The expanded Competency Center will house Cisco pre-sales, benchmark and performance testing and certification engineers. The performance and certification tests are all running on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server platform using the Intel x86 Xeon chip set. These tests are integrated with the latest storage solution vendors such as EMC and NetApp.
Cisco specialists in the Center are connected with their SAP counterparts to provide the optimal service, support, and solutions to joint customers. In addition this Competency Center is equipped with hardware and software so that customers may bring their data into the Cisco Competency Center and test their data in a Proof of Concept setting.
Our Competency Center covers a very wide list of solutions including SAP HANA, HANA Enterprise Cloud, Suite on HANA, SAP on Vblock, SAP on FlexPod, Precision Marketing, and Sybase ASE.
The Cisco SAP Competency Center will also be used for specific customer briefings as required.
Cisco continues to find additional way to service SAP customers whether on premise or cloud. The expansion of this Competency Center is another way to show customers that Cisco is investing in providing quality solutions to those customers who have made the decision to select the Cisco UCS platform for SAP.
The Microsoft ecosystem continues to be an important area of focus with our Cisco Datacenter product and solution teams. UCS, Nexus, UCS Management, and ACI teams have continued to innovate and launch new offerings during the past few months. Let’s take a look at our recent happenings and launches that can help enable your organization to deliver an optimal datacenter environment for your Microsoft platforms:
1. PASS, Microsoft SQL Server, and Cisco’s Unified Datacenter…
We’ve ramped up our focus on Microsoft’s SQL Server platform! Investments in PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server), Pass Summit 2013, and the PASS Virtualization Chapter afford us the opportunity to educate this world-wide BI and Data Management audience on UCS, Nexus, FlexPod, and VSPEX. Stay tuned for more from us, too as Microsoft gets closer to shipping their SQL Server 2014 platform.
2. Cisco and the Microsoft Cloud OS Launch…
Occurring around the world during the November 2013 to January 2014 timeframe is Microsoft’s Cloud OS launch – the coming out party for Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as System Center 2012 R2. Cisco will be a local sponsor at many of these events – in fact as of this writing we have wrapped up our participation at multiple events in Canada, Germany, and South Africa. Please stop by your local Microsoft Cloud OS event and visit the Cisco booth to learn more as well as listen to Cisco’s Chief Technology & Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior on our Microsoft alliance and datacenter solutions.
3. Cisco, Microsoft, and the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)…
Microsoft was a key strategic partner at our recent New York City ACI launch with strong support from key Microsoft leaders such as Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President of their Cloud and Enterprise business unit. Satya shared the stage with Cisco CEO John Chambers in announcing ACI to the public. In addition, Microsoft’s Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, System Center blogged on the event and created a video on his ACI thoughts. Microsoft -- with their key platforms of Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint – sees ACI as a way to deliver ‘…datacenter without boundaries for our customers…’
Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, the crossover edition. That’s right, this week, as we answer the question “I’m an Engineer, Why Would I Do That?” with TechWise TV’s very own Jimmy Ray Purser (@jimmyray_purser). He’s taking up the question of why FlexPod instead of of DIY architecture with NetApp’s Joel McKelvey (@joelmckelvey). This episode is lively and informative as our experts explore the solution from a tech and business point of view.
This month marks the three year anniversary of Cisco’s partnership with NetApp and our development of FlexPod. Over the years, we’ve experienced some tremendous growth, more than doubling new installations year-over-year, and now we have more than 3,000 customers globally.
Following the success of FlexPod Datacenter, FlexPod Express and FlexPod Select the solution is capping off the year with several technology enhancements. These include the automation of integrated infrastructure, business continuity solutions, and validation of new products and reference architectures.
Together, Cisco and NetApp are introducing four new FlexPod components that enable our customers’ continuing journey to the cloud:
UCS Director 4.1 deeply integrated with clustered Data ONTAP.
The addition of Citrix to the FlexPod Cooperative Support program.
FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster
FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Virtualized Multiservice Data Center 2.3
I encourage you to take a look at the short video we’ve created that gives more details of all the new components we’re announcing today.
Our friends at NetApp have written a great blog post outlining the last two offerings, but I’d like to focus on the first two components – UCS Director and the addition of Citrix capabilities.
UCS Director Integration
New integrations with UCS Director and Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) provide automation and service catalogues, which help customers move toward delivering cloud services. Corporate IT maximizes benefits when its infrastructure can be commissioned within minutes in response to changes in demand. Cisco UCS Director views FlexPod as a single system and allows customers to rapidly deploy FlexPod by leveraging single element managers. UCS Director, in turn, will soon be natively integrated into Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud for a more comprehensive FlexPod cloud management solution.
With the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) cloud accelerator, UCS Director and FlexPod are integrated as a “node” in the cloud that can be used by cloud administrators to provision NetApp storage into virtual data centers.
Faster with Intel
Rapid deployment will be used to harness tremendous increases in FlexPod computing power. The newest FlexPod deployments will feature Cisco UCS built on Intel’s Ivy Bridge chipset. We’ve introduced the Intel Xeon Process E5-2600 v2 product family on several servers.
“We like to say that Cisco and Intel are “Joined at the Chip,” because the innovation each company brings is incredibly complimentary. Cisco’s innovation in the data center is an extension of the company’s historic focus: connecting things. Cisco Unified Data Center and products like UCS are the outcomes of our drive to connect the pieces. When we join forces with Intel’s leadership at the computing core, customers see an unbeatable combination.” - Todd Brannon, Tick Tock Goes the Server Clock
Coupled with other UCS innovations, the solution has demonstrated great performance versatility and has set record-breaking industry benchmarks.
For enterprises that want to scale out this capacity, Cisco delivers UCS Central. UCS Central software manages multiple, globally distributed Cisco UCS domains with thousands of servers from a single pane.
Agile deployment and scale-out performance need the backing of a best-in-class support model. The FlexPod Cooperative Support program brings together the technology expertise of Cisco, NetApp and now Citrix. Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenServer and Citrix CloudPlatform are frequently deployed workloads in enterprises today. Customers will have direct access to Cisco, NetApp and Citrix engineers trained to rapidly address any operational issues. By adding Citrix, FlexPod has the broadest IT and cloud management support, including Citrix CloudPlatform, Microsoft System Center, VMWare vCenter Orchestrator, CA Automation Suite for Clouds, and BMC Cloud Lifecycle Manager.
Combined, these advances in FlexPod technology will enable the platform to exceed the needs of the most demanding private and public cloud deployments.
We’re incredibly proud of the work that Cisco and NetApp have done over the past three years. We are looking forward to an exciting future together as we use the FlexPod platform to continue delivering significant technology innovations to our customers.
I’m happy to report that Cisco UCS Director (formerly Cloupia) has been selected as a finalist for the 2013 Storage, Virtualisation & Cloud (SVC) Awards! Please take a moment and vote for UCS Director at http://cs.co/SVCAward.
This finalist nomination recognizes the innovation and differentiation that Cisco UCS Director provides for end-to-end converged infrastructure management — including automation for both virtual and physical resources across compute, network, and storage.
The video below provides a good overview of Cisco UCS Director and its benefits for IT organizations:
The sweet spot for Cisco UCS Director is in managing converged infrastructure based on Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) with Cisco Nexus switches and third party storage — focusing on our market-leading integrated systems including the FlexPod solution with NetApp, as well as VCE’s Vblock Systems and our VSPEX solutions with EMC storage.
But the beauty of Cisco UCS Director is that it can also manage heterogeneous environments, including non-Cisco infrastructure and multiple hypervisors. Whether you call it your single-pane-of-glass or one ring to rule them all, it’s a highly innovative and comprehensive infrastructure management solution for your data center operations. These capabilities and more are highlighted in the award nomination which you can read here.