The data centerand the role of ITis changing. Increasing cost pressures, technology changes, and the advent of game-changers like cloud are forcing IT executives to look at how to deliver IT differently. What we’re going to cover today is how Cisco’s Unified Data Center platform can help you evolve your data center from a cost center to a service center.Cisco’s unique unified approach in the data center can help you redefine the economics of your IT operations, so you can spend more of your resources on delivering innovation to your business. With our unified architecture, Cisco can help increase business agility, reduce CapEx and OpEx through financial efficiency, and dramatically simplify your IT operations. To set the stage for how Cisco accomplishes this, I’d like to start by looking at the current state of most IT operations.
There is a transformation happening… from IT as a cost center to IT as a service. This is a more strategic stance that helps businesses become more agile and evolve quickly. This model also helps to rebalance the economics of the data center. If IT moves from its current methodology of addressing business needs with dedicated IT infrastructure to addressing them with more efficient, automated on-demand services, IT offerings can be more consistent, timely, and more responsive to business needs. It’s important to acknowledge that getting an organization to the point where it can implement IT-as a Service isn’t easy, nor does it take place all at once. Every customer has their own journey and different customers will take different journeys. For some, it’s all about doing what they do now, only more efficiently or perhaps adding new capabilities. For others, it’s about making that full-blown transformation to service-driven IT. Each phase expands into a series of key initiatives—starting with consolidation. Then, moving into more of a unified architecture of network fabrics and corresponding operations. Then with comes virtualization in the form of a tool (vSphere) and a strategy (end-to-end delivery, mobility, elasticity). It’s important to evolve the organization, processes and people skills to take advantage of consolidation and virtualization so that you can truly enable IT-as-a-Service. Integration is key so you can be ready to move to a more cloud based model. Technologies for automation, orchestration, and self-service provisioning can and should be deployed early in the journey to IT-as-a-Service – they are essential to achieving the benefits of standardized operations and automated service deliver.By enabling secure, efficient mobility of virtual machines you can attain the agility that comes from automation and orchestration in the data center. Other initiatives such as business continuity, disaster recovery, virtual desktops, fast application rollout, and even new data centers can be handled quickly and seamlessly. This needs to occur while data center manager are dealing with ongoing trends, such as the exponential growth of data. With the increase in total data – regardless of the source – more opportunities exist to leverage data for business intelligence. Leveraging this data means more equipment and the accompanying increase in power and cooling costs. Gaining efficiency on the facilities side is a priority for data center managers who are being asked to do more with less. Power and cooling are an ongoing key challenge. The question is how to move IT towards becoming a strategic partner to the business and balance all of these increasing demands. CIOs are expected to help solve business challenges by harnessing these trends and initiatives.
The challenge businesses have in implementing this vision is that a lot of their existing IT – the people and their skill base, the processes they use, even the technology they have implemented, are very silo-based—and not designed to integrate into an automated, on demand model. This is where Cisco provides tremendous value. Our strategy is to help customers evolve away from these silos, and help them evolve their people, processes, and their technologies so that they actually can deliver IT as a service and best take advantage of the trends in the data center. By taking a unified approach and working with technologies that are designed to work together, you are freed to move beyond convergence, enabling a powerful IT-as a service foundation that redefines data center economics and delivers performance, reliability, and business innovation. Unification is the element that will deliver that.Cisco addresses these with a holistic Unified Data Center approach which is founded on a unified, fabric-based design has been developed, from the ground up, to integrate technology silos, reduce costs, and improve productivity. The ideal platform for delivering IT as a Service, Cisco Unified Data Center enables several unique benefits: First, The Unified Data Center architecture unifies and dynamically optimizes compute, storage, and network resources that can be securely and rapidly repurposed and managed on demand to meet the needs of different customers or applications. Unified Fabric isour switching architecture for service-enabled LAN, SAN and converged networks. With a consistent NX-OS operating system across the MDS and Nexus portfolios, capabilities optimized for virtualization, and security, load balancing and WAN optimization solutions in both a physical and virtual form factor, customers can deploy a intelligent, scalable and highly available infrastructure. Through its secure, scalable network fabric—IT organizations can deliver network infrastructure or network services across all types of applications—from legacy applications