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ShowNotes – Journey to Unified Computing

February 4, 2010 - 0 Comments

Your Data Center FutureWelcome to the ShowNotes for TechWiseTV Episode 60 – the Journey to Unified Communications. This show is about the reality of moving to Unified Computing.  Competitors will tell you that this is a big decision, akin to selling your soul to Cisco such that you will forever give up your ability to choose the right technologies for your data center in the future.  What?   Hogwash. 

It is amazing how complete and compelling the Cisco Data Center vision is these days – we have come so far in such a relatively short period of time, we should perhaps distinguish between ‘vision’ and ‘reality.’  The reality is quite deploy-able today and although the full execution of the vision does represent some dramatic changes with how things have been done in the past you DON’T HAVE TO BUY ALL OF IT to begin reaping dramatic benefit.   You can in fact nibble at this thing, learn a little at a time and STILL add value as you do it. 

Yes we are offering a new approach.  You can navigate this journey incrementally however and our focus today is on doing this with Unified Computing.

Our goal for this show is to not only show you exactly how this is done…but we have taken it a step further and asked some non-Cisco companies to help us tell this story. 

Who are they and why is this important?


As you well know, nothing happens in a vacuum. We don’t make the Intel Processor, we work with Intel to make it uniquely better for our customers.  

We did not invent server virtualization.  But we did our homework with Vmware to address the reality of the challenges it brings to the network. We created new technology that unlocks the real potential for how virtualization changes the data center for the better. (Watch TWTV48 ‘Unlocking the Potential of Virtualization’ for a full focus in this area).

We certainly did not invent management.   We can unify it in ways never before possible however and provide what some say could be a hidden gem.  We still opened it up to the likes of BMC who (in a bit of over-simplification) bring elegance to the implementation and daily reality of a dynamic data center.

The Game has Changed

Strategically, virtualization offers customers far more than reduced capital expense and the ability to respond far faster to changing business needs: it also provides the foundation for private clouds enabling IT organizations to fundamentally change how IT services are delivered to the business. Today’s virtual machines have emerged as the new “atomic units” moving fluidly throughout the data center promising reduced costs and increased flexibility.  This increased agility however, comes at the expense of increased complexity that, if not managed correctly, can impact the overall benefits organizations can achieve from their virtualization efforts. Strategic architecture decisions made today, will largely determine an organizations competitive position for the next economic cycle. As a result, core assumptions about infrastructure and data center strategies are being turned upside down. IT leaders are forced to navigate a complex maze in order to stitch together complex manual processes, cost effectively refresh aging technology, adhere to industry standards, and chart a safe course to the future.
Cisco’s innovation in the data center is designed to resolve these challenges. Many customers are now raising their hands to attest to the success they are already seeing with this technology yet fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) persist.  The fact remains that Cisco’s Unified Computing Architecture is a truly revolutionary approach with a very incremental deployment planIf space/power utilization and business agility are a concern for you, then the question isn’t if a unified computing solution is in your future, but when.  There is a path to success here with each step offering powerful benefits for business and technology measures alike.
This show is about how you can make that journey.  This show is about charting the path available through Cisco and our partners today.
Join us as we:
–         Welcome Intel to the lab as we break down the Xeon 5500 and the unique memory capabilities that only Cisco can offer.
–         Explore the Cisco C-Series servers and the benefits you may be overlooking…surely Cisco did not get in the server businesss just because we could…
–         Get the lowdown from Vmware as we dive into Vmotion and illustrate the involvement of the network
–         Demonstrate deployment bliss with BMC
–         Reveal ‘quick hits’ on the Cisco technologies that are driving incredible differentiation for your data center throughout the entire show.
We are having the whole family over for this one.  Intel, VMWare, BMC and of course, Cisco.  This show will give you the options for revolutionizing your data center one step at a time or all at once – the choice is yours – we just show you how and why!


Segment 1:Mapping the Journey

TechWiseTV Data Center host Steve Phillips with Robb Boyd

Robb Boyd and Steve Phillips kick off




Segment 2: Intel and Cisco – Joined at the Chip

Guest: Matt Taylor, Intel

Matt taylor, Intel

InfoWorld recognized both Intel and the Cisco UCS as driving significant change:

…Then, suddenly this year, Intel upended the apple cart by releasing Nehalem, a chip so vastly different from its predecessors that it might honestly mark not just a new generation but the beginning of a whole new era in the storied history of the x86 processor.

…UCS combines the fluidity and malleability of Cisco’s legendary modular switches with an extremely well-architected core management framework and an extremely usable GUI, then backs it up with solid Intel Nehalem-based blades with staggeringly high maximum RAM support.

Cisco’s Memory Extension Technology (.pdf) – Don’t miss the value here!

Intel Xeon 5500

Cisco and Intel Memory Extension

Some very good flash based animation demos from Intel:

Intelligent Performance
Intel QuickPath Technology
Intelligent Power Technology
Intel Turbo Boost Technology
Intel® Virtualization Technology

Matt Taylor brought in a circuit board to play with



Segment 3: Cisco C-Series (rack mount!) Servers

Guest: Jason Shaw, Cisco

Cisco C-Series Product Page

Cisco’s Memory Extension Technology (.pdf) – Don’t miss the value here!

Jason Shaw - Cisco C-Series

Jason Shaw - Cisco C-Series

Jason Shaw - Cisco C-Series

Jason Shaw - Cisco C-Series

Jason Shaw - Cisco C-Series

More link love!


