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How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?! (Part 1)

In my role in Cisco Services, I’m more interested in the challenges of technology adoption and deployment than I am in speeds and feeds, statistics and technology fads.  I actively seek out case studies where technology goes wrong – admittedly most of these examples turn out to be issues around introducing and managing the technology, rather than the technology itself.  So I have to admit, I was fascinated by a recent  eWeek article (full details below) which discussed the huge proportion – the report uncovers evidence of up to 30%!! – of (physical) servers in enterprise data centers that are typically running doing nothing!!  Yes – up to 30% – even in these days of virtualization!


How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

Yes, even in your data center, it’s probably a safe bet to say that you have some servers that are not doing that much information processing today!  In this part 1 of my blog, I’ll discuss the costs – obvious and hidden – of the idle server challenge.  And next week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you could and indeed should do about it!

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All about that BaaS: Cisco UCS and CommVault Simpana

With Richard Jacobick
baas3Cisco and CommVault have teamed up on a solution aimed squarely at contemporary data protection challenges. Data is the lifeblood of the enterprise, yet the playbook for how you preserve, protect and provide access to data may have been assembled years ago… and a lot has changed in those years.   Consider the transformations around compute, networking, storage virtualization and cloud that have occurred over the last decade.

A data protection policy is similar to auto, home and life insurance because the ultimate goal is to mitigate risk by investing in an instrument that keeps the things you value most protected and safe. What would happen to the business if an unplanned event triggered a loss of data access today because of an outdated plan? There is a very good reason why we review our insurance policies on an annual basis and your data protection policy should go through the same periodic review.

A recent survey conducted by market research firm Vanson Bourne outlines how data loss and downtime has cost enterprises nearly $1.7 trillion over the past 12 months. The lack of a well-defined data protection process and comprehensive Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is most often the root cause in cases where data loss or downtime had a significant financial cost to the business.

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Cisco UCS and Intel Xeon E7v3: bringing the horsepower you need for analytics

UCS B460 M4

Cisco UCS B460 M4

I’ve heard it said that CIO’s like their ERP systems the same way they like their cars: big, fast and German. Setting nationalities aside, IT pros craving more horsepower for something like SAP HANA need look no further than our UCS B460 M4 and C460 M4 servers, which now supports Intel’s new Xeon E7v3 processor family.

You may wonder why news like this is this important in an age where hardware is so often taken for granted. The answer is speed, in two flavors:

  • Faster Applications
  • Fast IT

Organizations across the spectrum are working to become intelligence-driven throughout their operations, in real time, in order to create a perpetual and renewable competitive edge. Taking a long-term view in choosing the right infrastructure accomplish this important. Here are two reasons why:

  1. You never hear about an analytic environment getting smaller. Massive increases in data volume mean these environments inevitably grow.   For many, this will mean continuously expanding clusters of hundreds or thousands of servers for scale-out big data apps and bringing in ever-larger systems for the scale-up, in-memory analytics.
  2. Data is the lifeblood of the digital enterprise. As the use of big data becomes pervasive and critical to day-to-day decision-making, the performance and predictability of these computing platforms will become increasingly paramount to success. So too will be the speed at which they can be deployed and expanded. You want to choose partners and technology you can trust.

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Cisco UCS: Powering Applications at Every Scale

If you follow the news in the world of data center you probably noticed a small announcement from Cisco last week regarding the UCS portfolio…  :)


To net it out in a simple way, I’ve been telling people that the trail of innovation that Cisco has been blazing with UCS  just got a lot wider.   That’s because this rollout is all about three key vectors that our customers have guided us to expand on:

Here’s a short recap on the event.  If you missed it, the replay is available here.


Padma Warrior and Joe Inzerillo discuss how technology is transforming the #MLB fan experience.

We had a stellar lineup at the event in New York.   Our CTO, Padma Warrior, headlined and did a fantastic job setting the context for this wave of innovation in the frame of IoE and Fast IT.   Paul Perez followed, explaining the sea change occurring in the application landscape and the customer imperatives guiding development of the UCS platform.   Finally, Satinder Sethi stepped us through all the new technology we’ve added to the portfolio.  Frank Palumbo hosted the event for us in New York, and I think it’s no coincidence he was rewarded later in the day by a thrilling walk-off win by the Yankees.   Note that my last link there is to, whose CTO, John Inzerillo, joined our event to share all the cool fan experience technology they’re developing.

I’d like to thank our #CiscoChampions for joining us at the event and bringing their unique and (trust me) unfiltered perspective to the news.   Another highlight for me was the opportunity to tour the MLB Advanced Media Center with Matt Eastwood of IDC who joined us in New York to moderate a panel on scale-out computing.  Matt, so sorry about the results of the Yankees/Red Sox game…it’s tough to overcome Palumbo-level karma.    Having several of our customers and partners at the event really rounded it out, making a special day for everyone that joined us in New York and in the streaming sessions.

Jim Leach (L) and panel of Cisco Champions

Jim Leach (L) and Tech Field Day panel of Cisco Champions.

To hit on all the details, the team has taken a divide-and-conquer approach here on the blog as well as youtube and our other social media venues.  In addition to the links above, here are some of the pieces you can check out to learn more.  Scanning the #USCGrandSlam hashtag on Twitter is another good way to take a look at the news and reactions.

Padma with panelists discussing Big Data in the IoE.

Padma with panelists discussing Big Data in the IoE.

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Next Generation Applications and Data Analytics

I was speaking with a customer today at VMworld and, unlike many discussions, which are focused on the infrastructure (servers, storage, networking), this one turned primarily on the application. This person was describing to me his need to match the server to a new set of applications he is being asked to support and then what to do with all the data being generated.   With much of the conversation at the show focusing on virtualization of resources, he made the point that consideration of the architecture itself – how servers, storage and networking is leveraged – was still critical to mapping the requirements of the application back to what that application lives on.

This is a trend we’re seeing more and more.  A new breed of applications, and the increasing density of data, is driving a new way of thinking about the underlying infrastructure.  Often, these applications are developed internally, leveraging many of the toolkits available on the market today, and delivered through a private or public cloud.  These applications can be run from Read More »

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