FlexPod, by any measure, has been a great success. 2,100 customers worldwide have adopted the architecture and it stands today as one of the leading converged infrastructure solutions in the industry. IT organizations want to modernize their operations, but they need to do it in a way that mitigates risk and lays down a solid foundation on which to scale. To get there they need a solution that brings the best, most innovative technology in an integrated architecture that’s easy to consume. FlexPod has delivered on that combination of innovation + integration + easy.
Innovation comes in abundance with FlexPod and it has allowed customers to land a wide spectrum of applications on a common infrastructure. The key is that while infrastructure elements are abstracted and pooled (the basic food groups of compute, network and storage) the system supports both bare metal and virtualized workloads with aplomb; a crucial capability given the realities in the data center today. Cisco and NetApp have each taken abstraction and API control deep into the server, network and storage infrastructure, below the OS/Hypervisor waterline, and this is what unlocks new agility for everything built on top.
So what comes next? FlexPod solutions to date have been aimed squarely at the enterprise data center. What Cisco and NetApp announced today expands the architecture on two key axis. Both vectors support the growing challenge IT organizations face today: spanning from the data center core out to the branch office and also into the cloud (both to deliver services and to procure them.) Location independence for applications across this continuum requires infrastructure that can be tuned to support a wide spectrum of workloads and operating models. To do it efficiently requires uniformity in deployment and operating models.
One the axis of operating models, the FlexPod architecture will expand out from the solid base of solutions developed for the data center in two directions: into solutions for branch office and smaller use cases, and upward, with massively scalable designs for solution providers.
On axis of workload, the array of application solutions validated by the companies will continue to grow, allowing customers to expand the footprint of converged infrastructure across their IT services.
From a consumption perspective FlexPod has established an impressive, highly scaled presence, because it was designed by both companies to “meet in the channel.” The solution is offered today by more that 700 partners in 35 countries.
While it’s possible to sometimes have too much of a good thing, it’s clear we’re a long way from that with FlexPod.
Padmasree Warrior (Cisco’s chief technology and strategy officer) and Manish Goel (NetApp’s executive vice president, Product Operations) recently met up to discuss how the companies will expand their decade long partnership.
More blogs about the announcement
Time Flies ! Expanding our Decade-Long Partnership with NetApp by Rick Snyder , Cisco Global & Strategic Partner Organization
Building on Success: Cisco and NetApp Expand Partnership By Satinder Sethi, Cisco VP Technical Marketing Server Access and Virtualization UCS
Flexpod Success Drives Increased Investment by Cisco and NetApp By Vaughn Stewart (@stewed) , NetApp Director Cloud Computing
Tags: Cloud Computing, Converged Infrastructure, data center, FlexPod, netapp, private cloud, Servers, Storage, UCS
A story came out today showcasing the platform built to power Xerox Managed Print Services (MPS), and it’s hard to describe better example of how Cisco’s data center technology comes together to help unlock the full potential of cloud computing. In the lead-up to this release and the webcast that we’re airing this Thursday, I had the pleasure of working with Tom Force who leads up the architecture team at Xerox that built the MPS cloud. What I heard him describe illustrates some of the fundamental differences in UCS that come into play for cloud builders:
- Fabric-centric design. MPS is a cloud based service and hosts over a hundred applications. Many of these are multi-tier apps and they benefit directly from the fact that every server in a UCS environment is connected to a single high performance, deterministic, low latency fabric. This eliminates hops between servers and opens up the platform to support intense E/W traffic within the servers that collaborate to deliver services. Contrast this to traditional architectures that put layers of switching between servers with in-chassis blade switching modules. The performance gains were noticed and communicated by Xerox customers to Tom, and that is the end result that really matters
- Form factor agnostic design. In UCS a server is a server is a server regardless of the shape of the box. The Xerox MPS cloud leverages blade and rack servers as and where they make sense and the architects and administrators can manage them all in one abstracted pool of resources. No other platform so fully eliminates the concerns of what shape the sheet metal is.
- A unified control plane exposed via XML API. The MPS cloud is orchestrated with vCloud director. The deep integration between UCS Manager and cloud platform SW enables automated discovery and configuration of new compute resources as they’re added to the system. This creates the true elasticity and automation that a cloud of the magnitude of Xerox MPS demands. Programmable pools of abstracted computing and network elements is what separates a robust cloud from one built on a brittle, manual infrastructure foundation.
