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Cisco’s Microsoft Tech Ed 2013 Primer: All You Need to Know for New Orleans and Madrid Events

May 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm PST

TENA

Next week in New Orleans Microsoft’s trade show season kicks off in earnest with Microsoft Tech Ed North America which will be followed a few weeks later with Microsoft Tech Ed Europe 2013.  Cisco will be a gold sponsor at each event showcasing our datacenter assets.

Cisco continues to double-down on investments for Microsoft oriented datacenters – new UCS SMARTPlays and Solution Paks, Cisco CVD’s for Microsoft’s Fast Track private cloud program, Nexus 1000V support of Windows Server 2012, and award-winning UCS Manager integration with System Center 2012.

At Tech Ed we will be demonstrating key technologies and solutions such as our compute platform UCS and our FlexPod BOTE2013_Finalist_Partner and VSPEX reference architectures for Hyper-V private cloud environments. For the network platform of course Nexus 1000V will be getting the spotlight. Nominated for a Best of Tech Ed 2013 award in the virtualization category, Nexus 1000V delivers support for key advanced networking virtualization scenarios via integration with the Hyper-V Extensible Switch.

Our UCS Manager solution, with its strong integration into System Center 2012 continues to evolve. Stop by for a demo and see why it is was the 2012 Best of Tech Ed Breakthrough Technology award winner.

Finally, we will be making available demos of our Cisco Email Security for Microsoft Exchange offering. This  Gartner Magic Quadrant leader for Network Access Control delivers peace of mind for your messaging networks.

Please visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft to learn more about these solutions and others that help us to deliver to you an optimal Microsoft oriented datacenter environment.

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‘Tis the Season for Events, Trade Shows & Cisco UCS Servers

‘Tis the Season – for Events and Trade Shows

Make sure to visit the Cisco booth and talk to the team about Cisco UCS Servers

Well, we are officially deep into the IT and Data Center event and trade show season. 

This is a great time for Cisco and a tremendous opportunity for us to meet and talk with IT professionals about what is important to them.  The discussions range from deployment challenges, to management, networking, collaboration and even failover and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO).  It is very rewarding when new customers stop by to say how great Cisco UCS is, how easy it was to integrate into their data center, and how they are using Cisco solutions (including Cisco UCS) to deliver superior performance for their organizations.  The most fun is when they tell me what server(s) there were using and then evangelize to me the benefits of UCS, wishing they hadn’t waited so long to make the move up to Cisco servers and the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).

One of the most compelling conversations I have ever had was at VMworld.  A visitor to the Cisco booth (from a major mid-west university) came by to praise UCS and to ask some technical questions.  The most important question for him was the need to verify the correct NIC failover settings for his VMware environment.  {Cisco UCS Manager lets you programmatically specify how failover is handled, either at the individual Service Profile level or at the Service Profile Template level, depending on your setup.}  The customer did not remember what his current settings were and did not have his VPN information with him, but he still needed help.  While he was calling his team to get the access information he needed, I called over one the Technical Matter Experts staffing our booth.  From the event floor, we actually logged into the university’s UCS deployment, inside the data center (view only mode of course), accessed UCS Manager and drilled down into the Service Profile Template for the VMware servers. The end of the story is that the UCS B-Series server NIC failover settings were optimized for his VMware deployment, which in this case was to let VMware handle it.  UCS adapter policies were set to “VMware”.  Even better was the ability that Cisco UCS delivers which enables this degree of visibility and management.  I can tell you it impressed a number of folks that were watching the process and had multiple questions afterward. {For step by step guidance to set the UCS Service Profile and Templates policies discussed above, see Cisco Virtualization Solution for EMC VSPEX with VMware vSphere 5.1 for 250 Virtual Machines.  Figures 71 through 76 are great illustrations of this capability.  They are located in the section titled:  VSPEX Configuration Guidelines -- Physical setup -- Create Service Profile Template}

The “hands on” story above was a one-time experience for me.  The truly amazing thing is that it is an absolutely normal occurrence to be talking with someone about Cisco Unified Computing System, and have an existing customer, who is just walking by, join the conversation.  When this happens it typically kicks off a 10 minute “customer and visitor” discussion.  The UCS customer goes into detail about how much they like UCS and the Cisco partnership, the benefits they are getting from their UCS Solution, and how much better it is than their old (always named) vendor. This is not an unusual occurrence, and the depth of customer appreciation for the UCS solution is amazing.

