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Cisco & BMC enable breakthrough efficiency yields at Monsanto

Having just returned from VMWorld in Copenhagen, I stopped for a few minutes over a cup of hot tea to reflect on how dramatically the issues and priorities have changed from just a few years ago.  From just a few years ago, the focus has changed from “getting to virtualization” to “managing virtualization”.

With each Data Center event I’ve participated in this year, I’ve heard the cry from CIOs and IT Leaders everywhere for help in simplifying the management of their increasingly complex, virtualized environments.    IT systems management has emerged as the foremost area of concern (and top spending priority) among enterprise and mid-market businesses.

Increasingly, customers are asking for a single unified and integrated systems management solutions, that would simplify operations and provide agility. This is not surprising given that IT spend on server operations management (OpEx) now exceeds that of server purchases (CapEx). To compound the situation, rapid growth in virtual servers, has made this scenario even more complex.

My conversations with several impacted customers at VMWorld, Europe, yielded a consistent response; The solutions proffered by most incumbent server vendors were not meeting their needs.   Most incumbent vendors add software management layers for every piece of component added to the server infrastructure. This has led to a house of cards situation, difficult to scale, sustain and make changes. Many customers have benefited from the Unified Management capability offered by the UCS platform and are looking for a similar unified management solution that would extend to full stack server provisioning and configuration automation

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UCS and UCS Express

I’ve been watching with some interest how reporting on UCS Express has played out in the wake of our latest Borderless Networks initiative.  The original Integrated Services Router launch was the first I participated in when I joined Cisco back in 2004, so it’s fun to have things come full circle.

Because I think history is a great way to get a perspective on the present, here’s a quick look at how we introduced the ISR in 2004:

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Ever Wonder What a UCS Service Profile Actually Looks Like?

A picture really is worth a thousand words. I found this out many times over doing booth duty at IDF and then Oracle Open World recently. We had the UCS Manager Platform Emulator running at IDF, but not at OOW, and being able to actually show people the flexibility, breadth and depth of control you get with the UCS approach to management made a notable difference in the tenor and seriousness of the conversations.

You can download the Platform Emulator from the Cisco Developer Network (CDN) and play with it to get a feel for how UCS Manager is organized. But I wanted to give a nod to the valuable public service provided by Kevin Houston over at BladesMadeSimple: he’s created a YouTube video using the Platform Emulator that walks you through the information and tools available to the administrator(s) in UCS Manager, including the creation of service profiles, templates and pools.  It’s definitely long, but thanks to the soundtrack I found myself wanting to samba as I watched (not that I have the slightest idea how to samba; fortunately nobody was around).  Simply put, it may well be the coolest 15-minute tech video you’ll see all week.

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UCS: A Better Home for Oracle Apps

This week our team is out in force at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, and with good reason.  Last week Scott Ciccone and I talked about the kinds of applications that are particularly well-served (no pun intended) by the new UCS B230 blade. Yesterday, Oracle quantified what that means when they announced world-record results with the SPECjAppServer2004 benchmark, using a pair of B230s running Oracle WebLogic Server 11g, with our 4-socket B440 M1 acting as the database server.

I asked my colleague Girish Kulkarni, who works closely with our application partners, to help put this into context:

“We got the top dual-node SPECjAppServer2004 benchmark result of 11,283.80 JOPS@ Standard (jAppServer operations per second). This result surpasses the prior dual-node world record by 54 percent and was obtained running Oracle WebLogic Server 11g, Oracle Database 11g Release 2, and Oracle Enterprise Linux.”

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