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The Economic Impact of a VersaStack Solution

December 16, 2014 at 11:17 am PST

I’ve written a number of blogs on the economic value of Cisco UCS and how it is changing the economics of the datacenter. Now, for the first time we performed a TCO comparison of our new VersaStack solution and how it stacks up versus the competition. The VersaStack solution combines the innovation of Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure which includes: Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), ACI-ready Cisco 9000 Nexus switches, Cisco MDS switches, and Cisco UCS Director— with the efficiency of the IBM Storwize storage system.

Referencing the VersaStack for Data Center Design Guide, each vendor analyzed their parts of the solution and then combined the results into an overall TCO study. What were the results? Read More »

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VersaStack Solution: Five Things Channel Partners Need to Know

Today, Cisco and IBM announced that we’re joining forces to deliver a new integrated infrastructure solution targeting big data, cloud and mobility deployments.  The VersaStack Solution by Cisco and IBM will combine Cisco’s UCS Integrated Infrastructure—comprised of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), ACI-Ready Cisco 9000 Nexus switches, Cisco MDS switches, and Cisco UCS Director—with IBM Storwize storage systems.  Sound interesting? Here are the top five things Cisco partners need to know about VersaStack:

  • Data Center Evolution: Cloud.  Big data.  Mobility.  The Internet of Everything.  All of these macro-trends are fundamentally challenging the current IT model. Today, operations—including people, management, software, and facilities—are responsible for the greatest costs in the data center. Nearly three out of four CIOs say that it’s difficult to stay on budget and on-time due to the complexity of deploying traditional IT infrastructure.  As a result, CIOs are looking to modernize their data centers to keep pace with dynamic business priorities.  VersaStack was designed to respond to these needs.
  • Red Hot Market:  CIOs are rapidly shifting away from traditional silos towards integrated infrastructure—in which the full stack of data center technologies is combined into pre-engineered, tested, and supported system designed to operate as a whole.  IDC forecasts[1] that the integrated systems market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 33 percent over the next five years, reaching US$14 billion by 2017.

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VersaStack Solution: A Foundation for Innovation

The growth of cloud, mobility, and Internet of Things is accelerating change in the data center. The challenge is to have IT infrastructure that can keep pace with this change. IT leaders want infrastructure that is easy to deploy, increases operational efficiency, and offers the versatility to meet the dynamic requirements of the business.

In order to address these challenges, Cisco and IBM are joining forces to introduce the VersaStack solution, a new integrated system that combines the performance and innovation of Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure—which includes the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), ACI-Ready Cisco 9000 Nexus switches, Cisco MDS switches, and Cisco UCS Director—with the versatility and efficiency of the IBM Storwize V7000 storage.

Why now?
It’s actually quite simple: market momentum and customer demand. Cisco is the leader in the integrated systems segment based on the tremendous success of Cisco UCS. Integrated systems help customers accelerate the time it takes to deploy IT infrastructure and integrate new technologies while reducing risk. Our mutual customers and channel partners have been asking for an integrated system that combined Cisco UCS with IBM Storewize.

What is available today?
The first reference architecture (or Cisco Validate Design) is targeted at virtualized infrastructure by combining Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure and IBM Storwize V7000 storage with VMware vSphere hypervisor. The solution connects Cisco UCS and networking in a redundant, high available configuration with IBM Storwize V7000 storage delivering real-time compression and data analytics capabilities that increases storage utilization and performance.

What can we expect in the future?
One of the exciting things about VersaStack is that it provides a foundation for innovation between Cisco and IBM. The VersaStack solution will provide a platform to bring our unique capabilities together. Obviously, Cisco and IBM both bring more to the table than network, compute and storage technologies. For instance, Cisco will provide innovative technologies such as Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Intercloud Fabric (ICF). IBM will contribute software tools for network and information management, big data and analytics, and mobility. Essentially we have the opportunity to innovate together beyond the hardware stack. The goal of the VersaStack solution is to deliver an integrated system that will simplify cloud, big data and mobility deployments.

