A Guest Blog by Partner Rick Heiges of Scalability Experts: Rick is a SQL Server Microsoft MVP and Senior Solutions Architect. He primarily works with Enterprise customers on their Data Platform strategies. Rick is also very involved in the SQL Server Community primarily through PASS and events such as the PASS Summit, SQL Saturdays, and 24 Hours of PASS. His tenure on the PASS Board of Directors saw the annual Summit triple in size from 2003 to 2011. You can find his blog at www.sqlblog.com.
So far, it has been another great week here at the PASS Summit 2014, SQL Server’s largest annual user and partner conference. With yesterday’s keynote address, there is still very much a focus on getting to the cloud and new investments in cloud technology in general. Microsoft seems to be extending its data collection and storage technologies in the cloud and also on-prem. One of the coolest features talked about was the concept of a “stretch tables” where a table that lives on your on-prem SQL Server can be “stretched” on to tables in SQL Azure Databases. The data may be shared so that the “hot” data can stay local and the “cold” data would live in the cloud. There were some other great demos around using the Kinect device to create a heat map of customer activity in a physical store (similar to what people linger and search for when shopping online). You can watch the PASS Summit 2014 Keynote here on PASStv.
As a Senior Solutions Architect with Scalability Experts, I work with large enterprise customers (Fortune 500 type) on a regular basis. There is more and more interest about leveraging the Public Cloud for some workloads and taking advantage of “on-prem” resources in a cloud-like way. This means deploying your internal resources in a similar way – for example via Cisco’s Microsoft Fast Track certified FlexPod or VSPEX integrated infrastructure solutions -- that public cloud resources are deployed with a similar chargeback (or ‘show back’) model and automating the self-service deployment of infrastructure, and the monitoring of the entire stack.
One of the things that I really like about Microsoft’s products is a focus on ease of use, tight integration, and low TCO. This is important to a lot of the customers that I interact with. This is why I have seen a surge in Cisco UCS products in my customer base of the past few years. Cisco has a similar goal to keep things simple and TCO low – read this Total Economic Impact report from Forrester on UCS ROI/TCO. Cisco also provides Management Pack plug-ins to Microsoft’s System Center suite for tight integration so that you can manage the entire stack (Hardware, Hypervisor, Application, and even Public Cloud) with a single tool. It is great to see how this partnership between Microsoft and Cisco can be beneficial to the customers that I work with.
Microsoft’s SQL Server 2014 also brings “In-Memory” Technology to OLTP in a cost-effective manner by not forcing a complete rewrite of the application. In a recent Cisco UCS on Microsoft SQL Server 2014 case study, Progressive Insurance was able to take advantage of this technology to further its strategy of its competitive advantage -- ease of use.
Eventually, I see the Public Cloud taking on a more “primary” role in the future. Similar to the “Everything on a VM unless there is a reason not to” mantra, I see an “Everything on a Public Cloud VM unless there is a reason not to” mantra on the long-term horizon. Until then, the Hybrid Cloud will be the default stance for many large enterprises.
Tags: Big Data, Cisco, Cisco UCS, FlexPod, Microsoft, Microsoft Hyper-V, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SQL Server2014, Nexus 1000v, PASS Summit 2014, SQL PASS, vspex
A Guest Blog by Cisco’s Frank Cicalese: Frank is a Technical Solutions Architect with Cisco, assisting customers with their design of SQL Server solutions on Cisco Unified Compute System. Before joining Cisco, Frank worked at Microsoft Corporation for 10 years, excelling in several positions, including as Database TSP. Frank has in-depth technical knowledge and proficiency with database design, optimization, replication, and clustering and has extensive virtualization, identity and access management and application development skills. He has established himself as an architect who can tie core infrastructure, collaboration, and application development platform solutions together in a way that drives understanding and business value for the companies he services.
Ah yes, it’s that time of year again. It’s time for PASS Summit! I hope all of you are having a great event thus far. During my conversations with customers and peers, I am inevitably asked “Why should we implement SQL on UCS?” In this blog I cover this very common question. First off, for those of you not familiar with Cisco UCS, please visit here when you have a moment to learn more about this great server architecture. So, why would anyone want to consider running their SQL workloads on Cisco UCS? Read on to learn about what I consider to be the top reasons to do so…
High availability is one of the most important factors for companies when it comes to considering an architecture for their database implementations. UCS provides companies with the confidence that their database implementations will be able to recover quickly from any catastrophic datacenter event in minutes as opposed to the hours if not days that it would take to recover on a competing architecture. UCS Manager achieves this through its implementation of Service Profiles. Service Profiles contain the identity of a server. The UCS servers themselves are stateless and do not acquire their personality (state) until they are associated with a Service Profile. This stateless type of architecture allows for the re-purposing of server hardware dynamically and can be utilized for re-introducing failed hardware back in to production within five to seven minutes.
