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Data Centers: Applications, Networks and Chicken-Salad Sandwiches

You’ve seen the data points: 30 million new devices connected to the Internet each week. A whopping 50 billion connected by 2020. This surge of connectivity – driven largely by the Internet of Everything – is creating vast new opportunities for digitization as industries transform.

This tidal wave of connected devices is also reshaping the data center. Why? Because every single thing connected to the Internet has a MAC and IP address, and this enormous growth will unleash more addresses than anyone can imagine. These addresses need, feed, and breed applications, whether by running an app or providing it data. And as this happens at an exponential scale, the data center becomes the key to making it all work.

We know that the applications will be everywhere, and that’s a good thing. Apps will continue to be in the enterprise data center – the private cloud—where they’ve been running for a long time. And they’ll run in cloud-based data centers. They’ll also run at the edge – whether the edge is a branch office, your home, or even a part of your body.

For applications to perform optimally no matter where they are, the infrastructure has to understand the language of applications. We have to teach it. And this is where policy comes in. For us, policy is teaching the infrastructure the language of the application so that the application can tell the infrastructure, “Here is what I need to run at my best.”

This is an area where Cisco has a lot of skin in the game. After all, no one knows Data Center infrastructure better than we do.

Our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is an example of policy. It’s our flagship offering, our strategic direction. And it’s vertically integrated – spanning hardware and software. It’s also really popular. Just last week, we reached our 1000th customerDanske Bank, the largest financial institution in Denmark.

Why is the network the best place to put policy?

First, the network touches everything – from the data center to the cloud to every device. Just as the applications are everywhere, so is the network as the foundation. And when you’re trying to set policy, you’ve got to get it out and make it available to everything on the network.

Another reason: the network is the single source of truth within the infrastructure. It knows every conversation that’s happening between every device. It knows who’s communicating a lot and who isn’t, or who’s communicating a little bit of the time but in big chunks. The network never lies.

Why Cisco

Moving addresses, frames and packets is our core competency. Believe me when I tell you — if our development team could stick a chicken-salad sandwich inside an Ethernet frame, they would do it. It’s what we have done a lot of here at Cisco – get things on the network.

Where are we going from here? With the vast scale we’re looking at – once 50 billion or more devices are connected – it won’t be possible for any single human, or any one programming tool, or any one piece of software to manage or optimize this network.

The infrastructure itself is going to have to learn and be self-aware to scale. This explains why we’ve begun exploring how to get all this needed policy and expertise into the silicon and into the infrastructure.

When I envision the data center of the future, I see a data center that has unprecedented scale and always-on network analytics, one that creates a dynamic and agile infrastructure, that is self-learning, self-healing and self-executing, and that drives business outcomes faster than any human ever could. This is where we’re going, and why I’m so damned excited about it.

Stay tuned. There’s a lot more to come.



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Cisco UCS Delivers Industry’s Best 2-Socket Performance Result on New SPECjbb2015 Benchmark

The Cisco UCS® C220 M4 Rack Server continues its tradition of Industry leadership with the latest announcement of the first top 2-socket performance for max- jOPS in a multiple–Java virtual machine (JVM) environment ahead of other vendors.

Some of the key highlights of Cisco’s new SPECjbb2015 benchmark results are:

  • Cisco UCS C220 M4 server delivered a performance record of 92,463 SPECjbb2015 MultiJVM max-jOPS with 31,654 SPECjbb2015 MultiJVM critical-jOPS
  • Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server posted the best 2-Socket SPECjbb2015 Benchmark Result Ever for Multi-JVM max-jOPs.
  • Cisco posted the first top 2-socket Multi-JVM max-jOPs performance result on the new SPECjbb2015 benchmark ahead of other vendors.

The benchmark configuration consisted of the benchmark controller, back-end, and transaction injector functions, each running on its own JVM. The JVM instances ran on a Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server powered by two 18- core Intel Xeon processor E5-2699 v3 CPUs running a single instance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Server 6.5 and 64-bit Oracle Java HotSpot Server Virtual Machine (VM) 1.8.0_60. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the benchmark configuration. The detailed official benchmark disclosure report is available at the SPECjbb2015 Website.

The new  SPECjbb2015 benchmark has enhancements that align with the changes that you are experiencing in your own IT organization—thus giving you a more accurate capacity measurement than previous versions of the benchmark.