like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Exchange, to new virtualized applications from the likes of VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix. Consequently, you’ll be able to deliver outstanding scalability, performance, high availability across all of your applications. Only Cisco can do this today. Cisco uniquely unifies data centers with the Intelligent Network, via modular, self-integrating computing elements. Unified Computing is our fabric-based x86 architecture. By creating a networked, highly programmable platform optimized for virtualization and cloud, customers have a computing platform that can be rapidly deployed and easily maintained while being able to provide switching, policy and services down to the virtual machine. The network no longer stops at the server—it extends into the server. Through deep integration between the server application environment and the network, security is able to move with the virtual environment. The integration between the network and the data center enables both elements to work as one and deliver a guaranteed experience within clouds, between clouds, and beyond the cloud. The Unified Data Center architecture delivers automated provisioning and management of the shared fabric of compute, network, and storage resources for the delivery of IT services within and between data centers. These new, simplified levels of automation help IT organizations keep pace with rapid change—and deliver new capabilities back to the business—such as self-service, or chargeback functionality. Unified Management brings together Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud, which provides a self-service portal, service catalog, management and orchestration capabilities along with the Network Services Manager for automated network provisioning, and UCS Manager for UCS programmability. It is the unified approach that allows all of these advantages.
The Cisco Unified Data center vision encompasses the entire data center, from compute, to networking, to management in any environment to suit the customer need. Whether that need is a traditional data center environment, a private cloud, public cloud, or a hybrid environment, Cisco Unified Data Center covers it. Cisco Unified Data Center can also cover all sizes of data center from small and medium to some of the largest data centers in the world. The Unified Data Center concept also crosses vertical industry boundaries, including service provider, health care, government, education, retail amongst them with the broadest data center portfolio in the industry.Regardless of the workload, the Cisco Unified Data Center vision is flexible enough to handle it. From physical work loads, virtual work loads, to cloud and hybrid cloud workloads, the architectural flexibility to accommodate it is part of the base philosophy. Cisco delivers a reliable, consistent, and simple architecture. We accomplish this with built-in policy, network features, management, and programmability. All of these things together enables IT to change from cost center to a strategic business enabler, becoming IT as a Service.
Salem Hospital is a regional medical center in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. One of the largest of Oregon’s 57 acute care hospitals, it operates the state’s busiest emergency department. The hospital needed to upgrade its main data center to help ensure business continuity, reduce energy consumption, and accommodate larger data volume from electronic medical records (EMR) and the picture archiving and communications system (PACS). “We could meet all of those needs by virtualizing our data center servers,” said Ken Kudla, chief information officer for Salem Hospital. The Cisco solution includes an MDS 9500 Series Director and Nexus 7000, 5000, and 2000 Series Switches. “NX-OS provides a common, stable, and manageable operating system for both the Nexus and MDS platforms, minimizing lifetime support costs. The hospital IT department uses Cisco Fabric Manager Software to manage both Nexus MDS platforms and saves 3 to 4 hours daily in managing the SAN. Our networking and storage teams can now cross-train and collaborate more effectively,” continued Kudla.
The Cisco Unified Fabric Switching portfolio offers one of the broadest data center LAN and SANswitching portfolios in the industry spanning from the Hypervisor to the data center core. Cisco Unified Fabric provides the flexibility of high-performance, highly available, highly-scalable networks to serve diverse data centers needs including the lossless requirements to carry storage traffic (FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NAS) over a simplified infrastructure based on 10Gb Ethernet. All platforms in the portfolio run on a common operating system - NX-OS. Having a single operating system across every element of the data center network, provides operational and functional consistency with tight integration across the unified fabric significantly simplifying operations and providing a foundation for accelerated innovations. Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) is the single management system for Nexus and MDS product families, delivering simplified operations and better control.
In conclusion—we realize that IT organizations have greater demands than they ever have before. We believe that the best way to address them is through IT services delivered on demand—with a foundation that integrates technology, people, and processes. Cisco UCS is founded on this unified approach—and will allow your organization to redefine data center economics—and dedicate the majority of your resources toward delivering innovation for the business.