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Cisco UCS: Powering Applications at Every Scale

September 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm PST

If you follow the news in the world of data center you probably noticed a small announcement from Cisco last week regarding the UCS portfolio…  :)

grandslam

To net it out in a simple way, I’ve been telling people that the trail of innovation that Cisco has been blazing with UCS  just got a lot wider.   That’s because this rollout is all about three key vectors that our customers have guided us to expand on:

Here’s a short recap on the event.  If you missed it, the replay is available here.

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Padma Warrior and Joe Inzerillo discuss how technology is transforming the #MLB fan experience.

We had a stellar lineup at the event in New York.   Our CTO, Padma Warrior, headlined and did a fantastic job setting the context for this wave of innovation in the frame of IoE and Fast IT.   Paul Perez followed, explaining the sea change occurring in the application landscape and the customer imperatives guiding development of the UCS platform.   Finally, Satinder Sethi stepped us through all the new technology we’ve added to the portfolio.  Frank Palumbo hosted the event for us in New York, and I think it’s no coincidence he was rewarded later in the day by a thrilling walk-off win by the Yankees.   Note that my last link there is to MLB.com, whose CTO, John Inzerillo, joined our event to share all the cool fan experience technology they’re developing.

I’d like to thank our #CiscoChampions for joining us at the event and bringing their unique and (trust me) unfiltered perspective to the news.   Another highlight for me was the opportunity to tour the MLB Advanced Media Center with Matt Eastwood of IDC who joined us in New York to moderate a panel on scale-out computing.  Matt, so sorry about the results of the Yankees/Red Sox game…it’s tough to overcome Palumbo-level karma.    Having several of our customers and partners at the event really rounded it out, making a special day for everyone that joined us in New York and in the streaming sessions.

Jim Leach (L) and panel of Cisco Champions

Jim Leach (L) and Tech Field Day panel of Cisco Champions.

To hit on all the details, the team has taken a divide-and-conquer approach here on the blog as well as youtube and our other social media venues.  In addition to the links above, here are some of the pieces you can check out to learn more.  Scanning the #USCGrandSlam hashtag on Twitter is another good way to take a look at the news and reactions.

Padma with panelists discussing Big Data in the IoE.

Padma with panelists discussing Big Data in the IoE.

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Cisco UCS Claims Four World Record Benchmarks with the Intel Xeon Processor E5 v3 Family

On September 8th, 2014 Cisco announced support for the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5 v3 product family on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ . Simultaneously, Cisco unveiled a significant expansion of the Cisco UCS portfolio based on the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5 v3 product family for cloud-scale computing and workloads at the enterprise edge. For additional details on the new Cisco UCS servers launch with the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5 v3 product family check the blog by Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior “Introducing New Computing Platforms for the Internet of Everything”

On the same day as the Intel announcement, Cisco captured four World Records on industry benchmarks on Cisco UCS to highlight the way in which Cisco UCS can accelerate performance across the data center. As we know, there is no better way to compare performance than by using industry-standard benchmarks, and with FOUR new World Record benchmark performance results Cisco has demonstrated Cisco Unified Computing System’s outstanding performance and IT productivity across key data center workloads.

Cisco UCS World record Benchmark results announced this week includes:

  • SPECjbb®2013 MultiJVM- Number-one 2-socket server result for critical-jOPS Result:: Cisco UCS® C220 M4 Rack Server delivered  58,478 critical-jOPS and160,283 max-jOPS-  a 248 percent increase in critical-jOPS results compared to Cisco’s recent results with previous processor generations. Check out the Performance Brief and the detailed official benchmark disclosure report for additional information on the benchmark configuration.
  • SPEComp®G_base2012Number-one 2-socket server for SPECompG_base2012 Result: Cisco UCS C220 M4 delivered Java transactions at the rate of 160,283 concurrent Java operations per second (jOPS) and 58,478 concurrent critical jOPS on the SPECjbb®2013 benchmark. Check out the detailed benchmark disclosure report for additional information on benchmark configuration.
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Extra-Large Model Payroll- Number-one server Result: The Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server delivered world-record results on the Payroll Extra-Large Model Benchmark, exceeding one million employees per hour with a score of 1,125,281 and outperforming the IBM Power System S824, setting the standard for performance on this benchmark. This result is an 11 percent improvement over the previous-generation Intel Xeon processor running on the same Cisco UCS server and a 3 percent improvement over the IBM Power System S824.The Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server result of  1,125,281 employees per hour outperformed  all competitive solutions. Check out the Performance Brief and detailed official benchmark disclosure for additional information on the benchmark configuration.
  • Oracle E-Business Suite Large Model Order-to-Cash- Number-one server Result: The Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server set up a world record on the Order-to-Cash workload with a result of 243,803 order lines per hour, outperforming the same server configured with previous-generation processors by 5 percent on the Order-to-Cash Large Model Benchmark, processing more than 11,000 more order lines per hour. Check out the Performance Brief and official benchmark disclosure report for additional information on the benchmark configuration.

