The strategic discussion with CIO’s and IT managers today is about business agility and operational efficiency. UCS Director enables you to have that discussion, extending UCS management benefits to broader Nexus, hypervisor, and storage solutions including Flexpod and Vblock. Leading with UCS Director focuses the conversation on Cisco solutions leadership in simplicity and time-to-market, challenging competitors’ partial approach with incomplete products. You’ll utilize the same concepts that have made UCS Manager an industry leader: integrated management and software control with an open API.The need to simplify and more easily manage the data center is apparent when you recognize that more than 70% of IT budgets pay for operational costs. Maintaining what you’ve got versus deploying new services. Every IT administrator, operations manager, and CIO struggles with this reality, yet has become stuck with traditional infrastructure that is clunky, difficult to manage, and hard-wired. Cisco introduced the Unified Computing System to streamline IT operations around the compute-network-hypervisor stack. Our success has proven that customers consistently choose ease-of-use through integrated management.More customer-facing notes: (not for video)Data center strategy has become a critical part of business strategy. Today, more than ever, the ways and means of IT deployment can make the difference between an efficient, successful organization and an ineffective one. But IT’s support workload is increasing with greater numbers of applications for business operations and new services for competitive differentiation. As a result, the IT environment has become increasingly complex, and that shows no signs of stopping. This has placed greater burdens on IT staff in times when budgets are flat or decreasing. One of the major burdens is the management of the IT environment, with considerable staff time needed to configure, deploy, and manage applications and infrastructure. A recent IDC survey shows just how heavy this burden has become. IT decision makers report that approximately ¾ ’s of IT staff time is spent maintaining existing environments with less than ¼ of staff time being spent on value-added activities. Looking deeper into the maintenance activities we discover: 24% of time is consumed by pre-system deployment 23% of time is consumed by turning on and preparing systems for applications 29% of time is consumed by monitoring, update and patch management, health monitoring and analysis, and troubleshooting
UCS Director automates end-to-end IT processes, abstracting the complexity of individual devices, hypervisors, and virtual machines. It’s the same concept as UCS, extended to application resources across compute, network, storage, and hypervisor. UCS Directorenables resource delivery across the virtualization, compute, network and storage layers from a single pane of glass.The self-service portal enables IT administrators or IT consumers to quickly request and receive infrastructure resources. Cisco’s unified management approach reduces deployment times from weeks to minutes – virtual or bare-metal – a unique capability in our industry.Like UCS Manager, UCS Director brings together subject matter experts who define the policies and best practices for their IT organization. The network engineer defines the VLANs and network configuration for specific groups and applications. The storage engineer defines data protection and SAN configurations. Server and virtualization administrators define allowable resource configurations and pools. UCS Director enforces these policies and automates resource delivery upon request by authorized users.Some customers refer to these capabilities as data center automation. Others call it a private cloud, or infrastructure-as-a-service. Whatever the label, UCS Director delivers simplicity and efficiency for IT operations.
UCS Director yields the best results when deployed with Cisco UCS, Nexus, and MDS because they deliver the industry’s deepest programmable infrastructure capabilities. UCS Director operates directly with UCS Central and UCS Manager out of the box, as well as Nexus and MDS APIs. It supports blade servers and rack servers. It supports a growing set of third-party storage from EMC and NetApp, with more products and vendors on the roadmap. UCS Director manages legacy servers from Dell, HP, and IBM to improve manageability across customer data centers, while facilitating migration to UCS. The same holds true for certain network products including Brocade. While we can’t magically imbue these third party products with fully programmable capabilities, UCS Director provides a single view and automation using the basic vendor-provided APIs.Beyond managing and deploying leading hypervisors onto bare-metal infrastructure, UCS Director also creates virtual machines on demand and loads operating systems within the VM or directly on bare-metal.Like UCS Manager, UCS Director provides role-based access control for different types of IT users to work with the customer’s organization and processes. Dashboards of system health and utilization are available to IT operations teams responsible for the setup and maintenance of infrastructure. Administrators or other authorized users may define the policies and entitlements for the data center as a whole, or for specific domains and resources – compute, network, storage. They may also request provisioning operations to deploy resources and applications. Application owners outside the core IT organization may also be granted access to the self-service console to consume infrastructure according to the policies and entitlements defined by the IT group.
UCS Director was built from a clean sheet of paper to operationally integrate the data center infrastructure stack, bare-metal and virtual, to address time-consuming, manual, complex processes that have burdened most IT organizations.Virtualization is often sold as a solution to IT complexity, yet virtualized infrastructure is the largest and fastest growing IT opex component according to IDC. While provisioning a virtual machine can be done in minutes, infrastructure dependencies and configuration are separate tasks and responsibilities. Compute, network, and storage equipment rarely integrate seamlessly with hypervisors, compounding the problem. Cisco UCS changed the game with network integration to vSphere, Hyper-V, and KVM.Before I can create a VM, I need to setup my storage array using its management console. I need to allocate a volume and load the hypervisor image. If it’s block storage, I may need to mask the LUN and configure the SAN, including zoning. I need to configure the IP network with the VLANs, quality-of-service, redundancy, and capabilities necessary for my applications. Finally, I need to configure a server with the correct IO and network adapters, firmware, BIOS, CPU configuration, network addresses, and more. After doing all these things, working with multiple teams – server, network, storage, hypervisor – I validate that everything is setup correctly – a process that can take weeks or even months. This is how IT complexity increases costs, lowers efficiency, and slows time to market. And this is a simplified example. What if my application has a bare-metal database? Scale-out big data nodes? There are many more steps in the deployment of a typical VM, hypervisor, or bare-metal application. In reality, data centers are a mix of bare-metal and virtualized applications spread across heterogeneous hypervisors and hardware.
