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Cisco UCS vs. IBM Flex System: Complexity and Cost Comparison

June 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm PST

Complexity and Cost Comparison: Cisco UCS vs. IBM Flex System is report recently published by Principled Technologies.

They evaluated both the technologies and costs of each solution and found a UCS solution is both less expensive to deploy and less complex to manage than an IBM Flex System.

Off all the ways Principled Technologies shows how UCS is a superior solution, I wanted to touch on just one: highly available and scalable management. A UCS management domain consists of a pair of Fabric Interconnects and supports up to 160 blade and/or rack servers. In contrast, IBM is limited to 54 blade servers plus a non-redundant Flex System Manager node. Quoting from the paper:

Because IBM Flex System Manager nodes do not failover automatically like the Cisco UCS solution, administrators must manually connect to a backup node and bring it online. Each target system has an OS agent that remains registered to the original FSM node and does not recognize the new FSM. Admins must manually unregister each of these agents from the failed node and then register the new FSM node. [page 7]

Read the full report to learn the many additional ways which UCS is shown to be superior solution and why Cisco has leapt ahead of IBM and is now the #2 blade server vendor worldwide1

Principled Technologies Complexity and Cost Comparison Cisco UCS vs. IBM Flex System from Cisco Data Center

 

Would like to learn more about how Cisco is changing the economics of the datacenter, I would encourage you to review this presentation on SlideShare  or my previous series of blog posts, Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good.

  1. Source:  IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, Q1 2013 Revenue Share, May 2013

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Natural Selection On Full Display in the Server World

NaturalSelection
Recent results clearly reinforce the growing understanding that Cisco has unleashed a more highly evolved and effective solution into the computing ecosystem.   While the principles outlined by Charles Darwin in Origin of the Species can stir controversy, I find them to be an accurate model for technology evolution and quite useful for describing how we’ve arrived at this latest watershed in the x86 server market.

Our first observation would be the extremely rapid rate of customer adoption  for Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS).  Darwin would tell us that there must be significant advantage in “fitness to purpose” inherent to UCS that have driven this velocity.  This is certainly true.  Looking back at where we’ve been and how we’re positioned to go forward, here are key factors I see at play that create these advantages for UCS adopters:

  1. Primitive incumbents in the server industry attempted converged infrastructure by choosing to combine compute and storage first. Cisco chose to converge compute and fabric first.  This is a critical threshold event because it turns out that most optimizations for virtualization and cloud are fabric-oriented.   With our Virtual Interface Cards  we made server NICs and HBAs part of the fabric, not part of the server, a significant mutation in computing design.   Further, Cisco abstracted every single identity and configuration element for servers, network access and storage into a programmable software model -- inventing fabric computing with stateless servers.  Simple. Flexible. Resilient. Advantage: UCS
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Cisco UCS – Changing the Economics of the Datacenter

May 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm PST

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.

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS): Changing the Economics of the Datacenter from Cisco Data Center

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

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Real world ROI results with UCS servers – a detailed study at Loughborough University

March 25, 2013 at 4:35 am PST

I recently worked with Loughborough University on a financial impact study of their initial deployment of Cisco UCS. The study documents their findings of a dramatic improvement in IT efficiency, bearing out the advantages that attracted them to the UCS solution. Loughborough’s Customer Case Study has been revised with the results of this TCO study as well new details on the next stage of their deployment of Cisco Virtual Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution.

We examined Loughborough’s projected growth rates and compared the continuation of their previous rack server environment against a UCS solution combined with an expansion of their virtualized environment. Server consolidation and reduced administrator workload contributed to exceptional results: a total savings of US$878,789 (40% OpEx and 60% CapEx) with a 225% ROI and 22% IRR. Compared to the previous environment, Loughborough’s UCS deployment will drive down cost in several key areas over the coming five years:

  • server hardware – 38%
  • switching infrastructure and cabling – 80%
  • power and cooling – 49%
  • new server provisioning – 79%
  • virtualization software – 39%

“When we compared the legacy server and network with one based on Cisco UCS, TCO effectively halves over a five-year investment lifecycle.”

Dr. Phil Richards, Director of IT, Loughborough University.

As a result of Cisco’s Unified Fabric approach, the study shows that Loughborough will need only six switches (three redundant pairs) to support their end state vs. 30 in their legacy environment and a corresponding reduction in cables from 646 to just 44.

These results are typical to what other customers achieve when they switch to UCS. See my first blog post, Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good.

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.

Loughborough University TCO Study Waterfall

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Cisco UCS Central :Scaling Is a Necessity. Adding Cost and Complexity Is Not.

November 6, 2012 at 9:25 am PST

Despite or because of the huge success of UCS, we continue relentlessly  to improve our platforms by

-Expanding the features to address more and more challenging situations
-Listening our customers to simplify what can be simplified
-Partnering with large and small partners to bring innovative add-ons
-Taking advantage of the latest technologies from the labs to keep rising the level of performance
-Implementing methodologies to ease transition to UCS from other platforms
-Aggressively containing cost to produce the best TCO and provide great ROI

I invite you to join us on November 8th,  9:00-10:00 am PST for an unique webcast UCS :Fabric Computing at Global Scale “.Our executives including Jim McHugh, joined  by a customer and an analyst  will discuss the evolution of UCS.

Meanwhile here is a series of  double-clicks on the points I listed above, with some pointers,  that I hope you will find very useful.

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