Last month Cisco introduced our latest platform for realizing Cisco’s vision of “intuitive infrastructure“. This initiative is another step forward in the Cisco UCS strategy to provide customers with greater simplicity, automation, and intuitive computing.

Guest Blogger: Gautham Ravi, Director, UCS Product Management

Our Focus on Simplification

Cisco announced the 5th generation of Cisco UCS servers last week, and this would not have been possible without the passion of our customers. From the beginning we’ve focused on simplifying and automating the user experience. The continuous feedback we have received from our users have helped us maintain our edge by effectively developing software along with our hardware and not as an afterthought. UCS embeds the management of the infrastructure elements so it is fully programmable, and it has a unified API. As a result, we have been able to solve a wide set of customer problems, which has translated into proven success in the market.

Product Problem Solved Results
Cisco UCS Simplified computing by automating many routine operations activities Over 60,000 active UCS customers; leader in blades
Converged Infrastructure Simplified converged infrastructure through orchestration and partnerships Leader in integrated infrastructure market
Cisco HyperFlex Simplified hyperconverged infrastructure by integrating fabric with SDS Leader in hyperconverged market

Moving Towards Intuitive Computing

While we’ve made significant strides on simplification and automation, our customers have been relentless in asking us to continue the innovation journey. And thanks to them we are on the threshold of providing an even more intuitive management experience through a new platform, code named Project Starship. Our goal is to achieve what our CEO Chuck Robbins refers to as “intuitive computing”. This is a higher level of computing that delivers three important outcomes: pervasive simplicity, continuous optimization, and agile delivery.

This blog is the first in a series of blogs that will explain the journey we are on with Project Starship, as we pursue the goal of intuitive computing. Our north star is to continue to pursue greater simplicity. This will help our customers realize much greater efficiencies, as they pursue their business objectives and desired outcomes.

Pervasive Simplicity

Our goal is to provide a highly intuitive user experience that can fit a variety of user personas. While ease of use is important, we definitely wanted to delight our customers with simplicity being the core of every operation without compromising critical capabilities like scale, availability and functionality. We also learned from other groups within Cisco, and we understand that our customers love the benefits of cloud-based network management they’ve realized with our Meraki product lines. They wanted us to deliver these same advantages, such as seamless scalability, frequent enhancements, and ease of software updates provided by Meraki and other Management as-a-Service (MaaS) tools.

We realized in order to provide this experience we needed to not just make incremental changes to our products, but we really needed a transformative experience. This meant we had to change the way we developed and delivered our products. This will allow us to deliver updates to our customers more rapidly. Going cloud native also meant upgrades can be implemented without the added manual processes and hassles for our customers.

To transition to cloud-based systems management without impacting our existing customers we had to separate the local element management of UCS from global policy functionality. We’ve been making this transition over the last couple of releases of the UCS management software products. The new M5 servers and the recently announced HyperFlex Edge systems will be ready to connect to the cloud from day one.

Simplified Support

Customers also wanted better, simpler support. They wanted the process of reporting problems and opening tickets to be easier, so issues could be resolved more rapidly with fewer manual steps. As we move towards a model of cloud based systems management, one of the ready advantages is the tighter integration with our support team. The data and incidents generated from the “connected” install base will be available for use by the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) to gain insights and provide more proactive support. This will also provide capabilities for our customers to provide more direct feedback into our products.

In addition, the tight integration with Cisco TAC also extends the solution scope by enhancing continuous delivery to further speed up fixes and future development. There are other advantages that we’ll expand upon in future blogs.

Simplicity Can Move Mountains

Change is never easy, but we believe the benefits for our customers will be extraordinary. Our goal is to make the transition as easy as possible for our customers. I can tell you it has taken quite a bit of work to lay the foundation for this transition. We’ve done the hard work to reduce the complexity, so we can minimize the bumps and hassles for our customers.

We hope you’ll go with us on this journey as we pursue intuitive computing. We think you will find, as we have, that’s Steve Jobs was right when he said, “Simple can be harder than complex…but it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

You can learn more about this journey by reading the series of blogs on this endeavor.

Stay tuned for the next blog…



Ken Spear

Sr. Marketing Manager, Automation

UCS Solution Marketing