by John Rollason, Senior Manager Product, Solutions & Alliances EMEA, NetApp
For many years the server market was dominated by the likes of IBM, HP/Compaq, Fujitsu, Dell, Sun and characterised by small market share shifts. True the market changed as rack and blade servers became popular, but most of the players recognized the shift and adapted. Then Server Virtualisation technologies changed the market and Cisco disrupted it completely with the launch of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) in 2009. Today Cisco’s vision for server virtualization has been proven successful with more than 10,000 UCS customers and 54 UCS world record results. Customers obviously see the advantage!
Just over a year ago NetApp and Cisco introduced FlexPod, a pre-designed, pre-tested and validated Data Centre cloud solution built on modular and unified architecture composed of Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp unified storage systems running Data ONTAP. FlexPod components are integrated and standardized to help you eliminate the guesswork and achieve timely, repeatable, consistent deployments. FlexPod has also been optimized with a variety of mixed application workloads and design configurations in various environments such as virtual desktop infrastructure and secure multi-tenancy environments.
Today more than 500 customers across 33 countries are seeing the benefits of Cisco UCS + NetApp. In fact, I”ve blogged about European FlexPod customers including Accenture, Börse Stuttgart, Computacenter, Terremark, Guiness Partnership, Loughborough University, and many more.
This week at Cisco Live London 2012 you’ll have the opportunity to hear directly from several organizations transforming their infrastructures and businesses on FlexPod and talk with variety of partners activity selling and developing solutions built on FlexPod. NetApp is a Platinum sponsor of Cisco Live and I’ll be at NetApp Stand P1 with the rest of the team for the 4th year. Highlights include:
In December, Cisco introduced Cisco CloudVerse, a framework and set of solutions that combines the foundational elements needed to enable organizations to build, manage, and connect public, private and hybrid clouds. Cisco CloudVerse combines these key cloud elements – Unified Data Center, Cloud Intelligent Network, and Cloud Applications and Services – enabling businesses to realize all of the benefits of clouds: improved agility, better economics, enhanced security, and a dynamic, assured experience.
As a leading technology company, Cisco pushes the envelope in our traditional industries with innovative business transformations, as we did by entering the server market in 2009 with our Unified Computing System paired with our Nexus data center switching family. Competition in the marketplace is good for customers as competition accelerates innovation, creates new opportunities as old problems are attacked from new angles, and creates incentives for the various players in the industry to work together–and separately–toward better solutions.
But achieving the promise of this progress and innovation comes with a necessary step that I feel is often overlooked, rushed, or ignored: Testing. At Cisco, we perform intense testing as we develop our solutions whether the testing is in-house, with partners and customers, or via third-parties.
Over 70 percent of leading cloud providers are using Cisco CloudVerse on their journey to the cloud, and–in the latest example of our commitment to testing–third-party testing firm EANTC has validated those cloud providers’ commitment by affirming “Cisco has all the components one would need to offer cloud services”. For coverage, Light Reading has published the first report of the Cloud Mega Test results done by EANTC.
But let’s talk more about what was behind the test.
This week we are celebrating a milestone by announcing that 10,000 customers worldwide have deployed our new Unified Computing System. In just over two years UCS has captured the attention of data center managers and CIOs alike, despite skepticism from industry observers that a new computing technology could take hold in this highly competitive market.
According to a recent Servers and Virtualization Study by TheInfoPro,™ Cisco took the lead among server vendors in vision, technical innovation, product performance, and sales force.
Many have asked “how did UCS become successful so rapidly?” The answer lies with our customers: they selected UCS because the architecture drove a transformation of their data centers, while delivering advantages for their business and lowering IT costs. And we see a growing number of these customers, including half the fortune 500 companies, using UCS as the foundational building block to move towards private and hybrid clouds.
We hear from our customers on a daily basis that UCS is transforming their IT practice and significantly contributing to their business. Thanks to all our UCS customers– may you continue to grow your businesses in 2012!
Here’s a small sampling of the passionate testimonies we receive:
Steven Senecal, manager of Global Server Engineering for Travelport
“Although we were successfully meeting customer needs, the infrastructure needed to be much more scalable and resilient to handle the demand expected to occur in the next few years. For example, the Cisco Unified Computing System service profiles are a benefit to data center IT managers, allowing us to create and store a unique identity for every blade. Our team can query this information for asset management and it enables us to truly rip and replace a blade in minutes if necessary.” Travelport, a global leader in transaction processing for the travel industry supporting transaction services in 160 countries and over 60,000 travel agencies, deployed UCS to increase business agility, scalability and efficiency for its primary data center.
Dan Hein, director, Global Shared Services, Columbia Sportswear
“The integration of compute, network, and storage into a single stack is transforming the way we, as IT professionals, view these environments.” We anticipate a significant reduction in the overhead required to manage the Vblock platform environment, because we’ve taken three separate disciplines and combined them into one. Because Vblock is preconfigured and pretested by VCE, we can move forward with our SAP deployment quickly and with confidence that the infrastructure will deliver the robust performance and availability we need out of the gate.” Columbia Sportswear, a global leader in the manufacture and wholesaling of sports apparel and outdoor clothing with offices in 45 countries worldwide, selected VCE Vblock Infrastructure Platforms to support a new deployment of SAP to run its most critical business applications, including financial, product development, manufacturing, and shipping.
I have talked to many enterprises that want a private cloud; also service providers that want to build a public cloud based upon Cisco UCS / Nexus. They all would like to get to their first generation of cloud very quickly. We have many conversations on infrastructure to use, the right choice of hypervisor, and what use cases to start with. Today I talked to a customer of our Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud that wants a differentiating end user portal. Everyone can spin up a VM, but how to do it in a way that will drive adoption and new business, whether it is for the enterprise or service provider? How do we do this at a cost and a timeline that meets the needs of the business and the CIO.
These are not lightweight concerns. I have seen many data center automation projects that focused too much on the provisioning and not enough on the end user experience. The Intelligent Automation Solutions Business Unit at Cisco has been involved with many customers building private and public clouds with our software stack. This includes Cisco IT’s very large private cloud deployment based upon our software. The two services they deployed: CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services) Express and CITEIS VDC (Virtual Data Center) has received broad acclaim. Watch the following videos by Jamie MacQuarrie of the Intelligent Automation team on these two CITEIS Services.