In April the largest conference for Oracle users, outside of Oracle OpenWorld, occurred in Denver. With 6000 attendees “Collaborate”, the annual Oracle user conference sponsored by IOUG (Independent Oracle User Group), OAUG (Oracle Application User Group) and Quest International, is one of the best events For Oracle users, whether it is Oracle Database or any of the other Oracle software products, to learn, network, share and teach. Oh, and have some fun too.
But for companies like Cisco who exhibit and sponsor Collaborate, it is also a great chance to informally “take the pulse” of the Oracle user community. The questions they ask and the sessions they attend provide a clear indicator of where Oracle users are headed, what the trends are and and where they are putting their efforts in the future. Here is what I discovered at this year’s Collaborate.
So unlike past conferences, the Oracle community is actively looking at
a) Virtualization for their Oracle infrastructure, including Databases and
b) Preconfigured/prevalidated hardware solutions (sometimes called converged infrastructure solutions) instead of just the old DIY custom system approach for hardware.
To me these are both major changes in the mindset of those using Oracle Database and applications. And the implications are significant. As virtualization permeates the large Oracle install-base (largest business software vendor), the hypervisor vendors will see significant growth and many operational aspects of Oracle infrastructures will change and improve. That virtualization push includes Oracle who is making inroads with their dramatically updated Oracle VM (virtual machine) product.
The move towards pretested hardware solutions is also a major directional shift which should drive an increased focus on reducing software and database upgrade/version cycle times and downplay the need to do extensive hardware testing. In today’s environment of “do more with less”, pretested hardware solutions may be a great way to help the Oracle IT team address that conundrum.
Can Cisco help with these trends towards more Oracle virtualization and pretested hardware configurations? The answer is a resounding YES! With our storage partners EMC and NetApp, and our software partners Oracle and VMware, we have developed an extensive array of pretested/prevalidated solutions with hypervisors (Oracle VM and vSphere), storage (EMC and NetApp) and software (Oracle Database and applications) all running on Cisco UCS servers and Cisco networking. For more information on Cisco’s Oracle solutions and to see the available Cisco Validated Designs (CVD) for Oracle, go to Cisco.com/go/oracle
Coming up in my next blog, more on the move to virtualize Oracle database and applications.
Cisco UCS has fantastic technology that technical decision makers are demanding. But what about business decision makers? It doesn’t matter how great the technology is, the question for BDMs is how will UCS save me money?
I set out to answer that question, connecting UCS technology innovations to TCO improvement, for the Unifying Your Data Center Roadshow (running through late June) and wanted to share the presentation with a larger audience so it has been posted to SlideShare.
The savings are grouped into two overall buckets: Unified Fabric (servers, networking, cabling, power & cooling) and Unified Management (provisioning, ongoing administration, and systems management software). Each sub-section discuss Cisco’s differentiation at a high level and shows how they impact the value of a UCS solution. The savings categories are validated by customer case studies, some of which you may remember from my first series of blog posts, Yes, Cisco Servers are that good. Lastly there are two real world TCO/ROI examples including Loughborough University who are cutting their costs ~50% over five years.
Would you like to learn more about how Cisco UCS can help you? There are more than 250 published datacenter case studies on Cisco.com. Additionally, there is a TCO/ROI tool that will allow you to compare your existing environment to a new UCS Solution. For a more in-depth TCO/ROI analysis, contact your Cisco partner
Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms – Flexibility and Choice with Architectures That Fit
I recently had the opportunity to host several customers in a roundtable discussion, exploring their experiences in deploying desktop and application virtualization, the challenges encountered, and the benefits they’ve reaped. It was an engaging dialog with organizations spanning mid-market, enterprise to large service provider environments deploying either Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon View desktop virtualization software. In case you missed it, you can check out the event here. I mention this because it provides a valuable backdrop to some important news Cisco is sharing today, centered on helping IT organizations (like those I met with) more quickly achieve success in VDI.
Over the last few years, Cisco UCS has rapidly established itself as a leader among competitors with a much longer history in the server marketplace. Why is that? If you talk with anyone who’s implemented UCS in their data center, they’ll instantly tell you about the operational streamlining and simplification that UCS Service Profile Templates offer, the value of a unified data center fabric for LAN and SAN, and the performance derived from a platform that was purpose built for highly scalable, virtualized environments.
It should be no surprise then, that when organizations evaluate their options for server infrastructure to host virtual desktop workloads, the same UCS core value proposition extends nicely to desktop virtualization – the benefits of which are multiplied, in fact, given that virtual desktops can consume infrastructure resources and capacity in unique ways compared to other mission critical enterprise applications. We’ve therefore seen great response from our customers (as demonstrated in our webinar/panel discussion) when it comes to the fitness of UCS in hosting virtual desktops.
