We are almost at the end of January in 2014 and Cisco Live is underway in Europe. The IT landscape is changing rapidly, and we all need to adapt to it. In a previous blog I had listed some of the high priority issues for IT in 2014, and in this blog I will emphasize the rate of change needed to keep pace.
Cyber threats are growing in all forms and shapes.
From retail giants like Target to local school districts, all have been targets of attacks last year. This 2014 Cisco security report is an eye opener. The use of cloud computing and mobile devices is only increasing the complexity of security. Vulnerabilities are increasing because data centers have thus far adopted “bolt on” security measures i.e disparate technologies with multiple control points that were never meant to work together. Malicious actors are working faster to exploit gaps. IT must adapt quickly to this new normal.
IT must now deliver services not technology
Business expects IT to deliver consistent high quality services. Projects will not be one off, siloed, custom solutions. This is akin to moving away from a job shop model to a highly industrialized continuous flow model in the world of manufacturing. Projects will get more complex due to the use of shared resources and the resulting interrelationships. All this calls for a high degree of automation and service assurance mechanisms, resulting in more changes to the IT department. At Cisco, we are working hard to provide IT the necessary tools to adapt to these changes. UCS Manager is still the gold standard in automating converged infrastructure setup and maintenance. This is made possible with the service profile innovation shown in the video below. To find out more about UCS Manager attend this meetup in Santa Clara on the 27th of Feb.
With enough hype to rival even the most popular of Superbowl’s, Big Data experts will converge on New York City in just a couple weeks! But big data has good reason for all the hype as businesses continue to find new ways to leverage the insights derived from vast data pools that are continuing to grow at an exponential rate. A big reason for this is the ability to leverage Hadoop with the Hadoop Distributed File System and MapReduce functionality to analyze the data very quickly and provide incredibly fast queries that, although not even possible previously, can now be accomplished in minutes or less. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface in terms of the financial returns made around Hadoop and the infrastructure to support Hadoop deployments but one thing we do know, it’s going to be big and it will continue to get bigger!
So how does Cisco fit into this picture?
Cisco is partnering with leading software providers to offer a comprehensive infrastructure and management solution to support customer big data initiatives including Hadoop, NoSQL and Massive Parallel Processing (MPP) analytics. Leveraging the advantages of fabric computing, the Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture (CPA) delivers exceptional performance, capacity, management simplicity, and scale to help customers derive value more quickly and with less management overhead for the most challenging big data deployments.
Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture for big data enables rapid deployment, predictable performance, and massive scale without the need for complex layers of switching infrastructure. In addition, the architecture offers unique data and management integration with enterprise applications hosted on Cisco UCS. This allows big data and enterprise applications to co-exist within a single management domain that simplifies data movement between applications and eliminates the need for unique technology silos in the data center. You can also check out my previous blog, Top Three Reasons Why Cisco UCS is a Better Platform for Big Data, to get an idea of what we’ll be sharing at the show.
Have you considered Cisco UCS for your Big Data projects? I’d like to invite you to come and hear more in a couple weeks at Strata Hadoop World in New York City. We’ll have a number of demos and experts on hand to answer all of your questions.
Big Data has become mainstream as businesses realize its benefits, including improved operation efficiency, better customer experience, and more accurate predictions. However, companies are often challenged by the complexities of traditional server solutions.
In this webinar, learn how to unlock the value of Big Data with the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS). Cisco UCS delivers the performance, capacity, management simplicity, and scale that businesses need to increase agility, speed time to value, and deliver a competitive advantage to increase revenue.
Our one-hour technical presentations will demonstrate how to build elements of the Cisco Unified Data Center platform. We will show you how to design your infrastructure and management for traditional and virtualized environments. You’ll also learn about available services to help deliver it.
To attend, please click the “ATTEND” link below:
Hope you can join us and let me know if you have any comments or questions, or via twitter at @CicconeScott.
I am often asked by customers why UCS has been so successful in such a short amount of time. My response is always the same in that it comes down to two things – 1) Cisco and our partners’ ability to understand and execute against customer needs and 2) A fundamental difference in the underlying architecture.
