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Cisco UCS – Quintessential Fabric-based computing – Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog series, I introduced Gartner’s definition of Fabric based infrastructure (FBI).  I explained the benefit of data center fabrics with the promise of continuing in a follow on blog.  Some readers rightly pointed out to me that I had not yet touched on the automation benefits. This video featuring Gartner analyst, Donna Scott and Cisco CTO Paul Perez provides a great overview of the benefits namely:

  • Capital cost savings with infrastructure consolidation
  • Lower operating costs with automation
  • Speed of implementation and infrastructure deployment
  • Better SLAs with faster recovery or migrations

Let’s dig a bit deeper and start by looking at the difference between a FBI server and a run of the mill server.  FBI essentially lets us define the profile of a server in software. The profile here refers to as many as 120 attributes of a physical server stored as meta data in a profile. These attributes include BIOS version, LAN connection parameters, SAN connection parameters, UUID, MAC Address etc.

fbi0srv

In the case of run of the mill servers some of these attributes remain the same throughout the life of the physical server. You may be able to alter other attributes with manual operations through proprietary user interfaces.  As shown in the figure above, the server identity (service profile) of a FBI server is abstracted from the physical server.

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Cisco UCS Delivers the best 2-socket Virtualized SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) Benchmark result in a Linux environment

On March 19th, 2013 Cisco announced the best 2-socket virtualized SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) Benchmark result in a Linux environment with the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) delivering high scalability and low latency in virtualized SAP Business Suite deployments.

Cisco’s benchmark result for the Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server show support for up to 5530 concurrent users and a SAP Application Performance Standard (SAPS) score of 30,270 derived from the processing of 605,330 order line items per hour and 1,816,000 dialog steps per hour. This result demonstrates that a Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server configured with a LSI 400-GB SLC WarpDrive can deliver high scalability and low latency in virtualized SAP Business Suite deployments.

The tested configuration consisted of a Cisco UCS chassis equipped with one Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.4 on KVM. The server was configured with two 2.90-GHz, 8-core Intel Xeon processor E5-2690 CPUs and 256 GB of 1600-MHz memory. The blade server ran both the SAP Business Suite application software and the 64-bit Sybase ASE 15.7 in a single virtual machine. SAP Enhancement Package 5 for SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) 6.0 was used in this scenario. The Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server recorded the best two-way virtualized SAP SD Benchmark result on SAP Enhancement Package 5 for SAP ERP 6.0 and Sybase ASE 15.7. In the test, 5530 SAP SD Benchmark users were supported while a consistent application response of less than one second was maintained.

 The “Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server: High Performance and Flexibility for Virtualized SAP Business Suite Deployment” Performance Brief provides additional benchmark configuration details.Official Benchmark Certification is available at the SAP® Standard Application Benchmarks certification web site.

SAP SD
Many business organizations currently struggle with the cost of maintaining RISC processor–based servers running proprietary operating systems and third-party database management systems. Cisco UCS enables organizations to use lower-cost industry-standard x86-architecture servers, open source operating systems, database management systems, and allows organizations to run SAP Business Suite applications in virtualized environments. With Cisco UCS, organizations can easily balance workloads across a pool of servers to manage service levels according to business priorities, scale environments up and down as needed, and contain costs by consolidating workloads onto a smaller number of servers.

Using the Cisco UCS, IT departments can run virtualized SAP Business Suite applications with the flexibility, scalability, and lower cost of virtualized environments. These innovations delivering high scalability and low latency in virtualized SAP Business Suite deployments and the dramatic reduction in the number of physical components required illustrates the value created by Cisco UCS solution for customers planning migration away from proprietary RISC/Unix based systems to open source operating system software and standards-based computing infrastructure.

For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS solutions please visit www.cisco.com/go/ucs

 

Girish Kulkarni

Sr. Product Marketing Manager

Unified Computing System 

gikulkar@cisco.com

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Cisco Still Number One for Data Center Security

We were excited to read the Infonetics Data Center Security Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey, which was released yesterday. It revealed Cisco’s continued leadership in a market that spans a multitude of vendors – application/database, client, data center integration and network. The report indicates that leaders need to offer the right mix of products across the data center security and cloud arenas as well as demonstrate security efficacy and integration into adjacent markets. Cisco has continued to execute on a unified security portfolio spanning firewallsIntrusion Prevention System (IPS), gateways, and integrated threat intelligence further complemented by strategic partnerships. Seamless integration and shared security intelligence with routing and switching (Nexus and Catalyst) and converged infrastructure (Cisco UCS) enables our customers to benefit from optimized traffic links, the highest levels of security resilience, increased availability and scalability as well as lower costs of ownership. Per the report, “to say you’re the leader in the data center/cloud security is to say you are an innovator who can tackle the biggest problems in IT security for the biggest and most demanding customers.”

