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Cisco UCS Servers – From overhead to value add

October 31, 2012 at 9:58 am PST

In my previous blog post, I highlighted some of the benefits being seen by customers using the Cisco’s Unified Computing System ™ (UCS) from Case Studies. In posts two, three, four, and five, I discussed reduction in cabling, provisioning times, power & cooling, and other reductions in operating costs in more detail. Today, in the last post of the series, I will drill down on ongoing administrative and management costs.

Why are customers seeing a 59% reduction in administrative and management costs? UCS Manager and its associated benefits like Service Profiles and an open XML API. Cisco UCS Manager shifts administration tasks away from isolated, individual-system configuration that lacks context and visibility toward role- and policy-based management that provides end to end visibility as a single cohesive system using an intuitive GUI, with both command-line interface (CLI) and XML API options across the entire domain of 160 blade and rack servers.

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Cisco UCS Servers – Making Ben Franklin proud

October 25, 2012 at 7:56 am PST

In my first blog post, I highlighted some of the benefits being seen by customers using Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) from Case Studies. In posts two, three, and four, I discussed reduction in cabling, provisioning times, and power & cooling in more detail. Today’s post will highlight three customers and their reduction in operating costs where, to quote Ben Franklin, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

EDIF Holding SPA– “We have reduced our operating costs by 75 percent while renewing the technology in our IT infrastructure, and we can now offer better continuity of service and a faster response to our customers.” Samuele Cerquetti, CIO

Seven Corners Inc.– “The system paid for itself in less than a year by recouping the more than $1 million the company had been losing annually due to network outages. The company also achieved a $475,000 reduction in operating costs within the first six months of buildout and saved $84,000 instantly by not having to renew software licenses on a number of virtualized servers.”

Avago Technologies – “Ordinarily, expanding from two to three data centers would be expected to increase operational costs by 50 percent. ‘Our operational costs will actually decrease by 40 percent when we expand from two to three data centers.’” Shreyas Shah, Senior Director, Global Information Technology

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Cisco UCS Servers – Watts driving your power and cooling costs?

October 18, 2012 at 10:09 am PST

In my first blog post, I highlighted some of the benefits being seen by customers using Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) from Case Studies. In posts two and three, I discussed reduction in cabling and provisioning times in more detail. Today I will drill down on power and cooling.

Why are customers seeing a 52% reduction in their power and cooling costs?  Through virtualization, reducing overall server counts, but also through a paradigm shift in what constitutes a server solution with the unification of compute, network, storage access, and management. Cisco’s Unified Fabric condenses up to three parallel networks into one, reducing the number of I/O interfaces, cables, and switch ports.

For blade servers, instead of going with a “mini-rack” chassis architecture, Cisco replaced the intra-chassis switches and management modules with Fabric Extenders (FEX) to transfer the unified fabric from the chassis to the Fabric Interconnects. A FEX is a remote line card and does not act as a switch. Compare this simplicity with a common chassis configuration for a competitor: a pair of Ethernet switches, a pair of Fibre Channel switches, and a pair of chassis management modules.

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“Microsoft is a great partner in the data center…” – John Chambers, October 2012

October 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm PST

I was flying back home late last week after participating in Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 launch event in Denver.  As I scanned through my email InBox I saw the John Chambers quote from an interview he had done with CRN . John’s quote is timely given our many Cisco engineering and marketing activities going on with Microsoft as well as with our key partners EMC and NetApp. Let’s take a look and see what’s happening:

  • Our UCS and Nexus platforms are key components in our VSPEX for Microsoft Hyper-V reference architecture with our partner EMC.
  • Our FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud solution with our partner NetApp is providing Hyper-V based private cloud solutions to customers such as ING Direct in Australia and the University of Waterloo in Canada.
  • UCS Manager is tightly integrated with Microsoft System Center 2012 and this was recognized with it being awarded the Breakthrough Technology Award at Microsoft Tech Ed in Orlando.
  • UCS PowerTool delivers industry leading – and in this case this phrase is really well deserved – integration with Microsoft’s PowerShell  technology affording ease of automation for deployment and rapid configuration of UCS and Microsoft applications such as Exchange and SQL Server.
  • Nexus 1000V enables virtual networking scenarios in Microsoft Windows Server 2012’s new Hyper-V Extensible Switch – a result of great teamwork between Microsoft and Cisco R&D organizations. View our recent WindowsITPro webinar on virtual networking and Nexus 1000V here.

These Cisco technologies and solutions bring UCS, Nexus, and UCS Manager into your environment helping to create a better datacenter for your Microsoft private clouds and applications.  We will continue to work closely with Microsoft and key partners on various Microsoft/Cisco initiatives.  Our combined efforts allow you more choice in determining how to spend your IT budget and a Cisco based datacenter for Microsoft applications is a good choice indeed!

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Cisco UCS Servers – From the loading dock to production in no time at all

October 11, 2012 at 9:20 am PST

In my first blog post, I highlighted some of the benefits being seen by customers using Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS®) from Case Studies. In the second post, I discussed reduction in cabling in more detail. Today I will drill down on provisioning.

A reduction in time to provision and deploy servers is the benefit most often cited by customers. This is accomplished with UCS Manager. Cisco UCS Manager integrates the management interfaces for server, network, and storage access into a single unified tool. UCS Manager uses a building block approach combing pools, polices, and templates into Service Profiles. Service Profiles allow you to configure over 120 settings that make up a server’s “personality” enabling one-click deployment.

Here are three customer examples.

Basefarm – The crucial feature of Cisco UCS Manager is its use of service profiles to provision server resources, enabling infrastructure to be provisioned in minutes instead of days. “What Cisco has done with server profiles is brilliant,” says Månsby. “You can’t have a server online without storage and network, so it makes perfect sense to package all three administrative functions into a single interface. It’s all about resource efficiency: if server, storage, and network are three different phases, then you spend three times as long on a deployment or change as you would using Cisco UCS. And time is money.” Stefan Månsby, Chief Business Development Officer

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