By: VCE CTO Trey Layton at EMC World 2013 (@treylayton)
Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said “change is the only constant in life.” And without question, change is the lifeblood to our industry and like any transition, albeit from VHS to digital, from board games to mobile apps, or even dare I say it, Tom and Jerry to Jerry Springer, the “customer” conversation takes on a new shape, with new questions and a fresh dialogue.
Today, we’re seeing something very similar with a natural transition towards convergence in the data center market. No longer is the conversation about the impact on IT departments, but about how to influence change to meet the business needs of the company. Refocusing an entire business around a common goal is no easy feat, especially within those longer standing companies with more traditional, more siloed approaches to their business – and as such skill sets are once again going to have to change or people will find their options becoming limited. Like the technology they’re going to have to adjust; it’s a natural transition for not only the IT department, but leaders across multiple faculties of the business.
Economic and competitive pressures are demanding we do more with fewer resources. Take Columbia Sportswear who deployed Vblock systems in order to transform IT to be much more service orientated in order to fulfill business requests that much faster. Rapid deployment and ease of use also enabled Columbia to redirect IT staff to find new ways to solve business problems, rather than focused on the IT “plumbing”. Above all, the need for flexibility is commonplace in today’s business environment and hence require their IT to “never say no” regardless of the project that comes through the door.
VCE is leading the charge into the next generation data center, simplifying and accelerating data center modernization efforts for our customers. Simply put, VCE represents the next evolution of IT, one focused on the next generation data center and the future of cloud computing.
So where do we go from here?
As the IT industry and the needs of the customer continue to evolve, so will VCE and the Vblock systems. Already we’ve taken our Vblock family to the next level by enhancing the existing 300 and 700 systems and expanded our portfolio by adding the 100 and 200 systems. We also developed Vblock Specialized Systems that are optimized for SAP HANA software and added our own layer of intelligence to existing management toolsets by creating VCE Vision Intelligent Operations to enable and simplify converged operations.
As we look to the future we will continue to innovate on top of the success we’ve already seen to ensure converged infrastructure retains its position as the foundation for next generation data centers. And trust me, there’s a lot more coming to you this year, including the notion of “hyper-convergence” – something you’ll hear a lot more from me on in the coming months.
Join us at this year’s EMC World in Las Vegas to experience for yourself the simplicity behind the Vblock converged systems and see what the future holds for the next generation data center.
Successful IT managers today and in the future need to quickly adapt to changing business strategies. But how does IT increase efficiency, support more applications and provide additional services with flat or decreasing IT budgets?
In my previous blog, I discussed how Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and VCE introduced converged infrastructures to increase IT efficiency and significantly reduce data center costs. I also addressed the breakdown of IT time and resources between management and maintenance (75 percent) and value-add services (25 percent). So how does IT flip that ratio and spend more time on innovation and less on routine administration?
Watch our new video to learn how Cisco Cloupia—through automated, comprehensive management of converged infrastructure solutions based on Cisco UCS and Nexus—empowers IT to better align quickly with business strategy. By doing so, the software helps drive a positive shift in that 75:25 ratio, providing infrastructure administrators with greater agility and flexibility.
There are a number of converged infrastructure management solutions, but Cisco Cloupia is unique in the industry by delivering:
In less than 4 hours, you can be experiencing the benefits of automated converged infrastructure management with Cisco Cloupia. The solution installs in less than 1 hour without any service engagement. (In one of our labs at Cisco, the solution was installed in 15 minutes.) Following installation and 2-3 hours of training, conducted by our partners, you can be experiencing all the benefits of the software.
Cisco Cloupia is the only solution on the market today that manages the leading converged infrastructures from Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and VCE from the same management console. Today’s data centers are heterogeneous, and management tools need to accommodate multiple vendor solutions. Cisco Cloupia enables you to choose the best converged infrastructure solution to meet your business requirements.
•Single pane of glass
Using one tool that manages both physical and virtual compute, network, storage, and virtualization reduces complexity and training time for your staff, helping drive that shift in the 75:25 ratio towards innovation.
Cisco Cloupia’s unique model-based orchestration enables IT teams to build and execute repeatable physical and virtual infrastructure workflows without complex custom scripts and expensive system integration engagements.
•Greater IT Management and Control
Cisco Cloupia can manage multi-tenant or secure multi-tenant environments, permitting virtualized and non-virtualized workloads to securely run side-by-side while their associated resources remain independent.