Cisco UCS Manager

Cisco UCS Manager

The most prevalent reason to switch (but not the only one) I have been hearing from customers who have adopted UCS could be best summarized this way:  Cisco UCS is Cisco Unified Computing System. UCS truly does deliver a solution that unifies data center computing.  The key ingredient, the thing that everyone “digs the most” (1960’s flashback), is management -- try out the UCS Manager Test Drive. Cisco UCS abstracts the server identity (over 120+ configuration parameters) to reside in UCS Manager, so that any like UCS server can easily be designated the host for that specific server identity – and with UCS it could be a Rack or Blade server.  Not only that, you can use a pre-defined Service Profile and duplicate it to generate a UCS Service Profile Template for broader use.  See this excellent blog by my colleague Ranjit Nayak for a brief intro to UCS Service Profiles -- Cisco UCS – Quintessential Fabric-based computing Part 2.  Using UCS Service Profiles drive rapid deployment and potentially more important, screaming fast recovery time objectives (RTO) so data centers stay up and running with the best possible SLA.  It all happens inside a single redundant management tool that enables collaboration and that can span data centers and geographies (Cisco UCS Central) with a lower Total Cost of Ownership.

It is hard for me to leave UCS TCO out of any blog or conversation.  So here you go.  Below is a very short video from EMC World 2012 booth.  It is very relevant to UCS Manager and the IT economic environment, both then and now.

 

We hope to see you at the next event and definitely encourage you to come to Cisco Live.

If you have already been to one (or more) shows and stopped by the Cisco booth, that is fantastic and thanks for your support.

  • If you have upcoming trips on your calendar don’t forgot to stop and see the innovations Cisco is delivering for your IT organization and meet with one of the multiple experts we have staffing the booth. To mention just a few, Cisco is driving significant innovation in:  networking, management, servers (of course) and solutions based designs.  Something for everyone.
  • If you are still working on your schedule and are not sure which event will fit, take a look at our Cisco Global Events Calendar.  There are still multiple shows and events going on worldwide.  Cisco Live, US (late June in Orlando FL) is an incredible opportunity and is always a fantastic event.

 

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Cisco recognized as a bona fide server platform for SAP HANA by Vishal Sikka at SAP Sapphire

Over the past three years, Cisco has vaulted from the not only the leader in the networking industry, but they have become the number two blade vendor in the US and number three world-wide. This has caused some pause on the part of the top platform vendors in the industry.

Cisco is now making an impact on the application world as well. Last week at SAP Sapphire, the largest world-wide industry trade show for SAP in Orlando, Vishal Sikka, a member of the SAP Executive Board, specifically called out Cisco as a SAP HANA Server Platform Vendor in addition to their world-wide leadership role in the networking space. This was significant because this clearly puts Cisco in a different category as they gain market share in the SAP Application and SAP HANA space.

The result of this announcement was clearly visible at the Cisco booth at Sapphire. Cisco was an Onyx sponsor at Sapphire and demonstrated the many solutions that Cisco has with SAP. In the booth there was SAP HANA, SAP on Vblock, SAP on FlexPod, IT Process Automation, Afaria, and Precision Retail. The Cisco UCS Server Platform, Fabric Extender and Nexus are the basis for all these solutions with SAP. The result is Lower Total Cost of Ownership on a standardized x86 platform.

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Trends in the Oracle User Community

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.

 

Oracle Trends from Collaborate 13

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.

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Cisco UCS – Changing the Economics of the Datacenter

May 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm PST

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.

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS): Changing the Economics of the Datacenter from Cisco Data Center

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

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