ITD: Learn how to deploy ITD in 10 minutes

ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) is being deployed by a large number of customers, and it is saving them massive CAPEX and OPEX, while providing unprecedented scale and high availability.

Here is a 10 minute video that shows step by step ITD deployment.

 

ITD is shipping on Nexus 9k/7700/7k/6k/5k Series of switches. ITD won the Best of Interop 2015 in Data Center category.

Here is more information about ITD: www.cisco.com/go/itd

Please send email to nxos-itd@cisco.com if you have any questions.

 

 

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How to Make the Invisible Visible: An Automated Answer for Network Transparency

Let’s face it. Danger lurks inside every enterprise network, and when it hits, addressing the crisis with manual processes that are inefficient and error-prone can take days – or even weeks – to resolve. If you’ve ever been in a situation like this, minutes can seem like hours. You’re aware that not only is fast problem resolution critical, but that the displaced effort and incremental time incurred by you or your staff in resolving the issue is detrimental as well. Crisis preparation can help. But fire drills often don’t compare to the real thing. To avoid constantly reacting to problems, many enterprises are harnessing automation to gain greater visibility into their network infrastructure to proactively manage and defeat danger before it occurs.

What you don’t know can hurt you

Troubleshooting what ails your network requires you to take inventory of your installed base of devices and determine where the issue(s) may lie. Combing through all your cards and chassis is difficult, especially when your only resource may be a spreadsheet of device inventory data created months ago that is likely both out of date and incomplete. How can you be certain of the proper location of the device?  And when you do find the problem device, do you have access to a history of problems with the device, critical device specs and knowledge of its service coverage status?

invisible

In speaking with our customers, I’ve found that many are putting manual processes behind them and automating their infrastructure operations. It is part of an accelerating trend toward digitizing business processes. Automating network device lifecycle management can give you the confidence to make the right decisions about sustaining business continuity at the right time and in the right way. Why take a chance on putting your network at risk when there are proactive solutions to help you avoid it?

Network conditions are highly dynamic. Inaccurate data or the lack of good analytics can have serious business consequences. That’s why it is imperative to be able to easily discover complete device data whenever and wherever you choose on your network.  But valuable data is worth even more when it is coupled with analytic tools that can sift problems and opportunities in real-time – either at the network’s edge or at the core — so you can take proactive steps if needed.  A truly dynamic network demands both dynamic discovery and dynamic analysis.

Automation makes a small team’s performance large in execution

Pella Corporation, a Cisco customer and a premier manufacturer of windows and doors for residential and commercial uses, has built a reputation as an industry innovator. They not only apply continuous improvement in their product development but also in their operations – most notably, network management.

With over 1,000 devices in their network, Pella was challenged by a lack of visibility into device vulnerability and support, a lengthy contract renewal process and lean IT staff resources to manage their network inventory. In addition to managing their own corporate network, the staff was also responsible for network services for many of the company’s independent dealerships. The size and complexity of Pella network operations required a system to supplement their limited IT staff – and a system that offered automated access to true installed base device lifecycle management, especially network equipment pertaining to security. In short, they needed a complete network inventory management and support system that allowed their IT team to operate small – but, most importantly, act big.  Automating their operations made it possible. Four signposts guided their pathway forward.

1.    Single Source Access
A platform that unifies asset data into one easy-to-access, secure dashboard and set of categories for detailed discovery of network units and their details

2.    Dynamic Intelligence
With algorithms that detect and identify the “truth” of each asset’s location and status, companies get fast and accurate feedback of where their inventory currently resides.

3.    Automated Information Delivery
Information, such as system updates, support contracts requiring renewal and level of service coverage are revealed for view, modification, and download.

4.    Connected Support for Alerts and Escalations
Notifications and alerts for specific devices are immediately communicated, which makes it easier for the IT team to assess vulnerabilities, take corrective action and escalate immediately when necessary.

Since adopting automation made possible by Cisco Smart Net Total Care to manage their network assets, Pella has reduced network risk, gained instant visibility into the precise details of their inventory, and allowed IT to improve their service delivery. As the Pella IT Manager for Infrastructure Projects and Architectures expresses it, “Smart Net Total Care is a lifesaver when it comes to managing the lifecycle of our network devices.”

