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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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Life in the Fast Lane: A SQL Server Sunday in Orlando and More

June 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm PST

Today as a world-wide launch sponsor Cisco participated in Microsoft’s SQL Server 2012 U.S. Symposium Event “The New World of Data” here in Orlando. The event, held before the start of the big Tech Ed North America show focused, on the new SQL Server 2012 release and its capabilities for supporting data management and business intelligence scenarios.

Cisco has invested with our storage partners EMC and NetApp in key SQL Server solutions offered through our Cisco Validated Design (CVD) program. Based on Cisco UCS for the compute platform and Nexus for the network platform, the CVDs support various SQL Server scenarios such as OLTP, Data Warehouse, and SQL Server consolidations (this is provided through assessment programs available through the Cisco Field).

For those of you attending Tech Ed this week in Orlando, please feel free to drop our Cisco booth, #1613. We’ll have technology demonstrations on: Cisco UCS, UCS Manager, VDI, and Nexus 1000V. Also, register for a chance to win one of our daily prizes -- a trip to live life in the fast lane…so to speak… at the Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney World!

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Virtualizating Microsoft SQL on Cisco UCS, The Usual Suspects of why people don’t virtualize SQL Server

Virtualizating Microsoft SQL on Cisco UCS,  The Usual Suspects of why people don’t virtualize SQL Server

 

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Delivering More from Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 with Cisco’s UCS Server Family

Guest Post by Raghunath Nambiar (UCS Performance Architect) and Frank Cicalese (UCS Systems Engineer)

Data’s at the heart of all business applications -- whether it be a real-time transaction processing or an enterprise decision support system – we know that data is driving the show.

Microsoft’s SQL Server is the database platform that many enterprises have adopted as it provides a scalable architecture, attractive price points, and supports a multitude of use cases such as OLTP and Data Warehouse configurations as well as providing attractive extensions for Business Intelligence modules.

Over the past several months we’ve seen the Cisco UCS server family support a range of SQL Server use cases resulting in improved performance and cost savings for our customers.  The UCS architecture provides key features that can help improve the quality of the SQL Server services you deliver:  Our extended memory feature and virtualization capabilities are two areas that help improve database performance and raise your SQL Server consolidation ratios.

We have couple of upcoming webinar on Cisco UCS and Microsoft SQL Server that you should attend.  We’ll cover the topics mentioned here and more such as OLTP and Data Warehouse. It’s happening on Tuesday, June 28th @ 7:00am PDT and 10:00am PDT. Registration is at http://www.cisco.com/go/semreg/urls/44768/1

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