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A Healthy Potential

Virtacore, a leading cloud services provider, aims to help clients shift to the cloud. But the company was aware that in order to help others, it first needed to help itself—which meant updating its own infrastructure to provide the best IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS)  to customers.

By leveraging innovative technology from Cisco, like the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® processors, Cisco Nexus Switches, and Cisco Catalyst Switches, Virtacore is now able to better leverage its internal IT to perform faster, more reliably, and on a larger scale. And, in turn, the company gained the ability to provide more cost effective, higher-standard services externally.

Reducing deployment from six weeks to just a few hours, providing a single-pane-of-glass management, and ensuring improved performance are a few of the benefits that have confirmed the worth of implementing new technology and rebuilding the IT environment.

Read the full article and learn just what Virtacore did to unleash their IT potential – and how they can continue to do so in the future.

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Cisco ISE and SAP Afaria: Be productive on and off the Network

Reduce the barriers to mobile productivity while making sure the corporate network is secure. Impossible? Seems like it. But that’s what the business continues to demand.

SAP Afaria support for Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) is a key component of policies based on conditionality that attempts to negotiate the gap between employees who want to use their own mobile devices and good security practice. Employees want to and should control their personal devices. But they also want to use those devices for email and to access services on the corporate network. So while it is true that the employee can install any software on their device, they should know that only compliant devices can get email and access to the corporate Wi-Fi network. In some circles, this is known as “carrot” (do not install apps that put corporate information at risk) and “stick” (if you do, email is blocked on that device and no access to the Wi-Fi). The value to IT is that the enterprise network has an additional level of security -- only mobile devices that are under management and deemed compliant are granted access, period.

In addition, now that you have ISE and SAP Afaria working together, you can answer questions like what percent of Afaria managed devices connect to the Wi-Fi network on an average day? And how does that vary between Boston, Brussels and Bangalore?
IT Managers and Administrators are looking for a single, holistic view into the compliance status of network identity across all regions with detailed visibility into all kinds of devices management information. They are looking for immediate insights into non-compliance devices trying to connect to network with drill down capabilities for root cause analysis of each kind of non-compliance devices.

SAP HANA running on Cisco UCS solves this by giving enterprises the ability to capture high volumes of data from all required external/internal sources – Afaria, ISE, HR systems, Microsoft System Center, etc. HANA brings together the ecosystem of technologies that provide different business controls, including app management, mobile identity and access management and mobile analytics. Customers can then generate real time analysis of Compliance trend/Posture Compliance across regions and types of devices with rich reporting & dashboard capabilities with great user experience.

To learn more go to www.cisco.com/go/sap

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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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