Are you Ready?

In the era of the Internet of Everything, it’s vital that companies prepare to leverage the opportunities that lie ahead. As network infrastructures scale to meet IoE possibilities, operational change and complexity will increase exponentially. How do you plan to evolve your network? Are there manual IT processes that you hope to eliminate? What are your plans to simplify your IT operations management?

 

 

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F5 Agility 2015, Washington DC – Exciting week awaits us

Only a few weeks remain for the Fall season to officially set in, and it’s still quite hot in Washington DC. The fast approaching F5 Agility event is further adding a sizzle to the conference scene at the Gaylord National resort and convention center in DC.

Usagility1

During Aug 4-7, we are going to hear F5’s leaders, customers, and partners share how the latest solutions from F5 are transforming what’s possible for today’s organizations. In about a year’s time Cisco ACI and F5 partnership has demonstrated significant success in our joint solution momentum and customer adoption. I am pleased to invite you all to attend this premier industry event and get insights on how F5 and Cisco are bringing the power of cloud, data centers, converged systems, and as-a-Service together to enable fast, efficient, and secure application delivery in today’s challenging hybrid environments.

Usagility2

The keynote by F5 CEO Manny Rivelo centers on “Innovate, Expand and Deliver” and lays the foundation for your business to innovate new paths to success, expand through barriers to growth, and deliver the applications your customers need to succeed. Manny will take you a tour of current market trends, how F5 has grown under John McAdam’s tenure, the evolution of the F5 Platform from simple load balancer to ADC to support Cloud based business models, the growing importance of enterprise security, recent F5 acquisitions, and last but not the least the growing eco-system of Partners. I recommend getting started with Manny’s keynote.

Usagility3

Following Manny, Dean Darwin, Marketing SVP of F5 will deliver F5’s forward looking vision.  Dean’s session aligns well with Manny’s keynote in that he will address Innovation, thought leadership, expanding business models (like As a Service) and strategies to increase customer satisfaction and financial excellence.

In the afternoon, we have two guest keynotes. Colin L. Powell the well-known statesman and retired General and Chris Tarbell, one of the most successful cyber security law enforcement officials of all time are going to entertain you. Do not miss the opportunity to listen to these legends.

Cisco Exec Shashi Kiran is joining F5 Exec Calvin Rowland and fellow Cisco exec Matt Smorto in a panel session Aug 5. For those of you not familiar with ACI, this panel session is a great opportunity to learn how Cisco and F5 are expanding their partnership, how their combined thought leadership is advancing the SDN landscape, and customer successes and momentum experienced by Cisco ACI, F5’s BIG IP & BIG IQ in the marketplace. The panellists are seasoned industry experts and I promise it will be a treat to the attendees.

If you somehow missed the panel session, there is room to cheer. Shashi is hosting a breakout session titled “Deliver Application Agility with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure the” next day, Aug 6, 10.30 am EST.  What’s unique about this Breakout Session? Well, you will get to not only hear Shashi eloquently walk you through the role of Cisco ACI in today’s Application-Oriented Economy, but also see customers and partners join him on stage and share their success stories with ACI.  Shashi will discuss how emerging applications are placing huge demands on Data Center Infrastructure and how grossly unprepared they are to meet the same. Shashi will then introduce Cisco ACI, an open, scalable, programmable SDN solution that helps address these infrastructure challenges. Shashi will illustrate how Cisco’s open architecture enables seamless integration of F5 into ACI’s policy framework and how the joint solution brings unprecedented agility and end-end l2-L7 accelerated application delivery.

Shashi’s breakout as I said earlier, also features a unique Partner segment towards the end. Mark Wall, Chief Architect from WWT, will join Shashi on stage to share their ACI experiences. How often do you get this comprehensive experience in a breakout session, one that is devoid of a sales pitch.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?

For the technically oriented among you, we also have a technical breakout session by Ravi Balakrishnan (Cisco) and Payal Singh (F5) Aug 3.30 PM ETA. This session covers the integration architecture, value-props, and openness of the platform that the joint Cisco ACI-F5 solution brings to customers and partners.

