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Cisco Microsoft

Cisco and Microsoft Announce Sales and Go-to-Market Agreement

At the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 Cisco and Microsoft announced a multi-year sales and go-to-market agreement designed to modernize data centers through the delivery and acceleration of integrated solutions. This will focus on bringing a deeper integration between the datacenter technologies of both companies. This includes Cisco UCS and Nexus products as well as Microsoft’s CloudOS solutions based Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Center, SQL Server and Microsoft Azure.

Highlights:

Go-to-Market:

  • Cisco and Microsoft agree to a three-year go-to-market plan focused on transforming data centers through the delivery of integrated solutions for enterprise customers and service providers.
  • In year one, the companies will focus on six countries — the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia — with expansion to additional countries in the following years.
  • Cisco and Microsoft will align partner incentive programs to accelerate solutions selling via mutual channel partners.
  • Cisco and Microsoft sales teams will work together on cloud and data center opportunities, including an initial program focused on the migration of Windows 2003 customers to Windows 2012 R2 on the Cisco UCS platform.

Integrated Solutions:

  • Integrated solutions will focus on private cloud, server migration, service provider, and SQL Server 2014
  • Cisco technologies to include Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus switching, Cisco UCS Manager with System Center integration modules, and Cisco PowerTool.
  • Cisco-based integrated infrastructure solutions will include FlexPod with NetApp and Cisco Solutions for EMC VXPEX.
  • Microsoft technology includes Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, PowerShell, Microsoft Azure and SQL Server 2014
  • Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure and Cisco InterCloud Fabric to be integrated in the solutions in future releases

Source and More information: www.streetinsider.com

As you may know I am a Microsoft MVP and a Cisco Champion and I really like doing project with Cisco Hardware since they do a lot of integration with the Microsoft Stack especially System Center and PowerShell. In my opinion this could be a strong partnership and will make life of a lot of people a lot easier.



Hyper-V Share

Hyper-V is eating VMware’s lunch

During the WPC 2014 Keynote Microsoft COO Kevin Turner showed the following slide and commented it:

Hyper-V is eating VMware’s lunch

 

Hyper-V has now 30,6% market share in x86 Server Virtualization which means Microsoft won 4.6% since the release of Windows Server 2012. VMware is now at 46.4% market share which means they lost 5.1% market share since the release of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

And this because of good reasons, like great features and 4 times lower cost than VMware. So if you are still running VMware you should definitely have a look at Hyper-V now!



Azure Preview Virtual Machines

Virtual Machines IaaS now available in the Azure preview portal

Some months ago Microsoft lunched a new preview portal for Microsoft Azure, with a cool new design and features. The IaaS or Virtual Machine services was missing from the portal. A week ago Microsoft announced to add some enhancements to the preview portal including Virtual Machines. Now today Microsoft rolled out the enhancements to the portal. with other improvements:

  • IaaS Functionality: Create, deploy, monitor and manage rich virtual machines’ based applications, and manage virtual networks within a fully customizable Portal experience. In addition to creating simple virtual machines, we are adding the ability to automate the deployment of rich multi-machine application templates with a few clicks. With this, deploying a multi-tier, highly-available SharePoint farm from the portal will be a few clicks away!
  • Resource Group enhancements: Manage infrastructure services like virtual machines and virtual networks along with platform services like web sites and databases, all within the same Resource Group, as a single application. This level of flexibility and control is an example of how Azure is leading the way in blurring the lines between infrastructure and platform services, giving customers the choice to pick the best platform for their application needs.
  • Azure Image Gallery Updates: The completely re-imagined Azure Gallery is more powerful with the addition of several new virtual machine images that enable you to provision dev/test servers or production applications in minutes. The new virtual machine images and templates take the guesswork out of building, orchestrating and deploying complex applications, thus letting you focus on creating business value instead of managing the infrastructure.
  • Azure SQL Database: Customers can manage their Azure SQL Databases within the Portal, consistent with other Azure services. This includes provisioning databases across Web and Business (currently in general availability) and Basic, Standard, and Premium (currently in preview).

Checkout the blog from  Director, Product Marketing, Microsoft Azure to learn more.

