Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center and Cloud

FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud : A Guest Post from our Partner NetApp

April 10, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Note: This guest blog is from our partner NetApp.  VDI Reference Architect Rob Briggs introduces ExpressPod for the Microsoft private cloud as well as comments on FlexPod successes. Rex. 

FlexPod, ExpressPod, and Windows Server 2012 RDS -- “It’s in the Box!”

I’ve seen a lot of great discussion and buzz this week at the Microsoft Management Summit on deployment of private cloud, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.  Around the Cisco   and NetApp booths, it’s been exciting to see the interest attendees have shown around our new Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 validated FlexPod solution – FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud.

But what exactly does this mean for customers? Take a look at ING Direct, which has deployed FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud and achieved massive cost and time to market savings.  With their “Bank in the Box” solution, ING Direct made “copies” of the entire bank environment for their developers in 10 minutes, compared to a previous 12 week turnaround.  This dramatically accelerated time to market of new products and services.

For many small to medium sized businesses or remote offices, FlexPod, System Center and a private cloud infrastructure may be more than what is required. Instead, we’ve seen that many of these customers want to start with a simple to deploy virtualization solution.  ExpressPod, with all of benefits of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V , it is a pre-packaged and tested solution for growing small and medium sized organizations with exactly this scenario in mind.  Think of it as having many of the benefits of FlexPod, but priced, sized and packaged for small to medium sized deployments.

The hardware that comprises this solution is nothing to scoff at: ExpressPod integrates Cisco UCS® C-Series servers, NetApp FAS2220-series storage, and Cisco Nexus® 3048 switches with infrastructure management, into an affordable, easy-to-deploy shared virtualization infrastructure solution. ExpressPod supports an open ecosystem of management and hypervisor solutions and comes in two configurations, small and medium.

NetApp1

 

NetApp2

The small and medium ExpressPod configurations are low-cost, standardized infrastructure solutions, well-suited for virtualization of business critical applications. The configurations have been built and tested to deliver a cost-effective, high-value, and best practice architecture.

We recently completed testing and documentation of small and medium ExpressPod configurations with Microsoft Windows Server 2012® and Hyper-V. Take a look at our ExpressPod with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Implementation Guide to see in-depth, detailed deployment instructions for each of these configurations.

Each configuration provides a standardized base platform capable of running a number of business-critical applications while providing scalability options to enable the infrastructure to grow with business demands.  One such application workload that ExpressPod is well-equipped to run is Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

RDS is a collection of independent role services in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 that support various desktop virtualization and session based remoting scenarios. Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services on NetApp Storage gives detailed implementation guidance and best practices for a RDS solution.

A solution perfectly suited for the value of ExpressPod

As a desktop virtualization solution, RDS offers lower cost deployments.  In addition to the cost-effectiveness of using ExpressPod, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 RDS reduces both the capital and operational expenditures of VDI.  Simply said, “It’s in the box”.  Software box that is.  There are no additional software dependencies to roll out an effective VDI solution. Also, I’m happy to say that RDS deployments have been drastically simplified with Windows Server 2012, which reduces management costs.

If you are at MMS this week please be sure to stop by the Cisco or NetApp booths.  We’d be happy to further discuss the benefits that either FlexPod or ExpressPod can bring your organization.  You can also find out more about these solutions from certified Cisco and NetApp resellers.

Tags: , , , , ,

Special Guest Post: Observations from Geneva Airport Passenger Terminal Expo

I’m standing here today in Geneva, at the annual Airport Passenger Terminal Expo, where Cisco and SITA are presenting our joint solution for WiFi-based location-based services in airports. This solution enables deep insights and understanding of how passengers use and move throughout  their arrival or departure journey.

The event kicked off this morning with a series of keynotes, and already on the exhibition floor I’ve been talking to a lot of airport leaders who are interested in the joint Cisco/SITA solution and how this really is starting to enable a better travelling experience and more efficient airport. Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Do you need to work from the office to maximise employee productivity?

Recently, there’s been a significant amount of media attention on different company policies around teleworking and flexible working practices. This has sparked a lively debate across the internet; opinions have been cast for and against this transformation in culture. So, will this action have any repercussions on employee motivation and productivity?

The availability of remote and flexible working options can potentially improve employee morale, and worker productivity. A recent poll conducted by Staples Advantage (March 2013) found that 93% of US employees believed that working away from the office was beneficial for staff and managers. The research also showed the 75% of business decision makers noticed that employees were happier when they were allowed to work remotely and 53% said they were more productive.  Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series: The Strategic Value of the Cloud for State & Local Governments

Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet).  Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.

Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.

But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained.  This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.

Cost Savings

Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.

And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.

Resilience, Flexibility & Faster Technology Adoption

Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A MAP to Easier, More Scalable IPv6 Deployments

There are a number of ways to deal with IPv4 exhaust and  IPv6 transition, including Carrier Grade NAT and stateful Dual Stack Lite. Cisco has added another method called Mapping of Address and Port (MAP) based on two IETF drafts currently in the process of standardization in draft-ietf-softwire-map (MAP-E) and draft-ietf-softwire-map-t (MAP-T). The real advantage with MAP is that it’s stateless and doesn’t require additional hardware as traffic grows. In fact, the MAP implementation on the Cisco ASR 1000 or ASR 9000 is just a software feature that can be enabled as needed. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,