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Why Implement Microsoft SQL Server on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS)?

November 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm PST

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…

Mitigate Risk: 

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).

Foster Standardization:

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.

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My Favorite Demo at Microsoft TechEd Europe: Data Center Modernization

 

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After the SQL Saturday event this week I will be staying in Barcelona for a few more days to attend the Microsoft TechEd Europe from Tuesday Oct 28th to Friday Oct 31st! As Gary Serda laid out in his blog, Cisco has a lot of great demos to share with you. See details: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/cisco-at-microsoft-teched-europe-2014/

  • Cisco UCS and Integrated Infrastructures for Microsoft Private Cloud
  • Windows Server 2003 Migration to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Cisco UCS
  • UCS Management with Microsoft System Center
  • UCS for Microsoft SQL Server
  • Nexus 1000V Network Virtualization with Microsoft Hyper-V

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, “Cisco is Here to Help!—Microsoft Windows Server 2003 End-of-Life Support,”  Windows Server 2003 (WS2003) Migration to Windows Server 2012 R2 on Cisco UCS is, as we like to say the social media world, trending.  I am really excited about the demo covering this topic because it brings together all the value props of Microsoft and Cisco working together to help customers solve one of their most important data center challenges.

In that blog, I touched on what Cisco and Microsoft are saying, but what are our customers saying?

Head of ICT management and maintenance, Elektroprivreda, Haris Brkanic mentioned in the case study that moving to Windows Server 2012, they were able to migrate from 42 physical servers and 90 virtual servers on seven hosts to just 12 Cisco UCS servers.  They are realized significant cost saving and performance gains in this upgrade. They also love that they can manage everything from a single pane of glass. Our customer definitely experienced the simplified IT, better virtualization, and licensing and support benefits they were hoping to get.

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Cisco at Microsoft TechEd Europe 2014

October 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm PST

Ready to savor tapas, Gaudi and the most vibrant community of IT professionals in the industry? You must be headed to Barcelona for Microsoft TechEd Europe, 28-31, October. Cisco will be there as well.  We’ll be showcasing integrated solutions from Cisco and Microsoft for Windows Server 2003 migrations, cloud and SQL Server.

Cisco and Microsoft have worked closely to integrate Cisco UCS with Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V and System Center 2012 R2, to provide the optimal platform for your Microsoft clouds and applications. Listen to what Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson has to say about the Cisco and Microsoft relationship.

Tech Demos

Make sure to stop by stand #207 to speak with a Cisco solution expert and take in a demo on: Read More »

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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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Building a Private Cloud. Cisco and Microsoft – Optimized Infrastructure Strategies

May 1, 2014 at 5:00 am PST

This month the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a Boston area based analyst firm, published a white paper commissioned by Cisco and Microsoft on the topic of the private cloud. In it ESG covers the best-of-breed technologies and solutions that Cisco and Microsoft bring to market together for Windows Server 2012 R2 / Hyper-V based private cloud configurations.

Below are “The Bigger Truths”, as ESG phrased their summary of findings on the Cisco / Microsoft better together story – please feel free to take a look, it’s a good read!…  :

Accelerated time to market: Enter markets quickly with easy access across multiple consumption models driven by Cisco infrastructure and Microsoft software.

CapEx and OpEx savings: Savings on CapEx and OpEx costs can be achieved by virtualizing the server environment with no additional CapEx when moving to the cloud, minimizing implementation complexity, enabling virtual management with increased control, and gaining the ability to scale as required.

Rapid ROI: Because this environment is software-defined, and its infrastructure is efficient, it can quickly pay for itself by simplifying provisioning, efficient time to value, and operational efficiencies.

High availability: Because the Cisco Unified Data Center fabric has no single point of failure, it unifies compute, storage, networking, and management resources into a single, fabric-based platform that can increase operating efficiency and availability, simplify the data center, and provide business agility. Microsoft solutions compound this value with data protection solutions for on- and off-premises protection.

Increased IT organizational efficiencies: Due to the ease of implementation and management, IT pros can be shifted to positions where they are most productive and leverage their current Microsoft and Cisco certifications.

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