Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center

Customers choose innovation : Cisco UCS is the # 1 blade server in the Americas

 Cisco’s First Trifecta

This week IDC released the calendar 1Q14 server market share tracker report, which is starting to generate press given the news that Cisco UCS has achieved the #1 x86 blade server revenue market share position in the US, in North America and in the Americas  – a “triple crown” right before the Belmont Stakes :-)Globe

We are understandably very proud of this achievement, and we’re taking time to celebrate. It was fun calling John Chambers to share the news, and to remind him that the team delivered on our commitment – to become #1 in blades in the US in 2014, and use that as the launchpad for our #1 world-wide campaign.

At the same time, it’s a humbling experience. We can argue about the meaning of market share numbers. They can be viewed as an indicator of momentum, they can be viewed as ephemeral, so what really is the meaning of being #1?

My interpretation is simple: Customers have a vote, and the market share numbers are an indication of the huge trust customers are placing on Cisco, not just on UCS. In 5 short years we’ve accumulated over 33,000 customers world-wide, including over 75% of Fortune 500 companies.  Contrary to competitors’ predictons, UCS is not a flash in the pan. It’s a reflection of Cisco’s ability to innovate in a way that drives tangible business outcomes for our customers. We struck a resonant cord when you consider innovations such as:

  • Architectural: Cisco delivered the first new innovation in x86 servers in over 10 years by inventing a new category, Fabric Computing, that proved ideal for server virtualization and private clouds.
  • Business Model: In addition to significant organic R&D investments, Cisco leveraged industry R&D much better than any of our peers. Whether they be infrastructure, operating system, applications, middleware or selling partners, we created an ecosystem that is fair, flexible and scalable. We created a business platform, not a technology platform.
  • Customer experience: Beyond UCS technology advantages, customers choose Cisco because of our commitment to customer relationships: our sales team’s demonstrated capability to understand our customers’ business and proactively propose transformational opportunites, and our support teams’ utter commitment to protecting business operations when issues inevitably occur.

As we set our sights on being #1 WW, I’d like to surprise readers by actually congratulating HP on being #1 WW; they’ve had the longest run at this coveted spot in the industry. We aim to capture this spot, and to hold it for longer, which we believe is eminently achievable given  we’ve achieved #2 WW by focusing on a subset of all available use cases and market segments. We have many opportunities, all of them well-funded and in execution, to drive expansion – new products, new business capabilities, more market coveraged, enhanced manufacturing, delivery and support.

So in essence, rather than admiring our recent #1 win in the Americas, we choose to view this as a call to arms, a rallying cry to accelerate our drive to #1 WW. Velociraptors unbound!

Lastly, a big THANK YOU to our customers, our partners and our entire value chain teams to demonstrate Cisco is serious about setting the state of the art in   computing. And I say this deliberately, because we are not in the server business. We are in the computing business, which is the business of optimizing application environments for performance and total cost of ownership – what our customers want.

Tags: , , , , ,

RATs in Your Data Center

News agencies like ABC News, CNN, and others have run stories on the FBI sting operation against more than 100 hackers who were involved in using and/or distributing the Blackshades RAT (articles in the hyperlinks for reference). For a mere US$40, a novice computer user can become a hacker and gain access to anyone’s computer, including gaining control over their video camera. If this novice hacker in the making needs help operating the RAT, many video instructions can be found on YouTube. This would be a form of free technical support. With over an estimated 500,000 computers infected, that leaves behind a serious footprint of compromised devices. As Marty Roesch, Cisco VP, Security Architect would say, “If you knew you were going to be compromised, would you do security differently?”

With over a half a million computers compromised from a single remote access toolkit, it is reasonable to think that a high percentage of those compromised computers would unknowingly be brought back to work and connected to the corporate network. Although inexpensive, the Blackshades RAT has an extensive set of capabilities such as keystroke logger, web cam control, full file access, etc. More than enough for the cyber attacker to assume the full identity of the owner of the compromised computer to allow them easy access to the business critical servers inside the data center as depicted in the diagram.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cisco Live!: Threat-Centric Security from Networks to Data Centers to Clouds

Security has emerged as a leading pain point for CIOs, executives, and even in the boardroom due to changing business models and growing attack surfaces, a threat landscape that is more dynamic by the day and the increasing complexity of IT environments.