- UCS Manager Service profiles: Simplification of server image types and elimination of configuration drift as applications move from development through test, staging and deployment was a big win for the Xerox IT team. Having a infrastructure that can be reliably and accurately provisioned and maintained, both in the primary and remote DR sites is another area Tom cited in our conversations.
- UCS Central: this is recently released technology that allows customers like Xerox to manage multiple UCS domains across the data center and across geographies.
- I’m sure i’m forgetting something but I’ll go with 5 unique attributes for now.
You have to love it when a plan comes together. **
**Fictional rendering of Tom Force
This Thursday, the Xerox team is joining us for a dynamite webcast we’ve pulled together to talk about UCS and laying the right foundations for cloud. James Staten of Forrester, who is THE MAN on cloud, helps us kick it off and we also have architects from FICO joining to talk about their private cloud design. If you’re in the business of looking at infrastructure strategy for cloud computing this is one you don’t want to miss.
Check also Xerox case study
Tags: Cloud Computing, data center, Hannibal, Servers, UCS, UDC
The following are excerpts from an interview with Wong IK Ming, Director, eSURIA MENTARI SYSTEMS SDN BHD.
From halfway around the globe in fabulous Singapore, I was delighted to have the chance to interview Wong IK Ming, a Cisco Certified Partner covering Southeast Asian nations, to get his perspectives on data center security opportunities.
Tell me about your customers. What are their most pressing problems?
eSURIA caters mostly for the public sector but we are now extending our services to include Oil and Energy. Our customers have to adhere to new and emerging government mandates around data privacy and sovereignty. This requires a combination of strong governance processes mapped to sound technical controls and a design that is future proof, for example ensuring unified policy, dynamic and logical segmentation. Security must be thought out from the beginning—from the application to the edge of the cloud. I’ve seen a couple of instances of community clouds where security has not been thought through and it’s a matter of time before a security incident occurs.
As a partner, what benefits do you see for Cisco’s approach to data center security?
Our customers are fast adopting new infrastructure models and having the Cisco Validated Designs is a huge benefit because it enables us to attest to the technical soundness of the overall solution and to present security as an integrated element as opposed to a separate element. It also enables us to build these into the overall services templates that we provide with confidence that the necessary testing has taken place. I look forward to seeing more of these validated designs. For example, a validated security blueprint for Microsoft private cloud applications with Cisco UCS.
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Tags: Cisco USC, Cisco Validated Design, cloud, data center, private cloud, Servers, UCS, virtualization, VMware
If your motto is “go big or go home” then you’re probably going to like UCS Central. Since inception, Cisco’s Unified Computing System has upheld some important core tenets in its design ethos: management via policy, simple scaling and open infrastructure programmability. UCS Central, a new management product in the UCS family, extends all of those principles to a level of scale and granular administrative reach that are truly unprecedented in our industry. The Data Center team at Cisco is very excited about what UCS Central is going to mean for our customers, so on November 8th we’re hosting an online event to lay out the whole story. I hope you will join us.
UCS Central is essentially a manager of managers. Consider a single domain of UCS to be a pair of Fabric Interconnects where an instance of UCS Manager resides and looks after the goings on of up to 160 servers and all of their I/O connectivity. UCS Central now allows administrators to manage multiple domains of UCS and scale their aggregate environment to the range of 10,000 servers.
You might say that UCS customers can opt for the “go big” option. I suppose since this the golden age of mobility, they can access it all remotely to go big and go home…
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Tags: cloud, Computing, data center, Servers, Systems Management, UCS, UCS Central, UCS Manager
In my previous blog post, I highlighted some of the benefits being seen by customers using the Cisco’s Unified Computing System ™ (UCS) from Case Studies. In posts two, three, four, and five, I discussed reduction in cabling, provisioning times, power & cooling, and other reductions in operating costs in more detail. Today, in the last post of the series, I will drill down on ongoing administrative and management costs.
Why are customers seeing a 59% reduction in administrative and management costs? UCS Manager and its associated benefits like Service Profiles and an open XML API. Cisco UCS Manager shifts administration tasks away from isolated, individual-system configuration that lacks context and visibility toward role- and policy-based management that provides end to end visibility as a single cohesive system using an intuitive GUI, with both command-line interface (CLI) and XML API options across the entire domain of 160 blade and rack servers.
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Tags: blades, data center, Servers, UCS, unified computing