That is not all. Cisco ACI brings you additional customer engagement opportunity in the solutions expo hall. We are featuring cool demos showcasing our joint solutions namely, ACI-BIG IP and ACI-BIG IQ on both Aug 5 and 6, during the duration of the expo hours. Stop by the Cisco booth where are product experts are available to engage in white-board sessions and to compliment the demos, we also run short duration presentations in the Cisco theatre at periodic intervals. Should you desire, we are happy to meet you in 1-1 meetings, so let us know how we can enrich your experience at the event

For all the hard work we all do at the event, there is plenty F5 offers to let us relax and enjoy. The evening event on Aug 6 provides entertainment by Vince Neil (Motley Crew fame) allows attendees to step back and enjoy and get a prelude to their farewell tour “All Bad Things Must Come to An End” through December 31, 2015 in Los Angeles.

Usagility4

Network with your fellow attendees while enjoying tasty food and drink, entertaining music, knowledgeable guides, and more are awaiting you on Aug 6.

I am eager to see you all in Washington DC next week. There are some useful links for you to check out before your visit on how Cisco ACI and F5 work together on the innovation front.

For more information, Visit www.cisco.com/go/acif5

https://f5.com/about-us/events/event/f5-agility-conference

Join our Community discussions on ACI and find outWhat is your SDN Spirit Animal?”

Take the quiz and find out! 

 

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An Automated Answer for Network Transparency

Let’s face it. Danger lurks inside every enterprise network, and when it hits, addressing the crisis with manual processes that are inefficient and error-prone can take days – or even weeks – to resolve. If you’ve ever been in a situation like this, minutes can seem like hours. You’re aware that not only is fast problem resolution critical, but that the displaced effort and incremental time incurred by you or your staff in resolving the issue is detrimental as well. Crisis preparation can help. But fire drills often don’t compare to the real thing. To avoid constantly reacting to problems, many enterprises are harnessing automation to gain greater visibility into their network infrastructure to proactively manage and defeat danger before it occurs.

What you don’t know can hurt you

Troubleshooting what ails your network requires you to take inventory of your installed base of devices and determine where the issue(s) may lie. Combing through all your cards and chassis is difficult, especially when your only resource may be a spreadsheet of device inventory data created months ago that is likely both out of date and incomplete. How can you be certain of the proper location of the device?  And when you do find the problem device, do you have access to a history of problems with the device, critical device specs and knowledge of its service coverage status?

invisible

In speaking with our customers, I’ve found that many are putting manual processes behind them and automating their infrastructure operations. It is part of an accelerating trend toward digitizing business processes. Automating network device lifecycle management can give you the confidence to make the right decisions about sustaining business continuity at the right time and in the right way. Why take a chance on putting your network at risk when there are proactive solutions to help you avoid it?

Network conditions are highly dynamic. Inaccurate data or the lack of good analytics can have serious business consequences. That’s why it is imperative to be able to easily discover complete device data whenever and wherever you choose on your network.  But valuable data is worth even more when it is coupled with analytic tools that can sift problems and opportunities in real-time – either at the network’s edge or at the core — so you can take proactive steps if needed.  A truly dynamic network demands both dynamic discovery and dynamic analysis.

Automation makes a small team’s performance large in execution

Pella Corporation, a Cisco customer and a premier manufacturer of windows and doors for residential and commercial uses, has built a reputation as an industry innovator. They not only apply continuous improvement in their product development but also in their operations – most notably, network management.

With over 1,000 devices in their network, Pella was challenged by a lack of visibility into device vulnerability and support, a lengthy contract renewal process and lean IT staff resources to manage their network inventory. In addition to managing their own corporate network, the staff was also responsible for network services for many of the company’s independent dealerships. The size and complexity of Pella network operations required a system to supplement their limited IT staff – and a system that offered automated access to true installed base device lifecycle management, especially network equipment pertaining to security. In short, they needed a complete network inventory management and support system that allowed their IT team to operate small – but, most importantly, act big.  Automating their operations made it possible. Four signposts guided their pathway forward.

1.    Single Source Access
A platform that unifies asset data into one easy-to-access, secure dashboard and set of categories for detailed discovery of network units and their details

2.    Dynamic Intelligence
With algorithms that detect and identify the “truth” of each asset’s location and status, companies get fast and accurate feedback of where their inventory currently resides.

