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Maximizing Big Data Performance and Scalability with MapR and Cisco UCS

Huge amounts of information are flooding companies every second, which has led to an increased focus on big data and the ability to capture and analyze this sea of information. Enterprises are turning to big data and Apache Hadoop in order to improve business performance and provide a competitive advantage. But to unlock business value from data quickly, easily and cost-effectively, organizations need to find and deploy a truly reliable Hadoop infrastructure that can perform, scale, and be used safely for mission-critical applications.

As more and more Hadoop projects are being deployed to provide actionable results in real-time or near real-time, low latency has become a key factor that influences a company’s Hadoop distribution choice. Thus, performance and scalability should be evaluated closely before choosing a particular Hadoop solution.

Performance

The raw performance of a Hadoop platform is critical; it refers to how quickly the platform can ingest, process and analyze information. The MapR Distribution for Hadoop in particular provides world-record performance for MapReduce operations on Hadoop. Its advanced architecture harnesses distributed metadata with an optimized shuffle process, delivering consistent high performance.

The graph below compares the MapR M7 Edition with another Hadoop distribution, and it vividly illustrates the vast difference in latency and performance between these Hadoop distributions.

High Performance with Low Latency

 

One particular solution that is optimized for performance is Cisco UCS with MapR. MapR on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) is a powerful, production-ready Hadoop solution that increases business and IT agility, supports mission-critical workloads, reduces total cost of ownership (TCO), and delivers exceptional return on investment (ROI) at scale.

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Simplifying Cisco UCS Management with Microsoft PowerShell

March 27, 2014 at 12:12 pm PST

Many IT organizations use Microsoft PowerShell to automate and accelerate data center management tasks. The Cisco UCS PowerTool module for PowerShell provides users a comprehensive list of cmdlets to manage all components of Cisco UCS.  Users can use these cmdlets to write PowerShell scripts to simplify, speed up, and error proof UCS management and deployment. With Cisco UCS PowerTool, IT operations teams can tie together the management of storage, compute, and software applications into custom, end-to-end management solutions.

New to scripting on UCS? Check out this Google + Hangout (Tips and tricks for managing Cisco UCS with PowerShell and Microsoft Systems Center) or this video on Microsoft’s Channel 9: Manage Cisco UCS with System Center 2012 and PowerShell.

Everyone is invited to share their scripts and possibly win some prizes by entering the UCS Power Scripting Contest on the Cisco Communities.  The contest will run until May 11th.  A distinguished panel of judges (@jsnover, @rob_willis, @concentrateddon, @halr9000, & @ThomasMaurer) along with other members of the community will select the grand prize winner from a set of five finalists.

Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest

Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest

 

We will announce the finalists at Microsoft TechEd 2014 and announce the grand prize winner at Cisco Live 2014 in San Francisco. You don’t have to submit scripts to participate! You are encouraged to review, comment, and share best practices. Use the Twitter hashtag #CiscoScripts to share.

If you are in the Houston or Dallas area, Cisco will be hosting a UCS User Group Meeting (Houston) and Meetup (Dallas) to help you get started.

Are you interested in starting a Cisco UCS User Group in your area or hosting a local meetup? Contact your Cisco representative and let us help!

 

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Cisco UCS Five Years On: The Right Solution at the Right Time

March 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm PST

I knew we were on to something good when a customer told me “This is so easy, it’s CTO proof.”

Early in the business, I was talking to a front-line server admin who had found that Cisco UCS made server deployment so reliable, automated and simple that he was convinced even his CTO could pull it off without breaking anything.  The enthusiasm was real, and infectious, and it changed the face of the data center market.

Thinking back five years to March of 2009, when Cisco introduced UCS, the economy was still spiraling into the worst recession of our lifetime.  IT budgets were being slashed.   Many wondered if it was the right time for Cisco to enter a new market with deeply entrenched competitors.

