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FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud : A Guest Post from our Partner NetApp

April 10, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Note: This guest blog is from our partner NetApp.  VDI Reference Architect Rob Briggs introduces ExpressPod for the Microsoft private cloud as well as comments on FlexPod successes. Rex. 

FlexPod, ExpressPod, and Windows Server 2012 RDS -- “It’s in the Box!”

I’ve seen a lot of great discussion and buzz this week at the Microsoft Management Summit on deployment of private cloud, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.  Around the Cisco   and NetApp booths, it’s been exciting to see the interest attendees have shown around our new Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 validated FlexPod solution – FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud.

But what exactly does this mean for customers? Take a look at ING Direct, which has deployed FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud and achieved massive cost and time to market savings.  With their “Bank in the Box” solution, ING Direct made “copies” of the entire bank environment for their developers in 10 minutes, compared to a previous 12 week turnaround.  This dramatically accelerated time to market of new products and services.

For many small to medium sized businesses or remote offices, FlexPod, System Center and a private cloud infrastructure may be more than what is required. Instead, we’ve seen that many of these customers want to start with a simple to deploy virtualization solution.  ExpressPod, with all of benefits of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V , it is a pre-packaged and tested solution for growing small and medium sized organizations with exactly this scenario in mind.  Think of it as having many of the benefits of FlexPod, but priced, sized and packaged for small to medium sized deployments.

The hardware that comprises this solution is nothing to scoff at: ExpressPod integrates Cisco UCS® C-Series servers, NetApp FAS2220-series storage, and Cisco Nexus® 3048 switches with infrastructure management, into an affordable, easy-to-deploy shared virtualization infrastructure solution. ExpressPod supports an open ecosystem of management and hypervisor solutions and comes in two configurations, small and medium.

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The small and medium ExpressPod configurations are low-cost, standardized infrastructure solutions, well-suited for virtualization of business critical applications. The configurations have been built and tested to deliver a cost-effective, high-value, and best practice architecture.

We recently completed testing and documentation of small and medium ExpressPod configurations with Microsoft Windows Server 2012® and Hyper-V. Take a look at our ExpressPod with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Implementation Guide to see in-depth, detailed deployment instructions for each of these configurations.

Each configuration provides a standardized base platform capable of running a number of business-critical applications while providing scalability options to enable the infrastructure to grow with business demands.  One such application workload that ExpressPod is well-equipped to run is Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

RDS is a collection of independent role services in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 that support various desktop virtualization and session based remoting scenarios. Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services on NetApp Storage gives detailed implementation guidance and best practices for a RDS solution.

A solution perfectly suited for the value of ExpressPod

As a desktop virtualization solution, RDS offers lower cost deployments.  In addition to the cost-effectiveness of using ExpressPod, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 RDS reduces both the capital and operational expenditures of VDI.  Simply said, “It’s in the box”.  Software box that is.  There are no additional software dependencies to roll out an effective VDI solution. Also, I’m happy to say that RDS deployments have been drastically simplified with Windows Server 2012, which reduces management costs.

If you are at MMS this week please be sure to stop by the Cisco or NetApp booths.  We’d be happy to further discuss the benefits that either FlexPod or ExpressPod can bring your organization.  You can also find out more about these solutions from certified Cisco and NetApp resellers.

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Vive la Nexus 1000V on Microsoft Hyper-V!

April 9, 2013 at 4:00 am PST

MMS logoAt Microsoft Management Summit 2013 in Las Vegas this week, Cisco is showing a host of new technology innovations and integrated solutions for the virtualized data center. By bringing Cisco virtual networking and UCS solutions together with Microsoft cloud solutions, we are expanding the market for our technology, while providing more technology options and flexibility for our customers.

Critical to our Microsoft infrastructure strategy is the Nexus 1000V virtual switch for the Hyper-V hypervisor in Windows Server 2012 and integrated with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). Cisco’s Microsoft-oriented data center architectures, rooted by UCS and Nexus 1000V are proven to save customers’ OpEx and CapEx.

Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V

Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V

Our new version of Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V has been in wide use for the last several weeks since we opened up the public beta to all volunteers. The availability of Nexus 1000V and these go to market initiatives with Microsoft are the culmination of 3 years of joint effort between the companies, including developing the ecosystem for completely integrated solutions. These fully integrated solutions include VSPEX, FlexPod (with EMC and NetApp) that enable channel partners to deliver value to end customers.

The feedback we’ve been getting from the beta users of the new Nexus 1000V has been really positive. If you missed the insights from Microsoft MVP, Damian Flynn, when he presented at one of our online webinars, you can hear him talk about his experiences here.

What we consistently hear from customers is the Cisco Nexus 1000V for Microsoft Hyper-V:

  • Offers consistent operational experience across physical, virtual, and mixed hypervisor environments
  • Reduces operational complexity through dynamic policy provisioning and mobility aware network policies
  • Improves security through integrated virtual services and advanced Cisco NX-OS features

Read More »

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Cisco UCS Management and the Microsoft Management Summit 2013: Where Imagination Rules the World

April 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm PST

It’s late Sunday night in Las Vegas as I write this from my hotel room – Cisco’s day one MMS 2013 blog post. It has been a long day already here at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center getting set up for the show… Our Cisco booth is complete; UCS, Nexus 1000V, FlexPod, and VSPEX Engineers have their demos loaded and ready to go; the always popular Cisco t-shirts are stocked and ready to be handed out; the Event team is here and primed.

