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New VersaStack™ optimized for distributed workloads

It has been said that data is the new oil. Given the price of crude today, the metaphor seems to fit in that there is just too much data in the world, to the point we have no idea what to do with all of it. The data glut is driven by the sheer number of data-producing devices in use today due to factors such as Internet of Things, distributed application architectures, and as-a-service consumption models of the cloud.VersaSTACK

The burden of managing all these devices and data is falling squarely in the heart of the data center, disruptively so. The urgency to modernize data center architectures and infrastructures has never been arguably stronger. Specifically, it requires data center to support higher VM densities, more powerful computational processing, a highly responsive and intelligent network, as well as a high-performance data storage foundation that form tightly integration solutions that can be rapidly deployed and provisioned at the speed of business.

Cisco and IBM took on these challenges head-on when they collaborated to launch the VersaStack™, a next-generation, converged infrastructure that combines the innovation of the Cisco UCS Servers , Nexus Switches and the IBM Storwize 7000 Storage solutions. The initial VersaStack Cisco Validated Design (CVD) solution was designed to address the on-premise data center use cases wherein the UCS servers scaled dynamically up to 160 servers and the Storwize 7000 array scaling up to multiple petabytes of storage. It quickly became the blueprint for cloud-ready enterprise data centers that needed exponential scale for the next decade.

Cisco and IBM followed this success up by adding the next solution – VersaStack for private cloud build-outs to address the needs for the XaaS market. This solution combined Cisco UCS servers, Cisco UCS Director, Cisco Nexus® 9000, and IBM® Storwize V7000 Unified system into a single highly automated and scalable system.

Fast forward one year to today, VersaStack solutions now extend from the on-premise data centers and private cloud solutions to a scale out architecture to address the needs of the distributed data and application use-cases. This comes in the form of two additional VersaStack solutions that have been added to thereby enable VersaStack solutions to address the modern distributed workloads—within and across multiple data centers. This newest solution is based on Cisco UCS Servers and IBM FlashSystem V9000 running vSphere 5.5, and seamlessly handles mission-critical, I/O-bound workloads.

In addition, Cisco and IBM are addressing the requirements of smaller IT environments for medium-sized businesses, branch offices and retail stores. For these organization, we offered a VersaStack solution based on Cisco UCS Mini Servers and IBM Storwize V5000 array running vSphere 5.5, optimized for remote office/branch office that:

  1. Monitors and manages the infrastructure remotely from a single management point
  2. Requires a much smaller footprint
  3. Offers new levels of RAS (service profiles to move a server image quickly) to give new levels of geographic RAS to the ROBO use case. For example, a failed server can be replaced automatically within minutes, not days.

UCS MANAGEMENT

 

The advantages of having a single UCS management interface regardless of location include : being able to spin up new VMs 85% faster1 and reducing cabling complexity 75%2 than legacy data center management methods.

A quote from IT industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) validates the benefits of the single-pane-of-glass UCS solution:

VersaStack offers a vast improvement. It is a converged infrastructure solution that uses some of the most well-known and proven server, storage, and networking solutions in the industry. Pools of compute, network, and storage resources can be shared among many applications and reclaimed when not in use, driving utilization up and costs down. Pre-integrated and pretested, VersaStack saves IT from having to purchase the components individually, test them for interoperability, integrate them manually, and then test, refine, re-test, and finally deploy. Handling all this manually steals valuable time away from IT and application users, and will not provide the agility and flexibility that organizations demand. The same goes for ongoing management. VersaStack enables IT to manage all resources from a single pane of glass, and offers end-user self-service, saving organizations time and money.”1

In other words, enterprise data is more distributed than ever before and compounded with its exponential growth and ubiquity presents new demands on IT infrastructure. To manage this growth, enterprise IT teams have to operate far more efficiently, to do more with less and always faster. In this respect, perhaps the data is oil metaphor falls short. Unlike oil, the production of which can be manipulated downward, the data glut streams inexorably forward toward the Zettabyte Era and beyond. In the face of this daunting onslaught, Cisco and IBM teamed to produce the highly versatile and adaptable VersaStack that will serve as the converged infrastructure blueprint for the next decade. This is the kind of synergy that OPEC members can only dream about these days.

[1] ESG Lab Validation Report: VersaStack Converged Infrastructure from Cisco and IBM, December 2015
[2] VersaStack Customer Validation

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Big Data and Analytics Touchdowns

What’s your winning combo for big data and analytics? This may come as a surprise to you – but given that the Superbowl is approaching – I am going to use a football analogy. As we get ready for the game in 2 weeks, we have a tale of two quarterbacks. One is an established quarter back with a long-standing history of victories. The other –new, up and coming—brings a ton of enthusiasm and fresh legs to the game.

