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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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#CiscoChampion Radio S1|Ep5: UCS Invicta

#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 Invicta.

Listen to the Podcast

cisco_champions BADGE_200x200

Featured Guests:
Cisco Champions: Trevor Roberts (@vmtrooper), Matt Oswalt (@mierdin)
Cisco Subject Matter Experts: Maxwell Riggsbee, Todd Brannon

Highlights:
How Invicta will allow UCS infrastructure to deliver resourcing
Four elements that will allow Invicta to transition into UCS in short and long term
Details on integration to date
Storage/bandwidth plans for Invicta going forward
When further integration will be available
Applications ideal for Invicta Read More »

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Management implications of large scale data centers.

February 26, 2014 at 7:17 pm PST

As data center workloads grow we hear about new large-scale mega data centers being built.  According to a recent report Microsoft is planning on building a $9 Billion data center in Korea.

msdc

 

This photo shows one of Microsoft’s large-scale data centers in Dublin.

(courtesy datacenterdynamics)

 

 

atxdc

 

Cisco’s own Allen data center in Allen Texas is 38000 square feet.

You can take virtual tour of the data center.

 

 

As more of these large data centers are built, managing them efficiently will have to both from a facilities, and an IT point of view. The research firm, IDC has started tracking a category of software called DCIM or Read More »

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Cisco Nexus 1000V: Simplifying and Scaling Virtual Networking in Microsoft Private Cloud Hyper-V Environments

February 19, 2014 at 8:00 am PST

Windows Server 2012 R2 is central to Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision; the operating system platform delivers enhancements and new features in virtualization, management, storage, networking, and more.  Our Cisco server infrastructure solutions (UCS) as well as our management (UCS Director, UCS Manager, Cisco Intercloud) and network capabilities are purpose built for supporting Microsoft’s virtualization and cloud offerings.

Cisco Cloud Infrastructure
Figure 1. Cisco’s Microsoft Cloud OS Solutions and Capabilities

Together Microsoft and Cisco provide tightly integrated and flexible solutions that deliver on the benefits of a Microsoft private or hybrid cloud. Our R&D teams have spent, and continue to spend serious time together developing technologies, APIs, and solutions.  In our blog post today, let’s focus in on the networking side of things, specifically on our award winning Nexus 1000V offering for Hyper-V:

  • It’s all about simplifying and scaling virtual networking.  Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V helps to reduce the operational complexities associated with virtual machine-to-virtual machine networking and thus help customers gain more of the benefits of server virtualization technology and cloud.
  •  It maintains networking resiliency across your physical and virtual environments as you move to the cloud.  Protect your investment by future-proofing your network design with a flexible virtual networking platform.
  • Recognized with the 2013 Best of Tech Ed award in the Virtualization category, Nexus 1000V extends comprehensive networking capabilities to your Hyper-V environment. A distributed virtual switching platform with advanced networking features and integrated virtual services, Nexus 1000V delivers consistency across your physical, virtual and cloud environments.
  • Uses a consistent operational model designed to accelerate server virtualization and cloud deployments securely and transparently. Read More »

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New UCS Servers deliver innovative scaling options and record-breaking power

February 18, 2014 at 10:31 am PST

This week we’re announcing new systems at the upper end of the UCS server product line: some heavy-duty iron for heavy-duty times.   These are important new tools for our UCS customers:  the digital age is accelerating, IT needs more horsepower to keep up, and there is a lot at stake.

Cisco UCS Servers with Intel® Xeon® Processor E7 V2 Deliver Unmatched Customer Benefits from Cisco Data Center

Consider this: less than 10 years ago, some of the largest mainframes scaled up to half a terabyte (TB) of main memory.  What if I were to tell you that these latest generation UCS blade servers will scale to 3TB?   Sound like a lot?  It is.  And that’s just the two-processor version.   Connect two UCS B260 M4 blades with an expansion connector and they become a UCS B460 M4, a four socket server that will scale to 6TB.  Putting that into perspective: a spiffy new laptop might ship today with 8GB of memory.   Multiply that by 750 and you have 6TB.

Not too long ago, all the content Wikipedia would fit in this type of footprint (in 2010 it was just under 6TB with media.)   Here is a fun illustration of what this scale of data would look like on paper (just the ~10GB of text, not the images.)  Now remember, we’re not talking about fitting all that data on the local disks of the server – we’re talking about fitting it in main memory.   This is becoming crucially important in the field of data analytics, where “in-memory” is the key to speed and competitiveness.  Applications like SAP HANA are at the forefront of this trend. Today, at Intel’s launch event in San Francisco, Dan Morales (Vice President of Enabling Functions at eBay) joined us to talk about how they’re betting on this type of analytic technology to help them make the eBay Marketplace work better for buyers and sellers (and eBay shareholders.)   I’ll post a video clip of that soon; his description of the challenges and opportunities, at eBay scale, is worth a watch.

We’ve talked about memory scaling, and Bruno Messina has a nice post that talks more about the scalability on these systems and UCS at large.   But dominating performance is the name of the game: behemoth processing performance is what we look for at this end of the server spectrum and Intel has not disappointed on this round of new technology.   The next generation of the Intel Xeon E7 family packs up to 15 cores per processor and delivers an average 2x performance increase compared to previous generation products.   Performance will be even higher on specific workloads, for example up to 3X on database and even higher for virtualization.   Cisco’s implementation of this technology has once again set the standard for system performance.   In today’s launch, Intel cited Cisco with 6 industry-leading results on key workloads.  As of this posting, the closest to come to that achievement that was Dell with 4.  HP ProLiant posted 1.  So hats off, once again, to the engineering team in Cisco’s Computing Systems Product Group.  Girish Kulkarni has a great summary of the performance news here.

 

New UCS Mission Critical Servers from Cisco Data Center

 

Our collaboration with Intel is one of the best technology combinations in the industry today.  Consider what we both bring to the party.  Intel: innovation in processor technology that drives Moore’s Law.  Cisco: innovation in connecting things across the data center and around the world.  UCS is an outcome of two blue-chip tech powerhouses investing in real innovation and the results have changed the industry.

In 1991, Stewart Alsop famously wrote:  “I predict that the last mainframe will be unplugged on 15 March 1996.”  He just as famously had to eat his words.  He munched on those twelve years ago, and while mainframes and RISC-based systems remain, there is an inexorable trend as the heaviest analytic workloads continue to shift to the type of scale-up x86-based systems we’re talking about today.   It only makes sense.  So while this will garner me plenty of comments from the architectural purists out there, I say “go ahead and plug a mainframe back in.”  It will fit right in your UCS B-Series blade chassis…

 

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