Image credit: imediaconnection.com
In an earlier blog, I discussed the incredible success behind the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Since I wrote that blog three months ago, we’ve continued to grow rapidly and have strengthened our position as the #2 blade server player worldwide from 19.3% to 21.5% revenue share (per IDC 2CQ2013 server market tracker, September 2013), with 33.9% revenue share in the US.
Prediction – The #1 spot is well within our reach sooner than you may think.
As we grow our installed base with roughly 1,000 new customers every month, our conversations about the future of UCS have taken an interesting turn. Until now in what I’ll call the “UCS 1.0” phase, Cisco focused on virtualization and private cloud as the dominant use cases that were top-of-mind for industry CIOs and we struck a resonant chord based on our growth – just look at our numbers.
We were market makers with expanded-memory 2-socket Intel EX blades (remember the B230’s?), which were gobbled up like candy into large-scale VDI deployments much to the surprise of the industry. We also jump-started a very attractive RISC-to-x86 migration practice, including Cisco IT’s own production environment: a 40TB mission-critical database that ran on HP Superdomes – a “circle of life” moment for me since Superdome was my program from 1999-2003.
We’ll continue leading in customer value for our original design centers, but we are now focusing on market expansion with what we call “UCS 2.0”, expanding into data-intensive, mission critical, analytics and service provider cloud environments with an increased level of R&D funding and strong corporate support from our top executives.
Prediction – You’ll see us more focused on architectural solutions for key industry vertical markets with tuned solution environments that leverage Cisco’s wide portfolio and that of our partners.
One such act of support is the announcement today of our intent to acquire WHIPTAIL, a leading solid-state systems company that boasts the highest scalability in performance and capacity of any scale-out flash vendor on the market today. WHIPTAIL systems span from single-node entry products to 30-node behemoths that drive almost 400TB’s of flash, 40GB/sec of bandwidth and 4 million random R/W IOPS – for starters.
Prediction: Cisco will unseat Infiniband with low-latency Ethernet fabrics. Check out our USNIC technology for starters…
In our customer interactions it became very clear they view application acceleration using persistent solid-state memory as a use case that belongs in the server tier, not the storage tier.
In an application-centric world, we started thinking not about server vs. storage infrastructure, but how applications viewed data – hot “important right now” data, warm “may be of interest data” and cold “let’s keep it around for background mining or compliance” data.
We arrived at the conclusion that UCS needed to be best-in-class at accelerating hot data layers. Hot data is closest to applications and therefore has high affinity for the server tier. Hence WHIPTAIL.
Assertion: Flash is a “boundary technology” that can be viewed as part of the memory or storage hierarchy. With respect to storage it’s faster and more expensive per GB. With respect to DRAM memory it’s slower but cheaper per GB. It therefore allows cost/performance arbitrage for applications by applying an accelerated persistent data model that can save on DRAM and de-complicate underlying permanent backing stores.
WHIPTAIL is a great fit with the fabric computing UCS architecture and also complementary to our C-Series rack mount servers and our SingleConnect capability in our UCS Manager that allows mixed-density blade/rack deployments to be managed from a common pane of glass.
Our intent is to fully integrate UCS computing and WHIPTAIL solid-state technologies over a Nexus fabric to create scalable persistent memory systems. That’s our vision.
Why? Because customers will be able to do things they could not before. Such as loading vast amounts of data in seconds and minutes, not hours or days – or -- shrinking their performance footprint to a rack vs. 30 racks – or -- accelerating Hadoop on all solid-state infrastructure – or -- extending in-memory analytics to a scale previously not thought possible. That’s why.
As converged infrastructure advances as an ensemble computing architecture, boundary technologies like solid-state memory can be viewed as part of the memory or the storage hierarchy. Cisco’s point of view is to make it part of the memory hierarchy in the compute tier. That allows customers the best of both worlds – performance acceleration for applications while retaining their investment in permanent backing stores and simplifying their overall data center total cost of ownership (TCO).
To close on a Darwinian note, if UCS existed in the Cretaceous Period it would have been a Velociraptor (meaning ‘swift seizer’)– sleek, fast and ferocious – eating everything in its path. Velociraptors are believed to have hunted in packs, which is great considering the strong partner ecosystem that Cisco and UCS have built with industry leaders like EMC, NetApp and VCE as shining examples. We are committed to maintaining and expanding our hunting pack – more on that later!
if Cisco UCS existed in the Cretaceous Period it would have been a Velociraptor. Image credit: dark.pozadia.org
Tags: acquisition, Big Data, Cisco, Internet of Everything, Paul Perez, UCS, unified computing system, WHIPTAIL
The software defined network has become all the rage lately for reasons that seem to vary and are caught up in interesting perceptions. One view was that it allowed a single network to be controlled centrally and divided up logically to prevent different groups from interfering with one another, well that’s true. Another view is that it provides a central place of management that configures and monitors the network for performance and faults, well that is true.
