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Bring IT Together

Unification is a big deal for Adena Health Systems, a medical center with multiple Ohio locations. The company’s data center was running on disparate technology that was causing outages, neglecting incoming calls, and slowing business. With some tough competition nearby, Adena’s aging infrastructure was becoming a burden; not to mention the struggle with supporting important medical applications.

Adena took action and updated its network with Cisco technology, implementing the cohesive infrastructure of the Cisco® Unified Computing System™ (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® processors, to run their data center. In doing so, not only was the IT infrastructure unified, but the IT team and the business were also brought together to provide top-of-the-line functionality.

Alignment between the IT staff, the business, and the technology is proving successful for the company. Additionally, virtualization has decreased the physical IT footprint and is more cost effective, while enhanced communication is achieved with videoconferencing and VoIP capabilities. IT is now at the center of Adena’s business vision, allowing for the support of applications and functionality to ensure world-class patient care.

Read more about the benefits of Adena’s IT transformation here.

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City Turns to Collaboration Solutions to Support Mobility

As we quickly approach Telework Week 2013 in March, I’ve been hearing a lot of discussion around the benefits of telework and the level of growth we have seen over the last few years in the demand for mobility.

Mobility is sometimes easier said than done, though, especially when you are a city government looking at bandwidth increases and potential infrastructure upgrades all while providing employees with a seamless virtual experience and avoiding any downtime in the process. This is exactly what the City of Jacksonville, NC did, and they are setting an example for other cities in similar situations.

The City of Jacksonville home to more than 70,000 residents and currently has more than  500 end users in its operations center that is supported by the city’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department. As the employees became more dependent on the ITS department, the department decided it needed to refresh its current infrastructure. Read More »

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Microsoft SQL Server on UCS : Higher Performance and Lower Cost

AppBlogPicOrganizations use Cisco UCS servers to gain the power, flexibility, and management simplicity needed to meet their Microsoft SQL Server workload demands while increasing their IT agility.

Starting with standalone servers for performance and bandwidth, or connecting servers through Cisco UCS for automated configuration, simplified management, and massive I/O flexibility which provide SAN and network-attached storage (NAS) access, the pairing of Microsoft SQL Server with Cisco UCS provides business intelligence and OLTP applications exceptional connectivity to your data.

Let’s not about record-setting performance with lower cost, too! In its inaugural TPC-H™ result, Cisco asserted industry leadership in partnership with Microsoft, establishing Cisco UCS as the fastest 4-socket Intel Xeon processor– powered platform for running Microsoft SQL Server at the 1,000 GB scale factor.

Table 1 below outlines the flexibility of  SQL Server on UCS, describing various sized configurations to support your data management needs. Here you can see how our B series or C series UCS servers support small to medium organizations up to the largest of enterprises.

Table 1 – UCS SQL Server Sample Configurations

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Want to learn more about Microsoft applications on Cisco UCS? Then please feel free to download in this new Application Solutions Brochure and see how UCS provides an optimal platform for Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint and other leading applications.

www.cisco.com/go/microsoft

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Virtualization Everywhere, but not a Cloud in Sight!

Customers have often said to me, “Joann, we have virtualization all over the place. That’s cloud isn’t it?”   My response is, “Well not really, that is not a cloud, but you can get to cloud!”  Then there is a brief uncomfortable silence, which I resolve with an action provoking explanation that I will now share with you.

Here’s why that isn’t truly a cloud. What these customers often have is server provisioning that automates the process of standing up new virtual servers while the storage, network, and application layers continue to be provisioned manually. The result is higher management costs that strain IT budgets, which are decreasing or flat to begin with. With this approach, businesses aren’t seeing the agility and flexibility they expected from cloud. So, they become frustrated when they see their costs rising and continue struggling to align with new business innovation.

If your IT department adopted widespread virtualization and thought it was cloud, my guess is you are probably nodding your head in agreement.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

So then, what are the key elements an organization needs to achieve the speed, flexibility and agility promised by cloud?

1)      Self-service portal and service catalog
The self-service portal is the starting point that customers use to order cloud services. Think of a self-service portal as a menu at a restaurant.  The end user is presented with a standardized menu of services that have been defined to IT’s policies and standards and customers simply order what they need.  Self-service portals greatly streamline resource deployment which reduces the manual effort by IT to provision resources.

2)      Service delivery automation
After the user selects services from the portal service menu, then what? Well, under the hood should be automated service delivery—which is a defining characteristic of a real cloud environment.  Behind each of the standardized menu items in the self-service portal is a blueprint or instructions that prescribe how the service order is delivered across the data center resources.  This has been proven to appreciably simplify IT operations, reduce costs and drive business flexibility.

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The Truth about Cisco UCS Server Service Profiles and Templates

Cisco Unified Computing System Service Profiles and Templates contain over 127 different server identification and configuration settings.  These identity settings are abstracted from the physical server and stored in the UCS Domain where they can be leveraged automating and speeding deployment while reducing errors. Today, this Cisco innovation is still unique in the industry. The reality is that no other server vendor can offer the level of hardware abstraction that Cisco provides with UCS Manager using Service Profiles and Templates.

Unlike Cisco, other vendors must rely on many different tools and methods that are cobbled together to manage their servers.  For some, it can take up to six different tools to configure a subset of what Cisco can do with one and most of these tools are at an additional cost.

Are you concerned about systems management and how it impacts your total cost of ownership (TCO)? Here are some fair questions to ask your current vendor:

  • Can your software templates manage both rack and blade servers using a single tool and interface?
  • Are your templates and profiles limited to specific models and only certain generation of servers, requiring different templates or tools for the same settings for servers from different generations of the same server model?
  • Is server firmware truly integrated into a single tool and supported by policies and profiles?
  • Do the tools use only proprietary orchestration and automation software to manage the infrastructure or does it support an open interface like XML?
  • What is the licensing model – how much is the additional cost per server or per blade chassis to fully manage server profiles, updates to firmware, BIOS, and integration with other tools?

If you have more than one domain, UCS Central will manage them extending all the benefits of UCS Manger globally. You can leverage your templates and profiles across all servers regardless of location.

If you’d like to have a more in-depth discussion on this topic, contact your Cisco account team or Partner.

Want to learn more? Take Cisco UCS Manager for a test drive.

Convinced? Buy now and save with Cisco UCS SmartPlays.

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