Azure Preview Portal Virtual Machine



StorSimple

Microsoft Announces Azure StorSimple Hybrid Storage Solutions For The Enterprise

Today Microsoft announced that starting August 1, the will deliver the new StorSimple 8000 series hybrid storage arrays. The StorSimple 8000 series are the most powerful StorSimple systems ever and have even tighter integration with Azure, including two new Azure-based capabilities to enable new use cases and centralize data management. These new solutions demonstrate how Microsoft is bringing the best of on-premises storage together with the cloud in order to deliver bottom line savings to customers by cutting storage costs from 40 to 60% and helping IT teams focus more on business strategies than infrastructure management.

The new StorSimple 8000 series arrays come in two flavors to meet a variety of capacity and performance needs:  the StorSimple 8100 and the StorSimple 8600, which you can read about here.

The new StorSimple 8000 series arrays come in two flavors to meet a variety of capacity and performance needs:  the StorSimple 8100 and the StorSimple 8600, which you can read about here.  These are enterprise hybrid storage arrays with a twist – instead of being limited to only SSDs and HDDs, these arrays use Azure Storage as a hybrid cloud tier for automatic capacity expansion and off-site data protection. That means IT teams don’t have to spend so much time and effort working on the next inevitable storage capacity upgrade or managing the complex details of data protection. Data stored on StorSimple 8000 series arrays is automatically protected off-site by cloud snapshots, which fill the enormous gap between problematic tape solutions and costly remote replication solutions.

To go with the new arrays, there is the Microsoft Azure StorSimple Virtual Appliance, which is an implementation of StorSimple technology running as an Azure virtual machine in the cloud. With a matching Azure StorSimple virtual machine, StorSimple 8000 series customers can run applications in Azure that access snapshot virtual volumes in the cloud. Customers will be able to run new applications that search and analyze historical datasets without disrupting production work in their datacenter. This new StorSimple Virtual Appliance not only works for data from Windows Server and Hyper-V, but on-premises Linux and VMware servers, as well, providing hybrid cloud capabilities for the most common server platforms today.

The Virtual Appliance also enables disaster recovery (DR) in the cloud. Virtualized applications that store their data on an Azure StorSimple array in a customer’s datacenter can be restarted in VMs in Azure with access to previously uploaded data. Updates to data made during recovery operations can be downloaded later to StorSimple arrays on-premises when normal operations resume.

DR is an area of concern for many customers and they seldom get a chance to test their abilities. Microsoft Azure StorSimple 8000 Series arrays and Virtual Appliances have a feature called Instant Recovery, which presents synthetic, full images of virtual volumes in Azure to applications and end users so they can start accessing data as soon as possible after a disaster. Instant recovery accelerates restores and DR testing by only downloading data that is needed and bypassing data that isn’t needed.

Another groundbreaking capability in this release is the Microsoft Azure StorSimple Manager, which consolidates management for all of a customer’s Azure StorSimple 8000 series arrays and Virtual Appliances. Administrators use the Manager to centrally control all aspects of StorSimple storage and data management from the cloud, so they can ensure consistent operations and data protection/retention policies across the enterprise. The new StorSimple Manager also gives administrators a dashboard with up-to-the-minute status and reports so they can quickly spot storage troubles and trends and allows the IT team to spend less time on storage infrastructure management and shift resources to business applications.

StorSimple customers have been seeing the financial and IT efficiency benefits of hybrid cloud storage for years.  Now, the Microsoft Azure StorSimple solution brings new innovations to enable even greater operational efficiency, and is a great example of technology developed with a hybrid cloud design point and critical customer needs in mind.

 

If you want to know more about StorSimple checkout my blog about StorSimple Cloud as a Tier and the Microsoft blog post from Takeshi Numoto about the new StorSimple 8000 series.

 



Azure Site Recovery

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Preview

Microsoft today announced the preview of Disaster Recovery to Azure called Microsoft Azure Site Recovery. This also replaces HRM (Hyper-V Recovery Manager). Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (ASR) allows you to orchestrate disaster recovery to a second site or directly to Azure.

Microsoft ASR

Both solutions use Microsoft on-prem technology like Windows Server Hyper-V Replica and System Center Virtual Machine Manager and you can start using them via the Microsoft Azure Management Portal.

