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Just keeping the lights on is no longer good enough

We know how important it is that your data center is performing at its best. So outdated platforms have no place there – consuming more energy than necessary, taking more space than needed, and not keeping up with the pace of business.

With the never-ceasing progression of technology, cloud, desktop virtualization and big data have become hot topics among IT and business professionals. And benefits such as improved manageability, efficient and flexible IT service, and lower maintenance costs give good reason for this. So just keeping the lights of IT on is not good enough.

Whatever IT strategies you are considering, consider that Unleashing IT brings you the latest in IT, so you can make informed decisions. Thought provoking content is available in both print and online. It includes company profiles as well as an abundance of resources that can be viewed and downloaded.

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Unified Data Center IQ Challenge : The Learning Experience

As a quick reminder , to participate to this 6 weeks challenge and have a chance to win every week a new iPAD , you want to visit our Facebook page. The questions are submitted on Sunday midnight PST, and answers have to be provided not later than Friday 12:00PM  PST.  Participation is easy and fun and allow you to collect points to compete for the highest IQ score. This best Unified Data Center “brain” will be the winner of the Grand Prize (valued US $2000).  Every week-end (Friday noon to Sunday) you can answer bonus  questions, which give you additional points to catch up for the Grand Prize.

The winner of week 2 (questions about Cisco Open Networking Environment) was Mohamed Fawzy Saleh from Egypt  who won a new iPAD. Mohamed is a student, very passionate by network technologies . Congratulations Mohamed!
From my point of view , one of the best quality of the high tech population is the thirst to keep learning in a fast changing and demanding environment . One of the intention of this challenge (game?) is to suggest every week questions to stimulate your curiosity.

My ask this week for you as we are moving to the next bonus questions for this weekend  (Security – See below) and week 4 (Virtualization) of the challenge is to tell us what you think about the set of questions. Did you learn? Did you find the questions interesting ? Just as a reminder, and for the new participants, here are the topics we covered so far.  

Contest

Topic

Solution

Blogger

Week 1
Oct 1-  Oct 4

Low Latency Switch

Algo Boost Technology – Nexus 3548

Berna Devrim
Gabriel Dixon 

Bonus
Oct 5- Oct 7

Mission Critical Application

SAP Oracle Microsoft on UCS

Rick Speyer
Chip Lawson
Rex Backman

Week 2
Oct 8- Oct 11

SDN

ONE (Open Newtorking Environment)

Omar Sultan 
Gary Kinghorn

Bonus
Oct12- Oct 14

Desktop Virtualization

VDI/VXI with Citrix and VMware

Tony Paikeday –
Jonathan Gilad

Week 3
Oct 15 – Oct 18

Unified Management

Intelligent automation for Cloud – SAP IT Process Automation – Cloud Management

Rodrigo Flores –
Wayne Greene –
Carolina Fernandez

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A Shameless Plug: The Art of the Data Center

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?

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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