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Change is the only constant in data center infrastructure

May 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm PST

By: VCE CTO Trey Layton at EMC World 2013     (@treylayton)
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.

VblockLab

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.

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Unlock Your Converged Infrastructure’s Potential

Successful IT managers today and in the future need to quickly adapt to changing business strategies. But how does IT increase efficiency, support more applications and provide additional services with flat or decreasing IT budgets?

In my previous blog, I discussed how Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and VCE introduced converged infrastructures to increase IT efficiency and significantly reduce data center costs. I also addressed the breakdown of IT time and resources between management and maintenance (75 percent) and value-add services (25 percent). So how does IT flip that ratio and spend more time on innovation and less on routine administration?

Watch our new video to learn how Cisco Cloupia—through automated, comprehensive management of converged infrastructure solutions based on Cisco UCS and Nexus—empowers IT to better align quickly with business strategy. By doing so, the software helps drive a positive shift in that 75:25 ratio, providing infrastructure administrators with greater agility and flexibility.

There are a number of converged infrastructure management solutions, but Cisco Cloupia is unique in the industry by delivering:

•Simplicity
In less than 4 hours, you can be experiencing the benefits of automated converged infrastructure management with Cisco Cloupia. The solution installs in less than 1 hour without any service engagement. (In one of our labs at Cisco, the solution was installed in 15 minutes.) Following installation and 2-3 hours of training, conducted by our partners, you can be experiencing all the benefits of the software.

•Comprehensive Management
Cisco Cloupia is the only solution on the market today that manages the leading converged infrastructures from Cisco, EMC, NetApp, and VCE from the same management console. Today’s data centers are heterogeneous, and management tools need to accommodate multiple vendor solutions. Cisco Cloupia enables you to choose the best converged infrastructure solution to meet your business requirements.

•Single pane of glass
Using one tool that manages both physical and virtual compute, network, storage, and virtualization reduces complexity and training time for your staff, helping drive that shift in the 75:25 ratio towards innovation.

•Model-based orchestration
Cisco Cloupia’s unique model-based orchestration enables IT teams to build and execute repeatable physical and virtual infrastructure workflows without complex custom scripts and expensive system integration engagements.

•Greater IT Management and Control
Cisco Cloupia can manage multi-tenant or secure multi-tenant environments, permitting virtualized and non-virtualized workloads to securely run side-by-side while their associated resources remain independent.

As data centers seek to innovate and meet changing business requirements, they need automation and management to ensure that they experience the full potential of their converged infrastructure. These are just some of the ways that Cisco Cloupia can help. To learn more, go here.

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#EngineersUnplugged S2|Eps5-6: #Automation and #KISS, a Double Header!

March 20, 2013 at 11:14 am PST

On Engineers Unplugged this week, we are trying something new, a double edition! First up in Episode 5, VCE’s Jay Cuthrell (@qthrul) and Nick Weaver (@lynxbat) talk shop in terms of Automation and the evolution of Open Source, including GitHub, and the role of Community in Tech solving problems. Amazing discussion with practical guidance on how you can get more involved:

Jay Cuthrell and Nick Weaver take the Community Unicorn Challenge!

Jay Cuthrell and Nick Weaver take the Community Unicorn Challenge!

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#EngineersUnplugged S3|Special Edition: #UnleashSimplicity

March 11, 2013 at 11:00 am PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Cisco’s Dominick Delfino (@domdelfino) and VCE’s Trey Layton (@treylayton) take on a number of announcements from VCE, and trending in the data center space. Roll the tape:

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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!

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