Service Profiles can provide considerable relief for SQL Server administrators when re-introducing failed servers back in to production. Service Profiles make this a snap! Just un-associate the Service Profile from the downed server, associate it with a spare server and the workload will be back up and running in five to seven minutes. This is true for both virtualized and bare-metal workloads! Yes! You read that last statement correctly!! Regardless of the workload being virtual or bare-metal, Cisco UCS can move the workload from one server to another in five to seven minutes (providing they are truly stateless i.e., booting from SAN).
Since every server in UCS that is serving a workload requires that a Service Profile be associated with it, Cisco UCS Manager provides the ability to create Service Profile Templates which ease the administrative effort involved with the creation of Service Profiles. Server administrators can configure Service Profile Templates specifically for their SQL Servers and foster consistent standardization of their SQL Server implementations throughout the enterprise via these templates. Once the templates are created, Service Profiles can be created from these templates and associated to a server in seconds. Furthermore, these operations can be scripted via Cisco’s Open XML API and/or PowerShell integration (discussed next) simplifying the deployment process even more.
To learn more about Service Profile Templates and Service Profiles, please visit here.
Manage Workloads Efficiently:
Cisco UCS has very tight integration with Microsoft System Center. Via Cisco’s Operations Manager Pack, Orchestrator Integration Pack, PowerShell PowerTool and Cisco’s extensions to Microsoft’s Hyper-V switch, administrators are able to monitor, manage and maintain their SQL Server implementations proactively and efficiently on Cisco UCS. Additionally, Cisco’s PowerTool for PowerShell, with its many cmdlets, can help to automate any phase of management with System Center thus optimizing the overall management/administration of Cisco UCS even more so. All of this integration comes as a value-add from Cisco at no extra cost!
Please visit http://communities.cisco.com/ucs to learn more about, download and evaluate Cisco’s Operations Manager Pack, Orchestrator Integration Pack and PowerShell PowerTool.
Read More »
Tags: business intelligence, Cisco, database, Microsoft, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SQL Server2014, Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Nexus 1000v, OLTP, UCS
The world of data is changing. Businesses face growth in the volume of information and the types of data they encounter. There are new landscapes of vast and dynamic information that must be processed, managed and analyzed to achieve business insight. It is no surprise, therefore, that legacy infrastructures are failing to meet I.T.’s expectations.
For many of you this is why you are in Seattle this week – to attend PASS Summit 2014, the SQL PASS organization’s annual conference on SQL Server. You want to learn this week from your peers, from Microsoft, and from vendor’s ways to successfully harness SQL Server and drive solutions that do meet your business and user’s expectations.
Read More »
Tags: Cisco, Cisco UCS, cisco_nexus, Microsoft, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SQL Server2014
Of the more than 300 SQLSaturdays around the world, I am lucky enough to represent Cisco at the one in Barcelona on October 25th. If you’re attending TechEd Europe we encourage you to also join us at this one-day free event for IT professionals to learn more about SQL Server and the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).
If my experience at a recent SQL event in San Diego is any indication, it is going to be a great event. I was amazed that even after UCS being recognized as the #1 x86 blade server in Americas, many database administrators still came to our table and asked, “What is Cisco doing here at a SQL Saturday event?” The good news is that these same people left with an understanding of how UCS is different from our competitors and can help simplify, standardize and optimize SQL Server deployments.
In San Diego, 80 people showed up to Cisco consulting systems engineer, Aaron Rigney’s presentation, “Optimize Your SQL Server 2014 Workloads with Cisco UCS” which covered the following key benefits.
- Quickly and easily deploy new SQL Servers in minutes
- Proactively manage and automate your SQL Server workloads with Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 and PowerShell integrations with UCS Manager
- Achieve the highest levels of consolidation and performance for both virtual and bare metal implementations.
Read More »
Tags: @ciscoDC, Cisco, CiscoUCS, Integrated infrastructure, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SQL Server2014, SQL, SQL Server, ucs integrated infrastructure
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 »
Tags: @ciscoDC, Cisc UCS, FlexPod, Hyper-V, Microsoft, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Nexus 1000v