Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center

UCS M-Series Design Principles – Why bigger is not necessarily better!

Cisco UCS M-Series servers have been purpose built to fit specific need in the data center. The core design principles are around sizing the compute node to meet the needs of cloud scale applications.

When I was growing up I used to watch a program on PBS called 3-2-1 Contact, most afternoons, when I came home from school (Yes, I’ve pretty much always been a nerd). There was an episode about size and efficiency, that for some reason I have always remembered. This episode included a short film to demonstrate the relationship between size and efficiency.

The plot goes something like this. Kid #1 says that his uncle’s economy car, that gets a whopping 15 miles to the gallon (this was the 1980s), is more efficient than a school bus that gets 6 miles to the gallon. Kid #2 disagrees and challenges Kid #1 to a contest. But here’s the rub, the challenge is to transport 24 children from the bus stop to school, about 3 miles a way, on a single gallon of fuel. Long story short, the school bus completes the task with one trip, but the car has to make 8 trips and runs out of fuel before it completes the task. So kid #2 proves the school bus is more efficient.

The only problem with this logic is that we know that the school bus is not more efficient in all cases.

For transporting 50 people a bus is very efficient, but if you need to transport 2 people 100 miles to a concert the bus would be a bad choice. Efficiency depends on the task at hand. In the compute world, a task equates to the workload. Using a 1RU 2-socket E5 server for the distributed cloud scale workloads that Arnab Basu has been describing would be equivalent to using a school bus to transport a single student. This is not cost effective.

Thanks to hypervisors, we can have multiple workloads on a single server so that we achieve the economies of scale. However there is a penalty to building that type of infrastructure. You add licensing costs, administrative overhead, and performance penalties.

Customers deploying cloud scale applications are looking for ways to increase the compute capacity without increasing the cost and complexity. They need all terrain vehicles, not school buses. Small, cost effective, and easy to maintain resources that serve a specific purpose.

Many vendors entering this space are just making the servers smaller. Per the analogy above smaller helps. But one thing we have learned from server virtualization is that there is real value in the ability to share the infrastructure. With a physical server the challenge becomes how do you share components in compute infrastructure without a hypervisor? Power and cooling are easy, but what about network, storage and management. This is where M-Series expands on the core foundations of unified compute to provide a compute platform that meets the needs of these applications.

There are 2 key design principles in Unified Compute:

1.) Unified Fabric
2.) Unified Management

Over the next couple of weeks Mahesh Natarajan and I will be describing how and why these 2 design principles became the corner stone for building the M-Series modular servers.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Take Advantage of Mobile Cloud. What Are You Waiting For?

As organizations seek ways to maintain real-time connections with their workforce and customers in an increasingly digital and mobile-centered world, the growth of mobile cloud will be a major force in shaping the business landscape and future tech decisions. The first blog post in this series, by Padmasree Warrior, explores how the convergence of mobility and cloud will deliver unprecedented transformation for all organizations. The second blog post in this series, by Sujai Hajela, answers the question of what mobile cloud really is and how it continues to provide new business opportunities. In the third post, Joe Cozzolino looks at what mobile cloud means for service providers and enterprises. In the fourth blog, Michael Fuhrman discusses the need for end-to-end security in a mobile cloud environment. And finally, this post will discuss actions that CXOs should take concerning cloud technology.  

Our recent mobility landscape study showed that organizations are looking for ways to maintain real-time connections with their workforce and customers in an increasingly digital and mobile-centered world.  The growth of mobile cloud is a major force in shaping the business landscape and future tech decisions. This blog series explores how the convergence of mobility and cloud will deliver unprecedented transformation for all organizations.

In this final post, Hans Hwang outlines two case studies where clients have used the reach of mobile cloud to improve customer interactions using real-time technology and results and speaks directly to business leaders on how to achieve the results they desire from mobile cloud technology.

In this series, we have covered a lot about what mobile cloud is and its capabilities, but can mobile cloud give you a return on your investment? As a Services leader, I see a lot of opportunity for you to get going with mobile cloud as a differentiator for your business. I’d like to close by talking about business outcomes. What is it you’d like to achieve? Increased efficiency? Reduced operating expenses? More revenue? A better experience for your customers? Or is it all of the above?

Let’s face it: your customers and your boss don’t care what particular technology you use to deliver results. They only care that you get there fast with minimal risk – and without extra funding. Investing in mobile cloud could be just your ticket, so let’s talk about business outcomes.

