Fig 1 Overview

This week Microsoft launched SQL Server 2014, their data management and business intelligence platform. SQL Server at Microsoft has grown tremendously over the years; it is far from its origins as a simple relational database that Microsoft licensed from Sybase years ago. For the 2014 version of SQL Server, Microsoft has focused on continuing their drive to deliver mission critical performance, use that performance to provide for heterogeneous data access and insight, and finally delivering a data platform for customer’s private and hybrid cloud solutions.  At Cisco we believe that our Unified Data Center architecture provides an optimum compute, network, and management offering for your Microsoft SQL Server solutions:

Compute – Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS)

 Fig 2 Compute

Our Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server family is an intelligent fabric-based computing infrastructure that simplifies operations and speeds application deployment in physical and cloud computing environments. UCS combines industry-standard x86 architecture blade and rack servers, networking, and enterprise-class management into a single cohesive system. UCS’s configuration is entirely programmable using unified, model-based management to simplify and accelerate deployment of Microsoft workloads, bare-metal or virtual, such as SQL Server 2014. Its unified I/O infrastructure uses a high-bandwidth, low-latency unified fabric to support networking, storage I/O, and management traffic. UCS unified fabric increases performance, security, and manageability by extending fabric directly to servers and virtual machines. UCS servers are 100% stateless, delivering a highly flexible server environment that allows for dynamic utilization of server hardware

Networking – Nexus 1000V and VM-FEX

 Fig 3 Network

Our Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch is an intelligent virtual network access layer switch for Windows Server 2012 R2. Operating inside the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor, the Nexus 1000V supports Cisco Virtual Network Link (VN-Link) server virtualization technology providing:

  • Policy-based virtual machine connectivity
  • Mobile virtual machine security and network policy
  • Non-disruptive operating model for your server virtualization and networking teams

When server virtualization is implemented in your data center, servers and virtual machines are not managed the same way as physical servers. Server virtualization is treated as a special deployment, with more coordination needed among server, network, storage, and security administrators. With Nexus 1000V, you have a consistent networking feature set and configuration and provisioning model for both the physical and the virtual networks. Virtual machine networks can use the same network configuration, security policy, diagnostic tools, and operating models as physical server deployments that are connected to physical switches. This unified approach provides faster deployment and troubleshooting, making the administration of virtualization environments essentially the same as for non-virtualized deployments. Developed in close collaboration with Microsoft, the Nexus 1000V Switch is certified by Microsoft and integrates with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

Management – UCS Manager and Microsoft System Center Integration

 Fig 4 Management

Cisco provides an integrated management experience for both bare metal and virtual workloads. Our UCS Manager provides flexible, standards-based management and interfaces through a comprehensive, open XML API that works with and extends the Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 suite of tools.  Free Cisco integration and management packs along with Microsoft System Center make it easy to:

  • Proactively manage and monitor your Cisco UCS Hardware with Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager
  • Automate, standardize and extend Cisco UCS deployment and management with Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator
  • View and manage Cisco UCS infrastructure directly from System Center Virtual Machine Manager with the UI Extension Add-in for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager

Automate your Data Center with Cisco UCS and Microsoft PowerShell integration, too! PowerShell’s use across Microsoft operating systems and applications makes Cisco’s UCS PowerTool incredibly valuable. Reduce your administrative and operational overhead while decreasing your automation time with UCS PowerTool. It’s an easy to use, extensive PowerShell library of purpose-built cmdlets to automate provisioning and configuration tasks for Cisco UCS and Nexus 1000V.

Integrated Infrastructure: Microsoft Fast Track and FlexPod and VSPEX Solutions

 Fig 5 Int Infra

Cisco and Microsoft, with our strategic storage partners EMC and NetApp, have worked to create Cisco Validated Designs built on Microsoft reference architectures. All solutions and reference architectures are field tested and validated with a primary objective to help simplify implementation and the deployment of Microsoft SQL Server workloads on Cisco UCS. Our integrated infrastructures with our partner EMC are banded ‘VSPEX’ while our solutions with our partner NetApp are branded ‘FlexPod’. With the release of SQL Server 2014, our inventory of SQL Server solutions will grow as we bring to market in spring 2014 reference architectures to support consolidation and high availability scenarios.

In closing, please feel free to visit our SQL Server page – www.cisco.com/go/sqlserver to learn more about SQL Server on UCS as well as to learn about Cisco’s TCO advantages in the datacenter where we leverage our breakthrough technologies such as Service Profiles and Extended Memory to drive SQL Server efficiency and economies.


Rex Backman

Senior Marketing Manager, Big Data Solutions

Data Center and Cloud