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Blade Server Architecture Comparison – Important Differences Abound

I recently wrote a blog titled Blade Server TCO and Architecture – You Cannot Separate Them and thought a little more on the architecture side would be a good thing.

 With so much misinformation (dis-information?) about UCS running around in the ether, I thought the straight forward comparison offered here would be valuable. It is important to dispel myths and analyze reality before making the important decisions around server and networking refreshes / upgrades, which by necessity affect long term data center architecture. I hope you will find this presentation – Cisco UCS, HP and IBM – A Blade Architecture Comparison, useful in your decision making process.

Cisco UCS HP and IBM A Blade Architecture Comparison from Cisco Data Center

For me, there are three primary drivers that differentiate the Cisco UCS architecture from everyone else’s designs and they can be divided into the buckets below:

You could, and probably should, ask what is left out? That’s pretty easy. I did not specifically call out Performance and TCO, for a good reason. If you can execute on the three bullets above like Cisco UCS does, Performance and TCO are the natural derivatives. You shouldn’t have to target them separately. It’s kind of a “If you build it, they will come” scenario. That’s why I made the statements in the TCO and Architecture blog that “…Server cost is irrelevant (to OpEx) because: changing its contribution to total TCO has a vanishingly small impact….” and “…It [architecture] is the single most important component of OpEx…”   For more on this and how server cost and TCO intersect, please check out this blog – Blade Server TCO and Architecture – You Cannot Separate Them.  It takes a look at the OpEx and CapEx components of TCO, and how altering either of them effects the actual total  3-year TCO.  You may be surprised.

Cisco is providing trade-in credits for customers’ old generation servers and blade chassis,  helping ease the transition and upgrade to a new UCS blade architecture.  The UCS Advantage presentation below has more details on this fantastic program that can further enhance the already compelling TCO benefit of upgrading to Cisco UCS.

UCS Advantage – Refresh to UCS from Cisco Data Center

Special note: For more on the benefit that Cisco UCS delivers for I/O and throughput, I suggest a great blog by Amit Jain – How to get more SAN mileage out of UCS FI.  Amit does an excellent compare / contrast of FC and FCoE technologies (“…8 Gb FC yields 6.8 Gb throughput while 10 Gb FCoE yields close to 10 Gb throughput…”).

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Get on the Fast Track to Data Warehouse Nirvana

Guest post by Dennis Clark, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager – Microsoft Applications, NetApp

We are here in Charlotte this week with our Cisco friends, with the opportunity to talk with all sorts of like-minded Microsoft SQL Server individuals at the 2013 SQL PASS Summit. The conversations vary in range from things like database performance, developer issues, to private cloud and data management concerns. We’ve also had some good chats with a few data warehouse folks, which prompted me to share some thoughts on this topic.

BI Blues

We know that the data warehouse (DW) is central to a comprehensive business intelligence (BI) solution. So clearly, if our DW isn’t up to snuff, as they say, then we can forget about delivering critical analytics to a growing number of LOB managers and execs. This, in turn, negatively affects the bottom line of the business, which isn’t good for anyone. And it isn’t getting any easier. Data is growing exponentially and the problem of integrating data from multiple sources isn’t going away any time soon. These issues, along with the complex interaction of the different components of a BI solution, continue to make the design, deployment and management of data warehouses a challenge. Now you can continue to throw money at it by over-provisioning and burning up valuable data center space and power to try to keep up, or you can strive to achieve a higher level of DW nirvana with Cisco and NetApp.

Data Warehouse Nirvana

Read More »

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Now is the time to refresh to Cisco UCS!

Intel estimates1 that one-third of the servers in production are more than four years old. At first, one might think that it is great to get this much service out of a capital investment, but the operational costs to run these outdated servers would pay for a complete technology refresh increasing performance and reliability while reducing total costs. How is this possible? With the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 v2 product family and Cisco’s Unified Computing System. Read More »

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Get More out of your Data with Cisco at Strata Hadoop World October 28 – 30, 2013

Superbowl Hype


With enough hype to rival even the most popular of Superbowl’s, Big Data experts will converge on New York City in just a couple weeks!  But big data has good reason for all the hype as businesses continue to find new ways to leverage the insights derived from vast data pools that are continuing to grow at an exponential rate.  A big reason for this is the ability to leverage Hadoop with the Hadoop Distributed File System and MapReduce functionality to analyze the data very quickly and provide incredibly fast queries that, although not even possible previously, can now be accomplished in minutes or less.  We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface in terms of the financial returns made around Hadoop and the infrastructure to support Hadoop deployments but one thing we do know, it’s going to be big and it will continue to get bigger!


Strata Hadoop World


So how does Cisco fit into this picture?


Cisco is partnering with leading software providers to offer a comprehensive infrastructure and management solution to support customer big data initiatives including Hadoop, NoSQL and Massive Parallel Processing (MPP) analytics.  Leveraging the advantages of fabric computing, the Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture (CPA) delivers exceptional performance, capacity, management simplicity, and scale to help customers derive value more quickly and with less management overhead for the most challenging big data deployments.

Competitive Advantage


Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture for big data enables rapid deployment, predictable performance, and massive scale without the need for complex layers of switching infrastructure.  In addition, the architecture offers unique data and management integration with enterprise applications hosted on Cisco UCS.  This allows big data and enterprise applications to co-exist within a single management domain that simplifies data movement between applications and eliminates the need for unique technology silos in the data center.  You can also check out my previous blog, Top Three Reasons Why Cisco UCS is a Better Platform for Big Data, to get an idea of what we’ll be sharing at the show.


Cisco logo

Have you considered Cisco UCS for your Big Data projects?   I’d like to invite you to come and hear more in a couple weeks at Strata Hadoop World in New York City.    We’ll have a number of demos and experts on hand to answer all of your questions.


In addition, Cisco and  ClouderaCloudera Logo are teaming up to offer you a chance to win some exciting prizes by joining our demo crawl program.  Stop by either the Cisco booth (#3) or the Cloudera booth (#403) to learn more.


Ready for Big Data


Stop by and say hello and let me know if you have any comments or questions, or via twitter at @CicconeScott.

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Deliver SQL Server Performance on Cisco UCS

Guest blogFrankCicalesePic by Frank Cicalese, a Technical Solutions Architect with Cisco, who assists customers with optimizing their SQL Server workloads on the Cisco Unified Computing System. Before joining Cisco, Frank worked at Microsoft Corporation for 10 years, excelling in several positions, including as a Database TSP.

The Cisco Data Center team is looking forward to engaging with the SQL Server community next week in Charlotte at the PASS Summit 2013. Whether you implement SQL Server on blade or rack servers, Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), with its integrated architecture and centralized management model, can greatly simplify server deployments and improve operational efficiencies.

Franks Session Title SlideI’ll be doing a deep dive on the advantages of SQL Server on UCS, in my presentation at the PASS Summit 2013:  SQL Server Reference Architectures on Cisco Unified Computing System [DBA-211]. I’ll be providing the details on two important reference architectures for SQL Server including: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Fast Track for Data Warehouse and SQL Server Consolidation Using Cisco Unified Computing System and Microsoft Hyper-V. My session will be on Thursday, October 17th, at 1:30 PM in room 202 A-B.

Cisco UCS provides unique benefits and advantages as you plan to deploy, manage, and scale your Microsoft SQL Server workloads, including: Read More »

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