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UCS M-series Modular Servers – Because wastage just plain hurts!

Last week we announced the UCS M-series Modular Servers. The launch represented culmination of an exciting journey for us that started two years ago.

In mid 2012 just as UCS B-series blade servers were taking off in a big way, we noticed a group of our customers using our core technology very differently than customers in our primary market, enterprise IT. In our primary market customers loved UCS’s stateless computing model, virtualization benefits and the converged offerings with our partners EMC and NetApp. In this other category, customers did not consider those same benefits nearly as important. However UCS Manager’s powerful policy engine got them really excited. UCS Manager gave them a programmatic interface to manage thousands of nodes across dozens of sites globally.

Curious, I started to visit some of these customers. During one such visit, I was walking thru the aisles of their data center and I noticed something I had not ever seen at any of our enterprise IT customers data center. This customer had all UCS chassis single homed to a single Fabric Interconnect, I stopped in my tracks -- reallyIsn’t that kind of dangerous? What happens if there’s a failure? Or you have to upgrade? The customer explained to me how a combination of their application architecture and their application instance placement strategy made sure that outages at the rack level could be handled without service disruption. Wow! so we had engineered all kinds of resiliency, dual ported adapters, dual IOMs, dual chassis controllers, clustered Fabric Interconnects … lots and lots of hard engineering work to make our product robust and resilient, and this customer had thrown it all away with one toss… that really hurt. :( Read More »

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#EngineersUnplugged S6|Ep8: #UCSGrandSlam Edition!

September 10, 2014 at 9:34 am PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Cisco’s CTO, Padmasree Warrior (@padmasree) and Satinder Sethi (VP, UCS Product Management and Data Center Solutions) whiteboard the UCS Grand Slam announcement, and what it means for customers and for the modern data center. Don’t miss this one!

It wouldn’t be Engineers Unplugged without a unicorn challenge, and Padma and Satinder delivered!

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This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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Cisco UCS: Powering Applications at Every Scale

September 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm PST

If you follow the news in the world of data center you probably noticed a small announcement from Cisco last week regarding the UCS portfolio…  :)

grandslam

To net it out in a simple way, I’ve been telling people that the trail of innovation that Cisco has been blazing with UCS  just got a lot wider.   That’s because this rollout is all about three key vectors that our customers have guided us to expand on:

Here’s a short recap on the event.  If you missed it, the replay is available here.

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Padma Warrior and Joe Inzerillo discuss how technology is transforming the #MLB fan experience.

We had a stellar lineup at the event in New York.   Our CTO, Padma Warrior, headlined and did a fantastic job setting the context for this wave of innovation in the frame of IoE and Fast IT.   Paul Perez followed, explaining the sea change occurring in the application landscape and the customer imperatives guiding development of the UCS platform.   Finally, Satinder Sethi stepped us through all the new technology we’ve added to the portfolio.  Frank Palumbo hosted the event for us in New York, and I think it’s no coincidence he was rewarded later in the day by a thrilling walk-off win by the Yankees.   Note that my last link there is to MLB.com, whose CTO, John Inzerillo, joined our event to share all the cool fan experience technology they’re developing.

I’d like to thank our #CiscoChampions for joining us at the event and bringing their unique and (trust me) unfiltered perspective to the news.   Another highlight for me was the opportunity to tour the MLB Advanced Media Center with Matt Eastwood of IDC who joined us in New York to moderate a panel on scale-out computing.  Matt, so sorry about the results of the Yankees/Red Sox game…it’s tough to overcome Palumbo-level karma.    Having several of our customers and partners at the event really rounded it out, making a special day for everyone that joined us in New York and in the streaming sessions.

Jim Leach (L) and panel of Cisco Champions

Jim Leach (L) and Tech Field Day panel of Cisco Champions.

To hit on all the details, the team has taken a divide-and-conquer approach here on the blog as well as youtube and our other social media venues.  In addition to the links above, here are some of the pieces you can check out to learn more.  Scanning the #USCGrandSlam hashtag on Twitter is another good way to take a look at the news and reactions.

Padma with panelists discussing Big Data in the IoE.

