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Cisco and Microsoft: Radically Improving I.T. Effectiveness Together

Today at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) in Washington D.C. we entered into a new phase of our Microsoft relationship. Together Cisco and Microsoft announced a multi-year, worldwide sales and channel program focused on driving infrastructure solutions for Server Migration, Private Cloud, and SQL Server engagements. Based on key technologies such as UCS, Nexus, Hyper-V, and Windows Server 2012 R2 these solutions help to enable I.T. organizations to radically improve their I.T. effectiveness while improving their business outcomes.

At Cisco we believe our foundational technologies -- with UCS as the compute platform, Nexus as the switching platform, and with UCS Manager and System Center management integration – provide customers an optimal infrastructure for their Microsoft Windows Server workloads of SQL, SharePoint, Exchange, and Cloud.  Our industry leading UCS integrated infrastructure solutions combined with storage from EMC or NetApp, delivers an even more robust end-to-end value proposition via our FlexPod or VSPEX offerings to our customers. These solutions position our customers well on their respective journeys to the cloud. You’ve read my thoughts here; but let’s hear from Microsoft and their comments on Cisco, Microsoft, our partnership, and value to our joint customers:

We have focused heavily on infrastructure solutions for the Microsoft ecosystem over the past ~2 years and now that our UCS integrated infrastructure architectures are proven we will be putting more emphasis on discrete Microsoft workload solutions. Our initial focus will be on Microsoft SQL Server 2014 and how UCS and its differentiated features, such as Service Profiles and Cisco SingleConnect, deliver improved performance, availability, and scalability.  Satinder Sethi, Vice President of UCS Engineering, details out the benefits of UCS and SQL Server 2014 in this video:

The solutions we deliver to our customers, whether they be private or hybrid cloud, workload or infrastructure focused, are architected and engineered by Cisco, and certified for the Cisco Validated Design (CVD) program as well as certified for the Microsoft Fast Track program. This delivers more value for customers as the prescriptive guidance in each solution offering enables customers to accelerate their deployments with lower risk.

If you happen to be at WPC 2014, please stop by the Cisco booth #801 to speak with our Experts; see things hands on; and simply learn a bit more.  You can also read more about Cisco’s channel programs for the Microsoft ecosystem in Cisco VP Denny Trevett’s blog.  Finally, please feel free to visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

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UCS Manager vs. HP OneView

HP introduced the world to their OneView management appliance by comparing it to Cisco UCS Manager through a series of YouTube video attacks this past fall. I can almost hear the meetings… ‘Forget stealth, forget the high road – let’s attack the leader in converged systems management directly – let’s attack Cisco UCS Manager!‘ While we can’t help but respect HP’s gumption in attempting to pick on their #1 competitor, our flattery turned to dismay that HP continues to miss the boat on how UCS management truly works. Rather than respond with feigned outrage, we patiently waited for HP to release OneView for our own test drive. Read More »

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2013 – A year in review for UCS Management! What will 2014 bring?

December 31, 2013 at 10:15 am PST

As we come to the end of 2013, there is a lot to look back at, and still more to look forward to in 2014.  Last year I speculated whether 2012 was the year of converged infrastructure and all indications are that it was true.  I was at the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, where they referred to converged infrastructure as Fabric-based infrastructure, and expect it to become mainstream within 2-5 years.

As I look back at 2013, some of the big events, from a UCS and management perspective were:

  1. Cisco entered the ranks of the top 5 server vendors with the UCS.
  2. The virtual UCS community started a monthly UCS Tech talk series.
  3. Cloupia was renamed Cisco UCS Director, and won the Storage, Virtualization and Cloud (SVC) 2013 product of the year award
  4. Cisco extended the innovative concept of the UCS Service profiles and introduced Application Centric Infrastructure.
  5. Updated version of the Cisco UCS Manager (2.2) was released this month

Interestingly at the Gartner conference, data center automation was a topic of great interest and many sessions were dedicated to it. The Cisco UCS Management portfolio products are designed specifically to automate data center operations, increase operating efficiencies and Read More »

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Industrialization of IT – Are you ready for IT?

October 28, 2013 at 7:54 am PST

I was at the recent Gartner Symposium in Orlando and the topic of industrialization of IT services came up in some sessions presented by Gartner analyst, William Maurer. This is a timely and interesting topic given that the Centennial celebrations of the Ford moving assembly line were held earlier this month.  It was a hundred years ago on Oct 7 that Ford’s Highland Park Plant began using the first moving assembly line.  The goal was to produce the Model T at scale, and at a price people could afford.  Henry Ford found the inspiration in the “dis-assembly lines” of the slaughterhouses of Chicago and Cincinnati.  Beef carcasses hung from conveyor belts and workers along the way were assigned to slice off a specific cut of meat. Ford managers turned it around by starting with a basic Model T frame, and adding specific parts to it on a moving conveyor belt with stations where workers assembled a single piece of the vehicle, over and over again.  The end result was a mass produced car with economies of scale that a large group of the population could afford.

 

FMC_line

Courtesy – Ford Motor Corporation

A recent NPR interview questioned how the assembly line impacted the lives of workers when it debuted.  The response indicated  a fundamental shift in the skills needed.  Prior to the assembly line, workers were craftsmen. Workers were there for their brawn and their speed. Since these were tough working conditions, the average wages went up. So what has changed in the last hundred years?  According to the program -- “Workers today are hired as much for their brainpower as they are for their brawn, because they have to be a participant in the quality process.”

In this information age what should we expect with Industrialization of IT?  We certainly should not see debacles such as the US government 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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