After a refreshing summer road trip through the beautiful Michigan Upper Peninsula I am happy to be back at work. I even got a fresh perspective on the phrase "cherry picking".
The geek in me got to see the “Nuclear Energy” sculpture at site where Enrico Fermi’s Manhattan Project team devised a nuclear reactor to produce the first self-sustaining controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago. ( image from - http://www.chicagobauhausbeyond.org/ )
While I was away, I missed an interesting webinar on optimizing operations of Cisco Data Center environments with converged infrastructure management. Thanks to video archiving, I was able to review it this week. EMA analyst Jim Frey gave a comprehensive view of data center management using converged infrastructure. Some key takeaways from my perspective were:
Converged infrastructure will usher in a renewed focus on application performance and service quality.
The need for automated discovery and configuration will become all the more important with converged infrastructure.
It was very interesting to see a customer - Molina Healthcare - discuss their journey to a service oriented data center. The reorganization of the IT department along the lines of service delivery was fascinating. Like other UCS customers, they had seen quantifiable benefits from the Cisco UCS management capabilities.
Speed of deployment improved 50- 75% (down to 1 week from 2-4 weeks)
Support costs reduced by 60%.
Discernable improvements in reliability and availability of the infrastructure.
As integrated infrastructure gains importance in data centers with physical and virtual environments that support application services, simplified management of these assets becomes very important. The Cisco UCS management portfolio was recently enhanced with the Cisco UCS Director. It provides unified management of industry-leading integrated infrastructure solutions that Cisco delivers with EMC (VSPEX) Read More »
Recently I spent time at Cisco Live Orlando where I caught up with Trey Layton, CTO, VCE. We had an opportunity to talk about automation and orchestration of Vblock with Cisco UCS Director (formerly Cloupia). Over recent months, we have been doing even more work for our customers, collectively between our companies, to do deeper integration and to simplify the management, administration, provisioning and automation of our converged infrastructures.
As we see the continued trend to move to a services model in IT and adopt a private cloud infrastructure, Cisco UCS Director is the only solution to provide single pane of glass automation and provisioning of all virtual and physical assets and can provide end-to-end orchestration across server, network and storage resources. With Vblock, it provides our mutual customers an elastic pool of resources to be able to consume and adapt to various applications and use cases that customers are deploying in the virtualized or bare metal environments.
We are excited about the developments around both what UCS Director and Vblock are delivering, and there is a lot more in the works moving forward to continue to support simplification and agility for our customers’ data center architecture.
The next release of UCS Director will add VMAX and VNXE storage support to the product by September. This will allow UCS Director to support all Vblock models with complete server, network and storage provisioning automation.
The UCS Director task library will include over 50 Vblock specific tasks to allow users to easily build model-based automation workflows to dynamically provision the system.
Cisco continues to innovate, delivering technology and solutions that provide real value to our customers. Tomorrow starts here.
Today , I met Chandra Jacobs, Product Marketing at EMC to talk about her experience at Cisco Live 2013 in Florida and the solutions she presented.
Chandra – Can you introduce yourself ?
I love creative and challenging projects in the emerging technology product space. I have a background in technology, innovation, and product development, especially as applied to web and mobile development, but have recently expanded into content marketing and digital marketing.
In my role in product marketing at EMC, my specialties are Backup and Recovery Solutions for highly virtualized, converged environments (like the VCE Vblock System) as well as "Cloud Backup as a Service "(BaaS) for Service Providers, Outsourcers, and Systems Integrators. I am active on social media, often tweeting from @EMCBackup as well as @therestlessroad, and write regularly for TheBackupWindow.emc.com, the Backup Recovery Systems Division blog
Sounds that you had a lot of fun at Cisco Live , but you also have been pretty busy ?
Yes ! With over 20,000 show attendees, Cisco Live was all about the power of networking. I hope you enjoyed the play on words—I particularly think it is clever, considering the theme of the conference as well as the value attendees, partners, and customers get out of interacting and connecting with one another.
Representing EMC Backup Recovery Systems here at Cisco Live, I witnessed first-hand exceptional collaboration between EMC partners around booth activity, social media promotion, and product expertise. VCE is the perfect example. In fact I counted up to 4 VCE Vblock Systems on the show floor !
At the EMC booth, the VCE booth, the Cisco Data Center and Cloud booth, the VMware booth !
Not only is that a lot of exposure for a great product, but it also shows the level of commitment and support the partner companies have in making the Vblock System a success.