In addition to enabling Microsoft Azure as a DR site in multiple geographies, this preview also includes an impressive list of features for enabling virtual machine replication to Azure:

  • At-Scale Configuration
    You can configure the protection and replication of VM settings in a private cloud and configure and connect on-prem networks with Azure Networks. Those VM’s are then only replicated to customer-owned and managed geo-redundant Azure Storage.
  • Variable Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
    This feature provides support for near-synchronous data replication with RPOs as low as 30 seconds. You can also retain consistent snapshots at desired frequency for a 24-hour window.
  • Data Encryption
    VM Virtual Hard Disks can be encrypted at rest using a secure, customer-managed encryption key that ensures best-in-class security and privacy for your application data when it is replicating to Azure. This encryption key is known only to the customer and it is needed for the failover of VM’s to Azure. Simply put: All of this service’s traffic within Azure is encrypted.
  • Self-Service Disaster Recovery
    With ASR you get full support for DR drills via test failover, planned failover with a zero-data loss, unplanned failover, and failback.
  • One-Click Orchestration
    ASR also provides easy-to-create, customizable Recovery Plans to ensure one-click failovers and failbacks that are always accurate, consistent, and help you achieve your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) goals.
  • Audit and Compliance Reporting with Reliable Recovery
    DR testing and drills can be performed without any impact to production workloads. This means you get risk-free, high-confidence testing that meets your compliance objectives. You can run these non-disruptive test failovers whenever you like, as often as you like. Also, with the ability to generate reports for every activity performed using the service, you can meet all your audit requirements.

ASR does not only help you in terms of Disaster Recovery, it also allows you to quickly and easily migrate your Virtual Machines to Azure or create a new dev environment.

Check out the ASR session at TechEd 2014 and Brad Andersons blog about the release of the Azure Site Recovery Preview.

Once you’re ready to see what ASR can do for you, you can check out pricing information, sign up for a free trial, or learn more about the product specs.

 

 



OneGet PowerShell

Windows Management Framework V5 Preview

I know there is a lot of cool stuff going on right now and Microsoft announced a lot of new things. Like Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana, Windows 8.1 Update, Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, Windows Universal Apps, the Nokia Lumia 630, 635 and 930 and much much more. But there just was another announcement from Jeffrey Snover which is really interesting for us automation and management guys. Today Microsoft announced the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview, which brings some new stuff to PowerShell and PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC).

In the release 5.0 of the Windows Management Framework Microsoft did some work on DSC to make it more stable and reliable by addressing bug fixes, performance improvements and general optimizations. But there are coming the new feature to Windows PowerShell.

Windows PowerShell OneGet

OneGet is a new way to discover and install software packages from around the web. With OneGet, you can:
  • Manage a list of software repositories in which packages can be searched, acquired, and installed
  • Search and filter your repositories to find the packages you need
  • Seamlessly install and uninstall packages from one or more repositories with a single PowerShell command

Network Switches

Microsoft will offere a new PowerShell module which brings the possibility to manage Network Switches. In this release Microsoft added a set of L2 Layer NetworkSwitch management PowerShell cmdlets to manage Certified for Windows network switches. This effort was part of the Data Center Abstraction (DAL) vision which was led by Microsoft working closely with industry leaders in this space such as: Arista, Cisco and Huawei. Using Windows Server 2012 R2, network switches that pass the Certified for Windows program can now be managed natively by System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 (SCVMM) without the need to write custom plugins.

I think this is not just a small announcement, this is a pretty big one to me.

Get more Information on the Windows Server Blog about the Windows Management Framework V5 Preview.



Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest

Cisco UCS PowerShell Scripting Contest

In the Microsoft world PowerShell is the tool to automate everything especially in your datacenter. I already mentioned that Cisco offers some great enhancements for the Microsoft Datacenter stack. If you are using a Cisco UCS solution you can integrate System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestrator and others. But Cisco does also offer a PowerShell module for the UCS called Cisco UCS PowerTool. The UCS PowerTool allows you to automate management and deployment tasks very easily via Windows PowerShell. By the way, one of the coolest features in the Cisco UCS PowerTool is the ConvertTo-UCScmdlet.

Cisco announced the UCS Power Scripting Contest

Everyone is invited to share their scripts and possibly win some prizes by entering the UCS Power Scripting Contest on the Cisco Communities.  The contest will run until May 11th.  A distinguished panel of judges (Jeffery Snover, Rob Willis, Don Jones, Hal Rottenberg and Thomas Maurer) along with other members of the community will select the grand prize winner from a set of five finalists.

Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest

I am proud to be one of the Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest and I hope we will see some great solutions. To get more information about the contest check out the Cisco Blog from Bill Shields and the UCS Power Scripting Contest website.