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Blade Server Architecture Comparison – Important Differences Abound

October 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm PST

I recently wrote a blog titled Blade Server TCO and Architecture – You Cannot Separate Them and thought a little more on the architecture side would be a good thing.

 With so much misinformation (dis-information?) about UCS running around in the ether, I thought the straight forward comparison offered here would be valuable. It is important to dispel myths and analyze reality before making the important decisions around server and networking refreshes / upgrades, which by necessity affect long term data center architecture. I hope you will find this presentation -- Cisco UCS, HP and IBM -- A Blade Architecture Comparison, useful in your decision making process.

Cisco UCS HP and IBM A Blade Architecture Comparison from Cisco Data Center

For me, there are three primary drivers that differentiate the Cisco UCS architecture from everyone else’s designs and they can be divided into the buckets below:

You could, and probably should, ask what is left out? That’s pretty easy. I did not specifically call out Performance and TCO, for a good reason. If you can execute on the three bullets above like Cisco UCS does, Performance and TCO are the natural derivatives. You shouldn’t have to target them separately. It’s kind of a “If you build it, they will come” scenario. That’s why I made the statements in the TCO and Architecture blog that “…Server cost is irrelevant (to OpEx) because: changing its contribution to total TCO has a vanishingly small impact….” and “…It [architecture] is the single most important component of OpEx…”   For more on this and how server cost and TCO intersect, please check out this blog -- Blade Server TCO and Architecture – You Cannot Separate Them.  It takes a look at the OpEx and CapEx components of TCO, and how altering either of them effects the actual total  3-year TCO.  You may be surprised.

Cisco is providing trade-in credits for customers’ old generation servers and blade chassis,  helping ease the transition and upgrade to a new UCS blade architecture.  The UCS Advantage presentation below has more details on this fantastic program that can further enhance the already compelling TCO benefit of upgrading to Cisco UCS.

UCS Advantage -- Refresh to UCS from Cisco Data Center

Special note: For more on the benefit that Cisco UCS delivers for I/O and throughput, I suggest a great blog by Amit Jain -- How to get more SAN mileage out of UCS FI.  Amit does an excellent compare / contrast of FC and FCoE technologies (“…8 Gb FC yields 6.8 Gb throughput while 10 Gb FCoE yields close to 10 Gb throughput…”).

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A Generation X Perspective: Collaboration My Way?

I was recently digging through a closet at home and happened upon some boxes with old tech gadgets from years past.  As a Gen Xer who grew up with a Commodore 64 and whose first personal workplace productivity tool was a US Robotics Palm Pilot in 1997, it made me come to two realizations.  First, technology has really changed – and for the better.  And second, I need to start parting with things that no longer work in the current state of the working world.

My generation is described as highly individualistic.  We’re supposed to be technologically adept, flexible and value work/life balance.  And I can assure you I am all of those things.  But when I think about my career and how my generation’s cultural values have translated into the technological culture of the places I’ve worked in years past, it hasn’t always been rosy.  I used to be tethered to a cubicle with a desktop computer and telephone.  Things got slightly better with laptops, but there were no Apple products or personal devices allowed on the network.  One supported choice for a smartphone?  Not so smart, really.  But as new generations are entering the workforce after me, I’m seeing a dramatic shift occurring in thinking and approach.

I’m noticing that both organizations and technology providers alike are recognizing the need for change and designing for a new way of working – giving employees access to technology like never before. Whereas I used to have difficulty getting collaboration tools to do the job, now there is a plethora of them at my disposal.  But be careful what you wish for. Read More »

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Top 7 Facts to Know about Cisco HD Experience Technology

Last week, we announced at Interop-NY  our newest Indoor Access Point, the Aironet 3700 Series. This access Point includes an integrated 802.11ac radio and is the first and only access point to support a 4x4 MIMO on 802.11ac. This latest Wi-Fi Standard will provide wireless networks better performance and coverage, and address the demand for client access including 802.11ac enabled clients.  Whether you are in Higher Education, K-12, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail or other verticals, we are seeing our customers across industries face the same challenges: more users coming onto the network, more users bringing more devices, more devices that are only wireless connectivity (no Ethernet port), more security, OS and application updates on each of those devices. All this drives the larger problem of high density.