As it turns out, it was the perfect time.  Because change occurs fastest when times are hard.

looking for change

In the decade leading up to 2009, computing innovation had stalled.  The incumbents still had tunnel vision on the power and cooling challenges that arose out of multi-core processing in the mid-2000’s.  Innovation was essentially focused on mechanical packaging:  blade servers for mainstream IT and  “skinless” boxes for the hyperscale crowd.   Overlooked was the real problem for the vast majority of customers:  operational complexity. Remember that server virtualization was rapidly spreading in nearly every data center.  Again, this was originally a response to a hardware problem: processor utilization; but as everyone recognized the operational benefits, virtualization was taking hold very fast.  As was cloud.  Combine all this with the disaggregation of data storage from the server, which had already moved out onto the network as NAS and SAN many years before, and you had a perfect storm of complexity threatening to outpace the capacity of many IT organizations.  The individual technologies in the data center were not overwhelmingly complex but tying them all together, into a system where you could land and scale an application in a very secure and available way, became the all-consuming job of the customer.   Collectively, the industry had failed.   In 2009, more than ever, customers needed something to help them slash OPEX in the data center and free people up to face the challenges of the day.  This was the innovation vacuum that UCS had been designed to fill.

Think of UCS as the Turducken of the data center:  the sum is much, much greater (and tastier) than the parts.   A lot of true innovation has gone into UCS in the areas of server I/O and in fundamental advancements to server management technology.   The latter is especially critical, because what is often overlooked in virtualization and cloud discussions is the underlying issue of deploying, managing and scaling the physical infrastructure itself (details, details…)   The advent of UCS completed the total abstraction and automation of hardware in crucial ways that hypervisor and cloud technology still can’t acheive on their own.   API-controlled data center hardware is a foundational element of modern IT innovation, and UCS started it all.  This may be Cisco’s greatest contribution to the industry and charted the course for Cisco ACI in the broader data center.

Cisco Unified Computing System Five Years of Data Center Innovation from Cisco Data Center

 

Cisco’s not stopping.   In the intervening five years, new innovation opportunities have appeared.   Most recently, the addition of flash systems to Unified Computing in the form of UCS Invicta, which opens up a whole new chapter for what customers will be able to achieve with the System.  UCS Director is taking on a pivotal role for automation across Cisco solutions and the integrated infrastructures that we construct with our storage partners.  The future is so bright, our partners need sunglasses.

UCS timeline

The team has put together this interactive timeline that commemorates many of the milestones in the first five years of UCS.   Looking back over it, I can only feel proud and humbled to be associated with the team here at Cisco, our technology and channel partners, and most importantly with our customers, who have clearly proven that UCS was (and is) the right solution at the right time.

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#CiscoChampion Radio S1|Ep6 UCS

#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists, hosted by Cisco’s Amy Lewis (@CommsNinja). This week we’re talking about UCS.

Listen to the Podcast

cisco_champions BADGE_200x200

Featured Guests:
Cisco Champions: Robert Novak (@gallifreyen), AJ Kuftic (@ajkuftic)
Cisco Subject Matter Experts: Scott Hanson (@CiscoServerGeek)

Highlights:
How Scott Hanson discovered the value of UCS
Advantages of new B460 M4 Blade Server
UCS 2.1 and 2.2. firmware
When to switch to new firmware updates
When UCS is (and is not) a good fit

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Market Dynamics and Cisco’s Unified Computing System

Innovation.  Change.  Market transitions.  This is the natural order when it comes to IT.

Today’s accelerated rate of technological change is disrupting all areas of IT, while at the same time creating new possibilities for our data center customers.  As a CIO, you’re tasked with capitalizing on the benefits of new technologies to enhance operations, but with minimal disruption to your business.  That’s not easy do to when the world is moving so quickly.

Innovation brings new players to the marketplace, and sometimes compels existing vendors to adjust their strategies.  Earlier this year, in a move that will have a significant impact across the IT landscape for technology providers and customers alike, IBM announced an agreement with Lenovo for the acquisition of IBM’s x86 server and associated networking business including Flex System.

Five years ago, Cisco made a strategic move by announcing a data center innovation and putting into motion a market transition.  Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) led the converged data center transformation by integrating high-performance networking, compute, and storage into a single, unified platform. Cisco UCS created a new value proposition for the data center in virtualization and cloud computing, achieving measurable cost savings and technology gains.

Now the number two worldwide vendor of blade servers, our vision and ability to execute delivers value that clearly resonates with our customers.  Cisco UCS changes the economics of the data center by increasing operational simplicity and improving business agility.  This is a great time for you to take a closer look to learn why over 30,000 customers have made the move to Cisco UCS.

As the inevitable change takes place across the IT landscape, Cisco remains committed to the data center.  We are also committed to our long-time collaboration with IBM, one of Cisco’s most successful partnering relationships.  Our plan is to move forward, build on this relationship and continue to deliver solutions of high value for your data centers across technology, service, and support.

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