We’d like to highlight two areas that Cisco has continued to demonstrate an outright lead over other vendors. In the area of perception as the top data center security supplier, Cisco leads with 47 percent of votes compared to IBM with 38 percent and McAfee with 28 percent, who ranked second and third. Cisco scored between 40 to 60 percent of respondents’ votes (covering 10 criteria) for being the leading data center security supplier with McAfee scoring 15 points below Cisco, HP received around 20 percent of votes, and Juniper and Trend with 15 percent.  Read More »

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VDI “The Missing Questions” #8: How does memory density affect VDI scalability?

Can you see it? The end is nigh! The end of this blog series, not necessarily “the end” as in AMC’s the Walking Dead sort of end. Are you Zombie stumbling across this blog from a random Google search? Here is a table of contents to help you on your journey as we once again delve into the depths and address another question on our quest to answer… The VDI questions you didn’t ask, but really should have.

You are Invited!  If you’ve been enjoying our blog series, please join us for a free webinar discussing the VDI Missing Questions, with Tony, Doron, Shawn and Jason!  Access the webinar here!

Got RAM? VDI is an interesting beast both from a physical perspective as well as the care and feeding of it. One thing this beast certainly does like is RAM (and braaaiiiins). Just in case I am still being stalked by that tech writer, RAM stands for Random Access Memory. I spoke a bit about Operating Systems in our 5th question in this series, and this somewhat builds upon that in regards to the amount of memory you should use. Microsoft says Windows 7 needs:
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit). For the purpose of our testing, we went smack in the middle with 1.5GB of RAM. Does it really matter what we used for this testing? It does a little – one, we need to have sufficient resources for the desktop to perform the functions of the workload test, and second, we need to pre-establish some boundaries to measure from.

Calculating overhead. In order to properly account for memory usage, we need to take into account the overhead of certain things in the Hypervisor.  If you want to learn more about calculating overhead, click here.  Here are a couple of things we are figuring in overhead for:

  1. ESXi = 200MB
  2. VM = 29MB for each 1.5GB, 1vCPU Virtual Desktop

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Quick Guide to #CiscoDC Activity at #VMwarePEX

February 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm PST

For everyone in the VMware Partner Community, next week marks the gathering of technologists to learn, train, and generally get together. Cisco has some great opportunities to do all of the above.

The easiest way to stay up to date? Follow us @CiscoDC. If you’re not on Twitter, find me, give me 5 minutes, and let’s see if I can convince you to join your community of peers.

/Lecture

Here are some VMware PEX highlights:

Boot Camp: Connect, Discover, Learn with Cisco
Monday, February 25, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Session ID: SPO2400
The Cisco Boot Camp is dedicated to educating and enabling partners to sell and deploy Cisco solutions successfully.

Breakout Session: Cisco Unified Data Center: From Server to Network
Wednesday, February 27, 12:30–1:30 p.m.
Speaker: Satinder Sethi, VP, Server Product Management and Data Center Solutions, Cisco

Demos: Cisco Booth 1015!

  • VDI: Cisco UCS with VMware View
  • Cisco Servers: Cisco Unified Computing System with VMware
  • Cisco Nexus 1000V Family
  • Cisco Unified Management
  • Branch Office Consolidation with Cisco E-Series Server
  • EMC VSPEX Proven Infrastructure

Also in Cisco Booth 1015, we’ll be shooting multiple episodes of Engineers Unplugged! Drop by to see some of the superstars of IT in full whiteboard action. Topics range from automation to virtualization to SDN. Send me a Tweet @CommsNinja if you’d like to participate!

But wait, there’s more, in addition to the fantastic official networking/social events at VMware PEX, we’re gathering as Geeks Without Borders to kick things off Sunday Night. Come out, meet your colleagues in person, say hello.

Speaking of community, be sure to sign up for our growing Data Center Virtualization Community, to hang out with the Cisco experts virtually.

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