With all the news over the last few days regarding the continuing growth of Cisco UCS, sometimes it worth taking a step back to look at how we got here. For me, I took a look at a blog post I wrote in March 2009 (pre-FCS), and it’s interesting to see how much mindset shifting has happened in such a short period of time.
A couple of important things should jump out at you:
No company has greater experience in helping customers transition through technology and business shifts, as is evident by the diagram above. In today’s confusing IT environment, businesses look to technology partners they can trust to help them through transitions and deliver solutions that are ahead of the curve.
If you are managing an Itanium or SPARC based server architecture, you may be experiencing increasing maintenance costs, scarcity of administration resources, shrinking ISV support and unclear roadmaps from vendors like HP and Oracle/Sun. You may not have thought there was a viable alternative, but imagine if you could unite computing, networking, and storage access resources with a management system designed to deliver the flexibility and agility needed to scale business operations.
Cisco’s Unified Computing System was designed for the modern data center and has just expanded to include a portfolio of two-socket and four-socket blade and rack-optimized servers based on the new Intel® Xeon® processor E7 family. Check out the nine new world record performance benchmarks here. One of the new offerings is a two-socket Cisco UCS C260 server which can support up to 20 cores, 1 TB of memory and 16 SFF disk drives in a dense, 2U form factor. This is big-time compute, memory, and storage capability in an extremely small footprint. Up to 50 GB of memory per core for demanding enterprise applications, such as large-data-set and transaction-intensive databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, and decision-support systems.
Cisco UCS C260 M2 Rack-Mount Server Video Data Sheet
Among all the IT domains, perhaps the most action is in the data center, and by extension, in the cloud. Virtualization has taken root, and delivered a lot of operational efficiency. It has provided some interesting challenges as well. Virtual Machine (VM) mobility is one. Tracking workloads as they move between servers, within and across data centers is more fun than most people imagined. So, how does one take this dynamic environment, and leverage it to fulfill requirements such as:
Delivering anything as a service – handling heterogeneous workloads for any application
Dealing with VM mobility – optimizing resource allocation across any location
Offering dynamic response – responding to real-time requirements at any scale
How does one solve these emerging challenges to achieve the next levels of productivity and efficiency?
For quite some time, Cisco has believed in the promise of “going beyond silos” (Yeah, that’s the campaign we launched as well, for those of you who saw the recent ads). But awareness campaigns apart, the concept is pretty simple – how do we take some of the traditional silos in the data center like the network, compute, storage and application services and bring them together – holistically – to deliver better efficiency, resource utilization, simplicity and cost benefits.
Fundamentally, this is the promise of Cisco’s data center fabric approach – it delivers on the vision of a high-performance, shared infrastructure, that brings together the network, compute, storage access elements, and L4-7 application services into a tightly integrated resource. It is open, integrated, flexible, scalable, resilient and secure. And it is built off a vision that Cisco has been executing for 3+ years now on the foundation of Unified Fabric, Unified Network Services and Unified Computing. This foundation will form the bedrock for customers looking to move towards cloud-based models exploring application independence, location freedom and massive scale.
“Fabric computing is a fixture on the radar screen of many IT groups, driven by the increased penetration of virtualization and prospects for cloud computing.As virtualization penetration increases, IT organizations will deploy virtual machine (VM) mobility, which will demand more attention to a fabric-based infrastructure that better integrates server, storage and networking for greater agility and faster time to deploy.” Based on this observation, Gartner George J Reiss and Andrew Butler organized recently a survey to evaluate which vendors are the most credible and ready to address the challenges of virtualization and cloud computing.
Cisco pioneered the vision of Ethernet-based “Unified Fabric” for the data center and has been shipping products to support that vision for over three years. Subsequently it introduced Unified Computing and Unified Network Services, all of which have formed the building blocks for Cisco’s Data Center Fabric. Competitors have validated Cisco’s vision by scrambling to deliver their own versions of the Fabric.
On March 30th starting at 9:00 am PST, Cisco executives and experts , partners and customers will supplement this Fabric vision and showcase its evolution, while bringing multiple proof points to bear. And in a pure Cisco spirit, to enrich a very open conversation, we invited the Senior Analyst Andre Kindnesss from Forrester Research who wrote recently about “The Dark Horse In The Datacenter Fabric Race?” and the Program VP Data Center Network Services Cindy Borovick from IDC to share their vision.
If you want to be among (or amongst) the first to know what’s cooking at Cisco, this is your chance ! This event will be live and we hope to hear from you.