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Customers choose innovation : Cisco UCS is the # 1 blade server in the Americas

 Cisco’s First Trifecta

This week IDC released the calendar 1Q14 server market share tracker report, which is starting to generate press given the news that Cisco UCS has achieved the #1 x86 blade server revenue market share position in the US, in North America and in the Americas  - a “triple crown” right before the Belmont Stakes :-) Globe

We are understandably very proud of this achievement, and we’re taking time to celebrate. It was fun calling John Chambers to share the news, and to remind him that the team delivered on our commitment – to become #1 in blades in the US in 2014, and use that as the launchpad for our #1 world-wide campaign.

At the same time, it’s a humbling experience. We can argue about the meaning of market share numbers. They can be viewed as an indicator of momentum, they can be viewed as ephemeral, so what really is the meaning of being #1?

My interpretation is simple: Customers have a vote, and the market share numbers are an indication of the huge trust customers are placing on Cisco, not just on UCS. In 5 short years we’ve accumulated over 33,000 customers world-wide, including over 75% of Fortune 500 companies.  Contrary to competitors’ predictons, UCS is not a flash in the pan. It’s a reflection of Cisco’s ability to innovate in a way that drives tangible business outcomes for our customers. We struck a resonant cord when you consider innovations such as:

  • Architectural: Cisco delivered the first new innovation in x86 servers in over 10 years by inventing a new category, Fabric Computing, that proved ideal for server virtualization and private clouds.
  • Business Model: In addition to significant organic R&D investments, Cisco leveraged industry R&D much better than any of our peers. Whether they be infrastructure, operating system, applications, middleware or selling partners, we created an ecosystem that is fair, flexible and scalable. We created a business platform, not a technology platform.
  • Customer experience: Beyond UCS technology advantages, customers choose Cisco because of our commitment to customer relationships: our sales team’s demonstrated capability to understand our customers’ business and proactively propose transformational opportunites, and our support teams’ utter commitment to protecting business operations when issues inevitably occur.

As we set our sights on being #1 WW, I’d like to surprise readers by actually congratulating HP on being #1 WW; they’ve had the longest run at this coveted spot in the industry. We aim to capture this spot, and to hold it for longer, which we believe is eminently achievable given  we’ve achieved #2 WW by focusing on a subset of all available use cases and market segments. We have many opportunities, all of them well-funded and in execution, to drive expansion – new products, new business capabilities, more market coveraged, enhanced manufacturing, delivery and support.

So in essence, rather than admiring our recent #1 win in the Americas, we choose to view this as a call to arms, a rallying cry to accelerate our drive to #1 WW. Velociraptors unbound!

Lastly, a big THANK YOU to our customers, our partners and our entire value chain teams to demonstrate Cisco is serious about setting the state of the art in   computing. And I say this deliberately, because we are not in the server business. We are in the computing business, which is the business of optimizing application environments for performance and total cost of ownership – what our customers want.

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Breaking through Performance Barriers: Desktop Virtualization at Cisco Live

We’re halfway into Cisco Live!  Each year I find more and more attendees are coming to talk to us about running various desktop delivery models on UCS.  Some observations from folks I’ve chatted with:

More and more of you are asking about NVIDIA GRID solutions for graphics intensive use-cases.  I had several in fact, from the oil and gas industry who were especially interested in our C240 M3 solution with GRID – which conveniently we’ve been demo-ing here, remoted out of our San Jose lab.  If you’re not familiar with it, check out our solutions for both Citrix and VMware.

CAPEX-friendliness with great performance, for small seat count environments is key.  Lot’s of folks asking about solutions that are optimized for 100-200 seats of Horizon or XenDesktop, that are completely self-contained, including compute, storage, broker and the infrastructure assets.  I’ve shared this brand new whitepaper on our C240 200 seat config with everyone I talk to – just a single rack footprint that includes the LSI Nytro MegaRAID Controller with 200 GB of flash for write-caching, plus 12 x 600GB SAS drives.  Here’s what’s been tested:

Hardware Components:

  • Cisco UCS C240-M3 Rack Server (2 X Intel Xeon processor E5-2697 v2 @ 2.70 GHz) with 384GB of memory (16 GB X 24 DIMMS @ 1866 MHz), hypervisor host
  • Cisco UCS VIC1225 Converged Network Adapter/Rack Server (Optional for 10GB Connectivity)
  • 2 x Cisco Nexus 5548UP Access Switches
  • 12 x 600GB SAS disks @ 10000 RPM
  • LSI Nytro MegaRAID Controller 8110-4i

The infrastructure/user file volumes are on the 1st 4 drives set up in a RAID 5 config, and the 2nd and 3rd groups of 4 drives (combined in RAID 10) are for XenDesktop MCS (Citrix) or Floating Assignment / Linked Clones (VMware).  Extremely cost-effective for 200 seats with great performance that doesn’t max out the system and has plenty of room to breathe.  Check out the Citrix and VMware configs of this “in-a-box” solution.

Flash – Flash and more Flash.  It’s hard to move around SF without seeing a Cisco UCS / Flash-Forward advertisement promoting UCS Invicta Solid State Systems.  Invicta is changing the economics of desktop virtualization with industry-leading wear life rating, expansive write-IOPS capacity, and superior manageability within the UCS fabric with UCS Director.  We’ve got a nice demo of 600 XenDesktop seats booting off an Invicta appliance, in under 9 minutes.

There you have it – great performance that goes beyond the traditional barriers associated with cost-effectively delivering desktop virtualization.  Definitely check out these three solutions if you have some time remaining at Cisco Live this week.

