Virtual Value

Editor in Chief Bruce Hoard sits down with Soni Jiandani, VP of marketing, Storage Technology Group, at Cisco Systems Inc.

VR: What value does virtualization bring to the Unified Computing System (UCS)?
Jiandani: We're bringing immense value in virtualization to the UCS platform in a number of ways. The first one is with technology innovations like Virtual Network Link that bring the world of networking and virtualization a lot closer together by enabling the computer infrastructure in the UCS to have the ability to drive the same set of policies for physical workloads as virtualized workloads. The second key element is the ability and value that Cisco is bringing. That's the ability to manage your physical assets and your virtual machines [VMs] through a single pane of glass, as opposed to multiple different management platforms. We also enable -- through the innovations we've done with our virtualized adapter -- the ability for you to have the same set of policies that you can apply, including scale and security, across a shared infrastructure because we support virtual IO interfaces and up to 56 unique virtual IO interfaces per adapter. This allows users to have environments for our platform that are uniquely applied for highly virtualized environments, such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure [VDI] and VM consolidation. These environments are far greater than those in traditional platforms. The last but not least part of the value proposition in virtualization that we have innovated -- and this isn't just for virtualized workloads, but also for database and other memory-intensive workloads -- is the memory innovation of Cisco and the UCS, which allows you to have up to four times the number of VMs that you can consolidate, or four times the number of pin desktops that you can consolidate, in contrast to what you get in traditional platforms today.


VR: I was going to ask you how you intend to avoid problems resulting from an excess of VM density, but it sounds as though you've done that.
Jiandani: Yes, we have. We haven't only solved the problem from a scale perspective with memory and high IO capacity in the platform, but we've also done the same from a management perspective.

VR: What strengths does VMware bring to the UCS?
Jiandani: It's really the tight, close collaboration that we have with VMware and some of the other virtualization companies. I think the tight collaboration that we have here with VMware can be found on a few fronts. One is, of course, in the areas of innovation like the Nexus 1000V Switch, which is the first product implementation of VN-Link. The second one is the work we're doing in the virtualized adapter with VMware in terms of accelerating and supporting functions that will allow you to accelerate the overall performance of your virtualized workloads on the UCS platform. And last but not least is leveraging the fact that we have architectures like the Vblock architecture, which will allow us to drive a more comprehensive and cohesive cloud architecture for our common customers through the relationship that we're building with VMware and several other virtualization-oriented companies, including Microsoft, KVM and others.

VR: How do you evaluate the value of Hyper-V as it relates to the UCS?
Jiandani: Microsoft is a very key partner for us in the area of virtualization. If you look at the Hyper-V implementations that we're deploying out in the marketplace on the UCS, the one key element that our customers truly value is the high-memory footprint, which is ideally suited for Hyper-V customers and enables us to do a lot more consolidation. The other key benefit and attributes of our platform -- which is unique vis-ˆ-vis other platforms in a Hyper-V environment -- is the ability to manage both physical and virtualized workloads through a common management plane, and the ability to dynamically provision resources to VMs the same way you can to your non-virtualized workloads.

VR: How is the future of virtualization being changed by the UCS?
Jiandani: I believe virtualization's future is best phrased [by what] one of the large hypervisor companies' CEOs said at the launch of the UCS: 'For platforms like us, hypervisor companies like us or virtualization companies like us, platforms such as the UCS are the oxygen that help large customers take virtualization mainstream.' What was being implied in that statement is virtualization is blurring the lines between computing, networking and storage, and the UCS is a platform that provides a pre-integration of virtualization, networking, computing and storage access. It's a pre-integrated platform as opposed to leaving the onus upon the user to become the integrator of these multiple technologies.

About the Author

Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.


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