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Cisco UCS Blades #1 – Time in a Bottle (ne Blog)

Were you surprised?     Probably not.    

IDC SvrTrk 2014Q1 USA rev share chart

Tracking Time with UCS – Last 3 Years of Market Share Growth:  

  • 5 years 3 months ago Cisco announced UCS
  • 5 years ago, Cisco started shipping UCS.
  • Today UCS is #1 in the US and in the Americas.



What made UCS so successful?Customer Traction

What is the real story behind the success of UCS?

  • A new and innovative architecture?  Perhaps, but that is only part of the story.
  • A unique, compelling management paradigm that sped and simplified tasks, while promoting collaboration?  Potentially, and definitely part of the formula as well.

The real story is People.  People buy technology to do work that needs done.  People have to think ahead, they must understand what will be needed and then decide on a path, on a partner (still more people) to develop and deliver the technology they need.  [I had a bunch more “people” in here but it was getting really ridiculous, instead of only slightly ridiculous.]

Real people, not real stories, making real decisions every day chose the technology that meets their needs, now and in the future.  They decide what works and what does not.

So why UCS?  There have been a lot comments about UCS over the years that have resonated with me on this very question. I wanted to share two that seemed most on point right now.  It is a little bit of “then and now” since they are two years apart, but it felt right and the sentiments are remarkably similar.

  •  “…Unlike other server vendors, Cisco’s UCS launch was from a fresh-fields approach that recognized the industry’s shift towards server virtualization and consolidation. Not tied down by legacy architectures…” – Cisco UCS – Undisputed Computing Success, March 2012, ZD Net, Archie Hendryx
  •  “Five years ago…Cisco Systems launched…UCS…into the gaping maw of the Great Recession…Recessions have always accelerated transitions in IT architecture…in the favor of upstarts with new ideas and against incumbents who are set in their ways…” – Five Years On, UCS Makes Cisco A Systems Player, April 2014, EnterpriseTech, Timothy Prickett Morgan

“…upstarts with new ideas…” – sounds like a pretty fair summary.

So where do UCS Customers see real benefit?  I’d rather they tell you their real story:





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How can Cisco UCS help you achieve your goals?  See how UCS has helped others in your industry.

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Delivering Business Outcomes: When Did You Last Reduce Time To Market?

Working in the Data Center and Cloud Professional Services team in Cisco on cloud and software defined networking, I am sometimes asked “What do you guys in Cisco Services really do?”  [especially by people in my office :-)]  I’ll use Cbeyond, one of our customers who offer differentiated cloud services enabled by Cisco Services, to illustrate.

I could tell you …..

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How Cisco Helped Solutionary Boost Security and Improve their Hadoop Performance

Every day, security threats continue to evolve, as cyber attackers continue to exploit gaps in basic security controls. In fact, the federal government alone has experienced a 680% increase in cyber security breaches in the past six years, and cybersecurity attacks against the US average 117 per day. Globally, the estimated annual cost of cybercrime is over $100 billion. Often, even when security breaches are identified, it can be extremely difficult to figure how they happened or who is responsible.

One company working hard to prevent these threats is Solutionary, a managed security services provider (MSSP) that actively monitors their customers’ technology systems in order to identify and thwart security events before any negative impacts occur.

In order to provide real-time analytics of client traffic and user activity, Solutionary, a wholly owned subsidiary of NTT Group, developed a patented Solutionary ActiveGuard® Security and Compliance Platform which correlates data across global threats and trends in order to quickly identify security alerts and provide clients with actionable alerts.

