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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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VDI “The Missing Questions” #7: How memory bus speed affects scale

March 13, 2013 at 11:59 am PST

This was the test I most eagerly anticipated because of the lack of information on the web regarding running a Xeon-based system at a reduced memory speed. Here I am at Cisco, the company that produces one of the only blades in the industry capable of supporting both the top bin E5-2690 processor and 24 DIMMs (HP and Dell can’t say the same), yet I didn’t know the performance impact for using all 24 DIMM slots. Sure, technically I could tell you that the E5-26xx memory bus runs at 1600MHz at two DIMMs per channel (16 DIMMs) and a slower speed at three DIMMs per channel (24 DIMMs), but how does a change in MHz on a memory bus affect the entire system? Keep reading to find out.

Speaking of memory, don’t forget that this blog is just one in a series of blogs covering VDI:

The situation. As you can see in the 2-socket block diagram below, the E5-2600 family of processors has four memory channels and supports three DIMMs per channel. For a 2-socket blade, that’s 24 DIMMs. That’s a lot of DIMMs. If you populate either 8 or 16 DIMMs (1 or 2 DIMMs per channel), the memory bus runs at the full 1600MHz (when using the appropriately rated DIMMs). But when you add a third DIMM to each channel (for 24 DIMMs), the bus slows down. When we performed this testing, going from 16 to 24 DIMMs slowed the entire memory bus to 1066MHz, so that’s what you’ll see in the results. Cisco has since qualified running the memory bus at 1333MHz in UCSM maintenance releases 2.0(5a) and 2.1(1b), so running updated UCSM firmware should yield even better results than we saw in our testing.

 

As we’ve done in all of our tests, we looked at two different blades with two very different processors. Let’s start with the results for the E5-2665 processor. The following graph summarizes the results from four different test runs. Let’s focus on the blue lines. We tested 1vCPU virtual desktops with the memory bus running at 1600MHz (the solid blue line) and 1066MHz (the dotted blue line). The test at 1600MHz achieved greater density, but only 4% greater density. That is effectively negligible considering that the load is random in these tests. LoginVSI is designed to randomize the load.

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Social Media Is Like Gelato In A Cone #CiscoSMT #SocialSavvy

March 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm PST

Last week I spoke at an event and the definition of social media came up. Some people refer to social networking tools when they speak of social media while others refer to the notion of engagement and content on the web. I’m more of a “gelato in a cone” kinda gal. I view social media as engagement and content (gelato) that lives in some kind of an “online container”, such as a social networking site or another web platform (cone). I’m looking for both. I would even argue that customer experiences, whether social or not, could and should be connected to optimize their journey. For example, social content can live on your web site and your social networking sites and conversations can be prominently featured at your events.

Building on the “gelato in a cone” interpretation of social media, we (@CiscoSocial) will be hosting a social media event for the savvy marketer in San Jose on April 18 and 19. Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend this free event as we bring together some super bright practitioners for 2 days of live chats and presentations. The practitioners that are lending their expertise and time to our event come from Twitter, LinkedIn, Kaiser Permanente, Walmart, Adobe, SAP, Intel, VMware, Citrix, ABC, eBay, Salesforce.com, MindShare, Engauge, Percolate, BuzzFeed, Performics, Digby, Blinq Media, Cisco, and more.

You may attend in person or via webcast, just please register ahead of time.

Register for the in-person event: http://cs.co/SMevent.

Register for the webcast: http://cs.co/SMEventWebcast.

Hash tags: #CiscoSMT, #SocialSavvy

Ping us at @CiscoSocial

We have a wide range of topics lined up for you, check out some details here:  Read More »

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VDI “The Missing Questions” #4: How much SPECint is enough

February 25, 2013 at 6:35 am PST

In the first few posts in this series, we have hopefully shown that not all cores are created equal and that not all GHz are created equal. This generates challenges when comparing two CPUs within a processor family and even greater challenges when comparing CPUs from different processor families. If you read a blog or a study that showed 175 desktops on a blade with dual E7-2870 processor, how many desktops can you expect from the E7-2803 processor? Or an E5 processor? Our assertion is that SPECint is a reasonable metric for predicting VDI density, and in this blog I intend to show you how much SPECint is enough [for the workload we tested].

You are here. As a quick recap, this is a series of blogs covering the topic of VDI, and here are the posts in this series:

Addition and subtraction versus multiplication and division. Shawn already explained the concept of SPEC in question 2, so I won’t repeat it. You’ve probably noticed that Shawn talked about “blended” SPEC whereas I’m covering SPECint (integer). As it turns out, the majority of task workers really exercise the integer portion of a processor rather than the floating point portion of a processor. Therefore, I’ll focus on SPECint in this post. If you know more about your users’ workload, you can skew your emphasis more or less towards SPECint or SPECfp and create your own blend.

