Cisco’s Unified Data Center strategy is rooted in the idea that customers shouldn’t be put in the position of DIY technology integration. It’s just an unfair ask given everything that IT and LOB leaders contend with above and beyond the infrastructure. As technology has evolved, the component parts of the data center are decreasingly the source of complexity. It’s the connections between them, creating that sum of the parts that can actually run applications, that’s the hardest part. Eliminating this complexity has been Cisco’s guiding star in the data center, building systems that help customers focus on what matters most to them: applications and IT services, not infrastructure.
VCE, Cisco’s joint venture with EMC, VMware and Intel, is a critical expression of this vision for fabric based infrastructure and converged solutions. Today marks a major milestone for VCE with the broadest solutions announcement since the launch of Vblock Systems, which has become widely recognized as the gold standard of converged infrastructure.
These new offerings extend the proven value of Vblock: converged, pre-engineered infrastructure that slashes deployment time and ongoing management burden, into a new set of market segments and key workloads.
The team at VCE have done a great job detailing this out; I see the key components being brought forward today as:
- Taking Vblock Systems to new customer segments and use cases: System 200 is designed for mid-size data centers and service provider-managed customer premise (CPE) scenarios. System 100 extends to remote office/branch office environments. Combining these new Vblocks with applications like Microsoft Exchange & Sharepoint, VDI, and Cisco Unified Commuications will continue the push to eliminate DIY solution assembly for customers.
- VCE Specialized Systems: a series of systems optimized for key workloads, starting with SAP HANA. Certification for Vblock here is an exciting new opportunity for customers to quickly adopt this hot new analytic technology
- VCE Vision Intelligent Operations which brings intelligent discovery and single lens management to VBlock Systems. This takes a similar API driven approach found at the core of UCS to enable orchestration of the converged system. This is a critical component for cloud builders.
VCE’s launch is a major milestone in their evolution, but the way each Vblock system is built, maintained and supported remains constant and predictable. Customers can continue to rely on the same comprehensive physical and logical build done in the factory, single point support and the IT agility and economic benefits these create.
Customers have spoken and this is being reflected in the results, with 1,000 Vblock Systems shipped, demand on a billion dollar run rate and recognition as the market leader in converged systems.
Congratulations to the VCE team as they continue to make it easier for customers to concentrate on the business and not on the infrastructure!
Tags: Converged Infrastructure, data center, Fabric-Based Infrastructure, Servers, UCS, unified computing, Vblock, VCE
Are you a Cisco/VMware partner going to VMware Partner Exchange (PEX)? In Vegas! Next week! If so, and you’re focused on growing your VDI practice, there’s some great content for you to take in while there. Before I get into PEX, let me remind you about our on-going blog series, “VDI - The Questions You Didn’t Ask (But Really Should)”. We’re up to Question 4 (coming soon), and if you’re looking for some great insights into the mystique of processor selection and impact on VDI performance/density/etc, this is the series for you! Now onto PEX…
Improving the ROI of VDI within small and medium-sized organizations
Next week, we’ll be updating our VMware partner community on new solutions that offer an accelerated path to growing their VDI practice, especially for smaller deployments, as found in small and medium sized businesses (or pilot / proof-of-concept environments), where the up-front CAPEX hurdle is often too much of a barrier to make VDI cost effective.
New Ecosystem Solutions Portfolio
In tandem with VMware, we’ll be announcing a new portfolio of solutions built with ecosystem partners helping to deliver better VDI price-to-performance ratios, greater operational simplicity, and uncompromised user experience, built on Cisco UCS with VMware Horizon View.
