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Delivering the Madness: remember to thank your servers and the network

March 21, 2013 at 10:35 am PST

March Madness is here and in full effect.  If you’re reading this post you probably aren’t paying close enough attention to the results pouring in from the round of 64.   Today and tomorrow will make or break your bracket!  Take appropriate action.  As soon as I hit “publish” on this post I promise you that I will.

We have some fun things going on here during the tournament.  If you’re watching the games you may see some UCS ads (yes, server ads from Cisco on TV…believe it!)   We teamed up with CDW and Charles Barkley to celebrate the soothing hum of the data center in this spot, and there are a couple more that touch on Cisco Data Center more broadly.

Barkley

These ads come on the heels of a big push we’re making at Cisco to spread the good word about Unified Computing.  We have print and digital ads running across the big tech pubs that talk about the very real application performance and IT operations benefits the UCS brings.

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VCE: Converging on a better data center

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!

vblockvideo

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Bring IT Together

Unification is a big deal for Adena Health Systems, a medical center with multiple Ohio locations. The company’s data center was running on disparate technology that was causing outages, neglecting incoming calls, and slowing business. With some tough competition nearby, Adena’s aging infrastructure was becoming a burden; not to mention the struggle with supporting important medical applications.

Adena took action and updated its network with Cisco technology, implementing the cohesive infrastructure of the Cisco® Unified Computing System™ (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® processors, to run their data center. In doing so, not only was the IT infrastructure unified, but the IT team and the business were also brought together to provide top-of-the-line functionality.

Alignment between the IT staff, the business, and the technology is proving successful for the company. Additionally, virtualization has decreased the physical IT footprint and is more cost effective, while enhanced communication is achieved with videoconferencing and VoIP capabilities. IT is now at the center of Adena’s business vision, allowing for the support of applications and functionality to ensure world-class patient care.

Read more about the benefits of Adena’s IT transformation here.

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Technology Promotes Education

The saying “you’ve gotta give credit where credit is due” is exceptionally literal for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Recently becoming recognized as one of the most successful academic institutions in the country, Liberty University can thank its ability to support the huge influx of students, faculty, and staff to the updated technology infrastructure of their data center.

With growth comes the need to accommodate the large numbers of people and resources – including IT support. The current IT systems were outdated and obstructing the potential for online expansion at the university. By implementing the Cisco® Unified Computing System™ (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® Processors, Liberty’s network became more flexible, scalable, and reliable. The virtualized and consolidated infrastructure is able to support the multitude of users, which is ideal due to the 85,000 students accessing the network from 95 countries around the world.

Cisco UCS has significantly decreased downtime for both students and staff, resulting in the ability to focus on education, not IT issues. Higher satisfaction, growing enrollment rates, and a unified network make for a promising future for Liberty University and its students.

Read the full article here.

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The Truth about Cisco UCS Server Service Profiles and Templates

February 4, 2013 at 5:42 am PST

Cisco Unified Computing System Service Profiles and Templates contain over 127 different server identification and configuration settings.  These identity settings are abstracted from the physical server and stored in the UCS Domain where they can be leveraged automating and speeding deployment while reducing errors. Today, this Cisco innovation is still unique in the industry. The reality is that no other server vendor can offer the level of hardware abstraction that Cisco provides with UCS Manager using Service Profiles and Templates.

Unlike Cisco, other vendors must rely on many different tools and methods that are cobbled together to manage their servers.  For some, it can take up to six different tools to configure a subset of what Cisco can do with one and most of these tools are at an additional cost.

Are you concerned about systems management and how it impacts your total cost of ownership (TCO)? Here are some fair questions to ask your current vendor:

  • Can your software templates manage both rack and blade servers using a single tool and interface?
  • Are your templates and profiles limited to specific models and only certain generation of servers, requiring different templates or tools for the same settings for servers from different generations of the same server model?
  • Is server firmware truly integrated into a single tool and supported by policies and profiles?
  • Do the tools use only proprietary orchestration and automation software to manage the infrastructure or does it support an open interface like XML?
  • What is the licensing model – how much is the additional cost per server or per blade chassis to fully manage server profiles, updates to firmware, BIOS, and integration with other tools?

If you have more than one domain, UCS Central will manage them extending all the benefits of UCS Manger globally. You can leverage your templates and profiles across all servers regardless of location.

If you’d like to have a more in-depth discussion on this topic, contact your Cisco account team or Partner.

Want to learn more? Take Cisco UCS Manager for a test drive.

Convinced? Buy now and save with Cisco UCS SmartPlays.

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