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The Value Cisco Brings to Tableau

Guest Blog by Ron Graham Ron_graham[1]

Ron Graham had served as a Data Center Architect and Systems Engineer for some of the largest IT companies in the U.S. including Cisco Systems, NetApp, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle. He is currently working for Cisco Systems as a Big Data Analytics Engineer.

What is Data Virtualization? Our definition is: Agile data integration software that makes it easy to access all your data no matter where it’s managed, and query it across the network as if it were in a single place. I like to say it differently – the real value lies in its ability to provide business users with a single high-level view of data that is spread across their infrastructure.

Data Virtualization is essentially middleware software that leverages a high-performance query engine and can utilize advanced computer architectures such as Cisco UCS. It’s a virtual data integration layer that can deliver data from multiple sources that are loosely coupled or have little or no knowledge of the other components. Of course this is done in a logically organized manner as show by the diagram below.


This is all nice but where is the beef, or the sex appeal? The sexy part is in the front-end business intelligence platforms and data visualization tools that can access and analyze data such as Tableau. Tableau can simply access data through the Cisco Data Virtualization with an ODBC driver. From here, business users can query data on demand from a single point of access (i.e. a common data model) without having to understand the different schemas or SQL dialects of the original data sources.

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Tales of a Fourth-Grade Something: Big Data with Cisco & Splunk at .conf & Strata

Someone at a meeting recently told me how cool it was that big data was finally moving out of the early adopter phase. He’s lucky I wasn’t drinking a beverage at the time, or he might have ended up wearing it.

I’m accused of being sort of a unicorn when it comes to the Big Data ecosystem, having worked with engineered Big Data environments since 2004 or so and Hadoop proper since 2009. And while some individual companies may be emerging from early adopter, it’s hard to say that Big Data itself is that new. You just have to look at the conference world to see how big this ecosystem has become, and how it’s shifted from theory and skunkworks projects and resume fodder, to technology solutions for new and metamorphic problems in business.

Some people will say “But surely there’s only been a competitive landscape for Hadoop distributions since 2012, right?” That’s true, but as I’ve said in 20 or more presentations in the past year, Big Data is more than Hadoop. And don’t call me Shirley.

One of the oldest companies driving Big Data software predates commercial Hadoop by a couple of years. In fact, they’re just about old enough to go into fourth grade (with apologies to Judy Blume for my title on this post). And you still have time to join Splunk (and Cisco) for their seventh annual worldwide user conference the week of September 21, 2015.

Buttercup at the .conf Search Party courtesy Lily Wai (@lgwai)

Buttercup at .conf Search Party via Lily Wai (@lgwai)


.conf is Splunk’s annual worldwide user conference, attended by thousands of customers and partners and users of Splunk’s suite of products.

Cisco has been attending, and presenting, for a while now, and 2015 is no exception. We will have a booth in the expo at .conf 2015, and you can join members of the Cisco team at two IT Operations breakout sessions.

  • Thursday, September 24, 11:15am: Cisco and Splunk: Under the Hood of Cisco IT (with Robert Novak and Cisco IT’s George Lancaster)

Learn how Cisco IT uses Splunk software to gain deep operational visibility into applications, accelerate problem resolution, and drive better business outcomes.

  • Thursday, September 24, 1:15pm: Event-Driven SDN with Splunk and Cisco’s Open SDN Controller (with Steven Carter and Friea Berg)

This session presents and demonstrates a system using Splunk and the Cisco Open SDN Controller for steering large data flows around firewalls and other devices that could disturb their performance while actively blocking threats.

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Why not Initiate a “Save to Invest” Program for your Data Center? (Part 1)

Save Some Money! As a Scot, I have a natural predisposition – almost a gene – for money saving initiatives!  As I’ve been researching new initiatives in my work for Cisco Services over the past few months, I’ve become aware of – for the first time I am ashamed to say in some cases – some huge sinks of your cash in today’s data centers.  In this blog, over 2 parts, I’ll share these with you, with the aim of encouraging you to invest in these money saving activities, with the aim of freeing up investment funds to subsequently modernize your data center, transform your end user experience and improve your asset utilization financial metrics.  In fact, you could create your own “Save to Invest” program by following the 5 tips below.  And while you’re reading this, put on your headphones, turn up the volume, and listen to my “theme tune” for this article, “Money!” :-)



This week I’ll discuss ….

(1) Identify, Turn Off and Remove Idle Servers

(2) Identify Un-used Enterprise Software Applications: Reduce Your Software Costs

(3) Get Rid of Dead Weight – Execute a Server Refresh

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Cisco, SAP and the Big-Data Revolution

Cisco, SAP and the Big-Data Revolution


SAP just announced the release of SAP HANA Vora. SAP HANA Vora is an in-memory query engine that plugs into the Apache Spark execution framework to provide enriched interactive analytics on Hadoop.

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Cisco, provider of UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data, is working with SAP to achieve the following:

  • Process Big Data simply and cost-effectively for real-time business applications and analytics
  • Provide enterprise-class drill-down insight into raw data
  • Blend incoming data from customers, partners, and smart devices
  • Combine business data with external data sources to make better decisions through greater context

 SAP HANA Vora running on Cisco UCS consists of the following

  • In-memory query engine running on Spark execution framework on the Cisco UCS platform
  • Compiled queries for accelerated processing across Hadoop nodes on the Cisco UCS platform
  • Enhanced Spark SQL semantic with hierarchies for analytical processing
  • Enhanced adaptor for Spark and the SAP HANA database for faster query interactivity
  • Unified administration across Hadoop distributions and SAP HANA

What does this mean for customers who plan to run SAP HANA Vora on the Cisco UCS platform

  • Enable more precise decisions through greater contextual awareness
  • Democratize access for data scientists to facilitate new discoveries
  • Simplify Big Data ownership through unified administration across multiple tiers

Structured and unstructured data, all part of the Internet of Things, is created each day at an accelerated rate and those companies that are able to take advantage of that data in a business environment, will outpace their competitors in the business world and provide those products in a manner that will be tailored to their customers’ demands.

In utilizing SAP HANA Vora on the Cisco UCS platform, not only will the customer demands be met, but it will be delivered via ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) in an automated, cost-effective, policy-driven way, which can lead to lowering the total cost of ownership of a data center, both from a hardware and software perspective, and decreasing the time an employee spends deploying and managing a critical data center.

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Look for more information about SAP HANA Vora on the Cisco Web Site and plan to visit the Cisco booth at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas and Barcelona this Fall.

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#CiscoChampion Radio S2|Ep 33: does this rack server make my data look big?

CiscoChampion200PXbadge#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’re talking about UCS and Big Data with Cisco Technical Solutions Architect Sean McKeown.

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Cisco SME
Sean McKeown, Cisco Technical Solutions Architect

Cisco Champion Guest Hosts
Brad Haynes, @GK_bradhaynes, Client Solutions Specialist
Chris Nickl, @ck_nic, Cloud Infrastructure Architect
Stewart Goumans, @WirelessStew, Mobility Consultant Read More »

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