Delivering the Tools to Make Our Channel Partners Successful in 2013
Next week we have good news for Cisco/VMware channel partners who want to grow their VDI practice, and deliver unprecedented value for their customers. Join us at PEX to learn about how Cisco and VMware are accelerating our partners’ path to success in 2013
So Are You Ready for PEX? Here are some key activities you don’t want to miss:
Cisco Partner Bootcamp (#SPO2400)
Monday, February 25, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
The Cisco Boot Camp is dedicated to educating and enabling partners to sell and deploy Cisco solutions successfully. Here’s the best part J VDI is up first at 8:30am! I’m pretty sure we’ll have food and non-alcoholic beverages (c’mon you’re in Vegas, I really don’t think that will pose a problem) to make it worth your while. You will:
- Expand your technical depth and understanding of key Cisco solutions for VDI, Cloud, Branch/Remote-Office IT, Unified Management and more
- Gain insights to identify your customer needs effectively and acquire new ones
- Find out how to expand business by cross-selling Cisco solutions and services
- Network with other partners, Cisco experts, and executives
- Come away with go-to-market selling strategies that enable you to accelerate your business
Cisco’s Breakout Session (#SPO2421): Cisco Unified Data Center -- From Server to Network
Wednesday, February 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Presenter: Satinder Sethi, VP, Server Product Management and Data Center Solutions, Cisco
Attend the Cisco breakout to understand why today’s data center architecture must support a highly mobile workforce, proliferation of devices, and data-driven business models and be capable of transparently incorporating cloud applications and services. Satinder Sethi will present these diverse requirements and discuss how the Cisco Unified Data Center platform addresses these challenges.
You will learn about the Cisco Unified Data Center architecture, which combines compute, storage, network, and management into a platform designed to automate IT as a service across physical and virtual environments, resulting in increased budget efficiency, more agile business responsiveness, and simplified IT operations.
Demo’s! Stop By Booth #1015
Eight solid demos await you at our PEX booth this year, including VDI with VMware Horizon View and our UCS Storage Accelerator (using Fusion-io), Unified Computing System (UCS), Cisco Office in a Box with UCS-Express, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, Cisco Cloupia, and Cisco Nexus 1000v to name a few. Experts on hand will answer any/all questions!
It will be a busy week – mark your calendars with the activities above, and see you there!
Tags: thinapp, UCS, vdi, View, VMware, vmware horizon view
We’ve mentioned earlier that Cisco is again a platinum sponsor at this year’s Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas. We’ll showcase UCS, UCS Manager, PowerTool for PowerShell, and many other management solutions and technologies. Two speaking sessions are dedicated to Cisco technology as well -- see details below. So, don’t gamble away your chance to learn from Cisco Product Managers and Engineers on our integration with the Hyper-V Extensible Switch and System Center! Details on our presence can be found at www.cisco.com/go/mms
Virtual Networking Solutions for Microsoft Hyper-V environments
Session ID: WS-B201
Server virtualization and cloud environments provide many benefits to enterprise customers. However, the dynamic nature of these environments and IT operational practices presents additional complexities for virtual machine networking. This session covers how Cisco virtual networking solutions (Cisco Nexus 1000V and Cisco UCS VM-FEX) can help simplify virtual networking. It shows how they help to enable consistency across physical and virtual networks and provide an advanced networking feature set. The session also details Cisco integration with System Center Virtual Machine Manager to provide a non-disruptive operational model to the server team. Attend this session to learn about Cisco Nexus 1000V and Cisco UCS VM-FEX architecture. Also discover the virtual networking services they bring to Hyper-V environments, and how they can simplify network operations.
Automate Your Infrastructure Programmatic Management of Cisco UCS with Microsoft System Center and PowerShell
Session ID: WS-B337
Date: Tuesday, April 9
Time: 10:15 11:30 a.m.
Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) Manager improves process automation and policy management. This helps data center managers achieve greater agility and scale in their server operations while reducing complexity and risk. Join our Cisco Systems Management experts as they cover managing Cisco UCS with Microsoft System Center and PowerShell. The session will detail the integration of the Cisco UCS XML API with Microsoft management tools. This provides full views of Cisco UCS hardware inventory, monitoring, alerting, and automation of Cisco UCS using both Microsoft Systems Center and PowerShell. You will also see demonstrations of real-world examples showing programmatic bare-metal deployment and ongoing systems monitoring and management of Cisco UCS using Cisco UCS PowerTool and Microsoft Systems Center.
