A mass of data center cables is soooo last season. [Cisco]

Meet the unified infrastructure behind the new virtual reality.

While virtualization may sound like the uber-buzzword du jour, the fact is there are real reasons for all the buzz – enterprises are relying on the proven benefits of virtualization to make the implementation of on demand desktops, applications and a whole host of cloud-based technologies work securely, quickly, flexibly, all without breaking the bank.

The challenge – an perhaps irony – is that making a cloud-based virtual world work still depends more than anything on the nuts and bolts of an efficient and very real data center environment.

Right now, though, IT administrators spend too much time manually accomplishing basic integration tasks related to their data center’s individual components and rigid, inflexible platforms rather than focusing on the more strategic, proactive initiatives they ought to.

That’s where the Cisco Unified Computing System™ comes in. UCS is a next-generation data center platform that unites compute, network, storage access and (yes) virtualization into a flexible, integrated cohesive system designed to reduce total cost of ownership and increase IT efficiency and business agility.

What does that mean?

Managed as a single system – whether it has one server or hundreds with thousands of virtual machines – UCS decouples scale from complexity, accelerating the delivery of new services simply, reliably and securely and solving key challenges in the data center. The results can’t help but grab your attention:

  • 20% lower cost for compute and network infrastructure
  • 60% greater virtual desktop density – with no effect on performance
  • Simple operation – start in minutes, scale in seconds
  • Massive scalability
  • Extended memory and I/O avoiding desktop virtualization bottlenecks.

How does UCS do it?

UCS is made up of a rich set of technical innovations that stand it apart from competitive products including [Read more…]

Before your road trip to the cloud, clean up under the hood. [Cisco]

Clean up under the hood

So you think you’re ready for your journey to the cloud. Before you hop in and shift gears, there’s a little engine maintenance in order.

As the amount of data, applications and servers in data centers have increases, too have corresponding storage and networks. One of the challenges of storage-specific networking protocols is that they’re incompatible with the dominant server networking protocol: Ethernet. Organizations have therefore had to deploy entirely separate physical networks in their data centers: an Ethernet LAN for server connectivity and a SAN for storage. Although the two mostly perform the same function, they have separate physical networks, with separate switches, cabling, networking hardware and connections into each server. This creates a lot of potential complexity that is an easy target for elimination.

Your data center has gotten crowded.

Because these networks use different protocols, SANs and Ethernet varieties often need to be maintained by separate teams with different skill sets. Not only is this inefficient because it requires potentially redundant network management staff, now adding, moving, or changing physical servers and connections needs coordination between two groups. That makes it costly and inefficient for organizations and reduces their flexibility to adapt to changing business needs – like getting into the cloud. [Read more…]