3.    Automated Information Delivery
Information, such as system updates, support contracts requiring renewal and level of service coverage are revealed for view, modification, and download.

4.    Connected Support for Alerts and Escalations
Notifications and alerts for specific devices are immediately communicated, which makes it easier for the IT team to assess vulnerabilities, take corrective action and escalate immediately when necessary.

Since adopting automation made possible by Cisco Smart Net Total Care to manage their network assets, Pella has reduced network risk, gained instant visibility into the precise details of their inventory, and allowed IT to improve their service delivery. As the Pella IT Manager for Infrastructure Projects and Architectures expresses it, “Smart Net Total Care is a lifesaver when it comes to managing the lifecycle of our network devices.”

Are you Ready?

In the era of the Internet of Everything, it’s vital that companies prepare to leverage the opportunities that lie ahead. As network infrastructures scale to meet IoE possibilities, operational change and complexity will increase exponentially. How do you plan to evolve your network? Are there manual IT processes that you hope to eliminate? What are your plans to simplify your IT operations management?

 

 

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#CiscoChat: Benefits of Software-Defined WAN Solutions

Depending on the publications you favor or industry news sites you frequent, Software Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WANs) are either the next best thing on the network horizon, or a tech innovation that still needs to be met with just a hint of skepticism. Regardless of your stance, the question on most people’s mind is can this emerging technology deliver the benefits it promises?

Answering this question is critical.  Today’s WANs are becoming increasingly complex and in turn, difficult to manage.  And SD-WANs are garnering more headlines as organizations begin to turn to them for maximizing bandwidth without completely overhauling their networks. But just like any tech advancement, CIOs are cautious, still wondering if SD-WANs are indeed  ready for “prime time” and can be implemented without being difficult to manage and more importantly, not increasing the bottom line.

Many organizations are struggling to find their sweet spot when it comes to rapidly responding to new business opportunities, optimizing user experiences and controlling costs. This has become even more of a challenge with the proliferation of mobile devices, wide-spread adoption of cloud-based services and increasing use of high-bandwidth applications.

Debate and dialogue about SD-WANs have become very widespread. So much so,  we recently hosted a live webinar, Software-Defined WAN: A Real-World Success Story, to share a real-life example of an outstanding SD-WAN launch.

During this webinar, Claire Rutkowski and Andy Kimura, Executives at MWH Global; Jeff Gray, Chief Executive Officer of Glue Networks; and Robby Boyd, host of our TechWiseTV, explored how MWH Global used Glue Networks’ Gluware, a cloud-based multi-tenant SD-WAN platform. With Gluware, the global engineering and construction management firm increased their bandwidth tenfold – without increasing costs.

What MWH Global achieved using Gluware is an extremely encouraging example of SD-WANs fulfilling the expectations they promised the market. Yet, there are still many questions and “hype” to sort through.

During an upcoming #CiscoChat on Wednesday, Cisco_Chat_WAN_FBAugust 5 from 10 to 11 a.m., PST, Cisco Product Manager Pedro Leonardo will engage directly with teams from both MWH Global and GlueNetworks to dive deeper into their successful partnership and best practices for implementing SD-WAN solutions.

During this chat, MWH Global Technical Innovation Director Andy Kimura and Glue Networks’ Vice President of Sales and Business Development Nate Chessin will outline how organizations can implement SD-WAN solutions without costly upgrades or having to replace existing network infrastructures. Optimizing bandwidth usage, reducing network complexity and boosting business agility will also be a part of the discussion.

Has your organization launched an SD-WAN? Or are you still on the fence and need more insight?  Join the conversation on Wednesday, August 5 from 10 to 11 a.m., PST using the hashtag #CiscoChat.

Please feel free to comment, share and connect with us @CiscoEnterpriseFacebook, LinkedIn and the Enterprise Networks Community.

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Cisco extends market leadership for Unified Access with revolutionary ASIC

Cisco innovates in the industry’s largest product line

Cisco Unified Access is about converging wired and wireless networks to improve scale and quickly launch new services with new levels of security and compliance.