Mobile Cloud #5 8.4.14

Read More »

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

Manufacturers Are Following the Crowd to ‘Drive’ Innovation

The appetite for the latest new products and services is growing exponentially driven by the 24 hour, on demand, social media driven, next day delivery expecting,  ‘selfie’ posing with the new shiny object, hyper informed consumer.  Satisfying the demand for this fast-paced consumer cycle requires manufacturers to move rapidly to stay ahead of competitors and consumer tastes. They must bring interesting and exciting new products to market in a timely fashion, whether they are first to market or responding to a competitor’s new product offerings.

Two specific trends are emerging and transforming how the industry develops, manufactures and meets the demands of the new on demand consumer driving market – crowd sourcing and 3D printing.

Manufacturing Game Changers:  Crowdsourcing and 3D Printing

Crowdsourcing is not a new development model.  In fact, the open-source model gave us the Linux operating system and the Apache Web server over 20 years ago.  But there is one very distinct difference when applying crowdsourcing methodology to a manufacturing process, as opposed to software development, and that is raw material.   This is where 3D printing technology is rapidly maturing driving orders of magnitude efficiencies and cost savings into the value chain.

A Printed Car

In fact, a start-up called Local Motors is on the cutting edge of combining crowdsourcing and 3D printing to revolutionize the automobile industry. In a process that Local Motors calls “co-creation,” — also known as “crowdsourcing” — the software allows enthusiasts to post a design for a part that other users in a worldwide community can call up on a browser, see in 3D, take measurements from, and comment on, thus providing a new model and methodology for innovation.  Local Motors then leverage 3D printing technology to deploy “microfactories”

Can crowdsourcing and 3D printing produce an electric car?

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Metacloud

Today, Cisco takes another important step towards realizing our plans to create the world’s largest global Intercloud – a worldwide network of interconnected clouds and cloud service providers.

Our intent to acquire Metacloud, an OpenStack-based private cloud-as-a-service company, advances our strategy and delivers value to customers—right now. Metacloud provides IT teams with another way to accelerate their journey to the cloud and to gain an on-ramp to the Intercloud. By catalyzing the creation of the Intercloud, Cisco can fundamentally transform how IT and cloud services are bought, sold, aggregated and consumed.

Cisco’s vision is for an OpenStack-based Intercloud that allows organizations and users to combine and move high-value workloads – including data and applications – across different public or private clouds as needed. Doing so easily and securely, while maintaining essential network and security policies as well as full compliance with local data sovereignty laws, is critical.

Metacloud deploys, operates and manages OpenStack-based production-ready private clouds in any customer data center. Together, Cisco and Metacloud will enable the creation of hybrid cloud environments that combine service provider public cloud deployments with remotely-managed OpenStack private clouds. Bottom line for customers: More agility for less money.

Our customers and partners see the value proposition clearly and have rallied around Cisco’s Intercloud vision and strategy over the last year. Many leading companies are working with us in the adoption of the Intercloud. Among them, key service providers and cloud providers, as well as important technology partners, including Dimension Data, Johnson Controls, NetApp, Red Hat, Sungard, Telstra, and VCE.

Metacloud will become a critical part of our Cloud Services portfolio under the leadership of Faiyaz Shahpurwala.

Stay tuned for more details in the weeks to come!

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

UCS M-series – As little as possible but Absolutely NO LESS!!

Welcome back! Thanks for your interest in our journey from that painful “you wasted our engineering” moment to the product we announced on Sep 4thUCS M-series Modular Servers.

There’s good pain and there’s bad pain. This pain was the muscle ache after a hard game of flag football. We had wasted some energy but were winning. Our customers were our coaches; they were precise about which parts of our game they loved and which parts they didn’t care for. They loved the management policy engine within UCS Manager but *did not* need the levels of redundancy and resilience in the hardware. And they really … really wished that we added some aspects to our game, specifically improvements to power and space efficiencies.  Our customers were either trying to eke out more from their existing data centers or trying to reduce their co-location costs.

So our cloud scale customers,
i)   loved our management policy engine
ii)  didn’t rely on hardware redundancy/resilience
iii) needed better power and space efficiencies

I’ll note here that during this time we gained incredible respect for our cloud scale customers. These customers are either disrupting traditional industries or are innovators who are reinventing themselves to take advantage of the “internet everywhere” age. That’s a tough business, and whoa is competition fierce! ……. being 2nd best on the internet often means you are a distant loser. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,