September 4th, 2014 by Adam Armstrong
Cisco Introduces Significant Innovations To Its Unified Computing System
Today Cisco UCS introduced significant innovations to its Unified Computing System (UCS). Cisco has broadened their portfolio with new products aimed at cloud service providers, high capacity media streaming, small IT environments, and data-intensive computing. The new portfolio of technologies is aimed at helping customers capitalize on the rapidly changing landscapes in compute needs and massive data storage. Cisco has launched several new offerings, but the highlight is the new M-Series of modular servers that dramatically shifts how compute deployments are made in large-scale environments.
Cisco UCS M-Series Modular Servers
The new M-Series Modular servers are designed for cloud service providers and scale-out application architectures, where the M-Series fabric computing provides for higher levels of operational efficiency and leaner infrastructure. The hardware in the M-Series is novel, each enclosure features 8 compute nodes in a chassis that dramatically reduces redundant components by sharing local resources like power, networking and storage. This leads to up to 77% faster provisioning, eight times the server density, up to 95% fewer peripherals, up to 38% TCO improvement, and up to 22% power efficiency.
Of course the reduction in parts is a driver to lowering the overall unit cost. Adding to the TCO, the cost to upgrade also goes down, as each compute node has fewer parts than a typical blade server. At upgrade time the nodes, or cartridges as Cisco refers to them, can be swapped out at a lower cost as a result. This enables a new degree of cost flexibility at Intel upgrade cycles for those who have a business need to stay on the leading edge of CPU technology.
Compared to a traditional cloud scale deployment with 16 1U compute nodes, two Cisco UCS M-Series chassis with 16 nodes has roughly an eighth of the parts when looking at elements like power supplies, fan kits and networking cards. There's also a massive reduction in local storage, the M-Series shares 4 2.5" SSD bays amongst the nodes, where a blade server or rack server would require dedicated compute for each in most cases. This modularization does impact flexibility some when it comes to storage, the nodes don't support their own internal mezzanine cards for instance. The M-Series is really designed to boot off the shared storage and perhaps access a small local database or the like, but in most cases they'll be working with networked storage given the target of large-scale deployments.
Cisco UCS C3160 Rack Server
With a high-capacity local disk storage, this 4U form factor rack storage server is ideal for unstructured data repositories, media streaming and transcoding, and for distributed data analytics and object stores. The C3160 has 60 3.5" disk bays and supports up to 360TB of capacity with 6TB disks.
Other highlights from the portfolio updates include:
- Cisco UCS Mini – bringing all the benefits of Unified Computing Systems to remote sites, branch offices, and small IT environments, the Cisco UCS Mini is an all-in-one solution in a compact form factor that is easy to deploy and manage. The UCS Mini is easily scalable from one server up to about fifteen and can connect up to seven c-series rack servers for expanded capacity. Businesses can see up to 29% savings in capital expenses, up to 36% reduction in TCO, up to 36% lower power, and 80% fewer cables.
- Fourth generation UCS servers – UCS B200 M4 Blade Server, C220 M4 and C240 M4 Rack Servers accelerate data analytics, continuing on Cisco’s tradition of world-record application performance.
- UCS Director Express for Big Data – a solution that provides single touch deployment of Hadoop. It provides a single management pane both in physical infrastructure and Hadoop software, and integrates with major open-source distributions ensuring consistent repeatable Hadoop UCS cluster configuration.