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Just what we need on Cyber Monday – Cisco UCS Central

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??

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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UCS Multihop FCoE In Under an Hour

November 19, 2012 at 10:14 am PST

It’s been a long time coming, it’s true. It was long the #1 request I have gotten when it comes to Cisco’s deployment for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE): when is UCS going to have “FCoE Northbound?”

Now, at long last, I can confirm that the answer is right now.

I saw the announcement over the weekend, and before I had a chance to even sneeze out a tweet of my own, I was beat to the punch by a few other intrepid UCS fiends. The reaction was one of unadulterated joy and pure, rapturous bliss.

Or something close to that.

In all seriousness, from a storage perspective the one thing that has driven people crazy is the fact that the UCS Fabric Interconnects (FIs) could not continue with convergence upstream. It’s been the #1 question I’ve gotten as a storage Product Manager, and while I’ve long said that FCoE is not the panacea for the Data Center, I believe this goes a long way in making converged network even more realistic in today’s environments. Read More »

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Cisco + Microsoft: UCS PowerTool for PowerShell Quick Start Guide

November 14, 2012 at 11:44 am PST

A truly “Better Together” story is the pairing of two strong management utilities -- Cisco UCS Manager’s PowerTool offering with Microsoft’s PowerShell solution. Together they afford UCS System Administrators the ability to quickly automate and customize a multitude of management tasks resulting increased efficiency and quality utilization of IT resources and staff.

PowerTool is a Microsoft PowerShell module which helps automate all aspects of Cisco UCS management including server, network, storage and hypervisor management. A new PowerTool Quick Guide has been developed that can help jumpstart your learning and use of PowerTool with PowerShell. Available from Cisco’s Developer Network Community, http://developer.cisco.com,  the document can be downloaded here.

PowerTool incorporated with use of Cisco’s UCS Manager and Microsoft’s System Center portfolio can help speed your Microsoft oriented deployments be they FlexPod (Cisco + NetApp) or VSPEX (Cisco + EMC) infrastructure based or platform focused on Windows Server 2012, Exchange 2010, or SQL Server 2012.

Feel free to download the Quick Start Guide and start exploring the power of PowerTool for your Microsoft datacenter environments. To learn more about Microsoft on UCS, please visit www.cisco.com/go/microsoft.

 

 

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Cisco’s Day One for SAP Sapphire/TechEd Madrid

Cisco’s Day One for SAP Sapphire/TechEd Madrid

Day one was a successful day for Cisco at SAP TechEd Madrid. Our booth was full most of the day with customers looking and discussing the solutions in our booth.

We had a FlexPod and VBlock rack in our both which attracted quite a lot of attention. We were able to explain both of these solutions to those who came by the booth. We also spent quite a bit of time talking about ITPA and how that solution enhances Cisco’s UCS server platform for SAP HANA and how this differentiates Cisco from the remaining certified hardware vendors for SAP HANA.

Cisco UCS is also represented in the SAP HANA Test drive area, where SAP is demonstrating application development on a Cisco UCS C460 platform for SAP HANA.

Michael Missbach, who manages Cisco’s SAP competency center in Walldorf Germany, was the leader in two Microforums on Tuesday. The first was SAP on the Cloud and the second was a Microforum with TUI Travel’s (HotelBeds) CIO Mr. Garcia. He was able to discuss his installation of SAP on Cisco UCS as well as his use of SAP HANA on Cisco UCS and how this architecture design saves him approximately 150,000 Euros a year. Read the story here 

Cisco UCS, SAP and HANA on Cloud from Cisco Data Center

 

There were also meetings with Portugal Telecom, Almaviva, and Korea Telecom during the day, all of which were very productive

Besides the customer meetings, there were numerous meetings with different partners during the day

Cisco hosted the Vblock party in our booth late in the day, which attracted a big crowd culminating with the entire crowd chanting “Cisco sells Servers” which could be heard through the exhibit hall.

Overall we had over 200 visitors to our booth.

Overall, a very successful day for Cisco

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