Cisco is proud to be a Platinum sponsor and exhibitor at PASS Summit this year. If you aren’t familiar with PASS Summit, it “is the world’s largest, most-focused, and most-intensive conference for Microsoft SQL Server and BI professionals.”
Gary Serda has done an excellent job in detailing what the Cisco UCS team will be sharing with attendees in his blog post Guide to Cisco at the PASS Summit, so I wanted to highlight our 3D, interactive vRack of our Unified Computing System which is always a highlight at trade shows and will be on display at PASS Summit.
Cisco and EMC continue to partner closely to speed our customers journey to the cloud via our “three paths to the cloud’ strategy. The strategy enables customers to implement custom-design infrastructures with best-of-breed products, validated reference architectures via Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX, and pre-integrated converged infrastructure from VCE.
In the last year, Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX have generated significant momentum with customers and partners. In this short period of time we have:
Signed up more than 850 channel partners
Nearly 1,000 VSPEX customers around the world
Published 9 CVD’s focused on virtualization and desktop virtualization
60% y/y growth in viewership on our VSPEX CVD pages
Cisco and EMC will continue collaborating on VSPEX to expand the solution portfolio and accelerate growth. As a preview of future VSPEX CVDs, two new solution briefs have just been released. These solution briefs enable customers to choose their desired hypervisor, Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2 or VMware VSphere 5.1, and get a validated configuration for up to 1000 virtual machines based upon Cisco UCS servers and networking with next-generation EMC VNX Series storage. The next-generation EMC VNX Series storage will complement VSPEX solutions by enhancing virtual application performance through multicore optimization software taking advantage of the latest multicore CPUs.
Building your own infrastructure solutions can not only take time and resources but also can introduce additional risk and complexity. This is exactly the problem that Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX solves by offering presized and validated solutions that give customers confidence that they are deploying the right balance of computing, networking, and storage resources.
Congratulations to the Cisco and EMC teams for their momentum with Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX and thank you for making it easy for organizations to quickly deploy a powerful, secure virtualized environment without the expense or risk entailed in designing and building a custom solution.
When customers talk about why they like UCS they often sum it up in very concise terms. “It makes things a lot easier,” is a common refrain. But if you ask a Cisco technologist what’s good about UCS you’ll get a much more lengthy reply, probably more than you wanted to hear. That’s because when anyone fully describes all of the innovations in the solution, “under the covers,” so to speak, which conspire to bring about UCS benefits, they quickly find themselves reciting a rather long list of complex advancements. As I spend time in our booth at VMworld this week I hear both of these accounts of UCS. The long (how it rocks) and the short (why it rocks.) As luck would have it, some intrepid UCS product marketers have taken it upon themselves to bridge this yawning gap in the UCS lexicon.
First, remember that UCS is an outcome of starting with a clean sheet of paper and designing a system to rectify all the random acts of system architecture that had come before it. It’s also an outcome of a completely revolutionary way of approaching computing: not from the perspective of the constituent technologies but from the perspective of fusing them all together. UCS was expressly designed to eliminate the DIY integration that customers have been faced with for years. It was designed for a world of virtualization, automation and cloud. Fundamentally, UCS was designed to connect all the dots.
With the connections in mind, we’re introducing a technology ingredient brand into the UCS lexicon: Cisco SingleConnect Technology.
Each of these deeply sophisticated products plays a specific role, but taken altogether they create an elegant result: a simplified, uniform and extremely powerful connectivity model for servers and virtual machines. SingleConnect is way for us to describe how all of these together result in one connection for:
• LAN, SAN, and systems management
• Rack servers and blade servers
• Physical servers and virtual machines
SingleConnect, very simply, is the easiest, most intelligent and efficient way to connect and manage computing in the data center.
SingleConnect is Easy: UCS is a “wire once and walk away” solution that eliminates many of the traditional time-consuming, manual and error-prone tasks required to connect servers and virtual machines in the data center. UCS with SingleConnect is self-integrating, with automated and dynamic configuration of server I/O and networking components over a common connection. UCS centralizes administration, eliminating dozens of switching and server management points found in traditional environments while radically reducing cable management complexity.
