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Cisco Adds Rack-Mount Servers To Unified Computing Family

Improvements over the B-Series blades include a low-latency, lossless 10 Gbps Ethernet foundation that enables a wire-once deployment model.

Cisco Unified Computing System
(click image for larger view)
Cisco Unified Computing System

Cisco has expanded its Unified Computing System with the addition of a line of rack-mount servers that provide another form factor for implementing the vendor's vision of bringing together computing power, networking, storage, and management into a single platform.

The C-Series Servers offer an alternative or a complement to the UCS B-Series, new class of blade servers Cisco unveiled in March. The blade and new rack-mount servers include storage capabilities along with virtualization and server management software.

The C-Series Servers offer several "innovations," including a low-latency, lossless 10-Gbps Ethernet foundation that enables a wire-once deployment model, according to Cisco. In addition, the servers have Cisco's memory extension technology, which the company claims yields more than 2.5 times the addressable memory of other two-sock rack-mount platforms. The memory extension means more support for virtual machines per server.

Other features include a "virtualized adapter" that can define up to 128 Ethernet or Fibre Channel connections. The capability provides network adapter consolidation and a better virtualization environment, Cisco said.

The UCS C-Series, based on Intel Xeon 5500 series processors, is scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter. Cisco unveiled the new products at its Partner Summit in Boston, which ran from June 2-4.

In introducing UCS in March, Cisco assembled a formidable alliance of software vendors that would offer storage, virtualization, and other technology to the networking company's new platform. The vendors included BMC Software, Citrix Systems, EMC, Microsoft, SAP, and VMware.

UCS attempts to overcome the silos that divide servers from storage, from the network, and from each other. To do this, UCS accesses storage area networks and network-attached storage over Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet, or iSCSI, storage protocols that have traditionally been separated from the enterprise network.

Cisco is not the only vendor looking to unify the data center. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and others have pieces of the integration that Cisco is looking to achieve.


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on server virtualization. Download the report here (registration required).

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