As good as any technology may be, effective alignment with people and processes is crucial to successful IT projects. UCS Director follows the successful operating model in UCS Manager and UCS Central, where subject matter experts define policies that are consumed when resources are deployed. UCS Director expands policy scope beyond the core UCS elements to include all the resources necessary to host applications including Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, big data, virtual desktops, LAMP stacks, and custom workloads. When an authorized user requests applications or resources she is entitled to, UCS Director applies the relevant policies to deploy UCS service profiles, storage volumes, access-layer network, SAN, and virtual or bare-metal OS instances. Resources can be provisioned one-at-a-time or in whatever quantity and relationship are dictated by the application. For example, UCS Director can deploy 100 identical big data nodes, or a multi-tier application with varying nodes in each tier based on user input.UCS Director operates across multiple infrastructure stacks in a single data center and across multiple data centers globally. IT policy setters define the resource groupings that specific users are entitled to access and manage, enabling a common set of best practices across a global organization.
An administrator may need to deploy a virtualized application server and a bare-metal data base server. UCS Director is the only product in market that understands, out of the box, how to provision and configure the storage volume, setup the SAN and IP network, deploy the bare-metal server, and load a hypervisor or bare-metal operating system – in a single operation that automatically resolves dependencies and requirements across the domains, while enforcing the rules defined by IT subject matter experts.UCS Director works within an existing data center environment, supporting third-party and legacy hardware. UCS Director operates at the network access-layer contained within an integrated compute environment such as Flexpod or Vblock. It utilizes existing APIs for Cisco and third-party products, remaining an open, flexible system.Whether administrators are specifically asking for a private cloud or just a way to automate and simplify data center operations, UCS Director addresses the full range of requirements from bare-metal infrastructure deployment and configuration to virtual machine provisioning. No other product on the market delivers these capabilities out of the box.
While UCS Director supports heterogeneous server-network environments and UCS-Nexus with customer-defined storage topology, deploying UCS Director with validated, integrated, Cisco-focused infrastructure solutions further reduces operational costs and improves the application management experience. UCS Director leverages Cisco Validated Designs to deploy infrastructure solutions exactly how Cisco and our technology partners engineer them. All of the scaling, reliability, and performance capabilities jointly developed in our labs can be applied through automation with UCS Director. Applications like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft SQL, Sharepoint, Exchange, Hadoop, and desktop virtualization come pre-validated and engineered on our popular integrated solutions.UCS Director works with the tools customers may already have deployed in their environments. For example, UCS Director operates above VCE Vision, whose purpose is to ensure the proper configuration and firmware levels across the Vblock. Tools from BMC, CA, HP Software, IBM Tivoli, and Microsoft System Center specialize in real-time infrastructure monitoring and application deployment, configuration, and performance analysis. UCS Director automates the infrastructure atop which these tools operate at the application layer.
The situation with HP Bladesystem Matrix is similar to Vmware, but, predictably, from a hardware-centric, lock-in perspective. In contrast to Vmware, HP has actually built much of their software in-house, but by different teams at different times, for different use cases. The results is the same: many software tools packaged together with minimal integration. The customer picks up the cost to build and maintain capabilities. While UCS Director was purpose-built from scratch, HP Bladesystem requires users to manually configure workflows and data models across each product and maintain the alignment as new data center services are developed. HP has also mastered the canned demo with a narrow set of use cases that appear to work out of the box. Suggest that the customer conduct a live on-site POC and watch the complexity unfold! Make sure the customer is present for each company’s setup from hardware to software.Being a hardware vendor, HP has taken steps to support heterogeneous hypervisors, but openness stops there. The HP suite is clearly focused on HP-only hardware, locking out existing equipment and third parties. When asked, HP will claim the ability to easily build workflows to support non-HP equipment, but this is simply brittle scripting and workflow development where the customer assumes liability and cost in production. Again, suggest a live POC in a real environment.HP Bladesystem Matrix is heavily optimized for a narrow range of hardware and software configurations. Other use cases are redirected to HP Operations Orchestration, where customers are expected to become their own software developers every time HP releases a new product or a new use case is needed.
UCS Director is an exciting product that enables IT practitioners to add more value to their organization and better support their business’ goals.Simplicity is the data center is rare as complex applications with challenging expectations are demanded of IT. UCS Director installs quickly and delivers value within hours. Administrators can automate their infrastructure operations to more easily deploy and manage applications.Teamwork in IT has never been more important as IT services span functional domains and glitches blossom into business problems. UCS Director enhances collaboration between compute, network, storage, and virtualization teams, enabling effective teamwork in a fast-paced environment.Quality and business velocity are not trade-offs; end-users demand both. Today’s IT environment is unforgiving of mistakes as practitioners work quickly to meet expectations. UCS Director ensures the correct systems are deployed as intended, with policies and a smart data model that represent infrastructure requirements.IT organizations are strengthening their competitiveness with capability to deliver services across multiple vendors and heterogeneous infrastructure. UCS Director recognizes this reality and supports a wide range of bare-metal and virtual infrastructure, adding value for diverse applications.Remember, UCS Director provides fundamental differentiation and competitive advantage against hypervisor, server, and network vendors. It amplifies UCS and Nexus capabilities, avoiding commoditization. UCS Director keeps you in the account with ease-of-use and fast deployment. UCS Director is unique. No other vendor comes close in value or capability. Lead with UCS Director. Happy selling!
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Data Center CSE – SLED Midsouth/Gulf States