Padma with panelists discussing Big Data in the IoE.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – September 5, 2014

September 5, 2014 at 7:31 am PST

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

This week we announced the largest portfolio expansion for Cisco UCS since the launch of the product five years ago. Partners will now be on a whole new level of delivering business outcomes for their customers.

John Growdon talked about how partners win big with the new technology solutions that transform how customers deliver IT. These solutions also cut across all market segments with positive and sustained impact to customer businesses and they innovate and grow  business too. With the commitment of our partners, Cisco has grown to #1 in the US and #2 worldwide in x86 blade server market. Our hats are off to you!

Additionally, Cisco and Red Hat announced a significant expansion to its partnership, bringing our cloud and integrated infrastructures together with Red Hat’s market leadership and domain expertise of open source and OpenStack – essentially building on-ramps to the Intercloud. This blog from Denny Trevett (@dtrevett) details how Cisco Channel Partners will benefit with opportunities to grow their data center practices. Integrated solutions from Cisco and Red Hat enable partners to drive profitable growth and increase customer value with solutions that drive business outcomes. Cisco and Red Hat will offer enterprise and solution provider customers the most robust and open portfolio of integrated solutions for data center modernization, open hybrid cloud and big data. Read More »

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UCS Innovation for Core Data Center Applications

We have a number of exciting additions to the UCS family, which we are announcing today.  Application architectures are fundamentally changing, which is driving a change to the core infrastructure.   Today, you will hear about new innovations in the area of scale-out computing, which are optimized for the delivery of new applications, data analytics and the scale that is required to support these apps.

As part of this announcement, we are delivering significant innovations around what I’ll call the core data center applications.  Put another way, these are the more traditional applications that keep the business running and keep employees productive.  Cisco is announcing our fourth generation of our workhorse two-socket blade and rack systems as well as a broad set of enhancements to UCS Management.

Over the past five years, when I ask customers why they purchased UCS, it comes down to two key areas:  more power to drive applications faster and simplified management, which accelerates IT operations. Let’s talk first about the core data center platforms and the new innovations there.  Once again, Cisco is raising the bar on “enterprise class” stateless computing and performance.  Today, we’re announcing the Cisco UCS M4 series, which are optimized for the widest set of enterprise use cases.  Delivered through the new UCS B200 M4, C220 M4 and C240 M4, Cisco continues to deliver the highest performance CPUs, maximum memory and highest I/O performance.  Besides support for fastest and highest core count and memory, we have added significant flexibility to the platforms via modular LAN-on-motherboard (LOM), Modular HBAs and Flex Storage options.

In addition to the M4 generation of servers we are introducing our 3rd gen VIC technology.  This generation brings native 40Gb and advanced networking features such as NVGRE and VxLAN to UCS.  The latest VIC will also enable ultra low latency RDMA capabilities.. As really fast flash storage becomes mainstream and clustered applications gain popularity, high bandwidth, low latency interconnect technology will be required for applications to see the full benefit of performance  improvements.  With this technology, applications requiring low latency can see up to an 85% improvement without the complexity of building Infiniband fabrics.

As much as we like talking about performance (and believe me, we like that a lot), the biggest innovation UCS brought to the datacenter was a dramatically simplified management paradigm with our UCS Management portfolio.   Today, we’re announcing the addition of the software programmable ACI fabric through the Nexus 9000 and APIC into UCS Director.  UCS Director is also delivering a software development kit and open API to accelerate third party integration with Cisco’s technology partners.

Finally, we are delivering new application container support within UCS Director, which provides both virtual and bare metal isolation of workloads, automated with UCS Director.  Users simply request a container for a particular set of application components and UCS Director deploys the necessary infrastructure configuration required.  Taken together, UCS Director becomes an even more robust control point for IT infrastructure as IT customers can now request application services and have computing, storage and networking services (such as firewalling or Layer 4-7 switching) delivered across a programmable networking fabric.

Taken along with the M-series and the UCS C3160, this announcement represents a huge step forward in the UCS portfolio to enable customers to move faster into the new application paradigm while still supporting their core data center applications.

 

 

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