SingleConnect is Efficient: SingleConnect Technology combines three network layers into one: top of rack, blade chassis and hypervisor switching. It also combines LAN, SAN and server systems management networks on a single fabric. Modular fabric extenders deliver capacity from a centralized fabric interconnect (single point of management) to as many as 160 servers, replacing all the Ethernet and FibreChannel switches typically deployed in much smaller server increments. Server I/O adapters (NICs, and HBA’s) are consolidated onto a single Virtual Interface Card, eliminating cost and simplifying administration.
SingleConnect is Intelligent: SingleConnect technology creates a virtualization-aware system, providing seamless VM mobility and advanced security capabilities for multi-tenant environments. I/O capacity is dynamically allocated across physical and virtual machines in the system in accordance with QOS policies, eliminating the need for manual administrator intervention and simplifying troubleshooting. Deterministic, low latency switching delivers industry leading bare metal and virtualized performance for traditional multi-tier application environments and cloud workloads alike.
Cisco SingleConnect Technology is not a specific product or feature, it is a way to describe how a deliberate roadmap of innovation solves against one of the oldest computing problems in the data center: “how do I connect all this stuff together?”
If you’re at VMworld in San Francisco this week, stop by the Cisco booth and we can give you demo of how SingleConnect brings it all together.
Cisco UCS has fantastic technology that technical decision makers are demanding. But what about business decision makers? It doesn’t matter how great the technology is, the question for BDMs is how will UCS save me money?
I set out to answer that question, connecting UCS technology innovations to TCO improvement, for the Unifying Your Data Center Roadshow (running through late June) and wanted to share the presentation with a larger audience so it has been posted to SlideShare.
The savings are grouped into two overall buckets: Unified Fabric (servers, networking, cabling, power & cooling) and Unified Management (provisioning, ongoing administration, and systems management software). Each sub-section discuss Cisco’s differentiation at a high level and shows how they impact the value of a UCS solution. The savings categories are validated by customer case studies, some of which you may remember from my first series of blog posts, Yes, Cisco Servers are that good. Lastly there are two real world TCO/ROI examples including Loughborough University who are cutting their costs ~50% over five years.
Would you like to learn more about how Cisco UCS can help you? There are more than 250 published datacenter case studies on Cisco.com. Additionally, there is a TCO/ROI tool that will allow you to compare your existing environment to a new UCS Solution. For a more in-depth TCO/ROI analysis, contact your Cisco partner
We handed out a stack of these buttons for the Cisco booth staff to wear this year and that sums up my favorite part of EMC World: it’s an infrastructure party. This is a place where you’re going to talk with people at the heart of the data center and IT, and the conversations all start there.
Our alignment with EMC couldn’t be any clearer than what we had on display last week. VBlock continues to rock and roll and Trey Layton of VCE summed that up quite nicely here. On the VSPEX front, Cisco recently released 7 new and updated integrated infrastructure designs that combine UCS, Nexus and VNX Storage. Moreover, Cisco offers these as single-part-number SmartPlay Solution Pak bundles that make them even easier for our partners and customers to order. Cisco’s VSPEX offerings span the gamut on choice of virtualization platform and application, paving that second of the three paths to cloud we talked about at EMCworld.
On a product front the big news for Cisco was the new MDS 9710 and that brought a lot of visitors into the booth. I was also really happy by the amount of people that came by to talk with us about UCS and the things we’re doing around data center automation. Each year the conversation has changed and the evolution has been fun to experience:
Customer: “What’s that funny looking switch there?”
Me: “That’s the Unified Computing System, are you familiar with Cisco’s new server platform?”
Customer: “What? No, really, what’s that funny looking switch there??”
Customer: “Do you have any UCS on display here? Our team in XYZ division just deployed it and I’d like to take a look”
Customer: “Hey, I really like what you folks did with the switch-based Fibre Channel zoning in the last release of UCS Manager. When does version 2.0 of UCS Central come out? We’re deploying UCS in three more data centers and I want to talk about implementing global ID pools”
Me: “Fantastic. Let me find our systems management expert.”
I speak geek pretty well, so when customers come in and want to go deeper than I can on operating the system instead of asking me “Cisco sells servers?”…I know we’re in the right place and on the right vector. Thanks to the EMC and Cisco teams for putting on such a great event.
I’ll leave you with a photo here for a caption contest. Leave your ideas in the comment section and try your best to keep it clean. My first take is “I loved EMC World 2013 thiiiiiiiiiiiis much!”