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Cisco Validated Designs (CVD) for the Data Center – Your Feedback?

This past week, Thomas Scheibe (Director, Data Center Architecture) had the opportunity to co-present with VMware and NetApp at TechFieldDay on a broad range of Data Center topics.

Thomas is one of the leaders in our Solutions and Strategy Unit (SASU) that is responsible for creating Cisco Validated Designs (CVD).  One of the topics discussed was the recent CVD on Enhanced Secure Multi-Tenancy and Thomas asked, “How many of you are familiar with the depth of technical content in a CVD?

I’m somewhat disappointed to say that the show of hands was less than unanimous. Now this shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise to us, because in the past CVDs were primarily targeted at Network Administrators and the TechFieldDay audience is traditionally more focused on Servers, Storage and Applications. But considering that many of our Data Center solutions are no longer just focused on networking elements, we look at this as an opportunity to create awareness for the Architect and Administrator communities. We also look at it as an opportunity to solicit your input and feedback on how we can better deliver content that will help you design and deploy Data Center solutions that are becoming more complicated as convergence, virtualization, and automation blur the lines between IT organizations. Read More »

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Unified Computing – The Evolution of Computing as a Platform

[Part II of our blog series on Cisco Data Center Business Advantage. Part I, III, IV, V, VI]

One of the great things about being a market disruptor is that you don’t need to carry along all of the baggage that slow down other companies as technology or market transitions occur. Of course, one of the frequent challenges to being a disruptor is that you often have to ask customers to adopt an entirely new technology standard in order to realize the benefits of your product.

With the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), we actually deliver the best of both worlds. Read More »

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Open Ecosystem – Open to Excellence and Better with Cisco

[Part VI of our blog series on Cisco Data Center Business Advantage. Part I, II, III, IV, V]

When some of the largest companies in the world get together and demand choice, it means that any vendor interested in delivering solutions had better be creating architectural flexibility. And not just architectural flexibility, but also creating and enabling an open ecosystem with market leaders across a broad range of capabilities.

At a time when some vendors are moving towards vertically integrated solutions, limiting customer choice, Cisco continues to be committed to open standards and open architectures within the Data Center. This model has enabled tremendous growth in the Internet, and with more systems being interconnected (Internet, Public/Private Cloud, Mobile) the need for interoperability has never been greater. Read More »

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Cisco and Microsoft Team Up in the “Fight for Air Climb” Challenge

Did you know that lung disease is the third leading cause of death in America? And globally, lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death, yet is the most underfunded.

To help raise awareness about lung disease, Cisco sponsored the American Lung Association of Washington’s annual “Fight for Air Climb” fundraiser on October 23.  The climb, which was held in Bellevue, Washington, is the largest stair climb in the U.S. (3,242 stairs up and down the Bellevue Towers, to be exact!).

But it wasn’t just Cisco who was involved: We invited Microsoft to join in a little healthy fundraising competition. Together, we helped to raise over $95,000 for the cause. Read More »

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Cisco UCS for a Better Night’s Sleep

October 13, 2010 at 8:25 am PST

We continue to see accelerating traction for our Cisco UCS and with this increasing customer adoption, we see some pretty compelling business results from our customers. Today, we have an IPTV broadcast with one of those customers: Slumberland. [UPDATE: Here is the archive for the broadcast]

For those of you unfamiliar with the company, they are one of the top 25 furniture retailers in the US with 118 stores in 11 midwestern states.  They are facing a set of IT and business challenges that should be familiar to anyone in the retail industry including maintaining low costs in a highly competitive environment, scalability and security and compliance requirements.  As with many of our customers they also had to work with a lean IT staff and a basically flat IT budget.

Slumberland’s IT environment is also fairly typical for an enterprise customer: Microsoft Hyper-V R2, SQL Server, and Exchange 2007 IBM DB2, Oracle 10g and 11g, and Cisco collaboration.

With their current data center infrastructure hitting end of life, the IT team went on a quest for a new platform and landed on the UCS. They picked UCS for three primary reasons:

  • Best open platform for virtualization because of high RAM capacity, low latency and high I/O bandwidth
  • Lowest TCO
  • Compatibility with their existing environment, including Compellent SAN, Cisco MDS, Windows and Linux

The results they achieved are pretty hard to argue with:

  • $368K less than than other solutions they considered
  • Reduced per-server management costs from $1,575 to $80
  • 4X more virtual desktop sessions per server along with improved user experience (faster login and better session performance)
  • Simplified troubleshooting with UCS Manager’s ability to provide a single point of control.

As is often the case, the Cisco solution was about more than just cool technology, both Cisco Services and our partner Qwest played central roles in pulling this all together fro Slumberland.

A couple of weeks ago, when I introduced Data Center Business Advantage, I talked about our goal being more than just delivering cool technology to the market--it was about linking that technology to meaningful and tangible business outcomes and what Slumberland was able to do is a prime example.  For example, the operational costs savings means that their IT team can maintain a flat budget but still free budget to continue to invest and innovate with their data center.  Alternatively, IT could return some or all the cost savings back to the company to help it a) reduce overall operating expenses and maintain or increase its low-cost competitive advantage and/or b) increase overall profitability.  Similarly, the simplified operations allows the IT staff to get out of constant fire-fighting mode (which is good for their long-term well-being) and allows them the cycles to be strategic and be a better partner to the rest of the business.

Anyway, check out the broadcast, its a pretty cool story.

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