Last month a competitor published a video on YouTube showing Cisco UCS Manager. The twitter world almost instantly was abuzz with tweets denouncing the video. We asked some of our Cisco Partners the reason for their tweets and boy did we get a response.
Colin Lynch from the UK said that the competitor is “…not showing UCS in its best light, or put more bluntly are not using the product correctly.”
Adam Eckerle, besides other things said, “… I just find it tough to let this one go.”
Jamie Doherty of R2 Unified Technologies said “I teach my kids that if you aren't telling the whole truth, it is no different than lying. So that is why I took to twitter last week to comment on the video that HP posted regarding OneView vs. UCS Manager (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcL_lGGnkzk). Now in order to follow my own rules, full disclosure: I work for a VAR who specializes in UCS and converged infrastructure. A few years ago we made the transition from HP Servers to UCS, but we always follow the latest and greatest technology to make sure we maintain our edge.
There were so many little details to discuss, but let’s just get right to the meat and potatoes of a few HP claims. First, let’s have the 80 versus 81 server debate. HP shows how easy it is to provision server number 81 in OneView and then goes into moderate detail of what needs to happen in a typical UCS environment, where the converged architecture leverages shared bandwidth for better scalability. If you are familiar with UCS, you know that the core architecture separates the I/O from the processing, so part of the claim has merit…if you ignore what it took HP to get there. Each HP chassis is still an isolated set of hardware with dedicated I/O modules that need to be integrated into the network each time you deploy one. While some of their software has helped bridge that gap, it still is a second class citizen to the UCS design and gets killed in a cost/port comparison. So if HP OneView has a strength in deploying the 81st server, they still have huge architectural weaknesses in deploying the 17th, 33rd, 47th, 65th, etc. I don’t even want to go into architectural superiority in the QoS architecture of UCS which allows you to go well beyond that 80th server in UCS, that would just get too crazy, but I will mention that 40G and 100G are right around the corner, so this video is about to be outdated in 3…2…1…
Second, is the claim that you have to manually look through each server profile to adjust VLAN settings. That is just flat out lying. Man, how can you put that stuff on a video, digitized, so you look like a fool for the rest of your life? Anyway, Cisco was the pioneer in extrapolating hardware from configuration/identity and with the assortment of vNIC Policies and Templates it takes just a few clicks to list the dependencies on the vNIC changes you wish to make. If you deployed it properly, there is a very good chance you labeled it with the server type it was applied to which will make it even easier.
While I still have a little of your attention, let me get to the big gotcha in all of this…HP is comparing the wrong product. Regardless if they do, or do not know this, both are bad places to be. HP should be comparing OneView to UCS Director, both are designed for management of multiple server architectures and both are an additional cost to the customer (UCS Manager is $0). Now if we were to compare these two products, it isn’t even a fair fight. Yes, Cisco purchased Cloupia and are currently rebranding it as UCS Director, but they are still offering a truly converged architecture management solution, unlike HP. In fact, if you have some time to kill (obviously if you do you MUST be running OneView and are about to deploy your 81st server), go check on the supported matrix for the OneView product on their website. Can’t find it? Yeah, neither could I. It is referenced in several documents including the datasheet, but it is nowhere to be found as of today. I did see some documentation on it supporting only the c7000 series chassis, which is also ironic since UCS Manager supports both blade and rack server architecture – they must have forgot to mention that one on the video. On the flip side, UCS Director is managing UCS as well as several other core products on the market today including storage.
The rest of the video just makes me wonder if HP has heard of this new product, it is called VMware. Most of the issues that OneView is addressing have already been addressed by VMware 2-3 years ago. I am happy to go in depth with that in another blog if you want some clarity around moving workloads and balancing infrastructure.
Look, HP isn’t a bad server choice for specific customer base, but they have nothing revolutionary to these days – and to pick on Cisco UCS, a company who is eating their lunch day after day is just bad marketing (Not to mention the shirt Gary Thome is wearing…seriously man, you are going on a video, on the internet, FOREVER). Anyway, now that I have put a permanent target on my back to, well, all of HP, have a great day.”
These are strong opinions voiced by Data Center professionals familiar with the Cisco UCS Manager. Let us know what you think.