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Register NOW! – Webcast Series on “Why Cisco UCS for your Microsoft Apps”

Guest Post by Rex Backman (Global Marketing Manager, Microsoft Solutions at Cisco)

Please join us for a four-part webcast series hosted by Cisco. During this webinar series Cisco and Microsoft experts will show you how to architect, deploy, and manage Microsoft applications on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform. Industry experts will also share their experiences on implementing Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint, Exchange, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) offerings. Throughout the series, we will discuss relevant architectural, technical, and operational benefits and best practices. This information will be available to you via Cisco Validated Design (CVD) reference architectures.

The first chapter kicks on May 10th – so please visit www.cisco.com/go/semreg/urls/44768/1 for registration information.

Here are the details of what will be covered in each webcast.

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Cisco UCS B250-M2 Blade is Finalist for Best of Show at Microsoft Tech Ed 2011

Guest Post from Rex Backman

More good news on the momentum of our Cisco UCS server platform came our way today as we were notified that our B250-M2 blade server series is a Finalist for Best of Show at Microsoft Tech Ed 2011 in the Hardware category.

Annually, the Best of Tech Ed awards recognize companies who offer innovative products for the industry. This year the judges reviewed 334 products and services submitted for the award and chose 47 finalists to be interviewed at the Microsoft Tech Ed North America 2011 conference in Atlanta, Georgia on May 16, 2011.  Winners will be announced at an invite only evening reception at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, May 18. 

“We received a record number of nominations this year—more than 300—and determining an array of finalists from that large, diverse field was difficult,” said Jason Bovberg, Senior Editor at Windows IT Pro®. “The mix of products and services from year to year is ever-changing and exciting, and we feel that our 49 finalists represent highly distinguished products and services in their categories. We look forward to our show-floor interviews, which will lead to the determination of winners. For all categories, as always, our judging process involves three criteria: strategic importance to the market, competitive advantage, and value to customers. Our winners will be particularly strong in those areas.”

This is a great confirmation of our Cisco UCS server family and shows Cisco’s continued growth in support of the Microsoft ecosystem and the importance of Exchange, Hyper-V, SQL Server, SharePoint, System Center, and Windows Server 2008 R2 environments. We encourage Microsoft Tech Ed attendees to stop by our Cisco booth #1614 at the show and see the B250 in action!

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Surviving 800,000 E-Mails an Hour Without Breaking a Sweat

March 8, 2011 at 12:05 am PST

I have to admit, I have always been fascinated by e-mail systems. Some of this is rooted in the fact that one of my first jobs was as an All-in-1 administrator—think Office365 running on a DEC VAX. Beyond that, e-mail typifies many of the challenges of the data center: supporting increasing scale, maintaining a consistent user experience, handling ever increasing storage requirements, supporting mobile users and delivering bulletproof availability.

Curious as to what we do at Cisco, I had a chat the other day with Ken Pauley from Cisco IT. Ken has been with Cisco for a little over 4 years, running the Design & Engineering Team for Messaging & Calendaring. He has a 25+ year IT career that has been primarily focused around Messaging & Calendaring technologies for medium to large scale enterprises so he has some useful perspective on things.

By way of background about our Microsoft Exchange environment--last quarter we collectively sent about 900 M messages and received about 870 M messages. Our current environment is deployed in six different locations. From a storage perspective we have 123TB of storage in Richardson, 123TB in two SJ locations, 82TB in Amsterdam, 82TB in Hong Kong and 41TB in Bangalore. Richardson and San Jose both have 3 PODS of servers each, Amsterdam has 2 PODs, the rest have 1 POD each. A POD contains between eight and 20 servers and supports up to 11,200 users. We have about 130 servers supporting e-mail across Cisco.

Omar Sultan: What is the most challenging thing about Cisco’s e-mail environment?

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Cisco to Participate in Microsoft’s Fast Track 3.0 Program

This is an exciting time—I am happy to announce Cisco’s participation in the Microsoft Fast Track 3.0 program for data warehousing. The Microsoft Fast Track program has been in existence for some time, but this is the first time Cisco has been invited to participate in this Microsoft program.

Fast Track 3.0 is the third generation of a marketing program designed to accelerate consideration and adoption of data warehouse solutions based on the latest version of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Release 2 software. Microsoft SQL Server is gaining importance as a critical tool for enterprises and midsize companies to gather business intelligence. The Cisco reference configurations for SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse for scale-up data warehousing will empower customers with choices only Cisco can offer. To provide more flexibility for our customers, Cisco will be releasing SQL Server data warehouse configurations with EMC storage and configurations with NetApp storage.

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Customer Success in Accelerating Performance – How did an International Insurance Company use WAAS Effectively?

National Insurance Company Limited of India (NIC) delivers near real-time performance for its core applications to remote offices with Cisco’s Wide Area Application Service (WAAS).

National Insurance Company (NIC) Limited has many users across over 1,000 branches throughout India. These branches connect to their main data center using a decentralized network model that links remote offices using a mix of 64 Kbps and 128 Kbps connections.  Under this model, NIC’s remote offices were facing slower application processing due to high WAN latency, heavy network traffic, and increasing transactions, among other factors.

NIC Deputy General Manager (IT), Mr. D. K. Sinha knew that they needed to do something different to boost application performance to cater for their new core insurance application (CIA).  Their users were experiencing slow network performance, even with applications such as Lotus Notes; moreover, the bandwidth upgrade at remote locations came with a heavy price tag.  In conclusion, NIC needed a new network solution to accelerate applications, cut branch infrastructure costs, and simplify remote data protection.

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