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Two #IoTChat events this Wednesday Sep 10!

IoTChat Sep 10 with IBMIn the same way that the number of devices connected to the internet is increasing with Internet of Things, the discussions of IoT are likewise proliferating! 

This week, there are two #IoTChats!  On our weekly #IoTChat (Wednesdays 11am PT / 2pm ET) we’ll be joined by Internet of Things World Forum Platinum Sponsor IBM for a discussion of how data storage and management are changing with #IoT.

Cisco has a solution we call ‘data in Motion” which is basically a way to describe the devices coming online that are fast-moving.  If you think about it, the data created by a fast-moving device has a few hurdles to overcome.  There may be a lot of data created that may not all be relevant to transmit.  Also, for fast-moving devices, the data created often has a very short useful lifespan. So you need to have a good way to analyze that data and determine what should be transmitted, what should be kept, and what discarded. I think it’ll be a fun hour of discussion with your weekly host @Cisco_IoT and special co-host @IBM_Informix!

Tweetchat-September-(IoT)LATESTAlso, earlier in the day, @IBM_Informix is holding a special edition of #IoTChat, “How Data Will Power the Internet of Things” with Gary Barnett (@thinkovation), chief analyst at Ovum.  you can read all about it in their blog post on the chat.

Hope to see you at one or both of these fantastic events!

Want more details on participating in an #IoTChat?  Read on! Read More »

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Delivering Policy in the Age of Open Source

This is an exciting time in the history of datacenter infrastructure.  We are witnessing the collision of two major trends: the maturation of open source software and the redefinition of infrastructure policy.
The trend towards open source is self-evident.  Platforms such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight are gaining huge developer mindshare as well as support and investment from major vendors.  Even some newer technologies like Docker, which employs linux kernel containers, and Ceph, a software-based storage solution, offer promising paths in open source.  Given the fundamental requirements of interoperability in architecturally diverse infrastructure environments, its no surprise that open source is gaining momentum.

The second trend around policy is a bit earlier in its evolution but equally disruptive.  Today, there is a huge disconnect between how application developers think about their requirements and the languages and tools through which they are communicated to the infrastructure itself.  For example,  just to handle networking, a simple three tier app must be deconstructed into an array of VLANs, ACLs, and routes spread across a number of devices.  Storage and compute present similar challenges as well.   To simplify this interaction and create more scalable systems, we need to actually rethink how resources are requested and distributed between different components.  This really boils down to shifting the abstraction model away from configuring individual devices to focus on separately capturing user intent, operational, infrastructure, and compliance requirements.

At Cisco, we’ve really embraced both of these trends.  We are active contributors to over 100 open source projects and were founding members of OpenStack Neutron and OpenDaylight.  We’ve also made open source a successful business practice by incorporating and integrating popular projects with our products.  In parallel, Cisco has accumulated a lot of experience in describing policy through the work we’ve done with Cisco Unified Computing (UCS) and most recently with Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

Building on this foundation, we see a unique opportunity to collaborate with the open source community to deliver a vision for policy-driven infrastructure.  This will enhance the usability, scale, and interoperability of open source software and benefit the entire infrastructure ecosystem.

This vision includes two initiatives in the open source community:

GroupBasedPolicy

  1. Group-Based Policy: An information model designed to express applications’ resource requirements from the network through a hardware-independent, declarative language and leave a simple control and dataplane in place.  This approach replaces traditional networking constructs like VLANs with new primitives such as “groups”, which model tiers or components of an application, and “contracts” describing relationships between them.  Group-Based Policy will be available in the context of OpenStack Neutron as well as OpenDaylight through a plug in model that can support any software or hardware infrastructure.
  2. OpFlex: A distributed framework of intelligent agents within each networking device designed to resolve policies.  These agents would translate an abstract, hardware-independent policy taken from a logically central repository into device-specific features and capabilities.

 

Let’s look a bit more closely at each of these initiatives.

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