It is interesting to note that although all vendors have access to same Intel processors, only Cisco UCS unleashes their power to deliver high performance to applications through the power of unification. The unique, fabric-centric architecture of Cisco UCS integrates the Intel Xeon processors into a system with a better balance of resources that brings processor power to life. Cisco’s results demonstrate the degree to which Cisco servers deliver the power of the new Intel Xeon processor E5 v3 family. Cisco UCS maximizes Intel innovations and with performance improved up to 145 percent since the last processor generation, you can count on both innovation and versatile performance from Cisco UCS servers.

Haswell results

Cisco UCS delivers versatility with performance leadership across a wide range of workloads, enabling customers to eliminate infrastructure silos historically driven by unique application needs. Todd Brannon sums up in his blog post Cisco UCS: Powering Applications at Every Scale

The architectural advantages of a single cohesive system optimized for virtualized environments coupled with the industry leading benchmark performance results  makes the Cisco Unified Computing System an “infrastructure platform of choice” to provide industry-leading performance in your data center. For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.

 Disclosure

  • The Java application performance improvement of 145 percent compared the critical-jOPS score of the Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server with the Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server, a SPECjbb2013 MultiJVM result that was available on February 5, 2014.
  • The parallel processing performance improvement of 39 percent compared the SPECompG_ peak2012 score of the Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server with the Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server, a result of that was available on September 13, 2013.
  • The batch processing performance improvement of 11 percent compared the Oracle E-Business Suite Benchmark results of the Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server with the Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server, a result that was available on September 10, 2013.
  • SPEC, SPECjbb, and SPEComp are registered trademarks of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. The benchmark results used to establish world-record status are based on those available at http://www.spec.org as of September 8, 2014.

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UCS Innovation for Core Data Center Applications

We have a number of exciting additions to the UCS family, which we are announcing today.  Application architectures are fundamentally changing, which is driving a change to the core infrastructure.   Today, you will hear about new innovations in the area of scale-out computing, which are optimized for the delivery of new applications, data analytics and the scale that is required to support these apps.

As part of this announcement, we are delivering significant innovations around what I’ll call the core data center applications.  Put another way, these are the more traditional applications that keep the business running and keep employees productive.  Cisco is announcing our fourth generation of our workhorse two-socket blade and rack systems as well as a broad set of enhancements to UCS Management.

Over the past five years, when I ask customers why they purchased UCS, it comes down to two key areas:  more power to drive applications faster and simplified management, which accelerates IT operations. Let’s talk first about the core data center platforms and the new innovations there.  Once again, Cisco is raising the bar on “enterprise class” stateless computing and performance.  Today, we’re announcing the Cisco UCS M4 series, which are optimized for the widest set of enterprise use cases.  Delivered through the new UCS B200 M4, C220 M4 and C240 M4, Cisco continues to deliver the highest performance CPUs, maximum memory and highest I/O performance.  Besides support for fastest and highest core count and memory, we have added significant flexibility to the platforms via modular LAN-on-motherboard (LOM), Modular HBAs and Flex Storage options.

In addition to the M4 generation of servers we are introducing our 3rd gen VIC technology.  This generation brings native 40Gb and advanced networking features such as NVGRE and VxLAN to UCS.  The latest VIC will also enable ultra low latency RDMA capabilities.. As really fast flash storage becomes mainstream and clustered applications gain popularity, high bandwidth, low latency interconnect technology will be required for applications to see the full benefit of performance  improvements.  With this technology, applications requiring low latency can see up to an 85% improvement without the complexity of building Infiniband fabrics.

As much as we like talking about performance (and believe me, we like that a lot), the biggest innovation UCS brought to the datacenter was a dramatically simplified management paradigm with our UCS Management portfolio.   Today, we’re announcing the addition of the software programmable ACI fabric through the Nexus 9000 and APIC into UCS Director.  UCS Director is also delivering a software development kit and open API to accelerate third party integration with Cisco’s technology partners.

Finally, we are delivering new application container support within UCS Director, which provides both virtual and bare metal isolation of workloads, automated with UCS Director.  Users simply request a container for a particular set of application components and UCS Director deploys the necessary infrastructure configuration required.  Taken together, UCS Director becomes an even more robust control point for IT infrastructure as IT customers can now request application services and have computing, storage and networking services (such as firewalling or Layer 4-7 switching) delivered across a programmable networking fabric.

Taken along with the M-series and the UCS C3160, this announcement represents a huge step forward in the UCS portfolio to enable customers to move faster into the new application paradigm while still supporting their core data center applications.

