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Upgrading Five UC Clusters to Cisco UCS Reduces Servers and Costs

In an earlier post, my colleague Reid Bourdet described how we migrated our largest Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM) cluster to a virtual machine environment running on Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) servers.  This was the 19-node (server) Cisco UCM cluster that serves the Cisco headquarters campus in San Jose, California; and we completed the migration over a weekend.

What makes that move even more interesting is that we’re nearly done consolidating 5 separate clusters into one virtual environment, and reducing the total number of servers by a factor of four. Virtualization on the Cisco UCS hardware allows us to consolidate multiple UCM nodes on a single blade.  In this post, I’ll provide more details about the scope of this migration, the results we’ve gained, and how we’ll continue migrating other Cisco UCM clusters to Cisco UCS servers around the world.

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Ask the Data Center Expert, Partner Edition: Southeast Asia and the Rapidly Changing Landscape

The following are excerpts from an interview with Wong IK Ming, Director, eSURIA MENTARI SYSTEMS SDN BHD.

From halfway around the globe in fabulous Singapore, I was delighted to have the chance to interview Wong IK Ming, a Cisco Certified Partner covering Southeast Asian nations, to get his perspectives on data center security opportunities.

Tell me about your customers. What are their most pressing problems?

eSURIA caters mostly for the public sector but we are now extending our services to include Oil and Energy. Our customers have to adhere to new and emerging government mandates around data privacy and sovereignty. This requires a combination of strong governance processes mapped to sound technical controls and a design that is future proof, for example ensuring unified policy, dynamic and logical segmentation. Security must be thought out from the beginning—from the application to the edge of the cloud. I’ve seen a couple of instances of community clouds where security has not been thought through and it’s a matter of time before a security incident occurs.

As a partner, what benefits do you see for Cisco’s approach to data center security?

Our customers are fast adopting new infrastructure models and having the Cisco Validated Designs is a huge benefit because it enables us to attest to the technical soundness of the overall solution and to present security as an integrated element as opposed to a separate element. It also enables us to build these into the overall services templates that we provide with confidence that the necessary testing has taken place. I look forward to seeing more of these validated designs. For example, a validated security blueprint for Microsoft private cloud applications with Cisco UCS.

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Cisco Nabs Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards

November 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm PST

Each year Windows IT Pro announces their Editors’ Best and Community Choice awards recognizing the hottest  products in the world of Microsoft. The Editors Best award highlight products that the Windows IT Pro editors and contributors believe are worthy of recognition. The Community Choice awards lets the Windows IT Pro readers from around the world decide which products are the best.

For 2012 Cisco was honored with 5 awards – covering Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Our Catalyst switch took home Gold in the networking category with Cisco’s Technical Support organization winning Silver. We wrapped up this medal trifecta with a Bronze for our UCS server family.

The Windows IT Pro awards complement our June 2012 Best of Tech Ed award for UCS Manager and when combined together they show the breadth and depth of our capabilities for our Microsoft server and workload solutions.

Read more on the awards and recipients here. To learn more on Cisco and our offerings for Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server please visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

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Just what we need on Cyber Monday – Cisco UCS Central

November 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm PST

Total (consumer) spending for the (Thanksgiving 2012) weekend reached an estimated $59.1 billion, a 13% increase from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation.  Online spending on Friday alone topped $1 billion for the first time, according to the data-analysis firm comScore Inc.

We can analyze the seasonal patterns of traffic by studying the Alexa reports such as the one below for different retailers.  In the case of walmart.com the holiday traffic is 400% the average during the year.  It remains to be seen how much more the traffic would spike today – Cyber Monday 2012. It is clear that retailers like Walmart need the ability to scale up the e-commerce infrastructure during the holiday season.

A retailer’s e-commerce infrastructure would include software applications, middleware, server, network and storage resources.  Virtualization technology has made scaling of e-commerce applications easier.  However, virtual machines can only start on physical servers after they are racked, stacked and necessary network and storage access components have been properly configured.  The preparation of the physical infrastructure is still mostly a manual task, unless they are using something like the Cisco UCS.  The Cisco UCS Manager embedded in the system, handles the simplified configuration.  With large environments (thousands of servers) infrastructure management software such as Cisco UCS Central becomes increasingly important. Cisco UCS Central, which simplifies compute infrastructure scaling, became generally available last week.   With it, physical compute infrastructure management can now be policy based and automated.  This in turn can increase the velocity of changes and reduce the possibility of errors while scaling rapidly.  This blog by Steve Kaplan and the short video below give a nice overview of Cisco UCS Central software.

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James Bond and Data Centers??

November 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm PST

This weekend I managed to see the new James Bond film, Skyfall.  The technologist in me noticed the transformation of the espionage industry to the cyber world.  More interesting were the Data Center scenes in which the equipment was neatly arranged with minimal cabling.  One blog even called it the data center of the future.

 

(This film image released by Sony Pictures shows Daniel Craig, left, and Javier Bardem in a scene from the film “Skyfall.” Bardem portrays, Raoul Silva, one of the finest arch-enemies in the 50-year history of Bond films.) (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Francois Duhamel) - Notice the data center equipment in the background.

Reality is that data centers are full of cables (see above) unless you are using Cisco UCS in which case you have a chance of being in the future NOW.  General availability of UCS Manager 2.1, which brings all the cable reduction benefits to rack mount servers could not have been more timely.

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