Cisco Intros Servers, Switches in Upgrade to UCS and Data Center Strategy

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Cisco has introduced a host of new rack-mount and blade servers, I/O technology, and multilayer switches as part of the second generation of its Unified Computing System (UCS), the networking giant's data center architecture created to improve efficiency, management and power consumption.

Cisco has released a host of new rack-mount and blade servers, I/O technology, and multilayer switches in the second generation of its Unified Computing System—an approach to data center architecture the company first introduced last spring to improve efficiency, management and power consumption.

Sales of the systems include rewards targeted at partners, including the standard back-end rebates, said John Growdon, director of Go-To-Market Worldwide Channels at Cisco.

Growdon told Channel Insider that Cisco now has over 500 channel partners that hold the DCNI certification (data center, network infrastructure). A subset of those—about 200—are certified to resell Cisco’s B Series (blade server) products.

In addition to the new product introductions rolled out today, Cisco is offering "highly detailed cookbooks" of particular types of implementations, including a multitenant architecture one for service providers that describes how to set up a cloud service with UCS as the core of the architecture.

The second generation of UCS offers new servers based on Intel’s Xeon 5600 processor chips plus a new memory technology developed by Cisco that the company said improves performance. Coming in the third quarter, Cisco will offer new B-series (blade) and C-series (rack mount) four-socket servers based on Intel’s Xeon 7500 series. Cisco says its system design provides for double the memory capability and a nine-times increase in bandwidth.

Cisco’s new FEXlink (fabric extender) architecture is incorporated into both Cisco Nexus and Cisco Unified Computing System Fabric Extenders, the company said. FEXlink offers a server access layer that supports any fabric with 100Mb, 1Gb and 10Gb Ethernet; native Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE); InfiniBand over Ethernet; iSCSI; and NAS. Cisco said that its FEXlink architecture will enable Cisco UCS to offer up to 160Gb of bandwidth per blade in the coming year.

The Nexus portfolio’s new additions, Nexus 2248 and Nexus 2232, provide top of rack and end of row 10-Gigabit Ethernet to the data center. The new products follow on the success of the initial 2000-series FEXlink Nexus products, which Cisco executives said they shipped 1 million ports of in less than a year.

Cisco said that the architecture of these switches enables 80 percent lower cabling costs and 30 percent lower power conjunction.

Cisco also has expanded its Cisco Developer Network to include support for partners developing to the UCS Manager. 

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com