What we’ve come to find through our customer’s experiences, is that the vendor marketplace has traditionally taken a one-size-fits-all mentality around VDI architectures that either forces organizations to overspend CAPEX on approaches that are tuned for much larger environments, or wrestle with an economized approach that results in poor desktop user experience. Clearly, there’s a spectrum of IT implementation use cases that apply, when we’re talking VDI. Persistent desktops vs. floating, SAN in place vs. greenfield, one-hundred seats vs. tens of thousands, etc. so one size will never adequately fit all!
For this very reason, we’re expanding our portfolio of desktop virtualization solution architectures, along with the ecosystem of technology partners who are helping us accelerate the path to VDI success for environments of all sizes. While Cisco enjoys a strategic relationship with NetApp and EMC, we’re now offering desktop virtualization solutions that also include technologies from partners such as Nimble Storage, Nexenta, Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, Tegile and others in process.
With these partners’ technologies come new capabilities that exploit key trends in the VDI and data center marketplace, including the proliferation of flash-based storage solutions, and appliance based approaches that mitigate the need for embedded SAN infrastructure and expertise (especially in smaller environments). Additionally, unlike our competitors who are narrowly focused on their own storage portfolio, Cisco can offer our customers the flexibility and choice they desire in selecting the storage technology and solution for VDI, that best fits their environment.
I encourage you to learn more about this exciting new portfolio of architectures by checking out the assets below.
Today Cisco is introducing an expanded architectural portfolio and partner ecosystem in support of our successful desktop virtualization solution built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). Cisco UCS market traction has been phenomenal over the last 3 years. In fact, desktop virtualization has been one of the top workloads deployed on UCS as IT organizations apply the benefits of our stateless, simplified operations model, expansive I/O, and scalable performance to desktop workloads in the data center. Combined with unique product integration and the software eco-system partners such as VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, Cisco has delivered a number of reference designs with our strategic storage partners such as EMC and NetApp. Typically, these architectures were based on designs that easily scale from supporting a few hundred virtual desktops to thousands of desktops.
We have seen an inflection point with the perfect storm of the evolution of storage options, desktop software maturity, and data center architectures. One of the important changes in the storage market is the emergence of flash storage to address performance problems.
Taking advantage of enhanced UCS features and expanding the eco-system of storage partners including Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, LSI, Nexenta, Nimble Storage and Tegile, Cisco is defining a broader portfolio of data center architectures for delivering desktop virtualization solutions – on-board architecture, simplified architecture and scalable architecture. “Converged” or “Unified” infrastructure stacks such as FlexPod and vBlock have, and will continue to be another successful option for desktop delivery infrastructure. Let me walk you through each of these architectural approaches.
We handed out a stack of these buttons for the Cisco booth staff to wear this year and that sums up my favorite part of EMC World: it’s an infrastructure party. This is a place where you’re going to talk with people at the heart of the data center and IT, and the conversations all start there.
Our alignment with EMC couldn’t be any clearer than what we had on display last week. VBlock continues to rock and roll and Trey Layton of VCE summed that up quite nicely here. On the VSPEX front, Cisco recently released 7 new and updated integrated infrastructure designs that combine UCS, Nexus and VNX Storage. Moreover, Cisco offers these as single-part-number SmartPlay Solution Pak bundles that make them even easier for our partners and customers to order. Cisco’s VSPEX offerings span the gamut on choice of virtualization platform and application, paving that second of the three paths to cloud we talked about at EMCworld.
On a product front the big news for Cisco was the new MDS 9710 and that brought a lot of visitors into the booth. I was also really happy by the amount of people that came by to talk with us about UCS and the things we’re doing around data center automation. Each year the conversation has changed and the evolution has been fun to experience:
Customer: “What’s that funny looking switch there?”
Me: “That’s the Unified Computing System, are you familiar with Cisco’s new server platform?”
Customer: “What? No, really, what’s that funny looking switch there??”
Customer: “Do you have any UCS on display here? Our team in XYZ division just deployed it and I’d like to take a look”
Customer: “Hey, I really like what you folks did with the switch-based Fibre Channel zoning in the last release of UCS Manager. When does version 2.0 of UCS Central come out? We’re deploying UCS in three more data centers and I want to talk about implementing global ID pools”
Me: “Fantastic. Let me find our systems management expert.”
I speak geek pretty well, so when customers come in and want to go deeper than I can on operating the system instead of asking me “Cisco sells servers?”…I know we’re in the right place and on the right vector. Thanks to the EMC and Cisco teams for putting on such a great event.
I’ll leave you with a photo here for a caption contest. Leave your ideas in the comment section and try your best to keep it clean. My first take is “I loved EMC World 2013 thiiiiiiiiiiiis much!”