multiple providers. In fact, within the colocation itself, content providers may want to do their own interconnection with those located within the colocation area by using the NCS1002 to avoid monthly (and rising) cross connect costs. OTT, Internet Exchanges and colocation providers have been asking for open and programmable software to make service delivery at the application level more efficient and cost effective. In this case, using the optics for Data Center Interconnect (DCI) or within the data center with the aggregation router based upon IOS XR can simplify the overall network design.

Here’s a quick look Read More »

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Disruption = Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data + Efficiency + Speed

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Data is the foundation of the digital business. You know it, I know it. We get it. Let’s move on… But now a new question arises: As a Leader in your organization are you fully maximizing and leveraging your data to discover from analysis new business insights? New operational efficiencies? New Customer trends and patterns?

We can help… Cisco and our Big Data partners capture, organize, prepare, and handle your available data, while providing the speed, consistency and repeatability necessary for deploying and managing a successful Big Data and Analytics infrastructure and service. Become a disruptor in your market by unlocking the value hidden in your data through data management, data preparation and data analytics to create tomorrow’s trends. Manage diverse sets of data and technologies cohesively, while delivering the analytics and data access control required by your business.

Make the transformative power of Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data your foundation.

Our Cisco UCS® Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data – a Cisco Validated Design – offers comprehensive infrastructure and management capabilities for Big Data. The Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solution helps to improve performance and capacity. It also offers additional complete solutions with industry-leading partnerships such as Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, MapR, Platfora, and Splunk. Read More »

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Cisco at IBM Insight 2015: Showcasing Industry-leading Technology for Big Data and Analytics

Note:  Cisco’s Mohammed Ahmed of the Cisco IBM Alliance team was the key contributor for this blog post

In the IT industry we understand that customer confidence and respect is a leading reason that customers choose IBM and Cisco solutions and  services. Cisco and IBM have earned this trust over the years by each having deep technical expertise; global resources; and world-class support that few companies can match. With an almost two-decade history of working together, our success in the market together is demonstrated by more than 25,000 shared customers.

Cisco and IBM strive to work together to deliver innovative solutions to meet our joint customer needs – Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, the IBMBigInsightSolBriefData Center, the Internet of Everything (IoE), and Collaboration are just few examples.

Recently, Cisco and IBM added another strategic solution to the list “Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data with IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop” to help customers maximize the value of their big data and leverage business insights from it.

The Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data (CVD Link) with IBM BigInsights has been jointly tested and validated by both companies and provides a flexible, industry leading platform affording enterprises to fully leverage the latest open source technology together with the powerful SQL on Hadoop and Analytic capabilities.  The solution highlights are:

  • Powerful and high performance SQL on Hadoop designed for enterprises that require greater SQL standards compliance, performance, concurrency, and security
  • Highly scalable analytics for Data Scientists, Business Analysts to explore, discover, analyze and build advanced predictive models
  • Comprehensive enterprise-grade infrastructure using Cisco Fabric Interconnects and Rack Servers optimized for BigInsights

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Data Center Day Shines in the Lone Star State

The third annual Cisco IT Data Center Day put a spotlight on the Internet of Everything (IoE) market transition and gains of deploying an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Over 300 attendees, including 124 customers representing 85 different companies, attended the event held at our state-of-the-art data center in Allen, Texas.

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