It was a normal data center kind of day just over 18 months ago. I was minding my own business staring at Virtual Center when I was summoned from my beige rectangular abode into my manager’s office. A Cisco sales representative had come to visit and she wanted me to hear his song and dance. As I approached the conference table I was somewhat confused why a server guy was invited to talk to a networking gorilla, but confusion was really nothing new in my life so I let it slide. As he began to talk I quickly realized he wasn’t here to talk about packets, switches or other network related items, but instead some new product called “California” – things were about to get real interesting.
Project California was Cisco’s entry into the server market. He was insistent that it would be a game changer. That, of course, was nothing new for any good sales person each new product is a revolution. They arrive with Kool-Aid stained mouths professing the next magic bullet or revolutionary shiny object. I watched with a fair amount of skepticism as he plowed thru thirty PowerPoint slides professing the greatness of Project California. After the PowerPoint death march he handed me a book “Project California: a Data Center Virtualization Server”. I politely accepted and went back to the cubicle farm to stare at Virtual Center some more.
The following weekend I devoured the book. I was impressed with what I was reading and soon found myself believing in this Unified Compute System. Soon after, we received our first UCS for evaluation and testing. I quickly found myself preaching the gospel of all things UCS to anyone who would listen. While there is much to love about the system here are the four areas that made me a believer:
- UCSM: The Unified Computing System Manager provides a single pane of glass to manage the entire domain of UCS Servers. This management domain is expandable to hundreds of individual servers.
- Programmability: The UCSM was built with extensibility in mind – activities available via the GUI are also available via an XML API. The programmability of the environment is amazing and provides for an unprecedented amount of integration and automation.
- Unified Fabric: As it’s name implies Unification is one of the strategic features provided by the Unified Compute System. This unified fabric allows for flexibility, control via intelligent Quality of Service and simplification of cabling.
- Stateless Compute: Combining the power of the UCSM and the beauty of the Unified Fabric results in the elegance of Stateless compute. Simply put this arrow in the UCS quiver abstracts the physical UCS Hardware into a logical personality referred to as a Service Profile.
Over the next 18 months I continued to profess my affection for the UCS and preach the business value to anyone willing to listen. My strength of conviction in the technology and strategic direction of the product reached a fever pitch in November 2010, when I accepted a position at Cisco Systems. I believed in the product so much I left my employer of seven years to continue the “revolution”. To paraphrase Bret Michaels and the big hair boys from Poison: “ Cisco gave me something to believe in…”…You can believe too!