Keeping Your Eyes on the Skies – A Partner’s View on SQL Server and UCS
A Guest Blog by Partner Rick Heiges of Scalability Experts: Rick is a SQL Server Microsoft MVP and Senior Solutions Architect. He primarily works with Enterprise customers on their Data Platform strategies. Rick is also very involved in the SQL Server Community primarily through PASS and events such as the PASS Summit, SQL Saturdays, and 24 Hours of PASS. His tenure on the PASS Board of Directors saw the annual Summit triple in size from 2003 to 2011. You can find his blog at www.sqlblog.com.
So far, it has been another great week here at the PASS Summit 2014, SQL Server’s largest annual user and partner conference. With yesterday’s keynote address, there is still very much a focus on getting to the cloud and new investments in cloud technology in general. Microsoft seems to be extending its data collection and storage technologies in the cloud and also on-prem. One of the coolest features talked about was the concept of a “stretch tables” where a table that lives on your on-prem SQL Server can be “stretched” on to tables in SQL Azure Databases. The data may be shared so that the “hot” data can stay local and the “cold” data would live in the cloud. There were some other great demos around using the Kinect device to create a heat map of customer activity in a physical store (similar to what people linger and search for when shopping online). You can watch the PASS Summit 2014 Keynote here on PASStv.
As a Senior Solutions Architect with Scalability Experts, I work with large enterprise customers (Fortune 500 type) on a regular basis. There is more and more interest about leveraging the Public Cloud for some workloads and taking advantage of “on-prem” resources in a cloud-like way. This means deploying your internal resources in a similar way – for example via Cisco’s Microsoft Fast Track certified FlexPod or VSPEX integrated infrastructure solutions – that public cloud resources are deployed with a similar chargeback (or ‘show back’) model and automating the self-service deployment of infrastructure, and the monitoring of the entire stack.
One of the things that I really like about Microsoft’s products is a focus on ease of use, tight integration, and low TCO. This is important to a lot of the customers that I interact with. This is why I have seen a surge in Cisco UCS products in my customer base of the past few years. Cisco has a similar goal to keep things simple and TCO low – read this Total Economic Impact report from Forrester on UCS ROI/TCO. Cisco also provides Management Pack plug-ins to Microsoft’s System Center suite for tight integration so that you can manage the entire stack (Hardware, Hypervisor, Application, and even Public Cloud) with a single tool. It is great to see how this partnership between Microsoft and Cisco can be beneficial to the customers that I work with.
Microsoft’s SQL Server 2014 also brings “In-Memory” Technology to OLTP in a cost-effective manner by not forcing a complete rewrite of the application. In a recent Cisco UCS on Microsoft SQL Server 2014 case study, Progressive Insurance was able to take advantage of this technology to further its strategy of its competitive advantage – ease of use.
Eventually, I see the Public Cloud taking on a more “primary” role in the future. Similar to the “Everything on a VM unless there is a reason not to” mantra, I see an “Everything on a Public Cloud VM unless there is a reason not to” mantra on the long-term horizon. Until then, the Hybrid Cloud will be the default stance for many large enterprises.