You may know that Cisco invented UCS service profiles and built the entire system around the notion of hardware state abstraction. Cisco’s approach has been so successful because every element of the system was designed from the beginning to have its configuration set through software, without any licensing requirements. Whether customers are running bare-metal, virtualized, or any combination therein, Cisco UCS service profiles have revolutionized computing and have challenged competitors to try and replicate the simplicity and increased productivity that UCS Manager policies and templates provide. It’s no secret that Cisco UCS Manager has revolutionized the way customers deploy and manage servers, but here are a few things about UCS Manager that you may not be aware of.
Did you know that Cisco UCS Manager is embedded software running within the Fabric Interconnects in a highly available clustered configuration? This is an important distinction from traditional architectures as Cisco UCS Manager is a fully redundant management engine right out of the box the moment the system receives power, without special clustering software or additional licensing fees. Read More »
At some point, every data center has to migrate a complete server identity between two servers. This could be driven by maintenance needs, server upgrades or DR/HA and SLA requirements. For DR/HA, Business Continuity requirements mandate that this be done as quickly as possible, which means automation is critical to drive time to productivity restoration. True automation equals fewer steps and faster implementation, with the smallest possibility for error. This is more than just setting up a similar server with the same BIOS and firmware and then doing a lot of manual work requiring multiple administrative domains – compute, network and storage. I’m talking about QoS, vNIC / vHBA setting, storage access and ownership transfers, etc., the whole enchilada, all delivered in an automated repeatable processby design not by accident.
Not surprisingly, Cisco UCS with UCS Manager does the job -- fast, complete and in full. What may be surprising is that Cisco UCS Manager enables you to do this transfer not just from blade server to blade server, you can also do it from blade server to rack server. UCS Manager comes with and is embedded on the UCS Fabric Interconnects. I want to emphasize that there is no additional charge for UCS Manager, which is an important consideratin when you look at other companies’ multiple toolsets, agents and databases, most of which carry an additional cost, and which are required to equal UCS Manager functionality. UCS Manager architecture does not require a separate management server which other designs typically require.
The very best part of the entire activity is that the full migration of the server identity (enabled by Cisco SingleConnect technology) takes just 6 initial steps with UCS Manager; the rest is all about how we deliver on the promise of automation. UCS Manager lets you use and specify 127+ different server identity parameters including:
48 BIOS Settings
Host BIOS Firmware
Hdwr NIC Teaming (fabric failover)
FC Adapter & Storage Controller Firmware
BIOS & Disk Scrub Actions
Dynamic vNICs (VM FEX)
NIC and HBA Adapter Settings
vHBA WWPN & WWNN Assignment
HBA FC SAN Membership,
NIC Receive Rate & NIC MTU size
FC & iSCSI Boot Parameters
PCIe Bus Scan Order and PCIe Device Slot Placement
And Much Much More…….
The above all sounds good. Now we need to see ‘proof of delivery’. Below are the links to a white paper by Principled Technologies that are the real point of this blog – complete (not partial) migration of a server identity from a blade server to a rack server.
The real fun is to watch the accompanying video below. See for yourself how much time it takes in an apples to apples server identity migration from a blade to a rack server. Once you take a look at the video (the paper on the right has the full details of the testing), you will find taking a UCS Test Drive worthwhile.
The ability of Cisco UCS server to manage both blade and rack servers with a single tool is UCS Manager. Cisco took a unique approach to computing and focused on the common point of interaction, the fabric. Servers don’t operate in isolation. They are part of a total environment that at the minimum encompasses servers, networking, management and storage – a Fabric Based Infrastructure . Cisco’s comprehensive and efficient architecture is the key to why customers worldwide are rapidly adopting UCS.
For information on how UCS and UCS Manager integrate with a wide variety of our leading management partners follow this link UCS Manager Ecosystem Partners, and for interoperability with other major systems management tools please see the UCS Interoperability page.