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New VersaStack™ optimized for distributed workloads

It has been said that data is the new oil. Given the price of crude today, the metaphor seems to fit in that there is just too much data in the world, to the point we have no idea what to do with all of it. The data glut is driven by the sheer number of data-producing devices in use today due to factors such as Internet of Things, distributed application architectures, and as-a-service consumption models of the cloud.VersaSTACK

The burden of managing all these devices and data is falling squarely in the heart of the data center, disruptively so. The urgency to modernize data center architectures and infrastructures has never been arguably stronger. Specifically, it requires data center to support higher VM densities, more powerful computational processing, a highly responsive and intelligent network, as well as a high-performance data storage foundation that form tightly integration solutions that can be rapidly deployed and provisioned at the speed of business.

Cisco and IBM took on these challenges head-on when they collaborated to launch the VersaStack™, a next-generation, converged infrastructure that combines the innovation of the Cisco UCS Servers , Nexus Switches and the IBM Storwize 7000 Storage solutions. The initial VersaStack Cisco Validated Design (CVD) solution was designed to address the on-premise data center use cases wherein the UCS servers scaled dynamically up to 160 servers and the Storwize 7000 array scaling up to multiple petabytes of storage. It quickly became the blueprint for cloud-ready enterprise data centers that needed exponential scale for the next decade.

Cisco and IBM followed this success up by adding the next solution – VersaStack for private cloud build-outs to address the needs for the XaaS market. This solution combined Cisco UCS servers, Cisco UCS Director, Cisco Nexus® 9000, and IBM® Storwize V7000 Unified system into a single highly automated and scalable system.

Fast forward one year to today, VersaStack solutions now extend from the on-premise data centers and private cloud solutions to a scale out architecture to address the needs of the distributed data and application use-cases. This comes in the form of two additional VersaStack solutions that have been added to thereby enable VersaStack solutions to address the modern distributed workloads—within and across multiple data centers. This newest solution is based on Cisco UCS Servers and IBM FlashSystem V9000 running vSphere 5.5, and seamlessly handles mission-critical, I/O-bound workloads.

In addition, Cisco and IBM are addressing the requirements of smaller IT environments for medium-sized businesses, branch offices and retail stores. For these organization, we offered a VersaStack solution based on Cisco UCS Mini Servers and IBM Storwize V5000 array running vSphere 5.5, optimized for remote office/branch office that:

  1. Monitors and manages the infrastructure remotely from a single management point
  2. Requires a much smaller footprint
  3. Offers new levels of RAS (service profiles to move a server image quickly) to give new levels of geographic RAS to the ROBO use case. For example, a failed server can be replaced automatically within minutes, not days.

UCS MANAGEMENT

 

The advantages of having a single UCS management interface regardless of location include : being able to spin up new VMs 85% faster1 and reducing cabling complexity 75%2 than legacy data center management methods.

A quote from IT industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) validates the benefits of the single-pane-of-glass UCS solution:

VersaStack offers a vast improvement. It is a converged infrastructure solution that uses some of the most well-known and proven server, storage, and networking solutions in the industry. Pools of compute, network, and storage resources can be shared among many applications and reclaimed when not in use, driving utilization up and costs down. Pre-integrated and pretested, VersaStack saves IT from having to purchase the components individually, test them for interoperability, integrate them manually, and then test, refine, re-test, and finally deploy. Handling all this manually steals valuable time away from IT and application users, and will not provide the agility and flexibility that organizations demand. The same goes for ongoing management. VersaStack enables IT to manage all resources from a single pane of glass, and offers end-user self-service, saving organizations time and money.”1

In other words, enterprise data is more distributed than ever before and compounded with its exponential growth and ubiquity presents new demands on IT infrastructure. To manage this growth, enterprise IT teams have to operate far more efficiently, to do more with less and always faster. In this respect, perhaps the data is oil metaphor falls short. Unlike oil, the production of which can be manipulated downward, the data glut streams inexorably forward toward the Zettabyte Era and beyond. In the face of this daunting onslaught, Cisco and IBM teamed to produce the highly versatile and adaptable VersaStack that will serve as the converged infrastructure blueprint for the next decade. This is the kind of synergy that OPEC members can only dream about these days.

[1] ESG Lab Validation Report: VersaStack Converged Infrastructure from Cisco and IBM, December 2015
[2] VersaStack Customer Validation

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Big Data and Analytics Touchdowns

What’s your winning combo for big data and analytics? This may come as a surprise to you – but given that the Superbowl is approaching – I am going to use a football analogy. As we get ready for the game in 2 weeks, we have a tale of two quarterbacks. One is an established quarter back with a long-standing history of victories. The other –new, up and coming—brings a ton of enthusiasm and fresh legs to the game.

