This week we’re announcing new systems at the upper end of the UCS server product line: some heavy-duty iron for heavy-duty times. These are important new tools for our UCS customers: the digital age is accelerating, IT needs more horsepower to keep up, and there is a lot at stake.
Consider this: less than 10 years ago, some of the largest mainframes scaled up to half a terabyte (TB) of main memory. What if I were to tell you that these latest generation UCS blade servers will scale to 3TB? Sound like a lot? It is. And that’s just the two-processor version. Connect two UCS B260 M4 blades with an expansion connector and they become a UCS B460 M4, a four socket server that will scale to 6TB. Putting that into perspective: a spiffy new laptop might ship today with 8GB of memory. Multiply that by 750 and you have 6TB.
Not too long ago, all the content Wikipedia would fit in this type of footprint (in 2010 it was just under 6TB with media.) Here is a fun illustration of what this scale of data would look like on paper (just the ~10GB of text, not the images.) Now remember, we’re not talking about fitting all that data on the local disks of the server – we’re talking about fitting it in main memory. This is becoming crucially important in the field of data analytics, where “in-memory” is the key to speed and competitiveness. Applications like SAP HANA are at the forefront of this trend. Today, at Intel’s launch event in San Francisco, Dan Morales (Vice President of Enabling Functions at eBay) joined us to talk about how they’re betting on this type of analytic technology to help them make the eBay Marketplace work better for buyers and sellers (and eBay shareholders.) I’ll post a video clip of that soon; his description of the challenges and opportunities, at eBay scale, is worth a watch.
We’ve talked about memory scaling, and Bruno Messina has a nice post that talks more about the scalability on these systems and UCS at large. But dominating performance is the name of the game: behemoth processing performance is what we look for at this end of the server spectrum and Intel has not disappointed on this round of new technology. The next generation of the Intel Xeon E7 family packs up to 15 cores per processor and delivers an average 2x performance increase compared to previous generation products. Performance will be even higher on specific workloads, for example up to 3X on database and even higher for virtualization. Cisco’s implementation of this technology has once again set the standard for system performance. In today’s launch, Intel cited Cisco with 6 industry-leading results on key workloads. As of this posting, the closest to come to that achievement that was Dell with 4. HP ProLiant posted 1. So hats off, once again, to the engineering team in Cisco’s Computing Systems Product Group. Girish Kulkarni has a great summary of the performance news here.
Our collaboration with Intel is one of the best technology combinations in the industry today. Consider what we both bring to the party. Intel: innovation in processor technology that drives Moore’s Law. Cisco: innovation in connecting things across the data center and around the world. UCS is an outcome of two blue-chip tech powerhouses investing in real innovation and the results have changed the industry.
In 1991, Stewart Alsop famously wrote: “I predict that the last mainframe will be unplugged on 15 March 1996.” He just as famously had to eat his words. He munched on those twelve years ago, and while mainframes and RISC-based systems remain, there is an inexorable trend as the heaviest analytic workloads continue to shift to the type of scale-up x86-based systems we’re talking about today. It only makes sense. So while this will garner me plenty of comments from the architectural purists out there, I say “go ahead and plug a mainframe back in.” It will fit right in your UCS B-Series blade chassis…
Tags: Big Data, Blade Servers, Cisco Data Center, Cisco Data Center strategy, Cisco Servers, Cisco UCS, Cisco Unified Computing System, SAP. HANA, unified computing
Cisco and EMC continue to partner closely to speed our customers journey to the cloud via our “three paths to the cloud’ strategy. The strategy enables customers to implement custom-design infrastructures with best-of-breed products, validated reference architectures via Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX, and pre-integrated converged infrastructure from VCE.
In the last year, Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX have generated significant momentum with customers and partners. In this short period of time we have:
- Signed up more than 850 channel partners
- Nearly 1,000 VSPEX customers around the world
- Published 9 CVD’s focused on virtualization and desktop virtualization
- 60% y/y growth in viewership on our VSPEX CVD pages
Cisco and EMC will continue collaborating on VSPEX to expand the solution portfolio and accelerate growth. As a preview of future VSPEX CVDs, two new solution briefs have just been released. These solution briefs enable customers to choose their desired hypervisor, Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2 or VMware VSphere 5.1, and get a validated configuration for up to 1000 virtual machines based upon Cisco UCS servers and networking with next-generation EMC VNX Series storage. The next-generation EMC VNX Series storage will complement VSPEX solutions by enhancing virtual application performance through multicore optimization software taking advantage of the latest multicore CPUs.
Building your own infrastructure solutions can not only take time and resources but also can introduce additional risk and complexity. This is exactly the problem that Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX solves by offering presized and validated solutions that give customers confidence that they are deploying the right balance of computing, networking, and storage resources.
Congratulations to the Cisco and EMC teams for their momentum with Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX and thank you for making it easy for organizations to quickly deploy a powerful, secure virtualized environment without the expense or risk entailed in designing and building a custom solution.