 

 

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Cisco and Partner Akili showing Best Practices for Oil and Gas at SAP Conference in Houston

September 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm PST

Akili and Cisco at Conference

Cisco and Akili  feature their joint Oil & Gas Technology Solutions with SAP HANA running on Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) at the Best Practices for Oil and Gas conference Sept. 16-19 in Houston, TX.

The Best Practices for Oil & Gas Conference is North America’s leading forum for upstream, midstream, downstream and oil field services professionals to collaborate across the value chain. You know Cisco’s top aim these days is Business Outcomes for our customers. The fourth annual event has a significant shift to a business focus and features first-hand knowledge on how business solutions that have been successfully implemented at oil and gas organizations across all industry segments.

T Boone PickensThe event will feature special guest speaker T. Boone Pickens, an oil and gas and American business legend, sharing his views on enhancing U.S. energy policies. It will also feature Cisco as one of the exhibitors and, working with Gold Sponsor and Cisco partner Akili, we’ll be talking about business solutions and how customers can gain competitive advantage while improving bottom line profitability and reducing costs.

Akili and Cisco’s exhibit will highlight their shared offerings of industry Best in Class Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas including:

  • SAP ERP Solution for Upstream Oil and Gas
  • SAP BPC Solution for Integrated Financial and Operational Planning
  • Real-time business intelligence and predictive analysis across finance and operations
  • HANA Solutions built on flexible, converged infrastructure for rapid deployment, scalability and cost containment
  • Cisco UCS - the high performance,  scalable, cost-effective, SAP certified platform for exceptional in-memory compute

Akili bus value

We’re looking forward to seeing you there! For more information on Cisco in Oil and Gas please go to this link. For more about Cisco, Analytics and SAP, go to this link.

Best Practices for Oil & Gas will take place September 16-19, 2014, in Houston, TX. For more information and to register visit www.sap-oil-and-gas.com.

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The Bases are Loaded for a Cisco UCS Grand Slam

August 22, 2014 at 10:20 am PST

“The innovation pipeline is very strong, and you can expect to see announcements in the fall that will continue to accelerate our momentum with UCS and add to our competitive advantage.”

Those are comments from Cisco’s earnings call last week, and on September 4th I hope you will join us for the unveiling of the next wave of Unified Computing that John Chambers was speaking of.

We don’t invoke the term innovation lightly at Cisco.   As Frank Palumbo recently talked about, change is the only constant, and our data center customers need to stay in front of that change.   What we’re hearing from them often centers on three critical concepts:

 1.  We need a common operating environment that spans from the data center to the very edge.   “Edge” in this sense is used to describe the many worlds that exist beyond the walls of the data center, where the demand for computing power is inexorably growing.  For service providers that can mean IT infrastructure located at the Customer Premise.  For large enterprise and public sector IT teams the Edge is found in the branch offices, retail locations and remote sites where innovation is exploding with dynamic customer experiences and new ways of doing business.   It’s at the wind farm and the end of the drill bit miles below the oil rig.   It’s in the “fog” of connected sensors and smart objects in connected cities.  And it is the handheld devices that billions of people are using today to consume and generate unprecedented volumes of data and insight, and the 50 billion people and things that Cisco estimates will be connected by 2020.

 2.    We need a stronger engine to accelerate core applications and power data-intensive analytics.  (AKA, “you’re going to need a bigger boat”)  The imperative for faster and better decisions has never been greater and the tools to extract the signal from the noise in the data deluge require big horsepower.  Recommendation engines, real-time price optimization, personalized location-based offers, improved fraud detection… the list goes on in terms of opportunity created by Big Data and the IoE.  All while IT continues to deliver the core applications -- that keep business running – uninterrupted and faster than before.

 3.    We need a common operating environment that spans traditional and emerging applications.  Complexity is the bane of innovation and the bane of IT.  In addition to the familiar workloads, which are well understood in terms of bare metal scalability and virtual encapsulation, there is growing use of applications architected for massive horizontal scale.    In-memory, scale up analytics are being utilized right alongside cloud-scale technologies like MapReduce to tackle different elements of business problems in different ways.  Very different architectures, with very different demands on computing infrastructure.  The conditions for complexity loom.  Will a hero emerge?

When UCS was born it shook up many of the fundamental assumptions of what data center infrastructure should be expected to do and what IT could do to accelerate business.   With this launch, history repeats itself, as we work to help customers future proof the data center for change tomorrow and transformation today.   Our development team has taken the next stride in the journey of re-inventing computing at the most fundamental levels, to power applications at every scale.

Le_Yankee_Stadium

I hope you will join us for the event on 9/4 to see how we’re taking our strategy forward in the data center.   We have a bit of a baseball theme in the launch since we’re delighted to be joined by Major League Baseball’s Joe Inzerillo at our event in New York.   So follow the conversation at it unfolds over coming weeks with #UCSGrandSlam and #CiscoUCS.   The bases are loaded.   

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