As the region’s number one provider of IT solutions, Gulf Business Machines (GBM) understand that data center requirements are evolving rapidly and the need for a high performance, simple and efficient data center has become a key priority for organizations. IT leaders are quickly shifting away from traditional siloed environments and moving towards an Integrated Infrastructure approach, in which the full stack of data center technologies is combined into a pre-engineered, tested, and supported system designed to operate as a whole.

Cisco has joined with IBM to create the world’s first integrated infrastructure based on the IBM Storwizefamily of Virtualized Storage Technologies, Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS) and Cisco Nexus 9000 Switches with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) ready environment. This new integrated infrastructure has been announced jointly by both industry leaders as “VersaStackTM”, it brings new levels of ease, efficiency, and versatility to cloud, big data, and enterprise application deployments.

Evolving Data Center Needs

The data center has moved far beyond a simple repository for digital records.  Computing, storage, and networking facilities are being used to power complex analytical operations that are becoming essential for competitive advantage and business agility

This trend is exemplified by the growth in demand for big data applications. These applications involve data sets so large and complex that they cannot easily be processed using traditional computing tools. According to Transparency Market Research, the global big data market is set to grow to over US$48 billion by 2018, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.5 percent over 2012 spending levels.

Two other trends are making it easier to provision data center resources:

  • Cloud computing, in which computing and storage assets are managed and allocated from a shared pool rather than from application-based silos, is rapidly becoming the standard for data center resource deployment.
  • The advent of virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN), in which management is abstracted from lower-level functions, promises to make it easier than ever to allocate resources.

These trends are related, because the scalability of big data and the simplicity implied by SDN help organizations manage the increased compute requirements of big data and underpinning these trends are changes in hardware. Vendors are adapting specific data center components to address cloud, SDN, and big data requirements. IBM, for example, has evolved its Storwize family of virtualized storage technologies specifically for software-defined environments. Cisco, meanwhile, developed Cisco® Application Infrastructure (ACI) to accelerate the configuration of infrastructure to match the needs of applications, and Cisco Intercloud Fabric technology to make it easier to move workloads between different cloud models.

Another significant development is the emergence of integrated infrastructure solutions for the data center. Previously, data center teams purchased computing, storage, and network building blocks separately and assembled, configured, and tested the various technologies with the hope everything would work together. With integrated infrastructure, servers, networking resources, storage systems, and management systems are combined into a predesigned, tested, and supported solution. This approach massively simplifies asset purchasing, deployment, and management.

The popularity of these solutions is growing fast. In fact, IDC forecasts that the integrated systems market will grow during the 5-year period from 2012 to 2017 at a CAGR of 33 percent: to US$14 billion by 2017, up from US$5.4 billion in 2013.

‘VersaStack’ Solution Components

The VersaStack solution by Cisco and IBM combines the performance and innovation of Cisco UCS® Integrated Infrastructure, which includes the Cisco Unified Computing™ System™ (Cisco UCS), Cisco Nexus® 9000, Cisco MDS 9000 Family switches, and Cisco UCS Director, with the performance and efficiency of the IBM Storwize Storage system. The IBM Storwize V7000 includes technologies that both complement and enhance virtual environments with built-in functions such as IBM Data Virtualization, Real-time Compression, and Easy Tier that deliver extraordinary levels of performance and efficiency.

The VersaStack solution is ready for Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), enhancing business agility by allowing IT team to build, deploy, secure, and maintain applications through a more agile framework. This capability, combined with Cisco Intercloud Fabric, can enable the creation of open and secure hybrid cloud-ready solutions that accelerate IT agility while delivering dramatic improvements in deployment, operation efficiency, and simplicity.

DRIVERS FOR ENTERPRISE ANALYTICS PLATFORM Benefits of VersaStack Solution – An Integrated Approach

The VersaStack solution is backed by Cisco Validated Designs, for faster delivery of applications and increased IT efficiency with less risk, powered by GBM planning, consulting, implementation, management, maintenance and managed operations services. GBM experts can assist customers in guiding and designing the best suitable architecture for their environment based upon VersaStack integrated data center solution.

Benefits of VersaStack Solution – An Integrated Approach

VersaStack solution offers great value at all levels of customer organizations. The significant business benefits are:

  • Investment protection, efficient use of capital, lower TCO in the data center
  • Reduced CapEx and OpEx through data center and infrastructure consolidation
  • Business delivery acceleration with agile and flexible IT
  • Greater performance, rapid scalability and policy driven architecture
  • Risk reduction with pre-validated infrastructure stacks
  • Validation and support by industry leaders
  • End to end single vendor solution through GBM

Key technical benefits are:

  • Ease-of-deployment capabilities provided by Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure innovations such as Cisco UCS service profiles, reducing design, deployment, and management overhead
  • Performance optimization without complexity with IBM Easy Tier features
  • Efficient use of computing, networking, and storage resources with up to five times more data storage with IBM Real-time Compression
  • Transparent integration of new technologies with Cisco Validated Designs
  • Unified integrated infrastructure provisioning and management with Cisco UCS Director
  • Versatile storage virtualization capabilities enable a dynamic infrastructure by extending IBM Storwize functions to existing IBM and non-IBM storage
  • Validated IBM applications and analytics capability, with GBM/IBM Services support
  • Expertise from GBM, Cisco and IBM Services across a broad range of services including strategy, architecture, design, planning, implementation, management and maintenance