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Bumbling and Stumbling in the Data Center

What’s the klutziest thing you’ve ever done in a Data Center?

Over the years I’ve seen people drop tools, tangle patch cords and step into notched floor tiles.  Once when I was giving a Data Center tour a fellow was so intent to see how outside air was drawn into the HVAC system that he whacked his head on a viewing window.

I’ve encountered outages caused by clumsiness, too.  In one case a co-worker was lifting a floor tile and tilted the panel too steeply, causing it to separate from the suction-cup tile puller he was using and crash into the plenum below, slicing a fiber cable. Read More »

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Network Dependency Mapping Helps Clean Up Our Application Portfolio

My team is moving hundreds of applications to our new Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) platform, and network dependency mapping is the first step in this migration. Most of Cisco IT’s applications are three tiered with web and middle tier residing on the same Java Virtual Machine (JVM) connecting to a database.

A typical application may have one or more JVMs that connect to one or more databases. Sometimes the databases internally connect to other databases. Over the last five years, we have heavily invested in Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) and thus have JVMs running web services. These web services are consumed by one or more user interfaces (UI). Some of these applications have jobs that run on our Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler (TES). Read More »

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Part 2: How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?!?!

Last week I introduced this topic, the pervasive problem of “comatose” servers in data centers, based upon an interesting recent eWeek article entitled “30 Percent of Servers Worldwide Sit Idle”, which in turn was based upon the research report by Stanford University in conjunction with the Anthesis Group.  In my blog, I described the costs of this problem, ranging from the obvious (e.g. power and facilities) to the hidden (e.g. un-used software licenses).  This week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you can do about this problem.

The Problem of Idle Servers - What Can You Do About It

The Problem of Idle Servers – What Can You Do About It

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How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?! (Part 1)

In my role in Cisco Services, I’m more interested in the challenges of technology adoption and deployment than I am in speeds and feeds, statistics and technology fads.  I actively seek out case studies where technology goes wrong – admittedly most of these examples turn out to be issues around introducing and managing the technology, rather than the technology itself.  So I have to admit, I was fascinated by a recent  eWeek article (full details below) which discussed the huge proportion – the report uncovers evidence of up to 30%!! – of (physical) servers in enterprise data centers that are typically running doing nothing!!  Yes – up to 30% – even in these days of virtualization!

 

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

Yes, even in your data center, it’s probably a safe bet to say that you have some servers that are not doing that much information processing today!  In this part 1 of my blog, I’ll discuss the costs – obvious and hidden – of the idle server challenge.  And next week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you could and indeed should do about it!

Read More »

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My take on the integrated infrastructure buzz

I recently created a playlist of my favorite 80’s, 90’s and current songs. Listening to the playlist in shuffle mode, I noticed the stark contrast and evolution of the recording quality from the old classics to the current stuff.

Thank you Pink Floyd and Apple

I have to admit that the quality does get progressively better overtime, but in some cases tunes just sounded over-engineered, especially on the digitally recorded tracks. As good as they may sound, they often lack the warmth of reel-to-reel tape deck recordings. I am sure someone is busy developing an app to fix that.

The Tres Virgo Recording Studio – 1980’s style with owner Robin Yeager

The Tres Virgo Recording Studio – 1980’s style with owner Robin Yeager

It actually makes me wonder how some artists are able to pull some of those over-engineered studio songs off on a live stage, and some do a great job. But these days, concerts are as much about the show, not just the music – thank you Pink Flyod for setting a trend.

Pink Flyod Live – Earls Court, London 1994

Awesomeness: Pink Flyod Live – Earls Court, London 1994

But I digress: what digital allows you to do is fix stuff in the mix with a simple mouse click, versus having to re-record part of, or all of the tracks. That is time and money saving stuff. It is streamlined sound engineering workflows at it’s best.

And it has opened up a whole world of possibilities for recording artists, including making mediocre ones sound pretty amazing. In fact, anyone with Garage Band installed on a MAC (and some talent) can sound pretty good these days. Thank you Apple.

Is your data center stuck in the tape-deck age?

Similar evolution has occurred in data centers around the globe. An IT environment of disparate servers, storage, and networking systems all managed in silos is a thing of the past. Or is it?

The unfortunate reality for many organizations is that their data centers are stuck in the tape deck age and associated laborious workflows. The result is that much of today’s IT budget is still being consumed by keeping the data centers humming along. That comes at the expense of real innovation.

It’s no surprise that in today’s connected-everything world, businesses and organizations off all sizes rely heavily on IT. And in that world, you need an infrastructure that is up to the task: an environment that is agile, secure and simple to manage with few resources.

Once you have that in place, your talented IT folks can turn their attention to focusing on real innovation that can lead to tangible business outcomes, rather than just keeping the lights on – just as talented musicians should focus on the music.

So what a novel idea to have an environment that combines compute, storage and networking into a pre-validated, fully integrated design that can be centrally managed? Enter the idea of integrated infrastructure. By no means is this a new concept. After all, many vendors now claim they deliver integrated infrastructure. Or can they?

I can’t speak for other vendors, but can say that Cisco has teamed up with the best in the industry to deliver pre-validated (so you know it will work together), integrated systems.

And they work just as advertised. I recently discovered this when I picked up my personal hardcopy of Unleashing IT.

I was delighted when my hardcopy of Unleashing IT arrived in the mail

I was delighted when my hardcopy of Unleashing IT arrived in the mail

This edition dedicated to discussing the various Integrated Infrastructure flavors available today from Cisco and it’s eco-system of partners. It profiles businesses and organizations much like yours that are reaping the business benefits.

I encourage you to take a moment to subscribe, download the pdf or get your personal hardcopy shipped to you, and let me know what you think.

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