When Cisco launched the Catalyst 3850 and WLC 5760 Controller in January 2013, it stood alone in the market for truly converging Wired and Wireless networks. Over the course of the last 2.5 years, Cisco has progressively extended its lead with more platforms and features based on the revolutionary ASIC which makes this rich convergence possible. And just this month, Cisco delivered Multi-gigabit Ethernet (or mGig), which enables the move to higher Wireless speeds based on the IEEE 802.11ac Wave 2 standard. Let’s start by clearly articulating why the home-grown ASIC is so fundamental to successfully integrating Wired and Wireless networks in a seamless way.

The foundational ASIC which Cisco developed is called Unified Access Dataplane (UADP). It cost well over $150M, and took several years to develop and refine. It delivers Hardware performance with Software flexibility and comes with many unique innovations. The defining characteristic of this ASIC is the true full-featured convergence of Wired and Wireless traffic together with its flexible forwarding engine.

The ASIC performs wire-speed DTLS encryption/decryption, fragmentation and reassembly of traffic in hardware, direct termination of the CAPWAP tunnels, and fine-grained multi-level QoS of the wireless traffic (Port/AP, Radio, SSID, Client). What this makes possible is that the wireless traffic is afforded the same rich experience as the wired environment has traditionally been given. So now, full Flexible Netflow visibility and the Wireshark packet capture visibility are available to the Wireless traffic as well. Additionally, the differentiated user and application experience made possible through the QoS capabilities in the ASIC is also made available to the wireless traffic. Using the MQC (Modular QoS CLI), the wired or wireless traffic can now consistently be prioritized, rate limited, shaped, or queued in a consistent fashion across multiple levels in the hierarchy.

As we’ve seen many times in the history of the Networking industry (for example the Internet itself is distributed), as the number of devices and bandwidth increases, the Dataplane / forwarding plane and at times, control plane traffic needs to be distributed. The platforms based on the UADP ASIC (Catalyst 3850/3650, 4500E and 5760) run a full-blown wireless Controller and as we’ve seen in the previous paragraph, the Dataplane is converged directly in the ASIC. This combination delivers an unmatched forwarding performance of up to 60 Gbps of wireless traffic (with 5760 and 40 Gbps with 3850/4500E), much higher than what competitors can deliver (see Miercom report). In a centralized controller model all the CAPWAP tunnels from the APs in the network terminate at that one point (the Controller). That Controller terminates the control plane as well as the Dataplane traffic and performs multicast replication across the tunnels, so it is easy to see why it will not scale to the same degree as a distributed model offered by Converged Access.

With Converged Access, each Access Switch terminates the wireless traffic, so the (already superior) wireless performance multiplies by the number of Access Switches in the network. The largest wireless networks in the world trust Cisco.

Continuing on the theme of delivering a greater experience for wireless traffic, Cisco spearheaded the move to Multi-gigabit Ethernet (first leading the N-Base-T industry consortium followed by being a leading voice in the IEEE 802.3bz task force) and started shipping a few key enabling products over this last month (Cisco Catalyst Multi-gigabit Switching).

As the market strives for higher speeds and better application experience over wireless, Access Points are coming out with support for IEEE 802.11ac Wave 2 which can now go over 1 Gig speeds on the wired Ethernet port. Multi-gigabit Ethernet is significant because it affords customers investment protection by leveraging their existing cabling plant (of which 90%+ is Category 5e/6) for 2.5 Gig and 5 Gig speeds. It is supported on multiple platforms using the UADP ASIC (Catalyst 4500E, Catalyst 3850 today and more in the future).

If you look at the Marketing messages from many of Cisco’s competitors, you’d think they have Converged Access today. Putting a Controller and a Switch together, side-by-side in the same chassis, is not true Converged Access. Here are some signs you can look for to determine the level of convergence:

  • Can the wireless traffic be delivered at wire-speed onto the wired side of the network?
  • Can I treat the wireless traffic in the same way as the wired traffic – i.e. apply the same levels of QoS, policing, shaping, rate limiting, dropping, etc. at multiple levels in the hierarchy?
  • Is the wireless traffic terminated in the same ASIC as the wired?
  • Does wired and wireless traffic traverse the same Dataplane path internal to the product?

If any of the above is not true, you do not have true convergence and is NOT Converged Access, so be mindful of this fact.

