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Cisco UCS Management

September 17, 2013 at 5:04 am PST

As Cisco UCS enters a new phase of growth with Cisco’s entry into the top 5-server vendors list, let’s step back and take a look at how we manage infrastructure in the world of Unified Computing. UCS Management is a key ingredient of Cisco’s Unified Data Center, which unifies physical and virtual infrastructures across data centers. The architecture delivers IT services through a holistic fabric-based approach, and has proven to lower the cost of computing and enable real IT innovation.    Customers are reporting an 84% reduction in provisioning times and 61% reduction of ongoing administrative/management costs.  In this post we’ll examine some of the drivers for that.  More recently, UCS Director has bolstered the portfolio and provided significant capabilities to reduce data center operational expenses.  Since there are many questions about how the portfolio products complement each other, I hope to clarify it.

UCSM_portfolio

The UCS management portfolio includes:

  • UCS Manager for individual UCS domains
    • Provides embedded, unified, policy based management of Cisco UCS blade and rack servers and all fabric components within the system Read More »

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Cisco UCS in an application centric world

August 29, 2013 at 10:17 am PST

Over the past few months I have been blogging about Cisco UCS in the context of various trends in the IT industry.

  1. Cisco UCS in an industrialized world
  2. Cisco UCS in a world with lotsa data
  3. Cisco UCS in the world of open source computing
  4. Cisco UCS in a world with windows
  5. Cisco UCS in a converged world
  6. Cisco UCS is a cloudy world
  7. Cisco UCS in a social world
  8. Cisco UCS in a mobile world

One thing is clear -- IT world is changing and at a pace much faster than we have ever known.  It seems appropriate to culminate the series in the world of applications.  All entities, big and small ultimately want their data center infrastructure to run applications.  They could be collaboration applications for internal use or with partners.  The applications could be developed in house or could be commercial off the shelf (COTS). Some of the applications can provide the firm a competitive edge in the market – think recommendation engine used by Amazon.  At the end of the day the application is providing a valuable service.  With the advent of the Internet of Everything (IOE), there are many sources of data and connections that applications have to consider while delivering the service.

Imagine the Amazon recommendation engine taking into account your location and the temperature from a gauge near you.  Assuming that application services are delivered from a data center, the application must also be cognizant of the different access mechanisms, desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets and mobile phones. The rate of change in these new technologies is brisk.  As these rapid changes take place, Cisco offers Application centric infrastructure to ease the transitions.  Read Cisco CTO, Padmasree Warrior’s blog on this.

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Just what we need on Cyber Monday – Cisco UCS Central

November 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm PST

Total (consumer) spending for the (Thanksgiving 2012) weekend reached an estimated $59.1 billion, a 13% increase from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation.  Online spending on Friday alone topped $1 billion for the first time, according to the data-analysis firm comScore Inc.

We can analyze the seasonal patterns of traffic by studying the Alexa reports such as the one below for different retailers.  In the case of walmart.com the holiday traffic is 400% the average during the year.  It remains to be seen how much more the traffic would spike today – Cyber Monday 2012. It is clear that retailers like Walmart need the ability to scale up the e-commerce infrastructure during the holiday season.

A retailer’s e-commerce infrastructure would include software applications, middleware, server, network and storage resources.  Virtualization technology has made scaling of e-commerce applications easier.  However, virtual machines can only start on physical servers after they are racked, stacked and necessary network and storage access components have been properly configured.  The preparation of the physical infrastructure is still mostly a manual task, unless they are using something like the Cisco UCS.  The Cisco UCS Manager embedded in the system, handles the simplified configuration.  With large environments (thousands of servers) infrastructure management software such as Cisco UCS Central becomes increasingly important. Cisco UCS Central, which simplifies compute infrastructure scaling, became generally available last week.   With it, physical compute infrastructure management can now be policy based and automated.  This in turn can increase the velocity of changes and reduce the possibility of errors while scaling rapidly.  This blog by Steve Kaplan and the short video below give a nice overview of Cisco UCS Central software.

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Unified Data Center IQ Contest : Last chance to win – It’s all about UCS

November 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm PST

A quick note to make sure that  you don’t miss the last weekly leg of this 6 weeks contest -

Last week on November 1st was  a big milestone for our customers with the announcement of Cisco UCS Central - I hope you has a chance to check the blogs on this topic , including the analysis of  partners bloggers. Check here you will find all the clues you need to answer the questions and get a chance to win the iPAD .

So naturally our questions are about UCS  and UCS Central.

To enter the contest and answer the 5 easy questions with multiple choices, just go to http://www.Facebook.com/ciscodc and click on the tab “win an iPad !”

Here is one additional clue : To answer the question number 2 about cost avoidance, you definitely want to discover our UCS  TCO tool 

Just a quick reminder of how this contest works :

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Fabric Computing at scale

November 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm PST

Tune in to the webcast, this Thursday, Nov 8, which specifically addresses large-scale fabric computing to find out more.  Research firm, Gartner, defines fabric computing as “A set of computing, storage, memory and I/O components joined through a fabric interconnect, and the software to configure and manage them”.  In a study on fabric computing adopters earlier this year, Gartner researchers called out the following three major impacts:

  • External service providers justify fabric-based infrastructure (FBI) based on operating cost savings and density (for greater revenue per square foot), while enterprises base their FBI acquisitions primarily on capital cost savings.
  • Gartner clients found that FBI’s use of templates and profiles improves resiliency because, in the event of infrastructure failure, they can recreate servers in minutes.
  • Virtually all clients with FBI in production found a reduction in time to provision from two to three months to a few hours to three days.

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is leading this industry transition to fabric computing, and with Cisco UCS Central, catapulting it to an unprecedented scale.  In his blog, Todd Brannon, Unified Computing Product Marketing Senior Manager, explains UCS Central in a nutshell. Cisco UCS Central lays the foundation for disaster recovery by providing the ability to recreate the infrastructure environment in a different data center. With Cisco UCS Central, customers can manage dynamic environments efficiently without higher-level software and complex setups. With an open API, UCS Central allows users to retain existing data center processes and tools. It also provides role-based administration to support collaboration across disciplines and to accommodate necessary organizational changes.

The basic underlying configuration capabilities are provided by Cisco UCS Manager, which is embedded in the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect:

  • Policy and model-based management with service profiles and templates
  • Auto-discovery to detect, inventory and provision system components that are added
  • A comprehensive open XML API for integration and automation

Cisco UCS Single Wire Connectivity

Cisco UCS Manager 2.1 brings additional benefits to fabric computing adopters

  • Customers will get blade server benefits such as reduced cabling and ease of management on rack mount servers. Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1225 with the Nexus 2232PP Fabric Extender drastically reduces the cabling and number of switches needed for rack-mount servers as shown in the figure above.
  • Customers will also get more options on storage topology including Multi-hop FCOE

Cisco UCS is expected to reduce the total cost of ownership for fabric computing as Gartner clients have verified.  Find out how, in our webcast, which will include a customer perspective.

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