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Cisco and Microsoft – Driving Data Center Modernization Forward

July 13, 2014 at 1:43 am PST

RexWPC Blog

If it’s mid-July then it is time once again for Microsoft’s annual worldwide partner conference – WPC. For 2014, we find Cisco’s Microsoft team in Washington D.C. joining around ~16,000 other Microsoft partners. The partners come from all around the world and are of all partner types be they VARs, local System Integrators, Global System Integrators, or OEMs. They have come to D.C. to learn what Microsoft has up their sleeves for the upcoming year as well as to hear Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella give his first major WPC keynote. This is Cisco’s fourth consecutive year of WPC sponsorship – from L.A. to Toronto to Houston and now to Washington D.C. – we have amped up our investment year over year to showcase our leading datacenter technologies for the Microsoft ecosystem. Read More »

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Cisco and Microsoft SQL Server 2014

April 16, 2014 at 11:18 am PST

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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Managing Your Business Intelligence: Microsoft SQL Server on Integrated Infrastructures

February 27, 2014 at 9:53 am PST

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Business intelligence begets better, more informed decision making—and, ultimately, success. But how do you get effective business intelligence? It starts with your tools and infrastructure…

With the proliferation of database and virtualization sprawl and the growing requirement for business insight that has increased I/O performance demand and complexity in the datacenter, enterprises are asking for a simplified approach. Cisco UCS offers industry-leading performance along with the flexible infrastructure you need to deploy, manage, move to the cloud and scale your bare metal or virtual SQL Server workloads

On March 18, join Industry thought leaders from Cisco, Microsoft, NetApp, EMC, and DesignMind to explore how Microsoft SQL Server and integrated infrastructures such as FlexPod and VSPEX enable you to more effectively turn data into a valuable strategic asset for business decision makers.

Make plans today to join us and learn how these infrastructures can help you:

  • Make sure optimal access to mission-critical data is available
  • Enable greater business agility
  • Increase cost-efficiency and lower TCO for business intelligence initiatives

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Ecosystem for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Tackles Application Agility

November 8, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

Yesterday, Nov 6, Cisco unveiled details of the Application Centric Infrastructure with an ecosystem of partners that share our common view -- IT is in need of a transformation to create the Application Economy.   Some key technology leaders spoke about the application lifecycle impact of an open and centralized policy model for complete infrastructure automation, including configuration, operation, monitoring, and optimization.  I’d like to recap a few of those comments here today.

During the ACI announcement, Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President in Microsoft’s Windows Server and System Center Group (WSSC), said that

virtualization has unshackled applications from the hardware in the past.  But now with ACI we can do much more.  So first of all, we can have the applications be able to describe their needs for more rapid provisioningSo with the view we can get across physical and virtual, we can see what is happening with the application, we can optimize the infrastructure for the application, and do more rapid troubleshooting.

…the integration with Microsoft cloud OS and UCS is really remarkable.  Literally you have a common way to automate everything from the application, down to the operating system, down to all of the hardware level components.  But ACI gives us the ability to do some really remarkable things..

Imagine how Exchange, Sharepoint and Linc -- being able to be shipped with ACI policies that now describe out how exactly the network should be configured, how it should be optimized, and automatically be provisioned across physical and virtual in a holistic way.  That’s the kind of value we are going to be able to deliver together.

On The Official Microsoft Blog,  Satya Nadella, EVP, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft,  blogged:

“…These new solutions are designed to improve business agility and reduce cost by driving infrastructure automation in support of core business processes and applications. This next-generation infrastructure will deliver increased application performance, resource pooling, visibility, automation and mobility through:

· Converged ACI stacks that include fully integrated versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server, Exchange and SharePoint

I introduced the IT challenge posed by apps that behave differently in my earlier ACI post so now I want to point out that the new converged ACI stacks will fully integrate the operating system, orchestration, applications, server and network infrastructure to provide an enterprise customer with the application agility to rapidly deploy Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint, scale and upgrade them, and also to decommission them.

Many next generation distributed cloud applications are being written on open source platforms.  For a view on what ACI means to a leading open source cloud platform, OpenStack, let me quote what Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO of Red Hat, said at the launch:

…there’s a whole set of functionality that is required to run a portfolio of true production applications and be able to run a diverse set of applications and to make sure that you can actually guarantee the performance levels that you need. The great thing about ACI is it provides that really differentiated functionality that enterprises need, even on open platforms, but at the same time, it does it with open standards, open APIs, and an open ecosystem so that customers get the benefit without being locked in and maintain the flexibility they are looking for going forward.

For more on Openstack and ACI, see this video – Application Policy and OpenStack – which explains how the DevOps community can extend agile processes to network infrastructure.

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Get on the Fast Track to Data Warehouse Nirvana

October 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm PST

Guest post by Dennis Clark, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager -- Microsoft Applications, NetApp

We are here in Charlotte this week with our Cisco friends, with the opportunity to talk with all sorts of like-minded Microsoft SQL Server individuals at the 2013 SQL PASS Summit. The conversations vary in range from things like database performance, developer issues, to private cloud and data management concerns. We’ve also had some good chats with a few data warehouse folks, which prompted me to share some thoughts on this topic.

BI Blues

We know that the data warehouse (DW) is central to a comprehensive business intelligence (BI) solution. So clearly, if our DW isn’t up to snuff, as they say, then we can forget about delivering critical analytics to a growing number of LOB managers and execs. This, in turn, negatively affects the bottom line of the business, which isn’t good for anyone. And it isn’t getting any easier. Data is growing exponentially and the problem of integrating data from multiple sources isn’t going away any time soon. These issues, along with the complex interaction of the different components of a BI solution, continue to make the design, deployment and management of data warehouses a challenge. Now you can continue to throw money at it by over-provisioning and burning up valuable data center space and power to try to keep up, or you can strive to achieve a higher level of DW nirvana with Cisco and NetApp.

Data Warehouse Nirvana

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