Another defining characteristic of the UADP ASIC is the programmable flexibility delivering support for new protocols at wire-speed performance. A traditional ASIC is fixed-function and would need to be re-spun (meaning build a new platform) in order to add support for new capabilities. The UADP flexibility has enabled Cisco to add support for hardware GRE and moved MACSEC capability from the PHYs into the silicon after the 3850 platforms shipped in 2013. In the future, additional capabilities will be added, thereby extending the life of these platforms. Support for Openflow 1.3 has also been added.

A year ago, Cisco shipped the SUP8E supervisor engine, providing new life to customers using the 4500E platform. By adding this new Supervisor Engine to an existing chassis with existing power supplies and line cards, customers get Converged Access and all of the other advantages the SUP8E brings to the table.

The UADP ASIC has delivered platforms like Catalyst 3850 and Catalyst 4500E which are unmatched in the market today even when used “simply” as a Switch. It supports 480G Stack bandwidth (the highest in the industry) together with other innovations such as Stackpower, wire-speed Flexible Netflow across all the ports simultaneously, SGT tagging and enforcement, 8 hardware queues per port, multi-level hierarchical QoS, UPOE, IPv6 First Hop Security, etc. It also comes with unmatched availability to maximize network uptime with capabilities such as NSF/SSO, ISSU, and VSS. The full support of Flexible Netflow across all ports simultaneously also delivers something not practically possible before – Network as a Sensor and Enforcer.

With full visibility combined with traffic/user/application controls available at the access layer in a distributed fashion, the network can be used to detect and block attacks, determine security holes, baseline network traffic, and enforce network access only to users playing by the rules and according to Business policy.

For these many reasons, Catalyst 3K revenue by itself is larger than the total (combined) Switching business of any of Cisco’s competitors. In fact, Catalyst 3K, the largest product line in the entire industry, is several times larger by revenue than the largest product line in any of Cisco’s competitors.

The following chart shows how Cisco has continued to extend its lead, adding new platforms over the last 2.5 years, the latest being support for Multi-gigabit and 10-Gigabit aggregation, all based on the UADP ASIC:

NorthStarRoadmapUADP

Cisco Unified Access helps converge wired and wireless networks to improve productivity and elevate the customer experience through a smart, simple and secure network from device to Cloud.

 

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Unleashing UCS Integrated Infrastructure

A new edition of UnleashingIT showcases a variety of companies that are taking advantage of Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure based solutions to support dramatic growth, expand services, increase uptime, and respond to changing business demands faster.

Cisco, works with industry-leading and emerging storage technology partners, to offer a tremendous choice of integrated infrastructure solutions based on UCS Integrated Infrastructure:

 

Integrated infrastructure has fundamentally changed how we buy and deploy compute, networking and storage. There is no longer time to build a technology environment from scratch. Integrated systems can deliver faster deployments, less risk, simplified management, and seamless scalability.

This new UnleashingIT edition also highlights how the Cisco Validated Designs answer the most common questions, highlight best practices, and provide step-by-step instruction for setting up an infrastructure environment. Cisco optimizes solutions for popular infrastructure use cases, applications, and technology transition points such as virtualized infrastructure, hybrid cloud, desktop virtualization, enterprise applications, in-memory databases, analytics and Big Data. UCS integrated infrastructure based solutions also benefit from a support model that makes it easy for customers to resolve issues, regardless of where the problem resides.

Again, please read the latest edition of UnleashingIT and visit the Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure website.


Cisco UCS delivers top TPC-H result for non-clustered systems at 3000-GB scale factor

The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server continues its tradition of Industry leadership with the latest announcement of the best TPC-H benchmark result at the 3000GB scale factor in non-cluster category, in concert with Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition. This TPC-H result with Cisco UCS C460 M4 Rack Server is 57 percent faster than the HP DL580 and 47 percent less expensive, and it surpasses servers from other contenders, including Fujitsu and Lenovo as shown in the graphic below:

TPCH C460 Results 3000GB

                                         Results Comparisons (Source www.tpc.org as of 7/22/2015)

The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server captured a performance of 725,686 QphH@3000GB and a price/performance ratio of $1.08 USD per QphH@3000GB. The Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server was equipped with four 2.5-GHz Intel Xeon processor E7-8890 v3 CPUs and 3 TB of memory (up to 6 TB supported). The system ran Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Edition. Check out the Performance Brief for additional information on the benchmark configuration. The detailed official benchmark disclosure report is available at the TPC Results Page.

