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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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Virtualize Microsoft Enterprise Applications (Exchange, Sharepoint and SQL Server) on FlexPod for VMware

Few days back I blogged about how FlexPod for VMware is a great solution that can accelerate your cloud journey and help move beyond 30% virtualized datacenter (Test & Dev workloads, infrastructure servers, web servers etc.) to virtualizing enterprise applications (e.g. Microsoft, Oracle, SAP etc.), and finally -- implement a fully automated IT as a Service solution.

In lot of customer environments, Microsoft applications (e.g. Exchange, Sharepoint, and SQL Server) support a good portion of mission critical business operations. These Microsoft applications have traditionally been hosted on siloed, underutilized IT infrastructure and operational processes that were built based on the requirements of individual applications and processes. The end result is increased total cost of ownership and inability to help business be more agile, introduce new services, and achieve operational efficiency.

Here are some of the key operational benefits to virtualizing Microsoft Apps on FlexPod for VMware:

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Microsoft and Cisco UCS

Many of you reading Cisco’s Data Center blog know that UCS is all about virtualization, and many of you have also read about our partnership with VMWare.  While that’s been (and continues to be) a fruitful partnership, It’s important to highlight the great work we do with our other partners.  I work with a team of folks focused on continuing to build the alignment between Cisco and Microsoft.  Since the launch of UCS, we’ve had first-class support for Microsoft and their software portfolio, but sometimes that message is lost in the shuffle.  I look forward to using this blog as a venue to amplify our message around the Microsoft+Cisco partnership.

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