Interactive Model of Cisco Unified Computing System


C250 M1

C210 M1

C200 M1

Interactive Model of Cisco UCS C250 M1 : High Performance, Memory Intensive Server

Interactive Model of Cisco UCS C210 M1 General-Purpose Rack-Mount Server

ctive Model of Cisco UCS C200 M1 High-Density Rack-Mount Server


Segment 4: VMware and Virtualization Aware Networking

Guest: Sanjay  Aiyagari, VMware

Cisco’s memory extension technology provides an incredible, un-rivaled differentiator for the number of VM’s you can get on a single server.  But beyond memory, our new servers are topping the awards for performance as well.

Cisco UCS B200-M1 sets new VMmark record* for 2 Socket servers:
Today Cisco refreshes its VMmark benchmark score on the UCS B200 blade with a score of 25.06@17 tiles using VMware ESX 4.0 and Intel Xeon X5570 processors. This new result shows superior performance when compared to similarly configured servers from competitors such as HP, Dell, Sun and IBM.

This benchmark result reaffirms Cisco’s commitment to top-rated server performance under virtualization workloads. Running 102 virtual machines and connected to an EMC CLARiiON CX4-240, the Cisco UCS B200-M1 achieved the highest VMmark result using Intel X5570 server processors to date. The UCS B200-M1 blade used a Cisco M71KR-Q converged network adapter (Menlo-Q) with high-speed 10Gb ethernet for connectivity and 4Gb fibre-channel to connect to cutting-edge flash-based solid state drives for virtual machine storage.
VMmark results – 8 Cores (Posted as of Jan 13, 2010 at )
*Note that the top score by Fujitsu in the table below uses a workstation cpu (W5580) that is not supported for servers.

CoolLINK TO SANJAY’s WHITEPAPER – Cisco Unified Computing System™ and VMware vSphere™

Sanjay from VMware


Segment 5: BMC and Unified Computing

Guest: Eamon O Neill, BMC

Eamon O'Neill, BMC

“The virtualization that UCS optimizes offers customers far more than reduced capital expense and the ability to respond far faster to changing business needs: it also provides the foundation for private clouds enabling IT organizations to fundamentally change how IT services are delivered to the business.”

Trying to state the value of Cisco’s UCS to an industry that has been doing things the same way for a long time can very difficult.  One of the bigger myths to pervade many minds was around management.  When people could not wrap their heads around what Cisco was doing, many would brush it off as all being enabled through a management wrapper (this is what has always been done in the past).  Because we had been working with BMC on this, the logical jump was to credit BMC with all of our innovation.  BMC should be credited with doing what they do well – lets not take that away…but they are NOT the secret sauce (you would know that by now anyway if you have watched the show to this point).  Cisco makes a very good element manager for UCS called the, wait for it….’UCS Manager.’  BMC adds their elegance on top of it.

BMC adds value on top of UCS offering Virtualization Lifecycle Management, Compliance Management, and Performance Management.

BMC adds value to UCS:

 – Without BMC, after building the Service Profile, a UCS user would have to use many, many tools, to enter configuration settings for hypervisor, VM containers, VM OS, middleware, application, etc. From a policy point of view, his build standards would not be collected together in a central repository. From an execution point of view, he would have to install lots of agents.

BMC and Cisco UCS provides improvement over traditional strategies:

 – Service Delivery takes much longer with other hardware: no pools for dynamic resource assignment, proprietary scripting for tools for each of Compute, Storage, and Network; we have to integrate to multiple APIs. Lots of handoffs between silos.

Live demo of the BMC BladeLogic Server Automation product

 – Virtualization Lifecycle Management – show how to build a full business stack

Eamon did not get a chance to hit all the demo’s and discussion points he would have liked, but the following points were listed as critical.

Five significant Pain Points addressed:

 1. Rapid provisioning

 – Proof points illustrated through building a hypervisor layer, VMware ESX 4 provisioning.

– Building a new VMware VM

 – Solving Virtualization Sprawl through visibility into un-owned VM’s

2. Improving Availability

 – Built in Change Management, Snapshot-Audit features for break-fix

3. Application Release Management

– Parameterization to eliminate environment differences, sophisticated middleware packaging, and promotion between environments

4. Compliance Management

– How to keep VMs and their applications in-line with regulatory standards

5. Self Service Request of Virtualization Resources.(critical to private clouds)

It is part of the BMC add-on solution sale, and it front-ends BladeLogic. It allows IT Operations to provide better and faster service to their customers – the developers of web applications. This front-end was designed based on feedback from joint Cisco BMC customers.



Segment 6: The Wrap Up

TechWiseTV 60 - Journey to UCS




 – Data Center of The Future – Cisco Microsite

 – Taser Builds Cisco-Based Data Warehouse – Wish you could preserve those precious memories of ‘tasing’ someone?  In all seriousness…this is the next wave of video capture for law enforcement, but now beyond simple car mounted cameras…this will drive a lot of video evidence!

 – Savvis deploys Cisco Unified Service Delivery solution for service delivery which combines the Cisco UCS architecture with the Cisco Nexus solutions, Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) and MPLS next-generation network (Network World)

 – Tutor Perrini Customer Case Study (.pdf)

 – UCS Analyst Opinions

 – UCS Partner Eco-System


Training Options (not an exhaustive list..but I have worked with David and Skyline in the past to good results!)

Skyline ATS offers a few UCS courses that may interest many of you – links below. 
DCUCI v3.0 – Data Center Unified Computing Implementation
DCUCD v3.0 – Designing Cisco Virtualized Data Centers

David Darrough is an account manager there we have worked with in the past – call him directly at 408-340-8028 if you want to know more.  



Special thank you to Glen Keel’s and Scott Ciccone for their input on this episode.

Thank you to all our guests and their teams:

Intel’s Matt Taylor, VMware’s Sanjay Aiyagari, BMC’s Eamon O’Neill and Cisco’s Jason Shaw along with C-Series Product Manager Arvie Martin behind the scenes.

Thank you Cisco Press.


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