The basis is really the separation of the control plane (configuration and management) onto a server that centrally controls many network nodes. From the data plane which are the switches and routers that pass the data for the application from one end device to another, or many. The SDN controller communicates over a secure communications path using an API supported by the network device.
Yet what may be the most significant possibility of SDN is the ability to use programmatic control from the very applications that use the network for transport to stipulate any number of services that application needs from the network. We are seeing this in data centers that will allow end user departments to define a complete network for say ERP from within the ERP application and no help from IT. Why not for controls? And since SDN is based on open source initiatives the ability for anyone to create and market applications for say a controls system is very real. Read More »
Tags: intelligent automation, Internet of Everything, IoE, Manufacturing, SDN, security
Welcome Dave Cronberger to the Manufacturing Industry Blog
It is with great pleasure that I introduce a key member of the Cisco Customer Global Enterprise Solutions Group. Dave is a customer solutions architect, working with and supporting key global customers, especially in the automotive industry. As an Infrastructure architect he is focused on physical and logical networks and network based services in industrial automation in discreet and process control environments.
He is a 14-year Cisco veteran with a background in IT networks, network security, IT and OT infrastructure, networks and security, with additional focus on collaboration technologies that use voice, video, and web to improve manufacturing process.
Dave is no stranger to the cutting edge of the automotive industry. He has initiated fleet connected vehicle solutions for Cisco, associated with an IP enabled vehicle using a variety of wireless connections, and today he is focused on Industrial Automation Networks and supporting systems along with network architecture and design for control systems in discreet and process manufacturing systems. This also includes systems supporting the plant floor such as communications, remote expert solutions, wireless networks and security. Read More »
Tags: architect, connected car, cronberger, dave cronberger, fleet, fleet solutions, industrial, Internet of Everything, internet of things, IT, Manufacturing, OT, security, thought leader
Last week, I presented at the Colorado Innovation Summit in Denver, Colorado where leaders from higher education, industry, start-ups, government, and research labs came together to discuss a wide array of innovation topics such as technology, education, social entrepreneurship and economic development. The need to transform and revitalize communities around the world to make public services and communications anywhere and on any device more accessible was one of the hot topics.
Photo Credit: Blue House Photography
Today, we are experiencing the largest economic and social shifts in history including an aging population – countries like the U.S., Japan and China are going to see its elderly population over 65 years old more than double before the year 2050. As a result, millions of new jobs will need to be created and productivity needs to be significantly increased to absorb the burgeoning working-age population. We are also observing other shifts: economies are shrinking in Europe, Germany and Russia while economies like Nigeria and Saudi Arabia and Egypt are seeing hyper-growth numbers. In both these economic situations, increasing productivity to increase income and overall living standards is vital. These and other trends we call the Internet of Everything (IoE) highly resonated with attendees as they saw that having the ability to anticipate customer needs and how to solve their problems creates a huge opportunity for global companies.
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Tags: Colorado Innovation Summit, innovation, Internet of Everything, IoE
Today I’m introducing a new series that focuses on the collective power of connections in the Internet of Everything (IoE) — and some of the new companies that are creating value from those connections. The industry is ripe with emerging IoE-focused startups that deserve to be recognized for their work in building the Internet of Everything, brick by web-enabled-brick. These various startups are making an impact in education, healthcare, home automation and more. They are led by thinkers and doers who are helping to create the future. Periodically over the next several months, we’ll take a look at some of these startups and learn more about how IoE is enabling their success — and how they, in turn, are enabling the Internet of Everything.
Recently, we had a chance to talk with John Funge, co-founder and CEO of BrightContext, a cloud-based data-stream processing platform that is helping to turn Big Data into actionable insights. Here’s how BrightContext is pioneering the growth of the Internet of Everything:
John Funge, Co-Founder & CEO, BrightContext
What is BrightContext? And how does your business meet new demands in our increasingly connected world?
BrightContext is an ultra-scalable, cloud-based data-stream processing platform that makes it easy to deliver real-time stream analytics from any data source. BrightContext is used for stream analytics, live visualization, monitoring, and generating alerts from high-volume data sources such as web click and activity data, mobile activity data, social media, audience sentiment data, point-of-sale data, and transactional data.
BrightContext is taking on one of the major problems of the century – how to process a deluge of data in real time, immediately derive insights, and take action. BrightContext provides companies with a platform for monitoring and analyzing streams of Big Data in motion. It enables customers to mine that information instantly to make it actionable. This, in turn, makes it easier to use input streams to create and distribute sub-streams for others to use.
Read More »
Tags: Big Data, BrightContext, Cisco, innovation, Internet of Everything, internet of things, IoE, IoT, mobility, network, Tomorrow Starts Here