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Citrix at CiscoLive – From Disneyland to Disneyworld

You’re probably thinking I have the best job in Silicon Valley. Last month I was running the Cisco UCS – with Citrix XenDesktop demos at Citrix Synergy in Anaheim. This week it’s time for Cisco Live 2013 at the Orlando Convention Center. So you’re right I do have an enviable job, bringing together the best of Cisco and Citrix technologies that help customers work better, with more flexibility and greater security – and also having some fun in the process.  If like me, you are fortunate enough to be attending, I am sure you are looking forward to the John Chambers’s keynote, the Super Sessions and the Cisco Party.

In addition you will have another great opportunity to check out and experience the latest innovations in our Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions portfolio for Citrix XenDesktop.I want to spend the next few minutes taking you through a virtual tour of the Cisco and Citrix  presents at the event. Let’s pick up action in the Cisco Unified Data Center (UDC) Booth 758.

clive2013The Desktop Virtualization demos in the Cisco UCS booth are at the center of all the action.. We have two cool demos. One of these demos features the Cisco UCS Storage Accelerator with Citrix XenDesktop, that showcases how performance intensive Citrix write-cache can be placed locally on the UCS Blade servers. You guessed it, this eliminates the need for expensive SAN storage. Come, learn and experience, how you can achieve 50% reduction in SAN costs, increased IOPS and all the jazz that comes with Cisco Storage Accelerator and Citrix XenDesktops.

Also catch my good colleague Ashok Rajagopalan presenting on “Deploy VDI with Higher Performance and Lower TCO with Cisco UCS”. Do not miss this presentation, particularly as the outline touches the architectural approach to Cisco Desktop Virtualization, Performance Optimization with Cisco UCS VM-FEX, Manageability simplification and UCS-Nvidia GPU integration, among others. Ashok has a busy schedule at the event. His breakout session BRKVIR – 2022 titled, “Transformation of server caching in Desktop Virtualization, Big Data and Database workloads” is fast filling up and I recommend you register quickly.

As a teaser , here is quick snapshot that I made at Citrix Synergy on these topics

For additional insights, check out Ashok’s Video Blog on benefits of Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions

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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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Natural Selection On Full Display in the Server World

NaturalSelection
Recent results clearly reinforce the growing understanding that Cisco has unleashed a more highly evolved and effective solution into the computing ecosystem.   While the principles outlined by Charles Darwin in Origin of the Species can stir controversy, I find them to be an accurate model for technology evolution and quite useful for describing how we’ve arrived at this latest watershed in the x86 server market.

Our first observation would be the extremely rapid rate of customer adoption  for Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS).  Darwin would tell us that there must be significant advantage in “fitness to purpose” inherent to UCS that have driven this velocity.  This is certainly true.  Looking back at where we’ve been and how we’re positioned to go forward, here are key factors I see at play that create these advantages for UCS adopters:

  1. Primitive incumbents in the server industry attempted converged infrastructure by choosing to combine compute and storage first. Cisco chose to converge compute and fabric first.  This is a critical threshold event because it turns out that most optimizations for virtualization and cloud are fabric-oriented.   With our Virtual Interface Cards  we made server NICs and HBAs part of the fabric, not part of the server, a significant mutation in computing design.   Further, Cisco abstracted every single identity and configuration element for servers, network access and storage into a programmable software model -- inventing fabric computing with stateless servers.  Simple. Flexible. Resilient. Advantage: UCS
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Check the Latest Cisco Unified Computing System Innovations – Visit the Cisco Data Center Booth at Cisco Live Orlando 2013

Cisco Live 2013 opens on June 23, 2013, at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida with more than 20,000 registered attendees including customers and partners expected to attend the event.Cisco’s unique, fabric-centric architecture-Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS), allows IT organizations to align people, process and infrastructure to lower the cost of computing and open up new ways for IT to transform business.

CLUS1The best way to quickly learn about latest Cisco UCS innovations and solutions is by seeing them “LIVE IN ACTION”. Come to the Cisco Data Center booth # 758 at Cisco Live 2013 in Orlando to leverage the Cisco UCS demos, theater sessions and  related activities at Cisco Live 2013.

 Learn more about Cisco UCS: Visit the Data Center zone in the Cisco Campus #758 to interact with peers, Cisco executives,, and Cisco partners.

Ask Our Experts: Cisco UCS experts will be available to answer your questions and provide interactive live demonstrations of Cisco UCS.

Attend Cisco UCS Theater Sessions: Visit the Cisco Campus Solutions Theater to attend the informative Cisco UCS theater sessions.