This is like the analytics market place of today. We have established players like SAP, SAS, and IBM and new ones such as Splunk, Platfora, and ParStream (now part of Cisco). On this 10th birthday of Hadoop, we have established technology approaches from Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR using MapReduce being challenged by the new player to the game – Spark, which is starting to score big in the technology field. The big 3 are taking different approaches to this, which should make it fun to watch.

Ok, guess how Cisco UCS ties into all of this? The foundation under all of these players is a solid integrated infrastructure that enables the game to be played and won. And like Levi’s stadium, UCS is the state of the art infrastructure with all of the most essential bells and whistles (Yes, I’m talking about service profiles for policy execution and management and ACI for business-relevant software defined networking (SDN)). Because in football and in business, it’s important to go ALL THE WAY, you can rely on Cisco’s end-to-end solutions to make this happen.

Trying to figure out the winning combination for your team? I pulled together a ‘scouting report’ to help you put together your ideal fantasy team. Bookmark this, because this is where you can find the latest and greatest and how each player partners with Cisco to bring you insights to action.

Cisco Big Data and Analytics Latest Content

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A Year in Review. Big Data and Analytics 2015. 3rd Generation Platforms, World Record Performance, and Expanding Partnerships

My goodness… Were we ever busy in 2015! Our Cisco Big Data & Analytics teams executed and delivered a tremendous body of work with several key accomplishments these past 12 months. All of our activities – across all of our teams – was focused on delivering to you leading innovation, with industry leading performance & scalability, and offering flexibility via a variety of Big Data choices. Of course all of it based on Cisco UCS, Nexus, and ACI. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

Platform

We introduced throughout 2015 various versions of our 3rd generation Big Data architecture. The solution, Cisco’s UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data, integrates our industry-leading computing, network, and management capabilities into a unified fabric-based architecture. Packaged as a Cisco Validated Designs (CVD) our architecture supports the leading Hadoop distributions: Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, and MapR. Our Big Data CVDs provide you peace of mind as they are tested, validated, and supported. Take a peak at our Big Data CVDs here and see how they can expedite your Hadoop projects and drive operational efficiency.

Performance Read More »

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Disruption = Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data + Efficiency + Speed

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Data is the foundation of the digital business. You know it, I know it. We get it. Let’s move on… But now a new question arises: As a Leader in your organization are you fully maximizing and leveraging your data to discover from analysis new business insights? New operational efficiencies? New Customer trends and patterns?

We can help… Cisco and our Big Data partners capture, organize, prepare, and handle your available data, while providing the speed, consistency and repeatability necessary for deploying and managing a successful Big Data and Analytics infrastructure and service. Become a disruptor in your market by unlocking the value hidden in your data through data management, data preparation and data analytics to create tomorrow’s trends. Manage diverse sets of data and technologies cohesively, while delivering the analytics and data access control required by your business.

Make the transformative power of Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data your foundation.

Our Cisco UCS® Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data – a Cisco Validated Design – offers comprehensive infrastructure and management capabilities for Big Data. The Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solution helps to improve performance and capacity. It also offers additional complete solutions with industry-leading partnerships such as Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, MapR, Platfora, and Splunk. Read More »

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Cisco at IBM Insight 2015: Showcasing Industry-leading Technology for Big Data and Analytics

Note:  Cisco’s Mohammed Ahmed of the Cisco IBM Alliance team was the key contributor for this blog post

In the IT industry we understand that customer confidence and respect is a leading reason that customers choose IBM and Cisco solutions and  services. Cisco and IBM have earned this trust over the years by each having deep technical expertise; global resources; and world-class support that few companies can match. With an almost two-decade history of working together, our success in the market together is demonstrated by more than 25,000 shared customers.

Cisco and IBM strive to work together to deliver innovative solutions to meet our joint customer needs – Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, the IBMBigInsightSolBriefData Center, the Internet of Everything (IoE), and Collaboration are just few examples.

Recently, Cisco and IBM added another strategic solution to the list “Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data with IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop” to help customers maximize the value of their big data and leverage business insights from it.

The Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure for Big Data (CVD Link) with IBM BigInsights has been jointly tested and validated by both companies and provides a flexible, industry leading platform affording enterprises to fully leverage the latest open source technology together with the powerful SQL on Hadoop and Analytic capabilities.  The solution highlights are:

  • Powerful and high performance SQL on Hadoop designed for enterprises that require greater SQL standards compliance, performance, concurrency, and security
  • Highly scalable analytics for Data Scientists, Business Analysts to explore, discover, analyze and build advanced predictive models
  • Comprehensive enterprise-grade infrastructure using Cisco Fabric Interconnects and Rack Servers optimized for BigInsights

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