As data centers seek to innovate and meet changing business requirements, they need automation and management to ensure that they experience the full potential of their converged infrastructure. These are just some of the ways that Cisco Cloupia can help. To learn more, go here.
Just back from Varrow Madness 2013 (#VM13) in Durham, NC, a local event for me, and a great opportunity to connect with customers, partners, and cloud knowledge. Here are some highlights.
Rusty Buzhardt (Cisco), Jason Nash (Varrow), Elijah Stukenborg (Chiquita)
Really enjoyed an inspirational keynote by VCE President Frank Hauck and the opportunity to learn about some new technologies that are emerging in the Data Center space. Look for upcoming #EngineersUnplugged episodes for some discussions around NetScaler, Flash Virtualization, and more.
Cisco’s Unified Data Center strategy is rooted in the idea that customers shouldn’t be put in the position of DIY technology integration. It’s just an unfair ask given everything that IT and LOB leaders contend with above and beyond the infrastructure. As technology has evolved, the component parts of the data center are decreasingly the source of complexity. It’s the connections between them, creating that sum of the parts that can actually run applications, that’s the hardest part. Eliminating this complexity has been Cisco’s guiding star in the data center, building systems that help customers focus on what matters most to them: applications and IT services, not infrastructure.
These new offerings extend the proven value of Vblock: converged, pre-engineered infrastructure that slashes deployment time and ongoing management burden, into a new set of market segments and key workloads.
The team at VCE have done a great job detailing this out; I see the key components being brought forward today as:
Taking Vblock Systems to new customer segments and use cases: System 200 is designed for mid-size data centers and service provider-managed customer premise (CPE) scenarios. System 100 extends to remote office/branch office environments. Combining these new Vblocks with applications like Microsoft Exchange & Sharepoint, VDI, and Cisco Unified Commuications will continue the push to eliminate DIY solution assembly for customers.
VCE Specialized Systems: a series of systems optimized for key workloads, starting with SAP HANA. Certification for Vblock here is an exciting new opportunity for customers to quickly adopt this hot new analytic technology
VCE Vision Intelligent Operations which brings intelligent discovery and single lens management to VBlock Systems. This takes a similar API driven approach found at the core of UCS to enable orchestration of the converged system. This is a critical component for cloud builders.
VCE’s launch is a major milestone in their evolution, but the way each Vblock system is built, maintained and supported remains constant and predictable. Customers can continue to rely on the same comprehensive physical and logical build done in the factory, single point support and the IT agility and economic benefits these create.
FlexPod, by any measure, has been a great success. 2,100 customers worldwide have adopted the architecture and it stands today as one of the leading converged infrastructure solutions in the industry. IT organizations want to modernize their operations, but they need to do it in a way that mitigates risk and lays down a solid foundation on which to scale. To get there they need a solution that brings the best, most innovative technology in an integrated architecture that’s easy to consume. FlexPod has delivered on that combination of innovation + integration + easy.
Innovation comes in abundance with FlexPod and it has allowed customers to land a wide spectrum of applications on a common infrastructure. The key is that while infrastructure elements are abstracted and pooled (the basic food groups of compute, network and storage) the system supports both bare metal and virtualized workloads with aplomb; a crucial capability given the realities in the data center today. Cisco and NetApp have each taken abstraction and API control deep into the server, network and storage infrastructure, below the OS/Hypervisor waterline, and this is what unlocks new agility for everything built on top.
So what comes next? FlexPod solutions to date have been aimed squarely at the enterprise data center. What Cisco and NetApp announced today expands the architecture on two key axis. Both vectors support the growing challenge IT organizations face today: spanning from the data center core out to the branch office and also into the cloud (both to deliver services and to procure them.) Location independence for applications across this continuum requires infrastructure that can be tuned to support a wide spectrum of workloads and operating models. To do it efficiently requires uniformity in deployment and operating models.
One the axis of operating models, the FlexPod architecture will expand out from the solid base of solutions developed for the data center in two directions: into solutions for branch office and smaller use cases, and upward, with massively scalable designs for solution providers.
On axis of workload, the array of application solutions validated by the companies will continue to grow, allowing customers to expand the footprint of converged infrastructure across their IT services.
From a consumption perspective FlexPod has established an impressive, highly scaled presence, because it was designed by both companies to “meet in the channel.” The solution is offered today by more that 700 partners in 35 countries.
While it’s possible to sometimes have too much of a good thing, it’s clear we’re a long way from that with FlexPod.