The patented, cloud-based ActiveGuard® Security and Compliance Platform is the technology behind Solutionary Managed Security Services

The patented, cloud-based ActiveGuard® Security and Compliance Platform is the technology behind Solutionary Managed Security Services








In order to keep up with growing data volumes, the need for fast security analytics, and their expanding client base, Solutionary needed to find a way to quickly scale their infrastructure, as their traditional server infrastructure was not able to easily scale and support in-depth analysis. Their challenge was to figure out how to:


1)     Increase their data analytics capabilities and improve their clients’ security


2)   Cost-effectively scale as their clients/data volume grows


When a security threat occurred in the past, the legacy systems could only be used to analyze log data; they couldn’t see the big picture. Thus, when an event happened, it would sometimes take weeks of forensics work to figure out what had occurred. In order to meet these challenges, Solutionary turned to the MapR Distribution for Hadoop running on the Cisco Unified Computing System™.  By using Hadoop, Solutionary was able to smoothly analyze both structured and unstructured data on a single data infrastructure, instead of relying on a costly traditional database solution that couldn’t pull in both structured and unstructured data into a single platform for analysis.

Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture for Big Data

Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture for Big Data










Specifically, the Cisco/MapR environment consists of two MapR clusters of 16 Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Servers. Solutionary uses the Cisco UCS Manager to provision and control their servers and network resources, while the Cisco UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects provide high-bandwidth connections to servers, and act as centralized management points for the Cisco infrastructure, eliminating the need to manage each element in the environment separately. Because of the environment’s high scalability, it’s easy for the fabric interconnects to support the large number of nodes needed for MapR clusters. Scalability is improved even further by using the Cisco UCS 2200 Series Fabric Extenders to extend the network into each rack.

Cisco UCS Components

Cisco UCS Components














With MapR and the Cisco UCS CPA for Big Data environment, Solutionary can now access a much greater amount of data analysis and contextual data, giving them a more informed picture of behavior patterns, anomalous activities, and attack indicators. By quickly identifying global patterns, Solutionary can identify new security threats and put them into context for their clients.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions, or via twitter at @CicconeScott.



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#EngineersUnplugged S5|Ep13: Big Data on Cisco UCS

In this week’s episode, Robert Novak (@gallifreyan) and Steve McQuerry (@smcquerry) talk about Big Data on UCS. Real world use cases including UCS Manager, UCS Central, and more.

Big Data, Big Unicorn, courtesy of Robert Novak and Steve McQuerry

Big Data, Big Unicorn, courtesy of Robert Novak and Steve McQuerry

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here:
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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It’s all about you: thanks for making Cisco’s Unified Computing System #1

When we talk about Cisco UCS success, we could boast about how, in just five short years, Cisco has earned the #1 position for x86 blade server sales in the Americas. Or, brag on how we achieved 39% revenue growth in a period where the other top five vendors saw flat or declining numbers, according to IDC. We could mention how some in the industry questioned our strategy to enter this market in the first place, in the middle of a worldwide economic slowdown no less. Also, we might remind everyone that others predicted that we wouldn’t last a year.

We could do that, but we won’t. Because we know without a doubt, that the success of Cisco UCS is not all about us. It is about our customers, who continue to choose innovation. Like our customers, we are acutely aware that the data center, including the role of IT, is changing rapidly. Cost pressures, technology changes, and game-changers like cloud computing require a new approach. With our unified data center architecture, products, solutions, and services, we are helping you achieve the business outcomes you need for your organization to grow. We are working with you, over 33,000 strong and growing, to help evolve your data centers using the Cisco Unified Data Center platform and redefine the economics of your IT operations. So you can spend more of your resources on delivering innovation to your business, all while increasing business agility, reducing CapEx and OpEx, and simplifying your operations.

thankyouIt’s also about Cisco data center partners, because we know that it takes an ecosystem to be successful. Driving 80% of all Cisco UCS sales, channel partners are fueling this rapid growth and capturing emerging opportunities including cloud, big data, enterprise applications, and desktop virtualization. Early on, our partners recognized the value of UCS and embraced it. Their training, infrastructure, and other investments have been a huge contributor to UCS traction in the marketplace. The results are an expanded data center practice and value delivered to customers. Cisco data center partners, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Not long ago, Paul Perez predicted this day would come. His bold “sooner than you think” statement has come to pass, well, sooner than we thought. Frankly, we’re not too surprised. But we are pleased, and humbled, and determined to keep pushing forward with data center innovation such as Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure.

But most of all, we thank you.

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