I spent much of this week deploying hardware to support a customer’s Cisco Unified Communications (UC). In this case the customer is deploying a new telecommunications solution to add new capabilities to support the growing business, as well as move away from a legacy system that is becoming costly to maintain.
In order to support their overall strategy of maintaining efficiency in the data center through consolidation and virtualization, the design criteria included using Cisco UCS to facilitate consolidating the servers that support the UC environment. Previously this deployment would have started with at least 3 physical systems, through virtualization we were able to reduce this down to 2 servers. While this is only a 3:2 reduction, as this project moves from a proof of concept (POC) to a final production rollout the number of servers would have increased if using traditional hosting methods, however though the use of virtualization the customer can add availability and services without requiring additional hardware.
The overall solution included leveraging their existing NetApp storage system, however we needed to add fiber channel protocol support in order to meet Cisco specifications. The solution included adding a Cisco UCS blade system comprised of a UCS6120 and a UCS 5108, as well as a Nexus 5000. We are currently running with 2 B200 blades, each with dual 2.53Ghz 4-core CPUs and 32GB of RAM. Additional blades will be added to this environment in the near future to support the virtualization of the remaining physical application servers in the data center.
As is typical with the Cisco UCS and NetApp deployments the project has gone pretty smoothly, more complexity is generated by the physical environment which we install these systems than are generally present within the product themselves. In the end it makes for another happy Cisco UCS, VMware vSphere, and NetApp storage customer. Hopefully their Cisco UC rollout goes just as smooth, thankfully that is in someone else’s hands.