CISCO UCS Business Advantage: Data Center Management

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Today more than ever, successful businesses must be able to adapt quickly to rapidly changing business conditions. The real challenge is to be more flexible and agile than competitors, and to meet this challenge with a cost-efficient model

One of the biggest challenges that IT organizations face is the need to balance the tactical concerns of information technology management with strategic requirements to deliver results for long-term business initiatives. This challenge is difficult to meet because day-to-day systems and application management is resource intensive and traditional infrastructure management architectures were put in place as an afterthought. These traditional management systems consist of too many tools that require administrators to waste time performing too many steps to handle routine administrative tasks. According to many industry studies, 70 percent of current IT budgets is spent on maintenance activities, and only 30 percent is spent on innovations. This spending imbalance slows, delays, or defers many initiatives that can provide significant revenue benefits for the business.

A Better Data Center Management Model offered by Cisco UCS

Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) delivers the business advantages that IT organizations need to shift their focus from tactical to strategic goals. The system’s integrated, model-based Cisco UCS Manager increases visibility and access with a single tool that integrates many servers, chassis, and racks. Cisco UCS Manager supports all IT administrative roles, including servers, network, and storage administration. It operates with an intuitive GUI, and its open standards-based XML API enables higher-level tools to integrate directly with the system.

Cisco UCS is the first data center platform that combines industry-standard, x86-architecture blade and rack-mount storage access into a single converged system. The system is self-aware and self-integrating, automatically discovering and inventorying components. This feature makes new capacity (server, network, and storage resources) easily accessible through the system’s automated configuration. New resources can now be put to work in fraction of time required traditional systems. Cisco service profile templates establish policy-based configuration for server, network, and storage resources and can be used to logically preconfigure these resources, even before they are deployed in the data center

The resulting Cisco UCS business advantage is a virtual infrastructure that spans blade chassis, rack-mount servers, and even racks and rows with server, network, and storage resource visibility and administration available from a single unified touch point. The solution greatly simplifies all aspects of management with fewer touch points, reducing administrative and operating costs improving efficiency and resource delivery.

Cisco UCS provides Faster Resource Allocation

Cisco UCS model-based management allows administrators create policy-based templates, configured in the form of Cisco service profiles and available for recurring use. Templates can be used to create a Cisco profile each time a new server is brought online, automating configuration and deployment. These templates (and other derivative service profiles) can define more than 95 server identity, personality, and connectivity attributes, including network and storage connectivity. Administrators can create multiple templates to match their various resource and application needs, freeing administrators and subject-matter experts from tedious manual, repetitive, time-consuming chores. Work that is often the source of errors that slows the time to production or increase the downtime of existing applications is eliminated.

Repurposing or reallocating servers is as simple as applying profile templates. These templates enable servers to be easily redeployed and become better aligned with changing business needs and requirements. Administrators can create a new service profile (or configuration) and launch a server in minutes. This capacity creates improved capital utilization without increasing administrative costs. The end result is a more efficient use of capital investment dollars with an enhanced return on investment by delivering the best-aligned data center resources for any initiative.

Role-Based Integration in Cisco UCS platform

All server, network, and I/O resources have their personality abstracted so that every aspect of the hardware and network configuration can be programmed in service profiles. More than 95 attributes can be programmed, including MAC addresses and unique universal identifiers (UUIDs), firmware, BIOS settings, RAID controller settings, host bus adapter (HBA) and network interface card(NIC) settings, network security, and QoS. With Cisco virtual interface cards (VICs), even the number, type, and speed of virtual and physical interfaces (NIC or HBA) can be programmed, enabling true virtual machine portability that includes network policies, security, and QoS. After the appropriate administrators (role based) define the properties, the configuration is applied to one or more servers as needed, making configuring hundreds of servers as easy as configuring a single server

Cross-IT Visibility enhancements using Cisco UCS platforms

With traditional management architectures, it is difficult to view assets across the data center in one clear, concise presentation. The Cisco UCS infrastructure allows the entire ecosystem to be managed as a single logical entity within a higher-level framework. Within this framework, administrators in each administrative role can view the configurations and policies established by the other roles in addition to managing their specific environments. This enhanced specific management view enables transparent visibility to other role assets and policies without sacrificing individual role-based security, responsibility, visibility, and element control.

Cisco Flexible Extender (FEX) Architecture extends the visibility of network and storage access all the way to individual virtual machines. This capability supports the uniform application across all servers, both physical and virtual. Regardless of a physical or virtual machine’s state or location, network security and QoS is maintained automatically, helping ensure policy compliance through automation rather than error-prone manual procedures.

Cisco UCS offers Dynamic Response

Responding rapidly to changing business conditions is one of the biggest challenges that IT organizations face. Manual, time-consuming, and error-prone server configuration slows response time and increase the risk of downtime. Automated configuration with Cisco UCS service profiles gives companies true instant-on capability with rapid one-touch deployment, redeployment, and scaling. This feature puts capital equipment to work more quickly to respond to business changes, providing greater ability and flexibility and increasing the return on investment. Cisco UCS blade server slots can be set to automatically configure blade servers upon insertion with network and storage settings and be in compliance with the policies established by server, network, and storage administrators.

Cisco UCS Compliance to standards

Not complying with government mandates, industry regulations, or data center best practices can have enormous consequences. With the ever-increasing array of codes and regulations, data centers must have the appropriate governance models in place, and those policies must be consistently and uniformly applied to remain in compliance. The cisco UCS model provides a source of truth about the system, enabling Cisco UCS to be integrated as part of ITIL processes and higher-level management tools and facilitating compliance with existing data center policies, best practices, and governance.

In conclusion, Cisco USC delivers a data center business advantage that goes beyond efficiency, making IT organizations truly more effective in their mission. This is accomplished with cost-effective, unified, model-based management that provides faster resource allocation and enables businesses to respond to changing needs dynamically, with instantly available agility and flexibility

 

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