The method to the madness. Let me take you on a short mathematical journey using the figure below. Starting at the top, we know each E5-2665 processor has a SPECint of 305. It doesn’t matter how many cores it has or how fast those cores are clocked. It has a SPECint score of 305 (as compared to 187.5 for the E5-2643 processor). Continuing down the figure below, each blade we tested had two processors, so the E5-2665 based blade has a SPECint of 2 x 305… or 610. The E5-2665 blade has a much higher SPECint of 610 than the E5-2643 blade with just 375. And it produced many more desktops as you can see from the graph embedded in the figure (the graph should look familiar to you from the first “question” in this series).

And now comes the simple math to get the SPECint requirement for each virtual desktop in each test system:

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Cisco and VMware Teaming-Up to Accelerate VDI Uptake in 2013 – Join us at VMware Partner Exchange to Find Out More

Are you a Cisco/VMware partner going to VMware Partner Exchange (PEX)?  In Vegas!  Next week!  If so, and you’re focused on growing your VDI practice, there’s some great content for you to take in while there.  Before I get into PEX, let me remind you about our on-going blog series, “VDI -  The Questions You Didn’t Ask (But Really Should)”.  We’re up to Question 4 (coming soon), and if you’re looking for some great insights into the mystique of processor selection and impact on VDI performance/density/etc, this is the series for you!  Now onto PEX…

Improving the ROI of VDI within small and medium-sized organizations

Next week, we’ll be updating our VMware partner community on new solutions that offer an accelerated path to growing their VDI practice, especially for smaller deployments, as found in small and medium sized businesses (or pilot / proof-of-concept environments), where the up-front CAPEX hurdle is often too much of a barrier to make VDI cost effective.

New Ecosystem Solutions Portfolio

In tandem with VMware, we’ll be announcing a new portfolio of solutions built with ecosystem partners helping to deliver better VDI price-to-performance ratios, greater operational simplicity, and uncompromised user experience, built on Cisco UCS with VMware Horizon View.

Delivering the Tools to Make Our Channel Partners Successful in 2013

Next week we have good news for Cisco/VMware channel partners who want to grow their VDI practice, and deliver unprecedented value for their customers.  Join us at PEX to learn about how Cisco and VMware are accelerating our partners’ path to success in 2013

So Are You Ready for PEX?  Here are some key activities you don’t want to miss:

Cisco Partner Bootcamp (#SPO2400)

Monday, February 25, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The Cisco Boot Camp is dedicated to educating and enabling partners to sell and deploy Cisco solutions successfully. Here’s the best part J VDI is up first at 8:30am!  I’m pretty sure we’ll have food and non-alcoholic beverages (c’mon you’re in Vegas, I really don’t think that will pose a problem) to make it worth your while.  You will:

  • Expand your technical depth and understanding of key Cisco solutions for VDI, Cloud, Branch/Remote-Office IT, Unified Management and more
  • Gain insights to identify your customer needs effectively and acquire new ones
  • Find out how to expand business by cross-selling Cisco solutions and services
  • Network with other partners, Cisco experts, and executives
  • Come away with go-to-market selling strategies that enable you to accelerate your business

Cisco’s Breakout Session (#SPO2421): Cisco Unified Data Center -- From Server to Network
Wednesday, February 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Presenter: Satinder Sethi, VP, Server Product Management and Data Center Solutions, Cisco

Attend the Cisco breakout to understand why today’s data center architecture must support a highly mobile workforce, proliferation of devices, and data-driven business models and be capable of transparently incorporating cloud applications and services. Satinder Sethi will present these diverse requirements and discuss how the Cisco Unified Data Center platform addresses these challenges.

You will learn about the Cisco Unified Data Center architecture, which combines compute, storage, network, and management into a platform designed to automate IT as a service across physical and virtual environments, resulting in increased budget efficiency, more agile business responsiveness, and simplified IT operations.

Demo’s!  Stop By Booth #1015

Eight solid demos await you at our PEX booth this year, including VDI with VMware Horizon View and our UCS Storage Accelerator (using Fusion-io), Unified Computing System (UCS), Cisco Office in a Box with UCS-Express, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, Cisco Cloupia, and Cisco Nexus 1000v to name a few.  Experts on hand will answer any/all questions!

It will be a busy week – mark your calendars with the activities above, and see you there!

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