To learn more about Cisco’s solutions for EMC VSPEX please visit www.cisco.com/go/vspex.
Tags: Converged Infrastructure, data center, desktop virtualization, EMC VNX, Integrated infrastructure, Servers, UCS, unified computing, virtualization, vspex
Since around the turn of the year, specific to each region of the world, we in Cisco Services have established magazines (available in both printed and online formats) to bring you help and guidance on the challenges and opportunities of new technology adoption, evolution and maintenance, across all areas of Cisco technology. If you’ve read my blogs on Data Center and Cloud adoption challenges, you’ll know that such opportunities and challenges are my passion, so I personally find these new magazines, and their perspectives from a range of Cisco writers including senior executives, very interesting.
Cisco Services Magazines
In line with the way our customers’ challenges vary across the world, we produce different magazines for:
- The Americas - “Services Perspectives” -- Register and read here for Services Perspectives.
- Asia Pacific, Japan and China (APJC) -- “Services Discovery” -- Register and read here for Services Discovery.
- Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) -- “Services Dynamics” -- Register and read here for Services Dynamics.
In each case, you can eother subscribe online, request a printed copy, or do both!
In the Services Discovery Issue 1, there are excellent articles on migrating legacy RISC applications to Cisco UCS, and “Are You Thinking Cloud” -- both areas Cisco can help you with. One of our Chinese financial customers, Bank of Chengdu, is featured on how they improved efficiency via data center improvements.
In the Americas “Services Perspective” Magazine, the recent article on “The Hidden Hazards within Private Clouds” was particularly interesting, including coverage on Cisco Domain TenSM which I have blogged on extensively on this year. Another excellent topic was “The Business and Technology Case for Infrastructure Modernization” describing the challenges and solutions to UNIX to Cisco UCS application migration.
And in the EMEAR Services Dynamics magazine, we also discussed Cisco Domain Ten, Cisco Services framework for data center and cloud transformation.
As I say above, these are not simply magazines for data center and cloud, I’ve simply highlighted a few articles above that most relevant to my interests and this subject of this particular Cisco Data Center blog. So whatever your interests and location, we have well designed and insightful magazines for you! And we hope you enjoy and learn from them!
Tags: architecture, Cisco Domain Ten, cisco_services, cloud, Cloud Computing, data center, Smart Care, UCS, unified computing
Virtacore, a leading cloud services provider, aims to help clients shift to the cloud. But the company was aware that in order to help others, it first needed to help itself—which meant updating its own infrastructure to provide the best IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) to customers.
By leveraging innovative technology from Cisco, like the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® processors, Cisco Nexus Switches, and Cisco Catalyst Switches, Virtacore is now able to better leverage its internal IT to perform faster, more reliably, and on a larger scale. And, in turn, the company gained the ability to provide more cost effective, higher-standard services externally.
Reducing deployment from six weeks to just a few hours, providing a single-pane-of-glass management, and ensuring improved performance are a few of the benefits that have confirmed the worth of implementing new technology and rebuilding the IT environment.
Read the full article and learn just what Virtacore did to unleash their IT potential – and how they can continue to do so in the future.
Tags: Cisco UCS, cloud, Cloud Computing, ITaaS, Service Provider, unified computing
Nobody thought the ‘plumbers’ could succeed in compute …
The numbers are in – across the board Cisco is posting strong results and tracking unprecedented momentum in the server market. With Cisco’s Q3 financial earnings announcement reporting 77% Y/Y growth in Data Center and now the latest IDC Server Tracker results [view UCS Advantage], Cisco is proving to be a formidable force in the compute space. In less than four years after entering a market with very well-established competitors, Cisco has captured the #2 worldwide share position in x86 blade servers*.
The industry has seen businesses shift over 19% of the global x86 blade market to Cisco UCS, and over 28% in the US. In the recent earnings announcement, Cisco reported more than 23,000 unique UCS customers worldwide, representing a customer growth number of 89% Y/Y.
This is not luck …
This is about the value that Cisco is providing our customers. Although we develop products using the same industry standard hardware & software as our competitors, Cisco continues to grow market share. This is attributed Cisco’s unique & innovative approach to providing an open, standards-based data center network architecture and ecosystem that maintains customer choice. We are increasing business value while substantially decreasing the total cost of ownership (TCO). With Cisco Unified Computing System, we are truly evolving the way customers approach the data center, focused on consolidating resources, accelerating server deployment, and simplifying management – flexible and scalable for any workload. It’s that simple.
You hear a lot of buzz words around the industry. But when it comes down to the numbers, Cisco is driving real results for real customers [click to enlarge]:
Here is just some of what we are hearing from our customers:
Read More »
Tags: blade server, blade server TCO, Cisco, Cisco Data Center, Cisco Data Center Fabric, data center, data center architecture, fabric, Frank Palumbo, market share, server, SVP Global Data Center Sales, Tomorrow Starts Here, UCS, unified computing, unified computing system, Unified Data Center, Unified Fabric, unified management, virtualization, x86 blade servers