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Server Form-Factor Freedom

March 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm PST

Today, Cisco introduced the Third-Generation of Fabric computing. The power of unification can be seen in all aspects of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). It unifies physical and virtual compute environments. It integrates the server and network access.  It also unifies and simplifies the management of rack and blade servers.  The choice between using blade and physical server is not obvious and usually sparks a heated debate. The Cisco UCS Manager with B-Series blades and C-Series Rack-mount servers makes this argument moot.

Without passing judgment on whether rack or blade servers are better, lets begin by listing the benefits of the two form factors.  Blade server use is growing and there are many reasons for this:

  1. Data center space / Power / Cooling constraints -- Data center space can get expensive depending on the location.  In this CBS 60 minutes segment, proximity to the stock exchange is extolled. This fascinating video shows the collocation of data centers in urban nerve centers. I am sure data center space in these locations commands a premium. Energy efficiencies also become important in the overall cost structure.   Power constraints may also favor the use of blades that consume less power than equally powerful rack mount servers.
  2. Read More »

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Basic Server Management and beyond

February 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm PST

The term server management conjures up different connotations in the mind of the listener.  Depending on the type of server -- software application server, virtual server or physical server, the issues they care about are different. Two tasks that instantly come to the fore are server configuration and server monitoring.

A software application server manager may visualize configuration of production middleware servers and the parameters may include database connections, memory size etc.  A manager responsible for the virtual infrastructure in a data center may picture server configuration tasks as storing and accessing virtual images, operating system types etc. for the virtual machines.  An infrastructure manager responsible for physical servers will take into consideration power, firmware and network configurations for the server.

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Cisco UCS: Data Center Problem Solver

It’s been said that marketing is telling the truth attractively.  My spin on that definition is that “telling the truth is the most effective form of marketing.”  That’s exactly how I approach life here in the Marketing organization at Cisco. Read More »

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VMworld 2011 – Cisco and VMware – Big New Opportunities

A few weeks ago, VMware announced a huge number of updates to their product portfolio, under the “Cloud Infrastructure Suite” umbrella. Without going into all the product/feature specifics, as plenty of blogs have already covered that, I wanted to highlight several areas where IT organizations will now have the opportunity to truly take advantage of joint integration and world-class technology from Cisco and VMware. I highlight these because many of them will be demo’d at the Cisco Booth (#700) at VMworld next week, as well as covered in white-boarding and Q&A sessions with our “Ask the Experts” panel each day.

So if you’re going out to VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas next week, I highly recommend you check out these technologies and opportunities to improve how IT is delivered to your business:

  • “Monster VMs” -- one of the key areas of vSphere 5 is enhanced capabilities to host large, Tier-1 application VMs. This is a huge advancement as IT organizations look to continue to drive greater utilization and efficiency in the data center, without sacrificing performance and availability. And there is no better x86 server platform to run those mission-critical applications on that Cisco UCS. Not only has the UCS plaform been independently proven to provide world-record performance for almost every application type, but more and more customers are voting with their wallets that UCS will be their next generation server platform (now up to 7400 customers as of August 2011). Read More »

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Innovation Engine: Cisco Ranked #1 for R&D Quality by Patent Board

When I demonstrated Cisco’s newest network management technologies in my keynote address at Cisco Live last week, there were gasps and applause from the audience as they saw the difference between our  next generation technology and the technology our competitors are touting as ‘good enough’.

The technologies I demonstrated (Cisco Prime, UCS Manager and the Cisco Virtual Switching System) are the great results of the more than $5 billion that Cisco invests in R&D on an annual basis. Cisco spends more on R&D than all of our networking industry peers combined and, for the record, we invest five times more (on a percentage of revenue basis) than the next largest networking vendor.

However, what’s more important than the size of our R&D budget is its impact and I’m proud to say that the Patent Board today recognized Cisco as the #1 innovator among 141 companies in its annual Telecom and Communications industry scorecard. Cisco ranked #1 for both the number of patents granted, as well as for the overall strength of the company’s patent portfolio, which is a combined measure of quality and quantity.

That’s a tremendous accomplishment, and I am very proud of our fantastically talented engineers. Credit is particularly due to Cisco Senior Vice President of Research and Advanced Development, Joel Bion, for his tremendous leadership of our R&D efforts. As I often say, great engineers make innovation look easy.

To our customers the message is also clear: whether it’s the 500 patents earned by the recently refreshed Catalyst 6500 (the world’s most popular switching platform) or those awarded in the creation of our ground-breaking Cisco Cius enterprise collaboration tablet, world-beating innovation is something you can always expect from Cisco.

You can find a comprehensive analysis of the Patent Board’s latest Telecom and Communications industry scorecard in the Wall Street Journal (password required).

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