Virtualization, Private Cloud, Big Data, HPC, etc. have been steadily changing the landscape of data center architectures. Lower latency and higher performing server-to-server data traffic (East-West) have become key discussion points as customers look to modernize their infrastructures. Cisco specifically designed UCS unified fabric for this type of traffic to create a highly-available infrastructure with reduced latency and unmatched consistency as the solution scales. Without providing any supporting data, HP and IBM have been incorrectly asserting that Cisco UCS unified fabric would increase latency and slow blade-to-blade traffic. Cisco ran the tests, and the results were simply amazing.
The Cisco Data Center team recently wrapped up a great week at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2013. Cisco’s VP of Unified Computing Marketing, Jim McHugh took the opportunity to interview Cisco experts about how Cisco UCS provides an optimal platform for Microsoft oriented data centers and creates opportunities for channel partners to drive new customer engagements and increase sales.
Special thanks Renee Yao for producing these videos as part of her summer internship at Cisco. Renee is a rising senior at UC Berkeley and has done a great job for the UCS marketing team this summer.
Check out our WPC 2013 video collection to learn about joint channel programs and solutions from Cisco, Microsoft and our partners.
Empowering Cisco and Microsoft Partners in the Data Center
Listen as Brian Allison, Cisco Director of Partner Solutions discusses how the Cisco Microsoft Alliance is creating business opportunities for channel partners.
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 required - Hour 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.
Service 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.
The presentation addresses how orchestration goes beyond automation. The two key points were:
- Automation is restricted to a single domain or systems whereas Orchestration encompasses multiple domains.
- 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.
Businesses 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.
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.