With these challenges as a backdrop, attendees of our 25th annual Cisco Live! event last week in San Francisco absorbed over 170 hours of security-focused material, including hands-on labs, seminars, technical breakouts, panel discussions, and keynotes. This overwhelming amount of time and effort is a testament to Cisco’s commitment to protecting our customers against the latest threats across the full attack continuum—before, during, and after an attack.

In case you could not attend or make a session, particular highlights from the week included Chris Young and Bryan Palma’s keynote (must create Cisco Live account to view) examining the security challenges brought about by the Internet of Everything. Chief architect Martin Roesch also led a session exploring threat-centric security, examining the modern threat landscape, and how threat-centric security increases the effectiveness of threat prevention.

From a product perspective, momentum continued as we announced major updates and new products during Cisco Live! to help our customers address their security needs across the attack continuum with protection from the network to the data center to the endpoint to the cloud.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Next Generation Data Center Design With MDS 9710 – Part II

Note: This is the second of a three-part series on Next Generation Data Center Design with MDS 9700; learn how customers can deploy scalable SAN networks that allow them to Scale Up or Scale Out in a non disruptive way.  Part 1 | Part 3 ]

EMC World was wonderful. It was gratifying to meet industry professionals,  listen in on great presentations and watch the demos for key business enabling technologies that Cisco, EMC and others have brought to fruition.  Its fascinating to see the transition of DC from cost center to a strategic business driver . The same repeated all over again at Cisco Live. More than 25000 attendees, hundreds of demos and sessions. Lot of  interesting customer meetings and MDS continues to resonate. We are excited about the MDS hardware that was on the display on show floor and interesting Multiprotocol demo and a lot of interesting SAN sessions.

Outside these we recently did a webinar on how Cisco MDS 9710 is enabling High Performance DC design with customer case studies. You can listen to that here.

Three Pillars of ReliabilitySo let’s continue our discussion. There is no doubt when it comes to High Performance SAN switches there is no comparable to Cisco MDS 9710. Another component that is paramount to a good data center design is high availability. Massive virtualization, DC consolidation and ability to deploy more and more applications on powerful multi core CPUs has increased the risk profile within DC. These DC trends requires renewed focus on availability. MDS 9710 is leading the innovation there again. Hardware design and architecture has to guarantee high availability. At the same time, it’s not just about hardware but it’s a holistic approach with hardware, software, management and right architecture. Let me give you some just few examples of the first three pillars for high reliability and availability.

 

Reliability examples in MDS

 

Picture6

MDS 9710 is the only director in the industry that provides Hardware Redundancy on all critical components of the switch, including fabric cards. Cisco Director Switches provide not only CRC checks but ability to drop corrupted frames. Without that ability network infrastructure exposes the end devices to the corrupted frames. Having ability to drop the CRC frames and quickly isolate the failing links outside as well as inside of the director provides Data Integrity and fault resiliency. VSAN allows fault isolation, Port Channel provides smaller failure domains, DCNM provides rich feature set for higher availability and redundancy. All of these are but a subset of examples which provides high resiliency and reliability.

 

Weakest link

 

We are proud of the 9500 family and strong foundation for reliability and availability that we stand on. We have taken that to a completely new level with 9710. For any design within Data center high availability  has to go hand in hand with consistent performance. One without the other doesn’t make sense. Right design and architecture with DC as is important as components that power the connectivity. As an example Cisco recommend customers to distribute the ISL ports of an Port Channel across multiple line cards and multiple ASICs. This spreads the failure domain such that any ASIC  or even line card failures will not impact the port channel connectivity between switches and no need to reinitiate all the hosts logins. You can see white paper on Next generation Cisco MDS here. At part of writing this white paper ESG tested the Fabric Card redundancy (Page 9) in addition to other features of the platform. Remember that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

 

Geschäftsmann hat Wut, Frust und Ärger im Büro

 

The most important aspect for all of this is for customer is to be educated.

Ask the right questions. Have in depth discussions to achieve higher availability and consistent performance. Most importantly selecting the right equipment, right architecture and best practices means no surprises.

We will continue our discussion for the Flexibility aspect of MDS 9710.

 

 

-We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit (Aristotle)

 

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

How FCoE Helps Cisco Reduce Data Center Infrastructure

What a difference a networking cable can make in a data center’s infrastructure requirements and costs…especially when that cable uses Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technology. An industry-standard, FCoE carries Fibre Channel over Ethernet links, which reduces the number of I/O adapters, cables, and switches in the data center.

Read More »

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