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Partner Summit – New Mobility Solutions Require New Talent

At Partner Summit this week, Cisco announced a variety of new offerings for UCS and Mobility.

These solutions offer a host of benefits, helping partners up-level their conversations with customers and profit from high-margin services. However, to ensure partners can help their customers maximize the return on their technology investments, education is a critical piece of the Cisco solutions we offer. Cisco is dedicated to helping partners seize huge mobility opportunities spanning infrastructure, software and services.

As network environments become more sophisticated, incorporating the latest capabilities requires a higher level of aptitude for IT professionals. Properly trained and certified individuals are needed to make networks secure, cost-effective and reliable.

Recognizing the growing demand for professionals capable of designing, implementing, securing, and operating networks and mobility infrastructures, Cisco has designed a variety of training and certification offerings to support this increasing need, such as the CCNA Wireless, CCNP Wireless and CCIE Wireless.

Cisco authorized training and certifications provide organizations and individuals the skills, technical knowledge and expertise to capitalize on the changing business landscape.

Learn more about Cisco Certifications and Training on the Cisco Learning Network: www.ciscolearningnetwork.com

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Cisco UCS Five Years On: The Right Solution at the Right Time

March 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm PST

I knew we were on to something good when a customer told me “This is so easy, it’s CTO proof.”

Early in the business, I was talking to a front-line server admin who had found that Cisco UCS made server deployment so reliable, automated and simple that he was convinced even his CTO could pull it off without breaking anything.  The enthusiasm was real, and infectious, and it changed the face of the data center market.

Thinking back five years to March of 2009, when Cisco introduced UCS, the economy was still spiraling into the worst recession of our lifetime.  IT budgets were being slashed.   Many wondered if it was the right time for Cisco to enter a new market with deeply entrenched competitors.

As it turns out, it was the perfect time.  Because change occurs fastest when times are hard.

looking for change

In the decade leading up to 2009, computing innovation had stalled.  The incumbents still had tunnel vision on the power and cooling challenges that arose out of multi-core processing in the mid-2000’s.  Innovation was essentially focused on mechanical packaging:  blade servers for mainstream IT and  “skinless” boxes for the hyperscale crowd.   Overlooked was the real problem for the vast majority of customers:  operational complexity. Remember that server virtualization was rapidly spreading in nearly every data center.  Again, this was originally a response to a hardware problem: processor utilization; but as everyone recognized the operational benefits, virtualization was taking hold very fast.  As was cloud.  Combine all this with the disaggregation of data storage from the server, which had already moved out onto the network as NAS and SAN many years before, and you had a perfect storm of complexity threatening to outpace the capacity of many IT organizations.  The individual technologies in the data center were not overwhelmingly complex but tying them all together, into a system where you could land and scale an application in a very secure and available way, became the all-consuming job of the customer.   Collectively, the industry had failed.   In 2009, more than ever, customers needed something to help them slash OPEX in the data center and free people up to face the challenges of the day.  This was the innovation vacuum that UCS had been designed to fill.

Think of UCS as the Turducken of the data center:  the sum is much, much greater (and tastier) than the parts.   A lot of true innovation has gone into UCS in the areas of server I/O and in fundamental advancements to server management technology.   The latter is especially critical, because what is often overlooked in virtualization and cloud discussions is the underlying issue of deploying, managing and scaling the physical infrastructure itself (details, details…)   The advent of UCS completed the total abstraction and automation of hardware in crucial ways that hypervisor and cloud technology still can’t acheive on their own.   API-controlled data center hardware is a foundational element of modern IT innovation, and UCS started it all.  This may be Cisco’s greatest contribution to the industry and charted the course for Cisco ACI in the broader data center.

Cisco Unified Computing System Five Years of Data Center Innovation from Cisco Data Center

 

Cisco’s not stopping.   In the intervening five years, new innovation opportunities have appeared.   Most recently, the addition of flash systems to Unified Computing in the form of UCS Invicta, which opens up a whole new chapter for what customers will be able to achieve with the System.  UCS Director is taking on a pivotal role for automation across Cisco solutions and the integrated infrastructures that we construct with our storage partners.  The future is so bright, our partners need sunglasses.

UCS timeline

The team has put together this interactive timeline that commemorates many of the milestones in the first five years of UCS.   Looking back over it, I can only feel proud and humbled to be associated with the team here at Cisco, our technology and channel partners, and most importantly with our customers, who have clearly proven that UCS was (and is) the right solution at the right time.

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Partners and Cisco UCS + ACI = Amazing Together

Today at Cisco we announced the fifth anniversary of the Unified Computing System (UCS), along with innovations in our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) portfolio.

It’s pretty exciting considering that when we entered the server market five years ago, there were questions about what we were doing. Was it the right play? Could Cisco be successful in this new market? Well history has borne out that it was indeed a good idea. With the help of our channel partners we have gone from “zero to hero.”  Our partnerships with our channel and technology partners took us from not being a player in this space to becoming a multi-billion dollar business with over 30,000 UCS customers worldwide.

More than 80 percent of all Cisco UCS sales go through our channel partners, and we are now ranked second worldwide in x86 blade server revenue market share. These accomplishments are nothing to sneeze at, and we know just how important it has been to work with our partners to make such a rapid move in this market. Cisco’s data center partner community continues to thrive and grow, with partners investing in their data center practices using Cisco UCS as a foundation.  We have more than 3,850 channel partners that sell Cisco UCS today, with more than half of them possessing UCS Specialization credentials.  In fact, a year ago, in Q2FY13, there were about 1,600 Cisco Specialized partners on UCS. In Q2FY14 a year later, Cisco had approximately 2,000 UCS Specialized partners – a 25% increase over the previous year. Read More »

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UC – How does Cisco IT Support and Manage its UC Services?

Cisco IT supports all its services with a global service management and delivery team. I am the service owner for the IT UC and video team; we own the strategy, planning and delivery of voice and video services throughout the Cisco enterprise. Read More »

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#EngineersUnplugged S5|Ep2: ACI and Traditional Networking

March 12, 2014 at 10:53 am PST

This is an amazing episode of Engineers Unplugged, where two technologists from the community, Hal Rottenberg (@halr9000) and Colin Lynch (@ucsguru) discuss how ACI disrupts traditional networking thinking while leveraging current networking skills. It’s a great tutorial for anyone looking to understand what application centric infrastructure really means.

Will network engineers all become programmers?

Watch and see:

This unicorn comes with birthday wishes--Happy 5th Birthday UCS!

Happy Birthday UCS Unicorn courtesy of Colin Lynch, with commentary by Hal Rottenberg!

Happy Birthday UCS Unicorn courtesy of Colin Lynch, with commentary by Hal Rottenberg!

**The next Engineers Unplugged shoot is at Varrow Madness, Charlotte, NC, March 20, 2014! Contact me now to become internet famous.**

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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