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Fast and Flexible – New Third Generation Fabric Interconnect

Guest Blogger: Nikul Sheth, Product Manager for Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect

One of the things I admire about great athletes is they are both fast and flexible. This combination makes them more agile and gives them a competitive edge. Our next evolution of Cisco UCS Fabric provides customers with greater speed and flexibility to help you maintain your competitive edge. This third generation Fabric Interconnect enables a high-performance, low latency and lossless fabric architecture to address the requirements for deploying high capacity datacenters.

Third Gen Fabric InterconnectThe new Cisco UCS 6300 Series Fabric Interconnect leverages our key technology differentiators – UCS Fabric, the Virtual Interface Card (VIC) and UCS Manager. The Fabric Interconnect 6300 series and the MDS 24-Port 40G FCoE module enable a high-performance 40G FCoE end-to-end solution. The new 6300 series adds to our successful Cisco UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnect to deploy 40GbE, 40Gb FCoE, and 16Gb FC. This provides UCS customers with higher bandwidth and more configuration options, so they can have higher performance ports and the flexibility to support LAN and SAN connectivity for all servers within a domain.

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Keeping It Simple While Keeping It Fresh

When you read the headline, you may think this blog is about a new restaurant or cuisine, but this post is about UCS management. The description may not sound like it has much to do with software, but stay with me. One of the challenges you encounter when you have nearly 50,000 customers and hundreds of thousands of end users that use your software every day to manage millions of systems is providing significant enhancements (keeping it fresh) while still making it easy to use (keeping it simple). This is the challenge we faced when we made the latest upgrades to UCS management.

Here’s an example. In the new release of UCS Manager, version 3.1, we have added a new HTML 5 user interface (UI) to keep it fresh. Our customers have been using the Java UI in UCS Manager for years, so we had to make sure it was simple for them to transition. Our developers replicated the screens in HTML 5, so there is virtually no difference from the same screens in the Java UI. The layout, colors, icons and text are almost identical between the Java and HTML5 UI to provide a seamless user transition.

(There’s an example of the new HTML 5 UI in the screen captures below.) The new release supports both the HTML 5 and Java UI, so customers can transition in a way that works best for them without the hassle of having to learn new screens or modifying any of their processes.

Example of the new HTML 5 UI in UCS Manager

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There are many new enhancements in the latest updates to UCS management.

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From desktop to Data Center…changing the game with graphics

What if you were able to give everyone in your organization the flexibility and freedom to securely work anywhere in the world and on any device? What types of productivity gains would your company see as a result? What efficiencies or cost savings might your IT department receive from moving desktops to your datacenter and managing these virtual workstations through one single pane of glass?

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Our Cisco UCS team is excited to present the new Maxwell generation NVIDIA Tesla M6 GPU for the Cisco UCS B200M4 Blade and the NVIDIA Tesla M60 GPU for Cisco 2U Rack Rack Servers. Cisco and NVIDIA have joined forces to deliver this new graphics solution.  Combining security, reliability and manageability from Cisco UCS and adding NVIDIA’s GRID technology, we’re able to deliver performance and speed needed to run high-end applications on virtual desktops. What’s better is that you have two form factor options to fit your organization’s’ data center footprint. 

The M60 Rack GPU is supported with UCS Manager 3.1(1) and later & Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) 2.0(9) and later; the M6 Blade GPU is supported with both UCS Manager 3.1(1) and 2.2(7) and later.

 

With Cisco UCS & NVIDIA GRID, you can now expand your virtualization footprint without compromising performance or user experience while also increasing security. This means, you can empower your workforce to create anything around the world, from any location with the ease and flexibility.

 

The new Cisco & NVIDIA M6 Blade GPU solution is fully integrated with the flagship B200M4 Server, supporting all CPU configurations and performance on par with NVIDIA K2 GPU, at less than half the power profile!  With two of the M60 GPU’s on Cisco UCS C240M4, you can now enable high density NVIDIA Tesla Compute and GRID 2.0 VDI user consolidation, which is over 8,000 CUDA cores & 32GB of GPU memory for up to 64 GPU-accelerated virtual desktop users.
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This is especially exciting for organizations in the Oil and Gas, Manufacturing and Design industries since historically, this type of work demanded high-end applications like ESRI, AutoCAD, Petrel and Siemens to be used in on-site with workstations. But now, these types of applications can be powered virtually through your data center to any device.

Take an airplane manufacturer for example. With a follow-the-sun working model, this organization can now empower its employees to design from anywhere in the world with the device they prefer, while all working on the same application in real-time. This helps the company save time, money and fuels rapid innovation. Last but not least, this is all done while maintaining security for the organization.

Empower your employees to create flexibly, securely and from any device and any location in the world. Now possible with Cisco UCS & NVIDIA GRID.   

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Productivity, mobility, security, and flexibility for all. This changes everything.

Learn how others are transforming their data centers with Cisco UCS.

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Composable Infrastructure Part 5: The Right Tool for the Job

Tool Kit with ToolsWe all know the importance of using the right tool for the job. Having the right tool can make the work much easier and faster. When you think about infrastructure to support the new cloud-scale applications, you also want the right tool. System vendors have offered a range of options for decades. Servers are designed to support the requirements of different applications and workloads. This same principle applies to composable infrastructure.  Even if you pool the infrastructure resources and allocate them dynamically to support each application, there is still a requirement to have different systems architected to support different requirements. A one size fits all approach to this new category of infrastructure is bound to have its limitations.

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Using best better practices with Cisco UCS Manager

I’ve been working with Cisco UCS since the very beginning. From the earliest days, whenever a customer ran into problems, I would often be asked to help figure out what was going wrong and to help fix it. Generally, this would involve a review of the system, and when we found less desirable configurations we would work with the partner and customer to clean things up. As a part of this process, I began documenting the good and the bad I saw, which evolved into what I describe as UCS “better” practices. This post aims to describe some of these practices and why they are useful. Follow-up posts will expand on this and include additional important practices. Read More »

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