In the last fiscal quarter Cisco UCS reached another milestone with 20,000 (87% Y/Y growth) customers. The (no longer) new data center paradigm of fabric based computing must be resulting in unique customer benefits, and hence the market traction. Gartner defines Fabric based computing as follows:
Fabric-based computing (FBC) is a modular form of computing in which a system can be aggregated from separate (or disaggregated) building-block modules connected over a fabric or switched backplane. Fabric-based infrastructure (FBI) differs from FBC by enabling existing technology elements to be grouped and packaged in a fabric-enabled environment, while the technology elements of an FBC solution will be designed solely around the fabric implementation model.
I will dive deeper into why customers experience benefits with the Cisco Unified Computing System. So lets start with the term “Fabric”. A Lippis report helps us understand the data center fabric. In this tech target article by Michael Brandenburg we get some more background.
Legacy three-tiered data center architecture was designed to service the heavy north-south traffic of client-server applications, while enabling network administrators to manage the flow of traffic. Engineers adopted spanning tree protocol (STP) in these architectures to optimize the path from the client to server and allow for link redundancy. STP worked well to support client-server applications and its traffic flows, but proved inefficient for server-to-server or east-west communications associated with distributed application architecture.
…Server virtualization compounds the problem with spanning tree and the three-tiered architecture.
… data center fabric, a network where traffic from any port can reach any other node with as few latency-inducing hops as possible.
This is eye opening for those of us who live in the server and application world. Bottom line – the data center fabric will result in fewer hops and lower latency for servers communicating with each other in the data center.
So how is this achieved within the Cisco Unified Computing System? This is done with the Fabric Interconnect, which is the I/O hub and the very soul of the system. The Fabric interconnect consolidates three separate networks: LANs, SANs, and high-performance computing networks. The Fabric Interconnect provides consolidated access to both SAN storage and network attached storage (NAS) over the fabric. This means the Cisco Unified Computing System servers can access storage over Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and iSCSI. It also lowers costs by reducing the number of network adapters, switches, and cables.
The Cisco UCS Manager, which is the embedded device manger software in the Fabric Interconnect, gives users the ability to slice and dice this big chunk of physical network capacity of the system into much smaller subunits, with the ability to do it flexibly and to change the decisions with software configuration. With Cisco UCS, IT organizations can now deliver dynamic network infrastructure or network services across all types of applications—from applications like Oracle, SAP, three tier J2EEE, and Microsoft to virtualized applications from VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix.
In his blog John McCool ,Cisco SVP and CTO, defines Fabric as “… a highly available, high performance shared infrastructure built with integrated, intelligent compute, storage and network nodes that can be rapidly and simply organized around the requirements of a given workload.” In part 2 of this blog I will detail the automation and management of the fabric-based compute nodes (upto 160) connected to a single pair of UCS Fabric Interconnects.
Whether we’re at home or in the office, the truth is that all customers want choices. No one wants to be told they can only use one type of DVD player because it is the only one compatible with their television, and the same holds true in the enterprise. In talking with our customers, we know that they want best-in-breed products. They want to know that whatever product they choose, it will work together seamlessly with their legacy devices to deliver uninterrupted access to the data center. That doesn’t seem unreasonable, does it?
I think that having choices is important – after all, who knows your data center better than you do? So, in keeping with my focus of listening to our customers, I am excited to share with you that just like our Fabric Extender (FEX) collaboration last year with HP, we have most recently brought the FEX technology to the Fujitsu PRIMERGY blade chassis, giving joint customers an opportunity to further simplify data center access operations and improve productivity. The PRIMERGY Ethernet FEX, also know as the Cisco Nexus B22F, extends the Cisco Unified Fabric into the Fujitsu PRIMERGY Blade Chassis and offers operational simplicity at scale with a single point of management and policy enforcement.
The Global Certification Team is pleased to announce that UCS has been awarded a Common Criteria EAL4 certification!
We certified the Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis, B-Series Blade Servers, C-Series Rack-Mount Servers, 2100 and 2200 Series Fabric Extenders, and 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects, running UCSM 1.4(1m).
More information can be found at: http://www.niap-ccevs.org/cc-scheme/st/vid10403/
“The Cisco Unified Computing System is a next-generation data center platform that unites compute, network, storage access, and virtualization into a cohesive system designed to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and increase business agility.”
Common Criteria is an international standard for evaluating IT product security and reliability. It is recognized by over 26 countries around the world including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, UK, South Korea and the United States. Many government customers around the world consider Common Criteria a mandatory requirement for purchasing network security products.
The announcements include the most scalable 10 Gigabit Ethernet Layer 2/Layer 3 Fabric in the industry. The claim is that no matter how diverse your data center demands may be, Cisco offers unparalleled abilities to arm you with efficiency, agility, innovation and differentiation. So no matter your form factor, physical, virtual or cloud- based environments are all positively impacted with an industry leading fabric-based approach.
Filled with geeky goodness….look at what you will find!
2nd gen Nexus 7000 with revolutionary new scale
FabricPath, Adapter FEX, and VM FEX support on Nexus 5500
New FEX switch and B22 OEM program
Expansions to Nexus 3000 family
IN YOUR FACE COMPETITIVE! Don’t miss the final segment of the show…Jimmy Ray calls out HP, Juniper, Arista….”I showed you mine, now show me yours!”