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Building a Private Cloud. Cisco and Microsoft – Optimized Infrastructure Strategies

This month the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a Boston area based analyst firm, published a white paper commissioned by Cisco and Microsoft on the topic of the private cloud. In it ESG covers the best-of-breed technologies and solutions that Cisco and Microsoft bring to market together for Windows Server 2012 R2 / Hyper-V based private cloud configurations.

Below are “The Bigger Truths”, as ESG phrased their summary of findings on the Cisco / Microsoft better together story – please feel free to take a look, it’s a good read!…  :

Accelerated time to market: Enter markets quickly with easy access across multiple consumption models driven by Cisco infrastructure and Microsoft software.

CapEx and OpEx savings: Savings on CapEx and OpEx costs can be achieved by virtualizing the server environment with no additional CapEx when moving to the cloud, minimizing implementation complexity, enabling virtual management with increased control, and gaining the ability to scale as required.

Rapid ROI: Because this environment is software-defined, and its infrastructure is efficient, it can quickly pay for itself by simplifying provisioning, efficient time to value, and operational efficiencies.

High availability: Because the Cisco Unified Data Center fabric has no single point of failure, it unifies compute, storage, networking, and management resources into a single, fabric-based platform that can increase operating efficiency and availability, simplify the data center, and provide business agility. Microsoft solutions compound this value with data protection solutions for on- and off-premises protection.

Increased IT organizational efficiencies: Due to the ease of implementation and management, IT pros can be shifted to positions where they are most productive and leverage their current Microsoft and Cisco certifications.

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Cisco and Microsoft SQL Server 2014

Fig 1 Overview

This week Microsoft launched SQL Server 2014, their data management and business intelligence platform. SQL Server at Microsoft has grown tremendously over the years; it is far from its origins as a simple relational database that Microsoft licensed from Sybase years ago. For the 2014 version of SQL Server, Microsoft has focused on continuing their drive to deliver mission critical performance, use that performance to provide for heterogeneous data access and insight, and finally delivering a data platform for customer’s private and hybrid cloud solutions.  At Cisco we believe that our Unified Data Center architecture provides an optimum compute, network, and management offering for your Microsoft SQL Server solutions:

Compute – Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS)

 Fig 2 Compute

Our Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server family is an intelligent fabric-based computing infrastructure that simplifies operations and speeds application deployment in physical and cloud computing environments. UCS combines industry-standard x86 architecture blade and rack servers, networking, and enterprise-class management into a single cohesive system. UCS’s configuration is entirely programmable using unified, model-based management to simplify and accelerate deployment of Microsoft workloads, bare-metal or virtual, such as SQL Server 2014. Its unified I/O infrastructure uses a high-bandwidth, low-latency unified fabric to support networking, storage I/O, and management traffic. UCS unified fabric increases performance, security, and manageability by extending fabric directly to servers and virtual machines. UCS servers are 100% stateless, delivering a highly flexible server environment that allows for dynamic utilization of server hardware

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Cisco Nexus 1000V: Simplifying and Scaling Virtual Networking in Microsoft Private Cloud Hyper-V Environments

Windows Server 2012 R2 is central to Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision; the operating system platform delivers enhancements and new features in virtualization, management, storage, networking, and more.  Our Cisco server infrastructure solutions (UCS) as well as our management (UCS Director, UCS Manager, Cisco Intercloud) and network capabilities are purpose built for supporting Microsoft’s virtualization and cloud offerings.

Cisco Cloud Infrastructure
Figure 1. Cisco’s Microsoft Cloud OS Solutions and Capabilities

Together Microsoft and Cisco provide tightly integrated and flexible solutions that deliver on the benefits of a Microsoft private or hybrid cloud. Our R&D teams have spent, and continue to spend serious time together developing technologies, APIs, and solutions.  In our blog post today, let’s focus in on the networking side of things, specifically on our award winning Nexus 1000V offering for Hyper-V:

  • It’s all about simplifying and scaling virtual networking.  Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V helps to reduce the operational complexities associated with virtual machine-to-virtual machine networking and thus help customers gain more of the benefits of server virtualization technology and cloud.
  •  It maintains networking resiliency across your physical and virtual environments as you move to the cloud.  Protect your investment by future-proofing your network design with a flexible virtual networking platform.
  • Recognized with the 2013 Best of Tech Ed award in the Virtualization category, Nexus 1000V extends comprehensive networking capabilities to your Hyper-V environment. A distributed virtual switching platform with advanced networking features and integrated virtual services, Nexus 1000V delivers consistency across your physical, virtual and cloud environments.
  • Uses a consistent operational model designed to accelerate server virtualization and cloud deployments securely and transparently. Read More »

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Show Me the Money: Cisco UCS Success Stories in Microsoft Oriented Datacenters

Cisco continues to work closely on technologies and solutions around the UCS compute family so we can bring maximum value to you and your Microsoft oriented datacenters. The UCS family is well suited for Windows Server, Hyper-V and VMware based private clouds, and support for the key workloads of SQL Server, Exchange, and SharePoint. Recently I was inventorying our Microsoft oriented UCS case studies and came up with several that showcased UCS’s architectural strengths as well as good business value returns.


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Cisco’s Microsoft Momentum Continues…

MSFT Logo New

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…

CloudOSOccurring 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)…

SatyaJohnMicrosoft 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…

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