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Cisco Jumps Into Blade Computing
|17 марта 2009|
Cisco this morning unveiled a widely anticipated blade-server offering that may have been the worst-kept secret in the industry.
Rumors of the announcement, and no small avalanche of details, have been leaking for weeks if not months, and Cisco’s been developing its blades for at least two years. The move positions Cisco squarely in competition with a string of industry heavyweights – including HP, Dell, Sun and IBM – virtually all of which at one time or another have been Cisco partners.
As part of an unveiling that included use of Cisco telepresence rooms in 11 cities, the company said it’s recruited Microsoft and a string of others to its blade-server team. The two say Cisco will pre-package, resell and support Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. Cisco also inked agreements with BMC Software, EMC, Emulex, Intel, NetApp, Novell, Oracle, QLogic, Red Hat and, significantly, VMware, which competes with Microsoft in the virtualization market. Citrix, equally strong in virtualization, was nowhere to be seen.
Cisco sees its blade server as its introduction to “unified computing,” distinct from “unified communications,” bragging what it’s brought to market is “the industry’s first unified computing system.” As such, Cisco’s created a one-stop shop for a data-center solution that integrates computing, networking and virtualization into a single platform. By using its one-company solution rather than solutions that have been built using other companies’ blade servers coupled with Cisco routers and other hardware, Cisco claims system costs are slashed. Its solution reduces total cost of ownership (TCO) with as much as a 20-percent reduction in capital expenditures and as much as a 30-percent reduction in operational expenditures. “The unified computing system is a new computing model that uses integrated management and combines a ‘wire once’ unified fabric with an industry-standard computing platform to optimize virtualization, reduce data center total overall cost, and provide dynamic resource provisioning for increased business agility,” the company explained.
With all the noise about Cisco entering the compute portion of the business, less attention was paid to the actual hardware, software and services Cisco will start shipping in the second quarter. The Cisco Unified Computing System is built from:
The UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects, a family of line-rate, low-latency, lossless, 10-Gb/s Cisco Data Center Ethernet and FCoE interconnect switches that consolidate I/O within the system. Both 20-port 1RU and 40-port 2RU versions accommodate expansion modules that provide Fibre Channel and/or 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connectivity.
The UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis that supports as many as eight blade servers and two fabric extenders in a 6RU enclosure without additional management modules.
The UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders that bring unified fabric into the blade-server chassis, providing as many as four 10-Gb/s connections each between blade servers and the fabric interconnect, thus simplifying diagnostics cabling, and management.
The UCS B-Series Blade Servers themselves, based on next-generation Intel Xeon processors and designed to adapt to application demands. They can intelligently scale energy use, and they offer best-in-class virtualization. Each blade server uses network adapters for access to the unified fabric. Cisco uses a proprietary memory-expansion technology it says “substantially increases” the memory footprint, maximizing performance and capacity for demanding virtualization and large-dataset workloads. In addition, the technology offers a more cost-effective memory footprint for less-demanding workloads, the company says.
Cisco UCS Network Adapters, offered in a mezzanine-card form factor. Three types of adapters come with a range of options to meet application requirements, including adapters optimized for virtualization, compatibility with existing driver stacks or efficient, high-performance Ethernet.
A Cisco UCS Manager that provides centralized management capabilities that serve as the central nervous system of the Cisco Unified Computing System. Cisco UCS Manager is the embedded software that unifies system components.