Let’s take a look at what this UCS C220 M4 SPECjbb2015 performance result  means for the end users and customers…

When you choose Cisco UCS servers, customers benefit from the performance and rapid deployment capabilities of Cisco UCS.

Additionally you gain business advantages such as:

Accelerated response: Cisco tunes the chip sets and servers for specific workloads. With high-performance processors, large and fast memory configurations, and efficient use of Intel Turbo Boost Technology, the Cisco UCS C220 M4 delivers low latency and server optimization to JVMs.

Increased scalability: The benchmark results show that the Cisco UCS C220 M4 delivers excellent scalability to JVMs and applications.

Data center simplification: Cisco UCS delivers the scalability needed for large Java application deployments. The dramatic reduction in the number of physical components results in a system that makes effective use of limited space, power, and cooling resources by deploying less infrastructure to perform the same, or even more work.

Although all vendors have access to same Intel processors, only Cisco UCS unleashes their power to deliver high performance to applications through the power of unification. The unique, fabric-centric architecture of Cisco UCS integrates the Intel Xeon processors into a system with a better balance of resources that brings processor power to life. . For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.


SPEC and SPECjbb are registered trademarks of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. The performance record described in this document was valid based on results posted at as of September 23, 2015.

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Thinking Bigger! Cisco + IBM – Collaboration of giants brings industry-leading solution for big data analytics

In December 2014, we announced VersaStack, an integrated infrastructure reference solution for enterprise applications that combines technologies from Cisco and IBM. Further extending this partnership, today we are announcing support for IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop on our Cisco UCS Integrated infrastructure for Big Data – an industry-leading platform widely adapted for enterprise big data application deployments. The joint solution encompasses disruptive innovations in Cisco UCS and the robust and industry-compatible Apache Hadoop distribution from IBM. This solution can be installed as a standalone Hadoop cluster with powerful analytical tools or can be integrated into existing VersaStack deployments that will benefit from a common fabric and unified management capabilities to deliver the deepest possible insight into your data to help you gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

We are also announcing the availability of Cisco Validated Design (CVD) that provides step by step design guidelines comprehensively tested and documented to help ensure faster, more reliable and predictable deployments at lower total cost of ownership.


  • Combines innovations from Cisco UCS such as programable infrastructure with best of open source software with enterprise-grade capabilities in IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop
  • Designed and optimized for common use cases, pre-tested, pre-validated and fully documented by Cisco and IBM engineers to ensure dependable deployments that can scale from small to very large as workload demands
  • Provides enterprises with extensive platform management and data visualization capabilities and integration of  big data with other information solutions to help enhance data manipulation and management tasks
  • Brings the power of SQL to Hadoop at the performance and scale ever than before accelerating data science and analytics leveraging SQL – arguably the most beautiful programming language – and integration with business applications to access data stored in HDFS and HBase with JDBC and ODBC
  • Deep technical expertise, global resources, and world-class support and services from Cisco, IBM and partners

This solution is built on Cisco UCS infrastructure using Cisco UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects and Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers optimized for IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop with scalability to thousands of nodes with Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches:

IBM BigInsightsonUCS

For more information, please visit:


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Part 2: Why not Initiate a “Save to Invest” Program for your Data Center?

Two weeks ago, in my previous blog, I invited you to consider ways in which you could initiate a “Save to Invest” program for your data center. That is, how can you save money from your current data center spend, in order to re-invest it into currently un- or -under-funded areas of your data center. Thanks to those of you reading who made some comments on Part 1 – good points were raised!

Last time, I discussed my first 3 tips, as follows:

(1) Identify, Turn Off and Remove Idle Servers

(2) Identify Un-used Enterprise Software Applications: Reduce Your Software Costs

(3) Get Rid of Dead Weight – Execute a Server Refresh


Save Some Money for Your Data Center!

Save Some Money for Your Data Center!

Let’s now discuss two additional savings, which in fact can in many cases result in even larger financial savings:

(4) Optimize your Software Licensing, and

(5) Avoid un-budgeted spend – Critical if you have an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA)

Read More »

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Enhancing the Splunk experience with Cisco UCS

According to scientists, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span that even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer. On an average, human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in year 2000 to 8 seconds in today’s smart-world.

What does this mean for Splunk Enterprise ? Read More »

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