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My Experience at VMworld, San Francisco, 2013

This year at VMworld, San Francisco, I had a choice, to attend either as a Visitor or as a Demo Booth staffer. I quickly chose the latter, as I could not resist getting face-time with customers! My decision proved fully justified, as I gained a lot from the discussions on the show floor. I was so busy, the 4 day event ended before I could notice it.  It was really a great learning experience for me at the event to hear first-hand why customers prefer vBlock and FlexPod over other Cloud offerings. Many folks mentioned, that the unified support model that comes with vBlock and FlexPod, Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) that minimize guesswork and risk, combined with lower TCO and high-performance that comes with Cisco UCS, were all major factors that influenced their decision.

Along these very lines, I was able to grab some time with Jim McHugh, (our VP of Marketing for UCS) to discuss the emerging customer trends in private cloud, desktop virtualization,  and other innovative solutions Cisco is building with VMware and its strategic partner ecosystem

Related Links

www.vce.com
www.cisco.com/go/flexpod
www.cisco.com/go/ucs

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Cisco UCS in a converged world

August 2, 2013 at 8:40 am PST

071913 MI MissionPeninsula-31-1

After a refreshing summer road trip through the beautiful Michigan Upper Peninsula I am happy to be back at work.  I even got a fresh perspective on the phrase “cherry picking”.

 

 

Henry Moore Nuclear Energy sculptureThe geek in me got to see the “Nuclear Energy” sculpture at site where Enrico Fermi’s Manhattan Project team devised a nuclear reactor to produce the first self-sustaining controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago. ( image from - http://www.chicagobauhausbeyond.org/ )

 

 

While I was away, I missed an interesting webinar on optimizing operations of Cisco Data Center environments with converged infrastructure management. Thanks to video archiving, I was able to review it this week. EMA analyst Jim Frey gave a comprehensive view of data center management using converged infrastructure.  Some key takeaways from my perspective were:

  1. Converged infrastructure will usher in a renewed focus on application performance and service quality.
  2. The need for automated discovery and configuration will become all the more important with converged infrastructure.
  3. The increased interest in converged infrastructure answered my question “Was 2012 year of the converged infrastructure solutions”

It was very interesting to see a customer -- Molina Healthcare -- discuss their journey to a service oriented data center.  The reorganization of the IT department along the lines of service delivery was fascinating.  Like other UCS customers, they had seen quantifiable benefits from the Cisco UCS management capabilities.

  • Speed of deployment improved 50- 75% (down to 1 week from 2-4 weeks)
  • Support costs reduced by 60%.
  • Discernable improvements in reliability and availability of the infrastructure.

As integrated infrastructure gains importance in data centers with physical and virtual environments that support application services, simplified management of these assets becomes very important.  The Cisco UCS management portfolio was recently enhanced with the Cisco UCS Director. It provides unified management of industry-leading integrated infrastructure solutions that Cisco delivers with EMC (VSPEX) Read More »

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FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud – Best Practices Webcast

August 1, 2013 at 11:50 am PST

FlexPod WebinarCisco and NetApp continue to drive innovation with new FlexPod offerings that enable organizations to address their business needs while reducing risk and increasing IT efficiency and agility. FlexPod combines the Cisco Unified Computing System, Cisco Nexus data center switches, and NetApp storage components and provides a powerful platform for critical application workloads.

With joint validated designs and integrations with Microsoft Windows Server®, Microsoft Hyper-V™, and System Center, FlexPod provides an ideal platform for Microsoft Private Cloud deployments, allowing customers to accelerate private cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) delivery.

Please join us on Wednesday, August 7, 11 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time, when we will kick-off a technical series detailing FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud. In this live webinar, presented by Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and NetApp, you hear from technical experts on the following topics: Read More »

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Announcing Flexpod Select with Hadoop

Speed is everything. Continuing our commitment to make data center infrastructures more responsive to enterprise applications demands, today, we announced FlexPod Select with Hadoop, formerly known as NetApp Open Solution for Hadoop, broadening our FlexPod portfolio.  Developed in collaboration between Cisco and NetApp, offers an enterprise-class infrastructure that accelerates time to value from your data. This solution is pre-validated for Hadoop deployments built using Cisco 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects (connectivity and management), C220 M3 Servers (compute), NetApp FAS2220 (namenode metadata storage) and NetApp E5400 series storage arrays (data storage). Following the highly successful FlexPod model of pre-sized rack level configurations, this solution will be made available through the well-established FlexPod sales engagement and channel.

The FlexPod Select with Hadoop architecture is an extension of our popular Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture (CPA) for Big Data designed for applications requiring enterprise class external storage array features like RAID protection with data replication, hot-swappable spares, proactive drive health monitoring, faster recovery from disk failures and automated I/O path fail-over. The architecture consists of a master rack and optionally up to nine expansion racks in a single management domain, creating a complete, self-contained Hadoop cluster. The master rack provides all of the components required to run a 12 node Hadoop cluster supporting 540TB storage capacity. Each additional expansion rack provides an additional 16 Hadoop cluster nodes and 720TB storage capacity. Unique to this architecture is seamless management integration and data integration capabilities with existing FlexPod deployments that can help to significantly lower the infrastructure and management costs.

FlexPod Select has been pretested and jointly validated with leading Hadoop vendors, including Cloudera and Hortonworks.

Resources:

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Would You Like to Reduce Costs by $264,000?

Of course you would. In a recent Forrester report on the economic impact of FlexPod, that is exactly the cost savings estimated by utilizing centralized automation and orchestration. So I ask, what new projects or services could your IT organization deliver with cost savings of $264,000? To get a copy of the Forrester report, go here.

This report details the impressive cost savings, not to mention a potential nine month ROI, available with FlexPod. But more importantly, this is the first time I have ever seen financial details or savings achieved with centralized automation, orchestration and management.

FlexPod has three certified solution partners. From my viewpoint the first to be certified, UCS Director (formerly Cisco Cloupia), provides the utmost in comprehensive management as well as the perfect complement for FlexPod. Watch this video to learn why UCS Director and FlexPod are the perfect one-two combination for your organization.

In this blog I would like to focus on two reasons why UCS Director should be your choice for managing FlexPod.

Comprehensive Management
UCS Director manages physical, virtual and bare metal environments from a single pane of glass. No purchasing of multiple product licenses that need to be cobbled together by a service engagement or dealing with component adaptors. UCS Director installs in less than two hours and can have you productive and provisioning simple infrastructure workflows in one day. Best of all, you can manage your entire IT infrastructure — not just the virtual infrastructure.

Native management
UCS Director natively manages all the components of FlexPod: Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus and FAS storage. Why does native management matter? With native management your organization has access to all the functionality of each component layer because UCS Director speaks fluent Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus and NetApp ONTAP and OnCommand. This is a significant advantage over solutions that only utilize “plug-ins” or adapters.

Solutions that utilize plug-ins, place the development responsibility of these solutions onto the hardware vendor. With already busy development schedules, vendors develop to the minimum viable feature set.

Best of all, UCS Director speaks fluent FlexPod 7-Mode, Cluster Mode ONTAP, and ExpressPod.

Forrester has lots of financial data in their report and the $264,000 is only an estimate that is worth your time understanding. Across the board industry analysts agree that seamless, automated orchestration and management is crucial for organizations to achieve the full experience of elastic infrastructure pools that become the foundation for as-a-service.

Cost savings of $264,000. Just imagine what your organization could do.

To obtain an evaluation copy of UCS Director, go here and choose free evaluation copy.

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