This is like the analytics market place of today. We have established players like SAP, SAS, and IBM and new ones such as Splunk, Platfora, and ParStream (now part of Cisco). On this 10th birthday of Hadoop, we have established technology approaches from Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR using MapReduce being challenged by the new player to the game – Spark, which is starting to score big in the technology field. The big 3 are taking different approaches to this, which should make it fun to watch.

Ok, guess how Cisco UCS ties into all of this? The foundation under all of these players is a solid integrated infrastructure that enables the game to be played and won. And like Levi’s stadium, UCS is the state of the art infrastructure with all of the most essential bells and whistles (Yes, I’m talking about service profiles for policy execution and management and ACI for business-relevant software defined networking (SDN)). Because in football and in business, it’s important to go ALL THE WAY, you can rely on Cisco’s end-to-end solutions to make this happen.

Trying to figure out the winning combination for your team? I pulled together a ‘scouting report’ to help you put together your ideal fantasy team. Bookmark this, because this is where you can find the latest and greatest and how each player partners with Cisco to bring you insights to action.

Cisco Big Data and Analytics Latest Content

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Composable Infrastructure Part 6: Understanding Infrastructure Options

Pathway OptionsThe IT industry is in a significant period of transition, and the infrastructure landscape has changed a great deal. There are many options today, and the number of options will grow over the next two years. Having more options can more lead to complexity and potential limitation.  As you assess your options you need more information and context, so you can make the right choices and avoid problems down the road.

Software defined infrastructure (SDI) has made it possible to create these new categories of products.  In addition to traditional rack and blade servers and SAN storage, there is converged infrastructure, hyper-converge infrastructure and now composable infrastructure. As you evaluate these new infrastructure options, one of the most important considerations is choosing the right management software to support these products.  You don’t want to add to complexity by creating islands of infrastructure that need to be managed separately.

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5 ways to make the most of SAP TechEd Barcelona

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Looking for the most exciting experience at SAP TechEd Barcelona? We have just the ticket. Here are our 5 best tips for meeting smart people, checking out innovative solutions, and making this the most productive conference of the year.

1: Find a Home Base

With an adventure as sprawling as SAP TechEd Barcelona, everyone needs a home base. Cisco Booth 7.07 makes for a great starting point not just for exploring all the happenings of SAP TechEd Barcelona, but also for meeting the like-minded people who might be a key part in your next world-changing solution.

2: Get On Track

Our live Connected Train Demo is a great way to kick off your adventure. You’ll get a hands-on demonstration of how the Internet of Things is being used to power real-world logistics. IoT-train Bremen2 copy 2

Then, you can get your brain firing on all cylinders with visits to our three Demo Areas showing Cisco’s latest and greatest on Integrated Infrastructure, Big Data, and Internet of Things Solutions.

3: Network, Learn, Network

The Cisco Booth will offer a ton of opportunities to meet some very smart people and get a peek into the exciting work happening at Cisco. Make sure to check out our Lecture Sessions to hear the latest.

At our Breakout Sessions, you can take a deep dive into our Big Data and Cisco ACI solutions.

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If you want to skip the crowds, join our Webinar on Digitize Faster with Policy-Driven Automation , hosted by SAPinsider and sponsored by Cisco and SAP: [Register]

4: Win Something Awesome

There’s no reason to walk away from the conference empty handed. Stock up on swag from all the different vendors, but keep an eye on the Cisco Booth, where there are two great ways to win something big.

First, everyone who stops by will receive a raffle ticket for prizes including an Apple Watch and an Intel Compute Stick. Come back to the booth at 5 pm when we announce the winners. Two winners a day, must be present to win.

Second, ask about our easy-to-enter Twitter contest. You could win an AMEX gift card.

5: Get All The Latest Updates

@ReeshaDedhia @LeenieMurph will be live tweeting the event, so follow them to stay in the know.
To learn more about everything Cisco has to offer at SAP TechEd Barcelona, visit cisco.com/go/sap

 

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Cisco UCS Mini Customer Success Stories

When we launched UCS Mini, it pushed us into new territory with an exciting offering that bundles servers, storage and networking into a single solution — much like the traditional UCS — but in a smaller form factor and lowered the cost of entry to a UCS solution. It allows customers of any size (SMB, ROBO, and distributed enterprises) to take advantage of UCS.

Building off of infoTECH Spotlight and Best of InterOp Finalist awards, I wanted to catch you up on some recently posted customer’s success stories for UCS Mini. Most interesting is that they are five very different business from the Australia, Belgium, Mexico, and the United States.

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