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Taking a Mini approach to simplification

Westcon Imagine 2014 - Just as companies come in all sizes, so do the IT needs of business, but one thing remains fairly consistent: a desire for simplicity.

In a 2012 Techaisle survey of SMB organisations, 72% of respondents said that ‘IT vendors should simplify technology’.

It’s a message Cisco has taken to heart with its Cisco UCS unified computing solution. Originally designed for the data centre, Cisco UCS unites computing, network, storage access and management into a single cohesive system – something Cisco says is a ‘radical simplification’ compared to traditional systems.

Now the vendor has taken things a step further, with the UCS Mini, which has been optimised for branch and remote offices, point-of-sale and smaller IT environments with deployments of two to 15 servers.

“This solution delivers servers, storage, and 10 Gigabit networking in an easy-to-deploy, compact form factor,” Cisco says.

“The key reason for developing this was to bring the full power benefits of the Cisco UCS platform to a wider audience.”

The Mini is expected to prove popular in New Zealand, with our predominantly SME market and a large number of customers needing fewer servers but still wanting the robust management capabilities provided by UCS Manager.

The UCS has become the fastest growing and now number one selling blade server in New Zealand, Cisco says. “This has been explosive growth achieved in just five years.”

The Mini also moves the fabric interconnect inside the chassis, reducing power and cooling needs and shrinking the solution footprint.

Cisco says the Mini leads to an 86% reduction in provisioning times, 77% reduction of cabling, 74% reduction of ongoing management costs and a 53% reduction of power and cooling costs.

“As computing systems increase in scale, they also increase in complexity,” says Cisco. “And as the complexity increases, so does the expense of deployment and ongoing management.

“Today, more than 70% of IT budget is spent simply to maintain and manage existing infrastructure [according to a 2008 Forrester report]. As a result, IT organisations must continually increase resources to maintain a complex and inflexible infrastructure, versus using them to rapidly and effectively respond to business needs.

“IT organisations are looking for ways to substantially decrease cost of ownership, while increasing IT business value.

“The Cisco Unified Computing System helps address these challenges by streamlining data centre resources, scaling, service delivery and radically reducing the number of devices requiring setup, management, power and cooling, and cabling.”

Speaking last month as the vendor announced an expanded UCS portfolio, including new fourth-generation UCS Rack and Blade Servers for application performance and new UCS Director solutions to manage Big Data infrastructure workloads, Paul Perez, Vice President and General Manager for Cisco UCS, said rapid changes in the way applications are architected and delivered are being driven by the demands of big data, the internet of everything, mobility, video and cloud.

“We are in a new world where data sets and application scale are rapidly growing and the opportunities for businesses to capitalise on the deeper intelligence and faster decisions they afford are really taking off.”

The Cisco UCS Mini solution components include: 

The Cisco UCS B200 M3 server, harnessing the power of the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v2 product family, up to 768GB of RAM, two hard drives, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet to deliver exceptional levels of performance, memory expandability, and I/O throughput for nearly all applications.

Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis accommodating up to eight half-width UCS B200 M3 Blade Servers. Dual-voltage AC (100-120V and 200-240V) and 48V DC power supplies make Cisco UCS Mini ready for global deployment.

Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect

Cisco UCS Manager, providing unified, embedded management of all software and hardware components in a UCS Mini solution. It offers an intuitive GUI, a command-line interface and robust API to manage all system configuration and operations.

Optional components include  C-Series Rack Servers and Cisco UCS Central Software for managing multiple instances of Cisco UCS Mini.

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