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Virtualization, SDN, and Radically Simplified Operations

January 2, 2013 at 8:37 am PST

Today many look to SDN as the next big revolution in Networking.  But why is there such hype?  What radical change in the economics of networking will shift the industry?  The answer is Virtualization.

Virtualization’s growth is still in its infancy, and many aspects remain unexplored.  Still there are aspects of which we are certain:

  • With an explosion in the number of Virtual devices, it is unaffordable for humans to remain in the loop for routine network operations.
  • Emerging business models are not achievable when (slow) humans are involved in the provisioning process. Read More »

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“Rules of Thumb” for Co-Locating UC Hosts on Cisco UCS Servers

One part of my job involves designing the virtualization model for our internal unified communications (UC) system deployments around the world. A critical task in this design is specifying which UC virtual machines (VMs) can share a Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) server chassis or blade and which ones can’t. When migrating UC servers to a shared virtual environment, we need to make sure we carefully balance each VM’s needs for CPU, storage, network and memory. Read More »

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Cisco Domain Ten: Domain 2: Virtualization and Abstraction

December 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm PST

Last week I introduced our new Cisco Services framework to help guide your data center and cloud transformation - Cisco Domain Ten (SM). I also described the types of challenges you should be thinking about in the Facilities and Infrastructure layer, Domain 1.  Now let’s discuss the type of challenges that Domain 2, Virtualization and Abstraction, could present to you.  While Cisco Domain Ten can be applied to help you in any data center transformation, I’ll keep focused on showing you how Cisco Domain Ten helps illuminate your path to cloud transformation.

Domain 2 pic

 

Read More »

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Introducing TPC-VMS: a new benchmark suite for virtualized databases

Server virtualization has become mainstream and has changed the way resources are provisioned and accessed within the data center. (Did you know the number of virtual machine shipments now exceeds the number of physical servers being shipped?). Effective measurement and characterization of complex applications in virtual environments is critical to both vendors and customers.

The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) today announced a new industry standard benchmark suite, TPC-VMS (Virtual Measurement of Single-system), that enables comparison of performance, price-performance and energy efficiency of database applications in a virtualized environment.

The benchmark suite is built upon existing TPC standards: TPC-C, TPC-E, TPC-H and TPC-DS. The benchmark test sponsor chooses one of these workloads, and runs three equally sized instances of the same workload on three virtual machines on the system under test. The primary performance metric is the slowest of the three instances and is reported as VMStpmC (for TPC-C), VMStpsE (for TPC-E), VMSQphH@Size (for TPC-H) or VMSQphDS@Size (for TPC-DS).

References:
(1) TPC-VMS Press Release
(2) TPC-VMS Specification
(3) W. Smith, Characterizing Cloud Performance with TPC Benchmarks, LNCS vol. 7755, Springer 2013
(4) P. Sethuraman, R. Taheri, TPC-V: A Benchmark for Evaluating the Performance of Database Applications in Virtual Environments, LNCS vol 6417, Springer 2010

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Cloud Computing and Cisco UCS

December 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm PST

In my blog last week I introduced a series of conversations in which Mike Spanbauer, Industry analyst at Current Analysis, Cisco Executives, Jim McHugh and Brian Schwarz discussed several topics.  One of the topics they discussed was the adoption of Cloud technologies by Enterprises.

More details on the specific study that Mike alluded to in the video can be found on the Current Analysis website.  Analyst perspectives are always valuable inputs to understand the trends.  At the Gartner ITxpo in Orlando this October, David Cearley, a vice president and Gartner fellow, discussed his vision of the top 10 data center trends of 2012 , and cloud computing was prominent among them. More analyst reports on Cisco Unified Computing System can be downloaded from the Analyst reports page on Cisco.com.

If you are interested in another analyst perspective, tune in to a webcast on December 6, at 9:00 am PST , to hear from James Staten of Forrester Research on their findings and analysis of the Cloud computing frontier.

Recognizing that Cloud computing is an important trend, I wanted to see how Cisco and Cisco UCS in particular facilitate a customer’s Journey to the Cloud.  First, I noticed that InformationWeek recognized Cisco CTO Lew Tucker as a pioneer in Cloud computing.  Second, I found a document by Cisco partner GTSI on the Cloud Maturity model which looks like a roadmap.  The Journey included Consolidation, Virtualization and Automation – three things the Cisco UCS excels at.

  1. Consolidation - The converged server and network access architecture of the UCS promotes consolidation of resources.  The notion of server pools and network port channels allows furthers consolidation and better utilization of the resources.  The ability to run a large number of virtual machines on the same server as a result of superior performance enables consolidation of workloads on the same physical infrastructure. Read More »

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