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In the Driver’s Seat with Cisco Unified Data Center

I’ve been in this industry for more than three decades, and so I’ve experienced every data center technology breakthrough and market transformation in that time.  We drove a market disruption ourselves with the introduction of Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) in 2009, and after just five years, we have more than 33,000 customer-proven results.

Now, we’re doing it again, but this time it’s different.
We are in the midst of the next major inflection point, driven by a new wave of applications.  With the swipe of a finger, users can download an endless array of useful apps to their smart phones, tablets, and even wearable gadgets.  We bring our personal devices with us to work, expecting the IT department to deliver the same access and ease of use on the business side.

This consumerization of IT puts end users in the driver’s seat.  Scrambling to meet growing consumer and employee expectations, organizations in both the public and private sectors have demands of their own when it comes to next-generation data center capabilities and improved outcomes.  Applications need holistic compute solutions, not just plain old servers.  The explosive growth of mobility, social media, collaboration, the Internet of Everything (IoE), and big data means their applications need to scale up and out.

Now applications must be serviced by compute solutions that can integrate performance needs, handle large data sets, and scale as needed while reducing operational complexity and OpEx budgets.  The requirements of these complex business applications are defining the infrastructure—not the other way around—because now more than ever, application performance translates into business results.  This requires fresh innovation in designing an integrated infrastructure that is highly responsive to business and IT needs, while keeping data center budgets from spinning out of control.

At Cisco Live, I’ll show you how we’re driving a market disruption once again, this time with our breakthroughs in compute solutions that we didn’t think were possible just a few years ago.  Technology leaders agree that Cisco UCS and Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) deliver solutions that put IT managers back in the driver’s seat, able to meet user demands, where applications are no longer constrained by the data center infrastructure.

I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco.

 

 

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Cisco at Sapphire 2014 in Orlando June 3-5

It is that time of year again. SAP Sapphire is just around the corner and thousands of CIO’s, Line of Business Managers, Basis Consultants, and Application Architects will be heading to Orlando to see what is new and up the sleeves of SAP.

sap-hero-700x200

Cisco will again have a major presence at this years event. In addition to being an Onyx sponsor, Cisco will have five speaking sessions all centered around use cases with customers. Johnsonville Sausage, Cisco, TransCanada Pipeline, and an oil and gas giant will all explain why they chose to install SAP HANA and what operational efficiencies they have realized as a result of their decision. This will all be capped off by a major theater session involving ebay and Cognilytics, and Cisco explaining the reason ebay chose to install SAP HANA on Cisco UCS and what it means to them as a company.

In addition to the major speaking sessions at Sapphire, Cisco will also offer customer the opportunity to hear from and see the solutions from many of their partners with presentations in the Cisco booth, during the event. Customers will hear from Deloitte, Virtustream, WiPro, SAP, ProMorphics, Freudenberg IT, EMC, and NetApp just to name a few.

Two of the newest innovations that is setting Cisco apart from the rest of the world is the Internet of Things  and Application Centric Infrastructure or ACI. Don’t miss these demos on our booth (Booth #230 ). It’s going to be awesome and quite surprising !

Sapphire also plans to be an interesting event from a hardware certification perspective. With the release of the newest Intel chip set, most of the SAP hardware partners are again going through the certification process for SAP HANA. Customers will be the beneficiaries of faster processing speeds and larger amounts of memory for their in-memory processing.

Cloud, Cloud, Cloud. This is the battle cry of SAP this year. Since Cisco is the #1 cloud provider in the world, and because of the ever tightening relationship with SAP, Cisco is poised to offer SAP customers a number of options with their cloud decisions. So as SAP moves to the software and licensing to the cloud, Cisco will move with them offering solutions to benefit and enhance the SAP customers’ experience.

All in all, Sapphire looks to be another year of innovation. Come by the Cisco booth #230 to be part of the future of SAP and Cisco. You can also download the latest IDC white paper to see why Cisco UCS is quickly becoming the server platform of choice for SAP HANA. See you in Orlando

Idc white paper sap on ucs from Cisco Data Center

 

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Announcing Cisco UCS Director 5.0 – with Support for Application Centric Infrastructure

May 16, 2014 at 6:40 am PST

It’s that time of year again. Next week in San Francisco, an estimated 22,000 customers and partners will convene for our annual Cisco Live user conference in the U.S. It’s also when we make big announcements … and this year is no different. The event hasn’t even started and we just made our first major announcement this morning.

In today’s press release, we announced that Cisco is delivering on our vision for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) – including the release of the new Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) later this summer. In that same time frame, we’ll be releasing version 5.0 of Cisco UCS Director – including APIC integration and support for ACI.

Cisco UCS Director is unique in the industry because it offers the ability to automate the provisioning of both virtual and physical data center infrastructure resources – including compute, network, and storage – from a single management console. Building upon other recent releases, this major new release of UCS Director provides richer automation, greater extensibility, and broader device support. Some of the new capabilities in UCS Director version 5.0 include:

  • Support for APIC and the Nexus 9000 Series to provide automated deployment of application-ready infrastructure across both traditional and ACI-based data center networking from a single user interface.
  • Enhancements to the core platform including a new software development kit and open APIs that allow third party hardware and software vendors to integrate directly with UCS Director.
  • Expanded support for Cisco’s complete UCS and Nexus product portfolio; third-party compute, storage, and virtualization vendors’ products; and integrated infrastructure systems including NetApp FlexPod, VCE Vblock Systems, and EMC VSPEX.
  • Rapid customer deployment and even faster time-to-value with over 800 pre-built tasks in the updated UCS Director task library.

You can learn more about what’s new in UCS Director 5.0 in this “at-a-glance” overview:

At-a-Glance: Cisco UCS Director version 5.0 from Cisco Data Center

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