Enter the Cisco HD Experience Technology. Available on the new Aironet 3700 Series Access Points, the Cisco High Density Experience or “HD Experience” Technology is a suite of solutions serving up a feature set designed specifically to alleviate the introduction of more clients, bandwidth hungry applications and high density network strain in order to provide an unparalleled user experience.

Here are the top 7 facts to know about Cisco HD Experience Technology:

1. HD Experience Technology is a suite of solutions only available on the AP3700 that helps  OPTIMIZE performance, mitigation, scalability and roaming for High Client Density networks

2. HD Experience is a hardware-based solution on a WiFi chipset designed BY and FOR CISCO. This is *not* software features based on merchant silicon WiFi chipset. HD Experience includes…

3. CleanAir 80 MHz, where Cisco fundamentally retooled the award-winning CleanAir technology to provide the same level of granularity and accuracy of RF interference detection and mitigation across 802.11ac’s 80 MHz bandwidth…but it also detects and mitigates for 802.11a/b/g/n clients as well. Read More »

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Leveraging Location: Cisco Sets the Curve with Facebook and Other Partners

Have you heard? Many organizations are now realizing that they can leverage location-based services to provide personalized mobile experiences and customer analytics. It pays to stay connected to your consumers and enhancing the mobile experience. Today at Interop New York, we unveiled a number of new product and solution innovations built to expand on and extend the power of Cisco Unified Access to drive these new connected mobile experiences.

Nearly one year into announcing our Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution, and with today’s announcement, there’s even more. We’re kicking off a deep dive blog series to give you an in depth look at the new enhancements, but for now here’s a taste of what’s new:

CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi 

CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi allows retailers, hoteliers, restaurants, and more to engage and analyze customers and guests using the Cisco and Facebook Wi-Fi platforms. It enables guests to easily connect to the Wi-Fi network using their Facebook credentials and “check-in” to the venue’s Facebook profile. The check ins give venues additional marketing and branding opportunities through broadcasting through guest news feeds, as well as valuable demographic information. See how a conference center, Evergreen Brickworks, is using the solution:

CMX Analytics

Enhanced onsite analytics have a revamped UI to show you how, where, and when customers and visitors are moving throughout a venue. Read More »

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BIG Awards Finalists Vie for $100K and Mentoring Support

October 1, 2013 at 9:43 am PST

So here we are again – seems like only yesterday that we were going through the difficult task of picking the BIG Awards 2012 finalists…. and now over a year later we are about to announce the finalists for the 2013 competition, and have had a full year supporting last year’s winners Snap Fashion and Digital Shadows.

The BIG Awards is one of the 4 main components of Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme, which forms the core of our innovation-based legacy from London 2012.

So much has happened in the last 12 months it’s hard to fathom and already both 2012 winners are moving their businesses forward in so many ways. Snap Fashion launched in Singapore and Digital Shadows received Cool Vendor 2013 status from Gartner. It seems like they are the “grown-ups” to the new talent coming through – I have to say it was great to see Jenny,  CEO from Snap Fashion, and Alastair, CEO from Digital Shadows, offering their advice and experience at our recent semi-final event at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden.

Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UKI and Tom Kneen, BIG Programme Lead, Cisco with Jenny Griffiths, CEO and Founder of Snap Fashion and Alastair Paterson, CEO of Digital Shadows.

Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UKI and Tom Kneen, BIG Programme Lead, Cisco with Jenny Griffiths, CEO and Founder of Snap Fashion and Alastair Paterson, CEO of Digital Shadows.

As a team we were wondering how we would match the quality of the 6 finalists from 2012. But when we first glanced at the early submissions for the 2013 competition we knew we had no need to be worried – the entries did not disappoint and once again the judging panel was set a very hard task to pick 20 semi-finalists and then in the last couple of weeks the finalists.

Read More »

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