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Cisco UCS: Powering Applications at Every Scale

September 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm PST

If you follow the news in the world of data center you probably noticed a small announcement from Cisco last week regarding the UCS portfolio…  :)

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To net it out in a simple way, I’ve been telling people that the trail of innovation that Cisco has been blazing with UCS  just got a lot wider.   That’s because this rollout is all about three key vectors that our customers have guided us to expand on:

Here’s a short recap on the event.  If you missed it, the replay is available here.

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Padma Warrior and Joe Inzerillo discuss how technology is transforming the #MLB fan experience.

We had a stellar lineup at the event in New York.   Our CTO, Padma Warrior, headlined and did a fantastic job setting the context for this wave of innovation in the frame of IoE and Fast IT.   Paul Perez followed, explaining the sea change occurring in the application landscape and the customer imperatives guiding development of the UCS platform.   Finally, Satinder Sethi stepped us through all the new technology we’ve added to the portfolio.  Frank Palumbo hosted the event for us in New York, and I think it’s no coincidence he was rewarded later in the day by a thrilling walk-off win by the Yankees.   Note that my last link there is to MLB.com, whose CTO, John Inzerillo, joined our event to share all the cool fan experience technology they’re developing.

I’d like to thank our #CiscoChampions for joining us at the event and bringing their unique and (trust me) unfiltered perspective to the news.   Another highlight for me was the opportunity to tour the MLB Advanced Media Center with Matt Eastwood of IDC who joined us in New York to moderate a panel on scale-out computing.  Matt, so sorry about the results of the Yankees/Red Sox game…it’s tough to overcome Palumbo-level karma.    Having several of our customers and partners at the event really rounded it out, making a special day for everyone that joined us in New York and in the streaming sessions.

Jim Leach (L) and panel of Cisco Champions

Jim Leach (L) and Tech Field Day panel of Cisco Champions.

To hit on all the details, the team has taken a divide-and-conquer approach here on the blog as well as youtube and our other social media venues.  In addition to the links above, here are some of the pieces you can check out to learn more.  Scanning the #USCGrandSlam hashtag on Twitter is another good way to take a look at the news and reactions.

Padma with panelists discussing Big Data in the IoE.

Padma with panelists discussing Big Data in the IoE.

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Not All 802.11ac AP’s are Created Equal: Demand the Full Story

It’s always interesting and often entertaining to observe how competitors promote their products and what they choose to focus on—and more importantly, what they choose not to focus on and what they hope people won’t ask questions about.

Consider yet again how a competitor chooses to position their “purpose built” AP vs. the Cisco Aironet 3700 802.11ac Access Point Series.

This competitor frequently (and somewhat obsessively) points out that its 802.11ac AP has dual “active” 800 MHz cores while the Cisco AP3700 has only one “active” 800 MHz core. This is not completely true since it completely overlooks the fact that the Cisco AP3700 also has a dedicated CPU core and DSP for each radio subsystem.

Furthermore, it also overlooks that the dual “active” cores in the competitor’s AP share 512 MB of DRAM. The single “active” core of the AP3700 has dedicated 512 MB of DRAM. Also each radio subsystem has a dedicated 128 MB DRAM (for 768 MB total DRAM in the AP3700).

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Why is all of this important? Read More »

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Small Computer, Big Opportunity: The Moore’s Law Phenomenon

If you’re like me, you probably remember the days when computers meant oversized monitors, loud, humming power supplies, and more cables than you knew what to do with. Thanks to Moore’s Law, those days are long gone. With devices getting less costly, smaller, and capable of more efficient computing power, people and businesses of today and tomorrow have more opportunity to connect to the Internet of Everything (IoE).

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Take the Raspberry Pi, for example. This low-cost computer was developed to provide computer science learning experiences for children around the world. For $35, the device features USB ports for a keyboard and mouse and an HDMI port to hook up to a monitor. The Raspberry Pi Foundation officially launched the device in February 2012. By September, more than half a million had been sold, and thousands were being manufactured each day, making computing accessible to everyone.

But even more interesting, when the Raspberry Pi went on sale, hackers and experimenters ordered them by the handful to create special purpose applications. They dedicated a whole low-cost computer to the task and moved the computing function to the edge of the network, shifting how we solve the computing problem. So again, we now have another Moore’s Law phenomena. As computers get smaller, more energy efficient, and less expensive, it causes us to rethink where we put the computing in the network and whether it is centralized or at the edge. Moore’s Law enables this natural progression, allowing us to recentralize through the web and distribute through the cloud.

The Nest Thermostat demonstrates a great example of this. Through a combination of sensors, algorithms, machine learning, and cloud computing, Nest learns behaviors and preferences and begins to adjust the temperature up or down. It can be controlled from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet, and it starts to recognize your preferences, automatically adjusting faster and faster and becoming more and more efficient. You have an entire computer (thermostat) on the wall, a classic convergence of more and more things being connected.

This, in turn, changes what’s happening in the data center and the cloud, because having more entry points enables us to connect more things. Sensor technology is also being affected, becoming smaller and less expensive. Texas Instruments now makes a chip that runs an IPv6 stack for connectivity, has built-in wireless, and only costs ninety-nine cents. Moore’s Law has led to a low-powered, low-cost chip, giving us yet another opportunity to rethink and innovate the use of computing.

With these growing ubiquitous opportunities, we can connect more and learn more. As more devices are added to the network, the power and potential for what they will make possible will continue to grow exponentially. Anything you can measure will be measured. Anything you can sense will be sensed. It’s an economical model making the case to be measured for nearly no cost. This shift will help connect the 99 percent of things that are still unconnected in the world, creating real value for the IoE.

How will the amazing possibilities enabled by the IoE affect you? I’d love to know your thoughts. Send me a tweet @JimGrubb.

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Introducing UCS Central: Unified Computing at Global Scale

November 1, 2012 at 11:10 am PST

If your motto is “go big or go home” then you’re probably going to like UCS Central.  Since inception, Cisco’s Unified Computing System has upheld some important core tenets in its design ethos:  management via policy, simple scaling and open infrastructure programmability. UCS Central, a new management product in the UCS family, extends all of those principles to a level of scale and granular administrative reach that are truly unprecedented in our industry. The Data Center team at Cisco is very excited about what UCS Central is going to mean for our customers, so on November 8th we’re hosting an online event to lay out the whole story. I hope you will join us.

UCS Central is essentially a manager of managers. Consider a single domain of UCS to be a pair of Fabric Interconnects where an instance of UCS Manager resides and looks after the goings on of up to 160 servers and all of their I/O connectivity. UCS Central now allows administrators to manage multiple domains of UCS and scale their aggregate environment to the range of 10,000 servers.

You might say that UCS customers can opt for the “go big” option. I suppose since this the golden age of mobility, they can access it all remotely to go big and go home…

 

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Customer Insight: How one Cloud services provider reduced provisioning time by 50% with Cisco Unified Computing System ™ and FlexPod

October 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm PST

What comes to mind when you think about the color blue? Whenever I think about the color blue in nature, I’m transported to the clear blue skies and turquoise ocean waves of Hawaii. For many people, the color blue has a restorative quality: It’s invigorating and puts us back in control of priorities. My affinity for “all things blue,” is why I was attracted to this story about Cisco customer, BlueWave Computing, LLC., a cloud services provider based in Atlanta, Georgia. BlueWave’s existing server and storage infrastructure had reached its limits and was creating performance and reliability issues. That’s when BlueWave decided it was time for a change. They worked with Cisco to reinvigorate their data center, making it ready for next generation of cloud services, and clearing the way for “nothing but blue skies ahead.”

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