It is interesting to note that the Cisco UCS® C460 M4 Rack Server also has the top performance and price/performance record at the 1000GB scale factor. Cisco UCS C460 M4 with 588,831 QphH@1000GB and $0.97 USD per QphH@3000GB, available December 16, 2014.

The Cisco UCS C460 M4 delivers the balanced I/O, memory, and computing capacity needed for large-scale analytical and business intelligence applications. These benchmark results demonstrate the industry-leading performance you can expect when you choose Cisco UCS servers. For additional information on Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure solutions please visit Cisco Unified Computing & Servers web page.

Disclosure

About the TPC and TPCH

The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) is a nonprofit corporation founded to define transaction processing and database benchmarks, and to disseminate objective and verifiable performance data to the industry. TPC membership includes major hardware and software companies.

 TPC-H is an industry standard benchmark for decision support systems. It evaluates a composite performance metric (QphH@size) and a price-to-performance metric ($/ QphH@size) that measure the performance of various decision-support systems by running sets of queries against a standard database under controlled conditions.

The performance results described in this document are derived from detailed benchmark results available as of July 13, 2015, at http://www.tpc.org/tpch/default.asp.

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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

Why Does this Happen?

There are various reasons.  It is usually management priorities, lack of process (including lack of diligent inventory management) and lack of incentives that results in such IT waste. Let’s face it, we are all often too busy with developing next year’s plan and executing on priority initiates for today, that we don’t get time to do all those “tidy up” actions we know should be done … at some point.  And it’s fair to say that “Nobody gets promoted for going around in the data center and unplugging servers”!!

Additionally, I’m sure we’ve all be in projects that were cancelled at some time, sometimes with hardware CAPEX that isn’t successfully re-purposed.  Sometimes the servers – bought with one use case in mind – are not up to the job required in the next project – and hence lie idle.  Pre-Cisco UCS servers, old generation architectures, have been side-lined in the rush to virtualization, and haven’t been decommissioned. And sometimes it is the server being just plain “old”. The continued “idle” state, at the end of the day, is not usually down to the server technology.

Mergers and acquisitions are also a major source of idle servers.  Mergers and acquisitions inevitably result in consolidation projects, with the old servers being left in-situ … and then forgotten about.  This reflects on a management issue, that of poor inventory tracking: even today, despite the advances in adoption of CMDBs (Configuration Management Database), data center inventory tracking in many organizations is still challenged.

In summary, there are many reasons why servers can simply become “lost”!  They remain housed in the data center, inevitably switched on, consuming power, and hosting licensed software apps that are no longer used.

Effecting Change: Identifying and Removing Idle Servers

Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you that idle servers are a genuine problem affecting many if not all data centers across the world in varying degrees.  You could make significant savings if you can drive change in your organization to tackle this problem.  Barclays, a UK financial services company, for example, eliminated 9,000 servers back in 2013 and the US Uptime Institute has an annual competition, the “Server Roundup Competition” dedicated to identifying and eliminating comatose servers!

In our experience, the most sure-fire approach to solving this problem is to exploit advanced discovery tools to find these idle servers and un-used software licenses in your data center. It’s not just about tools though. You also need the (i) skills and (ii) time (!) – to enable you to exploit these toolsets.   Let’s face it – it’s lack of time in many cases that has resulted in these servers going missing!     Even finding previous owners and establishing the access credentials for “missing” servers can be a time consuming task once you uncover them.  I am willing to bet that you have way too many projects already filling up your days, evenings and weekends. How then can you solve this “catch 22”?

This is where Cisco Services can help you.  With services such as the Cisco Application Dependency Mapping Service (which I blogged on here back in May), and the advanced network, server and application discovery technologies we use as part of this service, our consultants can take the weight off you.  We’ll find those idle servers and the unused but paid for software licenses.  We’ll do a lot more, and help you understand the application-server-network architecture issues that are impacting your end user performance.  We’ll not only help you save power costs, floor space and software licensing costs, we’ll help you deliver better application performance and network utilization.  Contact me on Twitter if you need to start saving!

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