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A Shameless Plug: The Art of the Data Center

October 19, 2012 at 10:00 am PST

One of the first things many companies do at the start of a Data Center project is look around to see what other companies have done.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a book that showcases innovative Data Centers and has insights from the people who designed and operate them?

I thought so, too.

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How Much is This Gonna Cost? Price Models for IT Infrastructure

Steve Watkins, Guest Blogger

Steve Watkins is a Consulting Systems Engineer for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  He came to Cisco as part of the newScale acquisition in 2011.  He has been helping customers manage the migration to IT as a Service (ITaaS) since 2004.

 

Showback and Chargeback have become increasingly hot topics for IT, especially infrastructure teams.  This is fuelled at least in part by the general acceptance of cloud computing, including private clouds and SaaS applications.   Chargeback (and even Showback) are great ways of affecting behavior of the consumers of IT.   It keeps consumers from demanding an unreasonable amount of services, and encourages them to use of what has already been invested in.  There is also a growing mandate from Finance to make IT accountable for its spend, or at the very least to justify any requests for further investment. So infrastructure teams find themselves in the unexpected position of defining prices for the services traditionally offered.   Most have no idea where to start.

Several vendors have produced offerings to help manage the showback/chargeback business case.  This post will not discuss any vendor in detail.  Instead, I want to talk about philosophy.

Broadly speaking, there are two major approaches to creating a price model for IT.  There is the Utility-based model, in which pricing derived from actual consumption of CPU cycles, RAM, bandwidth, storage, etc.  In this model, if you stood up a virtual machine for one week you would only pay for the actual amount CPU cycles and storage you consumed.

Alternately, there is Service-based pricing, which advocates a fixed price based on either the service itself or some other unit of measure such as hours, etc.  In this model, if you stood up a virtual machine for one week you would pay for how many hours the VM was active, whether you used it or not.

I always council my customers to adopt service-based pricing.  I think utility-based pricing is the wrong approach for IT departments, especially infrastructure teams.  Here are my reasons:

1.INFLEXIBLE – Utility pricing is asset based, and therefore assumes that the assets will remain more-or-less the same.  The model breaks down when you introduce changes, like renting infrastructure from public providers or changing service levels.  What about if I offer VDI next year?  That may mean two different types of pricing models, which gets even more complex.  A service-based pricing scheme works with all services.

2.POOR CAPACITY MANAGEMENT – by only charging for the CPU cycles you actually consume, it encourages users to stand up systems and leave them in place.. which is exactly what we don’t want.  Think of renting a car: you rent a car for 4 days but only drive it for a total of 3 hours, you still have to pay for all for days.  If I just paid when I actually drove it, I would keep it all the time.  We want to encourage users to return unused assets. Which leads to..

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Cisco UCS Servers – Watts driving your power and cooling costs?

October 18, 2012 at 10:09 am PST

In my first blog post, I highlighted some of the benefits being seen by customers using Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) from Case Studies. In posts two and three, I discussed reduction in cabling and provisioning times in more detail. Today I will drill down on power and cooling.

Why are customers seeing a 52% reduction in their power and cooling costs?  Through virtualization, reducing overall server counts, but also through a paradigm shift in what constitutes a server solution with the unification of compute, network, storage access, and management. Cisco’s Unified Fabric condenses up to three parallel networks into one, reducing the number of I/O interfaces, cables, and switch ports.

For blade servers, instead of going with a “mini-rack” chassis architecture, Cisco replaced the intra-chassis switches and management modules with Fabric Extenders (FEX) to transfer the unified fabric from the chassis to the Fabric Interconnects. A FEX is a remote line card and does not act as a switch. Compare this simplicity with a common chassis configuration for a competitor: a pair of Ethernet switches, a pair of Fibre Channel switches, and a pair of chassis management modules.

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Discover What’s Possible with Cisco CEO John Chambers, Keynote Speaker at Gartner Symposium ITxpo

October 18, 2012 at 8:36 am PST

Starting on October 21 , more than 8,000 Directors, CIO’s and  CXO’s will have the opportunity to meet and exchange with a series of Cisco top executives, including John Chambers, Doug Merritt , Pankaj Gupta, Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Marie Hattar .


The Nexus of Converging Forces or how Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information create new business opportunities is at the core of the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2012 . The alignment with the Cisco vision is pretty remarkable ,  showing how our company is in tune with the challenges and aspirations of the IT organization.
Whether you have the opportunity to be in Florida  this coming week or not , we want to share with you how Cisco is addressing these growing requirements
Here is a little preview of each of the  speech that  will be delivered .

Stay tuned as I will make sure that you can easily access to the presentations which will be posted on www.Slideshare.com/ciscodatacenter . Meanwhile we will provide some “info-snack “ in real time through our Twitter account  @ciscodc 

John Chambers  -- Mastermind Keynote Interview

In his conversation with senior Gartner Analyst , John  will certainly explain how Cisco enables the world of many clouds with network intelligence , data center and business applications, how Cisco enables people-centric collaboration across the enterprise, anytime , anywhere on any device, how Cisco enables a mobile experience “your way “ that accelerates business innovation while managing risk

Tuesday October 23  11:00 -11:45 am

Mastering New Data Sources to Enable Business Transformation

The emergence of social, mobile, cloud, and video, combined with data proliferation in the enterprise, can overwhelm IT infrastructures. This session presents real-world cases on the deployment of intelligent infrastructures and explores how mastering these data sources and business forces can transform organizations for greater profitability, efficiency, and service delivery.

Speaker : Giuliano Di Vitantonio VP of Data Center & Cloud Marketing
Wednesday 12:15-1:15 pm

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Customer Insight: How Cisco Is Mining Millions of Rows of Data in Seconds

October 18, 2012 at 8:24 am PST

Are you one of the thousands attending SAP TechEd 2012 this week at The Venetian|Palazzo Congress Center in Las Vegas, Nevada?  If you are, you may be evaluating SAP HANA as a solution for your real-time reporting and predictive analytics requirements.

Did you know Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) is quickly becoming a leading server platform for business-critical applications including SAP HANA software, including both rack-mount servers and blade scale-out servers? Also, Cisco is a user of SAP HANA: Our implementation is running on the speed and power of UCS, which allows us to mine millions of rows of data in seconds, instead of hours or days.

Watch the 2:36 minute video for more information on how SAP HANA is helping Cisco deliver tangible business value to Cisco sales executives and our customers.

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