Location: Cisco Campus Solutions Theater
Dates/Times/Topics:

  • Tuesday, June 25-2:15 p.m. – Big Data on Cisco UCS
  • Wednesday, June 26-4:45 p.m. – Business Apps on Cisco UCS
  • Wednesday, June 26-3:45 pm – Pragmatic Approach to Trans UCS

Explore the Cisco Unified Computing Demos:
Simplify Compute, Network and Storage Access Management with Cisco UCS

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It’s A Great Time for Open Source and Cisco UCS Customers

Witnessing the advent and momentum of Open Source into the broader enterprise, and “the mainstream” Data Center, has been incredible.  Many will look back and recall a time when Open Source was met first with a look of confusion, and following not too far behind, a reaction of fear.  With that, consider how far we’ve evolved.

Taking a snapshot over the past few months, I reflect on some of the highlights from a Data Center and Cisco UCS perspective.

The Open Source Business Conference held not too long ago, centered the conversation around previously uncommon mates.  “Open Source” and “Business” used in the same sentence once stirred some emotion, though not today.  The notion now fuels curiosity and enablement, and both were alive and well in San Francisco with OSBC.  Leaders in the space, spanning established household Data Center vendors were well represented in breakout sessions and thought provoking topics on the show floor, alongside the “up and coming” vendors in Open Source.  Linux granddaddies Red Hat and SUSE also offered the Enterprise Linux perspective, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst taking the stage on the conference’s opening morning.  Whitehurst acknowledged the event’s commendable 10th anniversary, and touted the innovation and collaborative successes of Open Source, while reflecting on Red Hat’s significance and market leadership.  SUSE kept the Enterprise Linux subject current, presenting SUSE’s role in Big Data workloads, where attendees may have pondered “What would Big Data look like, and be today, without the success and progress of the Open Source movement?”

An “open cloud” panel featuring several notable figures in Open Source leadership for cloud infrastructure, including Marten Mickos of Eucalyptus Systems and Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud, shared insight on how today’s generation of Open Source leaders are shaping the future of cloud software stacks, infrastructure, and API (read: interoperability).  This proved to be a fascinating discussion on project governance, expectations of Open Source, and how customers leverage Open Source to deliver the applications of tomorrow.

Open Source @Cisco

Cisco Open Source Days provide an opportunity to share, learn and grow.  Cisco engineers and product teams descend on the San Jose campus packed with an agenda to share knowledge and best practices, new developments in the community, exchange ideas and share successes, and inspire new ways of delivering software and products.  This year featured a cornucopia of topics that would make any card-carrying Open Source geek blush.  Typically there are multiple tracks and this year included Big Data and Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Everything and a few select topics in the Networking and Data Center interest areas.  Cisco teams have an incredible opportunity to learn and collaborate, which ultimately benefit the Open Source community and our customers.  Attendees enjoyed thought provoking and engaging presentations, including appearances by Chris Wright from Red Hat, and Troy Toman from Rackspace within the Cloud track, as well, our very own OpenStack leaders within Cisco.  Overall there were great takeaways on collaboration and innovation, project participation and furthering common goals through upstream contribution, and solving market problems through emphasis on differentiation rather than upstream code nomination.  Another memorable moment, I personally enjoyed Chris Wright’s comical reference to the IFC television comedy, “Portlandia”, referring to the popularity of API’s with “Put an API on it”.  :-)

Open Source in the Cisco UCS powered Data Center

One of the most exciting aspects in my role revolves around connecting Open Source innovations with Cisco’s UCS x86 based platforms.  Software and API enable many integration use cases most people are not used to expect from server and infrastructure platforms.  “Software Defined” is used quite liberally these days, with ” Software Defined __Fill_In_The_Blank__ ” found where it probably shouldn’t be.  I digress, Open Source is at the core of these “Software Defined” possibilities, enabling vendor agnostic API structures and interfaces as an alternative to traditionally proprietary closed-configuration products.

The conversation with customers today is less “Oh, Cisco makes servers?” and more about, “Help me learn more about your software integration capability in my Data Center infrastructure.”  Once customers deploy UCS, they quickly realize the efficiencies and power derived by the Cisco UCS Service Profile, and the level of control and manageability not available with other solutions.  For Data Center management requiring a view into their systems’ availability, the UCS XML API provides that ability, where the customer’s software may retrieve, configure and automate infrastructure that previously required manual intervention.  We truly feel this enables a unique “Software Defined Infrastructure” way of managing applications, availability and user workloads through software, previously not seen without custom hardware and software integration.

It’s an exciting time for Open Source, and for computing platforms like Cisco UCS which provide an open and extensible ability to deliver on business demands of tomorrow.  Exciting times are definitely ahead as customers increasingly adopt Open Source, its flexibility, advances, and innovations, into the broader enterprise and mainstream computing spaces.

How far have we come?  Further reading: “From subversive to mainstream: Looking back on 18 years with Linux

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