So in this spirit , how does your team contribute to the success of the Vblock System ?
We handed out a stack of these buttons for the Cisco booth staff to wear this year and that sums up my favorite part of EMC World: it’s an infrastructure party. This is a place where you’re going to talk with people at the heart of the data center and IT, and the conversations all start there.
Our alignment with EMC couldn’t be any clearer than what we had on display last week. VBlock continues to rock and roll and Trey Layton of VCE summed that up quite nicely here. On the VSPEX front, Cisco recently released 7 new and updated integrated infrastructure designs that combine UCS, Nexus and VNX Storage. Moreover, Cisco offers these as single-part-number SmartPlay Solution Pak bundles that make them even easier for our partners and customers to order. Cisco's VSPEX offerings span the gamut on choice of virtualization platform and application, paving that second of the three paths to cloud we talked about at EMCworld.
On a product front the big news for Cisco was the new MDS 9710 and that brought a lot of visitors into the booth. I was also really happy by the amount of people that came by to talk with us about UCS and the things we’re doing around data center automation. Each year the conversation has changed and the evolution has been fun to experience:
Customer: “What’s that funny looking switch there?”
Me: “That’s the Unified Computing System, are you familiar with Cisco’s new server platform?”
Customer: “What? No, really, what’s that funny looking switch there??”
Customer: “Do you have any UCS on display here? Our team in XYZ division just deployed it and I’d like to take a look”
Customer: “Hey, I really like what you folks did with the switch-based Fibre Channel zoning in the last release of UCS Manager. When does version 2.0 of UCS Central come out? We’re deploying UCS in three more data centers and I want to talk about implementing global ID pools”
Me: “Fantastic. Let me find our systems management expert.”
I speak geek pretty well, so when customers come in and want to go deeper than I can on operating the system instead of asking me “Cisco sells servers?”…I know we’re in the right place and on the right vector. Thanks to the EMC and Cisco teams for putting on such a great event.
I'll leave you with a photo here for a caption contest. Leave your ideas in the comment section and try your best to keep it clean. My first take is "I loved EMC World 2013 thiiiiiiiiiiiis much!"
By: VCE CTO Trey Layton at EMC World 2013 (@treylayton)
Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said “change is the only constant in life.” And without question, change is the lifeblood to our industry and like any transition, albeit from VHS to digital, from board games to mobile apps, or even dare I say it, Tom and Jerry to Jerry Springer, the “customer” conversation takes on a new shape, with new questions and a fresh dialogue.
Today, we’re seeing something very similar with a natural transition towards convergence in the data center market. No longer is the conversation about the impact on IT departments, but about how to influence change to meet the business needs of the company. Refocusing an entire business around a common goal is no easy feat, especially within those longer standing companies with more traditional, more siloed approaches to their business – and as such skill sets are once again going to have to change or people will find their options becoming limited. Like the technology they’re going to have to adjust; it’s a natural transition for not only the IT department, but leaders across multiple faculties of the business.
Economic and competitive pressures are demanding we do more with fewer resources. Take Columbia Sportswear who deployed Vblock systems in order to transform IT to be much more service orientated in order to fulfill business requests that much faster. Rapid deployment and ease of use also enabled Columbia to redirect IT staff to find new ways to solve business problems, rather than focused on the IT “plumbing”. Above all, the need for flexibility is commonplace in today’s business environment and hence require their IT to “never say no” regardless of the project that comes through the door.
VCE is leading the charge into the next generation data center, simplifying and accelerating data center modernization efforts for our customers. Simply put, VCE represents the next evolution of IT, one focused on the next generation data center and the future of cloud computing.
So where do we go from here?
As the IT industry and the needs of the customer continue to evolve, so will VCE and the Vblock systems. Already we’ve taken our Vblock family to the next level by enhancing the existing 300 and 700 systems and expanded our portfolio by adding the 100 and 200 systems. We also developed Vblock Specialized Systems that are optimized for SAP HANA software and added our own layer of intelligence to existing management toolsets by creating VCE Vision Intelligent Operations to enable and simplify converged operations.
As we look to the future we will continue to innovate on top of the success we’ve already seen to ensure converged infrastructure retains its position as the foundation for next generation data centers. And trust me, there’s a lot more coming to you this year, including the notion of “hyper-convergence” – something you’ll hear a lot more from me on in the coming months.
Join us at this year’s EMC World in Las Vegas to experience for yourself the simplicity behind the Vblock converged systems and see what the future holds for the next generation data center.