Learn more on Cisco’s technology and solutions for your Microsoft oriented datacenter at www.cisco.com/go/microsoft
Tags: Cisco, Hyper-V, Microsoft, Nexus 1000, PowerShell, PowerTool, UCS, UCS Manager
Service Financial Management is the focus of Domain 6 in Cisco Services‘ DomainTenSM Model for Data Center and Cloud Transformation. Closely related to the User Portal (Domain 4) and Service Catalog and Management (Domain 5), service financial management is one of those organizationally challenging topics for the data center management team -- although with the advent of cloud services, is becoming more widely appreciated and in many cases (e.g. a service provider offering cloud services to businesses, a public sector organization offering services to other regional public service organizations), a mandatory part of your offer. So let’s discuss this area and I’ll point you to a technical white paper from Cisco Services experts on this topic.
Cisco Domain Ten -- Domain 6 -- Service Financial Management
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Tags: architecture, chargeback, Cisco Domain Ten, Cisco Services, cloud, cloud_computing, data center, financials, UCS
Fabric-Based Infrastructure and Cisco UCS
A good segue to Fabric-Based Infrastructure is Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Blade Servers (March 2012), by Andrew Butler and George Weiss. To fully understand the tie in with Fabric-Based Infrastructure I suggest reading the section on Cisco UCS. Their observations are important because they tie directly to the subject of this blog. You will also get a better feel for why Cisco UCS is having such rapid customer adoption worldwide.
The emphasis for Fabric-Based Infrastructure is delivering value-add functionality that enables data centers to operate more efficiently and cost effectively. A good place to start is by looking at this Gartner report by George Weiss and Donna Scott -- Fabric-Based Infrastructure Enablers and Inhibitors Through the Lens of User Experiences (April 2012). In this short research note, George and Donna go into the key drivers and reasons for the FBI architecture and the benefits that their clients have seen. My take away for the key benefits of Fabric-Based Infrastructure are:
- OpEx and CapEx savings
- Increased VM density
- Time-To-Deploy reduced from months to hours via automation and standards implementation;
- Reduce cost and complexity and improve agility;
- Improved resiliency by recreating servers and connectivity in minutes using profiles and templates
While reading about a technology innovation is helpful, actually listening to experts discuss the architecture and give their individual perspectives can be more so.
I suggest that you make time to listen to this 34 minute video with featured guest Donna Scott (a VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner) and Paul Perez (VP and CTO for the Data Center Business Group at Cisco Systems) -- Fabric-Based Infrastructure (FBI) in Today’s Data Center. Donna looks at the motivations and impact of customers moving to a Fabric Based Infrastructure with an eye toward what is important to adopters. Then Paul discusses Cisco UCS innovations and how they let FBI adopters achieve their goals. If you would like, you can download a podcast of the video from theCisco Analyst Reports page.
From my perspective the truly compelling part of this story is the extent to which Cisco UCS makes the promise of Fabric-Based Infrastructure a reality, while emphasizing safety, security and the risk reduction. These are critical considerations in today’s IT environment. Cisco continues to be a key innovator in data center technology and is continuing to grow from strength to strength, delivering value and benefit for your long term application solution needs.
Below is how I think a Fabric-Based Infrastructure should look. Of course I am predisposed. Cisco UCS architecture provides the ability to define and manage over 120 different server identity parameters via service profile templates, using a native tool with Roles Based Access Controls and across geographies. UCS enables you to have a distributed environment that is centrally managed. Your admins can also use CLI, custom designed tools / scripts, or third party tools as they choose to meet the needs of their current management structure.
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Tags: Cisco UCS, data center, data center management, Fabric computing, Fabric-Based Infrastructure, intelligent automation, network, Server Management, UCS, virtualization