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Time to Vote in the Crazy Cable Contest

March 22, 2011 at 8:33 am PST

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos for the Cisco Crazy Cabling Contest. We’ve received some great photos so far! The jumble of wires data center managers have to deal with every day highlights the headaches folks have to deal with when trying to maintain and manage their data centers!
Now you can help select the winners from the top 5 finalists. Go to www.facebook.com/ciscodc and look at the top photos along the “wall” of our data center Facebook page. To vote, please make sure you are first a fan of the Cisco’s Facebook data center page; you can do that by clicking “Like” at the top of the Facebook page.

From there you should be able to click on the photo of your favorite and then click on the “Like” button.

Voting will end on Sunday, March 27 at midnight 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

The 3 photos with the most votes will be announced on Monday, March 28 on both Cisco’s data center Facebook page and on Cisco’s Data Center Networks blog.

The first place winner will receive a brand new Flip Mino HD 120 camera and an Amazon gift card worth $200.00 USD. Second and third place winners will also receive a Flip Mino and Amazon gift cards worth $100.00 and $50.00 USD.

For the complete official rules and information, please visit: Cisco’s ‘Crazy Cabling Contest’ Complete Official Rules.

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Extend flexibility in Your Data Center Architecture with the Data Center Fabric.

March 22, 2011 at 3:00 am PST

“Fabric computing is a fixture on the radar screen of many IT groups, driven by the increased penetration of virtualization and prospects for cloud computing.As virtualization penetration increases, IT organizations will deploy virtual machine (VM) mobility, which will demand more attention to a fabric-based infrastructure that better integrates server, storage and networking for greater agility and faster time to deploy.”  Based on this observation, Gartner George J Reiss and Andrew Butler organized recently a survey to evaluate which vendors are the most credible and ready to address the challenges of virtualization and cloud computing.

Cisco pioneered the vision of Ethernet-based “Unified Fabric” for the data center and has been shipping products to support that vision for over three years. Subsequently it introduced Unified Computing and Unified Network Services, all of which have formed the building blocks for Cisco’s Data Center Fabric.  Competitors have validated Cisco’s vision by scrambling to deliver their own versions of the Fabric.

On March 30th starting at 9:00 am PST, Cisco executives and experts , partners and customers  will supplement this Fabric vision and showcase its evolution, while bringing multiple proof points to bear. And in a pure Cisco spirit, to enrich a very open conversation, we invited the Senior Analyst Andre Kindnesss from Forrester Research who wrote recently about “The Dark Horse In The Datacenter Fabric Race?” and the Program VP Data Center Network Services Cindy Borovick from IDC to share their vision.

If you want to be among (or amongst) the first to know what’s cooking at Cisco, this is your chance ! This event will be live and we hope to hear from you.

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How To Turn Up A UCS Over Your Lunch Break…and Still Have Time For Lunch

March 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm PST

Their Version of "Integrated"

So, innovation comes in many forms. You hear me use this space to talk about all sorts of cool new products and technologies, but, sometimes, innovation manifests itself in other ways. One of the points we have always maintained about the Cisco UCS is that it was a clean-sheet design, driven by fresh thinking on what the convergence of network and compute infrastructure should look like. One result of this is that, with UCS, we have a completely new approach to management and operations--almost shocking in its simplicity. While I could wax rhapsodic about this for the next few hundred words, I thought its a story better told by others.

The first story came to me via Michael Heil, aka HeathITGuy. Michael has written numerous times about his positive experiences with the Cisco UCS. Recently, he related the story of adding a chassis to his existing system. Now, bear in mind, I had heard stories that doing this with some of the other “integrated systems” out there actually involves a professional services engagement. In Michael’s case, he gave the job to Jason, someone who joined his team all of a month ago. Michael helped Jason rack the new chassis, but beyond that, Jason was able to do the rest of the turn-up by himself--took all of 27 minutes.

Lest you think that’s a fluke, check out this video by Tjerk Bijlsma and his buddies in Amsterdam:
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Setting the Record Straight on our UCS Demo Loan Program

A couple of recent media stories suggested that Cisco is “giving away” Unified Computing System trial units in order to accelerate our growth in the data center market.

We wanted to take a moment to let you know these allegations are completely incorrect.

Of the almost 4,000 customers that Cisco has amassed in just eighteen months since we started shipping UCS, every single one is a paying customer.

It is true that many companies have taken advantage of Cisco’s demo loan program, which allows customers to trial UCS for free, but all loaned evaluation units must be returned or bought.

We have never given away UCS equipment– it is loaned, and then must be returned. Also, no loaned units are counted in Cisco’s revenue reporting, only units that have been purchased.

While we’re focused on the facts, I would like to confirm that sales of Cisco’s UCS (introduced just 18 months ago) were up 700 percent last quarter (Q2 FY11) and are on pace to hit $650 million this year!

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Surviving 800,000 E-Mails an Hour Without Breaking a Sweat

March 8, 2011 at 12:05 am PST

I have to admit, I have always been fascinated by e-mail systems. Some of this is rooted in the fact that one of my first jobs was as an All-in-1 administrator—think Office365 running on a DEC VAX. Beyond that, e-mail typifies many of the challenges of the data center: supporting increasing scale, maintaining a consistent user experience, handling ever increasing storage requirements, supporting mobile users and delivering bulletproof availability.

Curious as to what we do at Cisco, I had a chat the other day with Ken Pauley from Cisco IT. Ken has been with Cisco for a little over 4 years, running the Design & Engineering Team for Messaging & Calendaring. He has a 25+ year IT career that has been primarily focused around Messaging & Calendaring technologies for medium to large scale enterprises so he has some useful perspective on things.

By way of background about our Microsoft Exchange environment--last quarter we collectively sent about 900 M messages and received about 870 M messages. Our current environment is deployed in six different locations. From a storage perspective we have 123TB of storage in Richardson, 123TB in two SJ locations, 82TB in Amsterdam, 82TB in Hong Kong and 41TB in Bangalore. Richardson and San Jose both have 3 PODS of servers each, Amsterdam has 2 PODs, the rest have 1 POD each. A POD contains between eight and 20 servers and supports up to 11,200 users. We have about 130 servers supporting e-mail across Cisco.

Omar Sultan: What is the most challenging thing about Cisco’s e-mail environment?

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