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Cisco UCS in an industrialized world

July 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm PST

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CiscoLive 2013 concluded last week in Orlando. Some of the sessions are available for viewing at www.ciscolive365.com. One of the keynote addresses featured an AVA 500 robot from irobot (Registration requiredHour and 48 mins into the video).  The robot brought a flood of memories from my days as a grad student.  I was a student participant in a consortium of companies striving for manufacturing excellence. There was a major push in the 90’s to improve US Manufacturing and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was instituted to spur progress.  It is now awarded to companies for performance excellence and the 2010 the winner was the parent company of two Texas restaurant chains – Rudys and Mighty fine burgers.

So what has this got to do with Cisco UCS you ask? Large scale data centers are ushering in the industrialization of IT services with standardization and stringent service level agreements. Cisco UCS is the infrastructure platform for delivery of IT Services and has the main ingredients to power service excellence.

Pasted_Image_7_5_13_3_31_PMService excellence come about with reduction in variation in the process.  Good service principles and practices bring about consistency, reliability and predictability. The slide deck which was a result of work with Forrestor analyst Glenn O’donnell a couple of years ago, gives more details on service orchestration, and the business case to invest in it.

 

 

How Service Providers Realize ROI With Service Orchestration from Cisco Data Center

 

The presentation addresses how orchestration goes beyond automation.  The two key points were:

  1. Automation is restricted to a single domain or systems whereas Orchestration encompasses multiple domains.
  2. Orchestration takes into account real time feedback of the system where as automation does not do so.

To give a more concrete example, provisioning of a Cisco UCS server for a service with a script or software program, would be automation.  Adding server capacity for the service when 90% of compute capacity is in use, would be orchestration.

Automation of tasks is however the foundation for service orchestration and Cisco UCS excels at it. The Cisco UCS XML API enables automation regardless of user preferences. Since I will be attending Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, TX next week, I expect to meet many Microsoft Powershell users who can now exploit Cisco UCS C-Series PowerTool to manage standalone UCS (needs CIMC v1.5) rack servers. With Cisco UCS PowerTool, users can enjoy the benefits of automation and hence service orchestration in their data centers.  If you are attending the conference come by and check out all the Cisco solutions including the Cisco UCS Manager and Cisco UCS PowerTool.

 

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Cisco, Microsoft and Partners Accelerate Journey to Private Cloud

July 3, 2013 at 11:15 am PST

Working Together SlideBusinesses and organizations are increasingly turning to private cloud delivery models to address their most pressing business and technology challenges. Next week, at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 (WPC) in Houston, channel partners will be able to speak with Cisco executives and consult with Cisco experts, to learn how Cisco and Microsoft have teamed to provide integrated solutions for Microsoft Private Cloud.  These validated solutions create opportunities for partners to: increase revenue; accelerate their customer’s journey to private cloud; and enable repeatable deployments.

The Cisco Unified Data Center is holistic data center infrastructure architecture. It combines compute (UCS), storage, network (Nexus), security, and management into a single fabric architecture that creates optimal environments for Microsoft Private Cloud and applications. Channel partners can take advantage of Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) and Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track solutions with integrated storage from NetApp or EMC for turnkey private cloud engagements.

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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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