Over dinner tonight I was mulling over with my core event team what to write about in this blog. For some reason, and I forget why, we had been discussing Napoleon at the table. So, I started searching for some famous Napoleon quotes that might apply to technology, I.T. management, and Cisco’s activities at MMS 2013.

I found this quote from Napoleon Bonaparte: “Imagination rules the world”. Those four simple words are so very true when it comes to the power inherent in Cisco’s Nexus 1000V and UCS management capabilities. We’ve all learned about the powerful hardware architecture of UCS – with its modular approach to helping you deliver a modern datacenter for compute, networking, virtualization, and storage. I think at MMS 2013 though  people will see the imagination, and innovation if I can add to that, of what Cisco  UCS Manager and Nexus 1000V Engineers have delivered for Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.

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Cisco’s management portfolio is focused on doing what we know best – managing the compute, network, and virtualization infrastructure layers. We partner in the most complementary way with Microsoft’s System Center management portfolio. Together we offer a true ‘better together’ model affording end to end management ranging from the hardware chassis to the business transaction.

So, if you are at MMS 2013 this week, check us out in booth #501. We’ve got a set of demos anchored by Nexus 1000V and its integration into the Hyper-V Extensible Switch as well as a strong set of Cisco UCS Manager and Cisco PowerTool for PowerShell demos. Completing our demos is kiosk’s devoted to our private cloud solutions with our strategic partners NetApp and EMC respectively FlexPod, VSPEX.

If you are not at MMS 2013, we encourage you to check out our Microsoft capabilities at www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

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Unlock Your Converged Infrastructure’s Potential

Successful IT managers today and in the future need to quickly adapt to changing business strategies. But how does IT increase efficiency, support more applications and provide additional services with flat or decreasing IT budgets?

In my previous blog, I discussed how Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and VCE introduced converged infrastructures to increase IT efficiency and significantly reduce data center costs. I also addressed the breakdown of IT time and resources between management and maintenance (75 percent) and value-add services (25 percent). So how does IT flip that ratio and spend more time on innovation and less on routine administration?

Watch our new video to learn how Cisco Cloupia—through automated, comprehensive management of converged infrastructure solutions based on Cisco UCS and Nexus—empowers IT to better align quickly with business strategy. By doing so, the software helps drive a positive shift in that 75:25 ratio, providing infrastructure administrators with greater agility and flexibility.

There are a number of converged infrastructure management solutions, but Cisco Cloupia is unique in the industry by delivering:

•Simplicity
In less than 4 hours, you can be experiencing the benefits of automated converged infrastructure management with Cisco Cloupia. The solution installs in less than 1 hour without any service engagement. (In one of our labs at Cisco, the solution was installed in 15 minutes.) Following installation and 2-3 hours of training, conducted by our partners, you can be experiencing all the benefits of the software.

•Comprehensive Management
Cisco Cloupia is the only solution on the market today that manages the leading converged infrastructures from Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and VCE from the same management console. Today’s data centers are heterogeneous, and management tools need to accommodate multiple vendor solutions. Cisco Cloupia enables you to choose the best converged infrastructure solution to meet your business requirements.

•Single pane of glass
Using one tool that manages both physical and virtual compute, network, storage, and virtualization reduces complexity and training time for your staff, helping drive that shift in the 75:25 ratio towards innovation.

•Model-based orchestration
Cisco Cloupia’s unique model-based orchestration enables IT teams to build and execute repeatable physical and virtual infrastructure workflows without complex custom scripts and expensive system integration engagements.

•Greater IT Management and Control
Cisco Cloupia can manage multi-tenant or secure multi-tenant environments, permitting virtualized and non-virtualized workloads to securely run side-by-side while their associated resources remain independent.

As data centers seek to innovate and meet changing business requirements, they need automation and management to ensure that they experience the full potential of their converged infrastructure. These are just some of the ways that Cisco Cloupia can help. To learn more, go here.

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Secure Solutions Delivered Through the Cloud

Lockheed Martin has a vision for the cloud that delivers reliable and secure functionality, yet is developed to fit customer-specific business models. To do so seamlessly and as efficiently as possible, the IT provider turned to Cisco, Intel, NetApp, and VMware to integrate technologies to enable this vision.

Lockheed Martin’s solutions-as-a-service cloud approach is called SolaS™, and it is more than just a general service. Lockheed Martin takes the time to identify the objectives of the client’s mission and determine what the best innovation and solutions are that fit those objectives. With the FlexPod™ architecture, developed by the aforementioned technology partners, a solution can be rapidly deployed and then adjusted according to customer needs.

A four-step process to implementing SolaS ensures that each cloud model is developed according to differentiated customer purposes. You can read more about Lockheed Martin’s SolaS approach and how the service is delivered on the Unleashing IT website.

Coming up: Thought leaders from Cisco, Intel, NetApp, and Microsoft are coming together to explain how your business can gain a competitive advantage using FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud. They’ll share stories of others’ success by choosing the right technology and infrastructure to make the most of their private cloud environment. Join Cisco for this executive roundtable discussion on April 17, 2013.

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